Exercises

Disclaimer

These exercises are provided for information purposes only. Please consult with your physician before undertaking any program of exercise.

Flexibility, Posture, Warm Up

Upper Body Flexibility

These exercises develop the flexibility required for rotary isolation of the rib cage relative to the hips, required for CBM and CBMP in Standard, and for hip rotation in Latin.

Stand with legs apart, blocks of weight lined up, tuck in stomach muscle (pull center back to spine), arms parallel to shoulder, bend elbow in front of body (or keep it straight out to the side).
  • First, keep hip/waist area still, just rotate plane of shoulders around spine, keep head still looking forward.
    • If you start out with your face, hips, and shoulders facing 12 o'clock, in the stretched position to the left, your hips and feet will still be facing 12 o'clock but the plane of your shoulders and arms will be facing somewhere between 9 and 12 o'clock, depending on your flexibility.
    • Swing gently between 9 o'clock and 3 o'clock, or whatever angles you can reach feeling a gentle stretch.
  • Then, keep upper body still, rotate hip/waist area, head looking forward.
  • Lastly, combining the two, keep head looking forward and rotate hips and upper body left and right.
Sending Middle of Body Forward
  • Stand in front of wall with some space.
  • Try to fill that space and make contact with wall while keep feet and head position,
    • You will need to flex your knees in order to send middle of your body (stomach) forward to touch the wall. Heels will be slightly lifted. Keep head position, practice and find balance. 
    • (Lady, turn head to left, looking parallel to shoulder line). 

Body isolation exercises

Start: stand with legs a little more than shoulder width apart.

Keep hips still and only move ribcage. (To help to make sure hips don't move, the exercise can also be done when sitting on the edge of the chair.)
  • arms:
    • R arm reach to floor on the side (make sure chest don't collapse forward or bend backward); repeat for L arm
    • R arm reach up above head on the side; repeat for L arm
  • ribcage: Left, Right (with arms extends to both sides), move hips as little as possible, shoulders and head flat. Need to compress one side while extending the other side.
  • ribcage: Left with L shoulder diagonally up, Right with Right shoulder diagonally up
  • ribcage: Front, Back. Head and shoulders stay upright. Contract and expand rib cage.
  • ribcage: Front, stop middle, Back, stop middle, Front (repeat)
  • ribcage: L, F, R, B - separate distinct positions first, then smooth circular movement. Then, reverse direction: L, B R, F.
Keep upper body still and only move hips:
  • Hip to left and right side: twisting, lateral, pendulum.
  • Hip: Left, Front, Right, Back; then, Left Back, Right, Front; (first stop at distinct point, then try circular continuous movement)
  • Hip circles

Stretch Exercises

Credit: From Livestrong.com

Leg Swings

In a standing position, swing one leg forward and back, keeping both knees bent. Swing your arms in opposition to the swinging leg, as if you were running. Start with small swings, and gradually increase the range of motion and speed. Straighten the knee as you do so. Continue until your hips feel loose. For lateral and rotational swings, swing your leg across your body and out to the side, keeping your knees bent. Move your arms in opposition to the leg movement. If you cannot maintain good balance in this exercise series, hold onto a wall or another sturdy object.

Lateral Stretch With Twist

Stand about arm-distance away from a pole, door jamb or sturdy support, and bend sideways to grab it with both hands. As you push your hip away from the support, reach your lower arm across your body and twist without moving your hips and legs. You should feel this in your armpits, hip and back. Return to start position, and repeat until you feel looser. If one side is tighter than the other side, do an extra set for the tight side.

Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch

Stretching the hip flexors also strengthens your buttocks, which can alleviate tightness in your hip flexors and surrounding tissues. Kneel with your left leg in front of the right, with your toes pointing forward. Your left leg and hip should be bent at 90 degrees. Raise your right arm, and tighten your right buttock, shifting your weight forward. Hold the position until you feel tension ease from your right hip flexor. Then, bend laterally to the left, with your right arm over your head, and place your left arm on your left knee for balance. Twist slowly to your right while maintaining the lean and hip position. Reverse the movement and repeat a few times, then do the exercise for the other hip.

Plie Exercise 

This plie exercise helps with balance and posture, and develop the flexibility of the feet.

Start with feet in 2nd position, a bit more than shoulder width, feet slightly turned out. Remind yourself with the posture elements at all times during the exercise.
  1. Arms up above head, feet in releve (on balls of feet). Focus: Compress buttcheeks, stretch the neck.
  2. Arms to the side at shoulder level. Focus: Shoulders down.
  3. Arms down, go into ground plie. Focus: lengthen the spine, hips under the body. No arches.

Home Exercises

These exercise can easily be done at home.

Leg and Body Stretch

Lie on your back, and bend legs and knees so that your thighs are perpendicular to the ground, and your shins are parallel with the ground. Extend your arms straight out to the side for balance. Keeping both your shoulder blades pressed to the ground, gently allow your thighs to rotate down to your left or right, keeping 90 degree angle between thighs and trunk. 

