Dance Health

6 dancer-friendly workout apps

workout apps for dancers

If “getting fit” was one of your New Year’s resolutions, it’s not too late to up the ante! Joining a gym can seem intimidating or expensive. But in this day and age, you have some of the greatest fitness routines and trends at your fingertips. Look no further than your own smart phone! Fitness apps such as Sweat with Kayla and Nike+ Training Club have made goal-setting, working out and exercise tracking more accessible — and enjoyable — than ever. Cross-training is a critical habit for any athlete to improve stamina, build strength and reduce the risk of injury. And dancers are no exception. Dance Informa researched some of the best fitness apps that help dancers cross-train and meet their fitness goals.

#1. Aaptiv (monthly membership)

Aaptiv is a personal trainer in the palm of your hand. Think of this app like a dance class where your teacher is instructing you, noting corrections and motivating you along the way. Simply log in and pick how you’d like to train — running, cycling, elliptical, treadmill, strength training, yoga or even meditation. After you decide your intensity (beginner through advanced) and length of workout, get ready to be pushed to the next level as you hear your trainer through your headphones calling out your workout and encouraging you every step of the way. What’s more, Aaptiv’s curated pump-you-up playlists sync perfectly with your chosen workout of the day.

#2. Barre3 ($4.99)

Barre3 combines ballet, yoga and Pilates exercises to help you sculpt long, lean muscles. While you can take class at one of barre3’s many locations, you can also practice barre3 on the app, using your own music! Whether you’re in your kitchen, dorm room or local park, simply select one of barre3’s 10-minute workout videos and start toning your entire body. On-the-go barre workouts are great for dancers who already know proper alignment and technique for many of the ballet-inspired exercises. The app also includes healthy recipe ideas, a nutrition podcast and sign-up information for in-studio barre3 classes in your area.

#3. ClassPass (monthly membership)

ClassPass is a monthly membership program that allows you to take a wide variety of fitness classes in your city. (In fact, over 900 studios are part of ClassPass in New York City alone!) You’ll never become bored since ClassPass offers drop-in spinning, Pilates, yoga, bootcamp, dance cardio, boxing, rowing and barre classes, and also drop-in gym passes. Switching up your workout is one of the best ways to build strength, endurance and overall fitness because your body never gets “comfortable with” or “accustomed to” a specific exercise format. Additionally, a number of dance studios have hopped on the ClassPass bandwagon, allowing members to drop in to beginner classes. So if you’re itching to expand your repertoire, check in to a basic hip hop, tap or ballet class. Taking a variety of dance styles is also a fantastic way to cross-train!

#4. Down Dog (free)

Take free, private, unique yoga classes in the privacy of your own living room, dorm or unoccupied dance studio. Choose your sequence type, level, length of time (10-35 minutes), music, pace and “boost” (an area of the body you’d like to focus on such as backbends or hamstring stretches) for each yoga session.  You can even do a restorative, relaxing flow before you turn in for the night. What’s more, Down Dog tracks your practice so that each Vinyasa flow is new, fresh and keeps you on your toes. 

#5. Spring (monthly membership)

Spring is more than your typical fitness tracker. Yes, it has an exercise log, GPS tracker and vocal cues (noting time, distance and pace). But what makes Spring unique is its awesome up-tempo music, catered perfectly to the pace of your workout! Pick your workout (running, walking, cycling or interval training) and select your ideal beats-per-minute (running: 150, elliptical: 128, yoga: 90, weight-lifting: 130). If you don’t know your BPMs, Spring will actually calculate it for you based on your current cadence. Like Spotify, you can skip songs you don’t like and read about artist and album info of the songs you enjoyed at the end of your workout. Spring is a fun and relatively affordable way to discover and workout to new music. As dancers, it’s natural for us to coordinate our movement, intensity and breathing to rhythm. Spring brings that musicality to whatever cross-training workout you decide to do.

#6. Sworkit (free)

Whether you’re working on strength, cardio, yoga or stretching, Sworkit helps you build a customized workout that fits your personal goals to be “leaner”, “stronger” or “fitter” without having to use any gym equipment! Additionally, Sworkit is the only free app to have met all of the American College of Sports Medicine guidelines for physical fitness.  Just choose your workout (upper body, lower body, or full body) and length of time (5-60 minutes) and Sworkit will call out your exercises throughout the session.  If you’re unfamiliar with an exercise, Sworkit provides video demonstrations by certified personal trainers who show proper form, alignment, and execution of each exercise.  You can also build your own customized workouts that can be perfect for before a late night performance or early morning rehearsal.

By Mary Callahan of Dance Informa.

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