In part 1 of Crossover in Irish Dance, we discussed the importance of mobility for crossing. Developing the mobility of the outside of your hips is important in improving your ability to fully cross your legs over the midline of your body without compensating. But it’s not the whole story.
CROSSOVER | Part 2: STRENGTH FOR CROSSOVER
The second critical aspect of improving your crossing is building strength in two key areas.
The first muscle group we should strengthen is the adductors. These muscles run along your inner thigh and work to adduct your legs–bring them together! To get your leg fully across your midline and “hide” your back knee when you dance, strength in your adductors is key.
The second muscle group is your hamstrings, or the muscles that run down the back of your thigh. Strength in these muscles is key to improving your back leg crossing–especially when your leg is lifted in back (bangs, step ins, toes, lifts after clicks, etc). One common way dance teachers cue you to cross your back leg is to “lift your foot to the opposite side of your bum.” In order to do this, you must use your adductors to cross one leg all the way behind the other, then use the hamstrings to curl the foot up to your bum.
Add these two exercises to your training to improve your strength for crossing.
ADDUCTOR AND HAMSTRING STRENGTH EXERCISES
Extend your top leg on a chair or bench with your entire calf on the chair. Place your elbow on the ground to press your hips up into a side plank. Press down into the chair to keep his high and body straight as you lift and lower the bottom knee. 10-14 reps on each side.
Lay on your back with your heels on top of a chair and knees in a 90° angle. Place a ball or pillow between your thighs. As you squeeze the ball, lift your hips 1 inch off the ground then tuck your pelvis under as much as you can, shortening and contracting your hamstring and hold. Complete three sets of 0:30.
Strength and mobility work together to improve your crossover. If you have strength but no mobility, your hip will be too tight to allow you to use your strength to cross over. If you have mobility but no strength, you’ll likely be able to cross your legs over but won’t be able to hold it for your full dance. Improving both areas is key to making lasting improvements in your crossing.
Looking for more ways to improve your crossing for Irish dance? We have a NEW release on the Online Institute for you! This month’s release is the 30 Day Crossover Challenge! This challenge includes guided workout sets and a calendar that outlines exactly what to do for each of the 30 days to improve your crossing.
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