Just because you dance, doesn’t mean that needs to be your only form of exercise. In fact, trying different forms of cross-training can actually help you become a better dancer, and improve specific weaknesses. 

How do you decide which form of training is best for you and will compliment your regime? Well, that’s up to you.

Here, we’ll break down the various forms of cross-training that you may want to consider, as well as their pro’s and con’s.

Cross Training for Ballet Dancers


Without getting into the history of pilates, it has proven highly beneficial for us dancers. The reason why? It focuses on core strength and overall flexibility. 99% of our movements require a strong foundational core, and pilates helps you build those ab and back muscles. This additional strength can help you improve your ability to perform various ballet exercises correctly.

With an emphasis on balance, pilates help you correct muscle imbalances and misalignments. After all, most of us have leg that is longer/stronger than the other, and Pilates ensure we work both sides equally.

Here are some videos of some pilates workouts that are great for cross training for ballet.


Most of you probably already know about yoga, but it can also be a great form of cross-training for us. It helps us to development even stronger focus, ease the tension in our muscles, increase our flexibility, and really hone in our breathing technique.

I love the focus on breathing and think it helps us tremendously in ballet. It forces our lungs to expand, helping to increase our endurance and overall body control. The slower pace of yoga will also help you ensure you fine-tune every little detail in your body.

The different asanas will teach different forms of control/awareness and flexibility further strengthening our limbs. And the different movements in yoga will help your body detox and improve blood circulation.

Below are some good videos of yoga workouts that are effective for ballet training.

Weight Training

Ah yes, the infamous myth of resistance training is only for bodybuilders. Well, that’s completely false. Weight training and resistance training have many benefits for dancers. 

The most obvious is power and stamina. There are several movements that are more explosive and will require us to move quicker, but our normal routines just won’t cut it.  I’ve known several dancers who have looked down on weight training because they believed the myths of becoming bulky or stiff.

There is no research or evidence that supports that. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Weight training for ballet will have incredible benefits, but you must make sure to always use proper technique and build programs based around your needs.

I highly recommend using plyometrics and compound movements to build your ballet strength. Compound movements are those that will force you to activate several large muscle groups. Plyometrics are dynamic movements that activate your entire body. Remember, dancers are athletes, and many of the same exercises that you’ll see professional football players doing will be similar to the ones that will benefit us the most.

You’ll also find that full body workouts like the one below are a great way to cross train for ballet.


Endurance is key to dance. Swimming is a slightly different alternative to other forms of cardio exercise, and the minimal impact will save our joints any possible issues that can arise from jogging/running.

Swimming is proven to help build lung capacity faster than other forms of cardio, and even improve our flexibility and lean muscle.

Soul Cycle 

I love Soul Cycle. I think of Soul Cycle as more of an existential experience than a workout. But that shouldn’t take away from the fact that spin classes like Soul Cycle are incredible workouts. Soul Cycle classes are full body workouts and a great way to mix things up. And believe it or not, once you’re done you’ll feel empowered.

And just for kicks, here’s a video of a SoulCycle workout.

Final thoughts: Cross training for ballet dancers

Looking for ways to get some extra physical activity in that will benefit you in ballet? The above are just a handful of ideas of different cross training workouts you can try. 

If you have other suggestions, then let us know in the comments below!

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