Back Curls (Cobra Position)

Lay face down on floor, lift head and bend back.

Pretzel Stretch

Improve upper body flexibility. Sitting with R leg bent in front of body, lower right leg and right knee flat on floor, L leg bent and cross R leg, vertical. Body twist to left, R hand/arm over L leg and try (if you can) to reach R foot. L arm vertical propping the body. Switch to the other side

Individual Exercises for Standard

Forward/Backward Walk and Waltz Box: Using the Whole Foot

Exercise to improve the use of legs and feet. Maintain good posture as the foot slides.

Practice walking forward and back. See Forward Movement and Backward Movement in Standard Technique.
Waltz box is a simple, but very effective exercise. This can be done individually or with a partner.
  1. Man LF box (123 456) (can repeat another time)
  2. Man LF change step (123)
  3. Man RF box (123 456)
  4. Man RF change step back (123)

Stepping with CBM 

Step toward mirror, soft knees, keeping shoulders and hips flat, with CBM. Do not turn foot. Switch foot.

Step back with CBM, switching foot.

Individual Exercises for Latin

Latin basic actions

Latin Technique has more details on the technique for each of the basic actions.

Adjust posture before exercise: line up blocks of weight, pull in center, settle shoulder, exhale and release chest to floor, weight forward.
  1. Spine positions, Foot Positions and Leg Actions:
    • Spine: split, whole foot, front of foot.
    • Feet positions: from flat - demi pointe - demi - flat.
    • Leg actions: horizontal, vertical
    • Practice with one foot in front of the other, slow motion going through all spine, feet positions and leg actions.
    • Practice in 2nd position, lead with ribs:
  2. Figure 8: no weight transfer
  3. Compact Chasse: standing feet together, cross knees on each count, keep knees together passing by each other.
  4. Forward walk: putting spine, leg and feet together
  5. Back walk: quick release using thighs.
  6. Side steps with weight transfers: connected movement, lead with ribs. Practice Cucarachas Cuban Rocks
  7. 2 changes of directions: Forward Walk Turn and Swivel
  8. Arms: stationary; alternative arms; forward walks with arm; Rumba basic with underarm turn with arms.

Spins

See Latin Technique on spins.
  • Head spotting
  • Three-step turn.
  • Continuous spin forward.
  • One full spin on one foot.
  • Spiral Turns.
  • Turns with different timing.

Standard Exercises with Partner

Lead/Follow and Move with body contact without arms

Leader and follower get into hold. See Standard Technique. Do not put arms up for this exercise.  Contact is maintained from upper thighs to bottom of the rib cage. Maintain this frame.

Exercise is for leader to move around from foot to foot, both moving around the room and changing orientation of the body. Track the feet every time it steps.This helps the leader develop smoothness and consistency in his movements, and the follower to develop sensitivity to the lead.

Lady: be sensitive to Man's motions, could use very slight delay (after settling) to help detect Man's weight changes.

Positions and Shaping with Partner

The following exercise practices all possible leads that a Man can lead a Lady into.

Start with weight on RF for Man, LF for Lady.
  1. Step forward straight, LF (Man) -- take a big step.
  2. Step back straight, RF
  3. Step straight left
  4. Step straight right
  5. Lower on right leg
  6. Straighten right leg
  7. Step forward, LF, turn frame right -- frame turns before the step, Man's head follows his left hand going back (keeping head left)
    • For the feet, this is a straight fwd (for Man) and back (for Lady) step. Toe should never turn out.
    • Hip turns slightly as an effect of stepping back. But upper body turns every more (flexibility) to open up. Don't lock up the whole body. Each part may move independently.
  8. Step back, RF, turn frame back to straight
  9. Shape Left. When shaping left, Man's left side rotates forward, weight stays on left side.
  10. Step Left, keeping shape.
  11. Shape Right (weight still on Left foot). Man's right side rotates forward, even though Man's head turns right, weight stays on left side.
  12. Step on Right foot
  13. Shape Left (weight is still on Right foot)
  14. Straighten up
  15. Release hold
  16. Reestablish frame
Repeat.

Rotations and Extensions Exercise

Standard closed hold.
  1. Lateral rotate to right as far as possible, Lady: keep head left.
  2. Lateral rotate to left
  3. Rotate to right and extend right side for Lady, left side for Man. Lady: keep head left
  4. Rotate to left and extend right side for Lady, left side for Man. Lady: keep head left
  5. Rotate to right and extend left side for Lady, right side for Man. Lady: follow shape, head turn to right
  6. Rotate to left and extend left side for Lady, right side for Man. Lady:  follow shape, head turn to right

Diamond Exercise

Get into connection practice hold : hold hands down by sides, connect at hips. 
  • Walk forward 4 steps
  • Diagonally forward left (outside partner) four steps.
  • Diagonally forward right (wrongside position) four steps. 
    • In wrongside position, the left side of the front of the lady's body is in contact with the front of the right side of the man's body, and her left hip is slightly inside the man's right hip.
  • Four steps back
  • Four steps diagonally back right in OP position
  • Four steps diagonally back left in wrongside position