Here at Adonia Belly Dance, I find it is super important to stay fit and even more so as an entertainment professional performing belly dance in Chicago. As many of you know I struggle (as many of us do) with keeping myself in shape and it is important to me to do so. Sometimes I am trim and strong while other days I am just a little on the fluffy side. So the other day I was talking Karma Karmelita about fitness and, as I am currently a bit more fluffy than I would like, I was seeking her opinion on more interesting ways to workout in a fun way. Boy did she have some great ideas so I asked her to share them with all my fun and fabulous readers! Yup, that’s you ;)
Without further ado… here is what the gorgeous Karma had to say:
Let us be real here…we belly dancers work hard to put on the astounding and high energy shows we perform—whether it is at restaurants and nightclubs, stage shows, or haflas! It is important to keep our bodies strong and in fighting shape for performance day to keep our muscles safe from damage. Aside from practice, belly dancers should be encouraged to cross train in other physical activities, in this case: strength training! Don’t know where to start? Here are a few basic (and fun—err, well, in my opinion lol!) routines to get you started on your path to a stronger you!
Each routine is based on HIIT, or High Intensity Interval Training, and is set up in a certain time segment commonly referred to as a “Tabata”. HIITs or Tabatas are basically short workouts designed to push you to your limits each time. Here’s how it works!
Find a Tabata timer online or on your phone. I like to use http://www.tabatatimer.com/ or the phone app called Tabata Sport Interval Timer (android).
The work vs. rest time segments should already be set up for you, but if they aren’t, do the following: “Work” x 20 seconds, “Rest” x 10 seconds, “Rounds” x 8.
Grab a notebook and pencil and select four “moves”.
Start your timer and do ONE MOVE for the whole 8 rounds. For example, say your move is jumping jacks. Do as many jumping jacks as you can in good form for 20 seconds and then rest for 10. Then repeat 7 more times. Write down how many you do with each round. Once you are finished, get a sip of water and move on to the next move.
You’ll notice by round 3 or 4 that your reps start to decrease because you are working to fatigue. Remember, form is key! NEVER sacrifice your good form for more reps. Over time, you might start seeing an increase in the average number of reps you do! Tabata workouts are often times only 16-20 minutes long. That’s it! But you will REALLY feel it. They require no equipment and can be done in the comfort of your own living room or dance studio. Here are a few basic routines to get you started:
Push Ups: these can be done on the knees or in full plank position. Remember to keep your back straight and don’t stick your booty in the air! If this is too easy, put your hands together beneath you to make your thumbs and forefingers shape a diamond.
Tricep Dips: find a sturdy chair or coffee table and sit down on it with your hands at your hips. Lift yourself up and forward so you are dipping yourself down and your arms are lifting you back up. Make it harder by taking your feet further away from the table.
Military Arm Circles: hold your arms directly out at shoulder height and make tiny circles as fast as you can. These are great for building up strength for beautiful snake arms! Make it harder by grabbing some cans of fruit out of the pantry and holding them while making the circles!
Mountain Climbers: Get down into push up position but stay up on your toes. Try to keep your booty from rocking up and down, and bring your knees up to your chest one at a time like you marching in place. Keep your arms straight but don’t lock them!
Squats: Watch yourself in a mirror if you can for the first few times to check your form. Stand with feet hip/shoulder width apart and toes pointed forward. Squat down with your booty pushed back and your chest lifted, check and make sure your knees are not going over your toes. Go only as far as you can and return to standing. Make it really challenging by turning these into jump squats!
Squat Lunge: Staying place, lunge backward with one leg. Lower down till your back knee touches the floor, keeping your front knee from going over your toes. Do each side 4 rounds in a row for ease. Want to spice it up? Put a sword on your head!!
Calf Raises: Stand with feet hip/shoulder width apart and toes pointed forward. Keep legs straight but not locked. Stand up on your tippy toes and return to the floor for each rep. Take it to the next level by hyperextending your flex by standing on some stairs or a small ledge (grab a wall for support!)
Choo Choo Shimmies!: We all know this one, and it’s a great leg workout on it’s own! Make it harder by grabbing some ankle weights! Or if you can have a buddy work out with you, race each other around the studio!
These workouts are super simple and require no equipment, but they will certainly kick your butt! Know your limits and listen to your body, and don’t forget to warm up and cool down with each workout. Get your whole troupe involved and challenge each other to keep it fun and interesting! Now go forth and be STRONG!
Adonia’s closing thoughts: Something Karma mentioned in our conversation but not in this article is that she likes to combine bellydance technique into these movements. For instance, if you are doing lunges or calf raises try doing it while balancing a sword on your head. I wonder what else you could combine…maybe alternating glut squeezes with push-ups, or shimmies with military arm circles. Hehehe… this is gonna be fun and fun workouts = a stronger trimmer you!