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Staying In Shape When You’re Away From The Irish Dance Studio

julia
Julia is a champion dancer with the Teelin School of Irish Dance in Maryland. She recently came back to competing after a seven-year hiatus, and is still working on adjusting to being back in the competitive world of Irish dance. When she isn’t training, she works as a journalist in Washington, D.C. You can connect with her on twitter, where she goes by @RussellJuliaD.

    
I’ve started traveling a lot more for work than I ever have and, unfortunately, that means I’ve had to spend some weeks away from my studio and my Irish dance classes. Obviously I don’t want to fall behind with my training and get out of shape, but it can be a real challenge to work out when you’re away from home and staying in a hotel — epsecially when you travel somewhere by plane and you can’t really bring your yoga mat or an extra bag to carry your dance shoes. Here is how I use a simple packing list of small items (that are easy to fold up!) to help me stay in shape when I have to travel.
    

The packing list:

Theraband
Jumprope
Dance sneakers (if you can fit them!)
    

The workouts:

Jump rope circuits – Jump roping is my favorite way to work out when I’m not at dance class, especially when I do circuits that work in things like burpees and jump squats. The movements are not all that different from what we do at the studio, and it’s a way to work really hard without needing a lot of equipment.

Body weight workouts – Body weight workouts are also a great way to work hard when you don’t have equipment or a big space. These workouts include movements like tricep dips, push ups and planks, and they work all kinds of muscle groups that are good for dance.

Ab work and pilates series – I personally find ab workouts a little tedious, but I always try to work them in when I’m traveling. They definitely make a huge difference in my dancing, and you don’t always need to do ab work for a long time to make an impact. Pilates is also an awesome thing to do if you’re away from the studio (and I personally prefer pilates series to ab work). All you need is a theraband to get a good workout doing pilates.

Stretching – Stretching is sometimes underrated because you don’t always break a sweat and sometimes you don’t feel the effects of stretching right away, but it is so important for dance and it is a very easy thing for me to do when I’m traveling. There are lots of yoga sequences that help you stretch, or you can do a quick three-minute warm up by jumping around and then do the stretches you usually do at dance class.

Drills of small movements (especially if you’re staying in a hotel room with a mirror!) – Working out this way can sometimes be a little bit of a stretch (particularly when you’re trying to get away with flying with only a carry-on bag and you can’t fit your dance sneakers in there), but if you can find a way to bring some kind of dance shoe, it is an easy and effective way to practice dance in a hotel room with a mirror. Isolating small movements like jumps can be very helpful, and it’s something I know I don’t always think to do when I’m taking classes or practicing in a big studio.
    


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