Dance Stamina – Why Is Stamina So Important in Dancesport and How Do You Build It?

You’ve been training so hard for months and now the moment has come – you’re going to the competition! Finally! You’re so excited, because you now have a chance to prove everyone how great of a dancer you are. The next thing you know, you’re at the competition and after the second dance you’re running out of breath and you are so tired that you can barely stand. And you’re thinking to yourself “What the heck did just happen? I thought I was doing great.” 

Well, you should know that this kind of a problem is very common among dancers. Most of them struggle with building stamina, needed for tackling the most demanding routines and activities, both at their training and at the competition. 

Dancing one dance after the other, while giving their best is quite a challenge. That’s why dancers need to work on their stamina and be in a top shape. 

Now, let’s find out how to build stamina so that you can focus on giving your best at the competition, not on trying to catch your breath. 

Four ways to boost your dance stamina 

What is stamina? Stamina is the energy and strength needed to perform physical activities at your best for an extended period of time. There are a few ways to improve your stamina, and below, we’re sharing them with you. 

Good nutrition is key

It all starts with the foods you eat (or you don’t). Even though you may not be aware of it, it’s the fact that what you eat has a big impact on how you feel and whether you have enough energy for tackling your daily tasks and activities. 

So, in order to do your best at training and competitions, you first have to carefully plan your meals. This means that you should have a balanced diet – eat enough proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, fats, and dietary products. But the most important thing is not to skip meals. You want to eat in regular intervals, so that your energy and blood sugar level don’t oscillate. 

Here’s a quick overview of the foods you should introduce into your diet. However, we suggest you visit the nutritionist as every person is different thus needs to adjust the food intake to their needs.  

1.Oatmeal 

Not only meals with oatmeal are delicious, but they are also very nutrient. Oatmeal is rich in complex carbohydrates which means that your body digests it slowly, keeping you full for longer. What’s more, slow digestion ensures that the blood sugar is at an optimal level, eliminating the crash that is typical after eating fast-burning carbs. 

2.Bananas 

Bananas contain carbohydrates (starch and sugar) that give your body plenty of energy. Eating a banana a couple of hours before your training will help you keep up with a demanding dancing routine. 

3.Red Grapes 

Red grapes are a great source of vitamins such as vitamin C, vitamin K, thiamin, vitamin E, vitamin A, and vitamin B-6. Moreover, red grapes are rich in minerals (zinc, manganese, copper, potassium, calcium, selenium and magnesium. So, make sure to eat a cup of red grapes every day, because your body will love it (and so will you). 

4.Peanut Butter

Peanut butter contains protein, potassium, fiber, healthy fats, magnesium, vitamin A, as well as antioxidants. Thanks to all this, peanut butter invigorates your muscles and bones. So, we say it’s a high time to add peanut butter to your diet, just don’t add the jelly.

5.Beans 

Beans are a perfect source of protein, complex carbohydrates and fiber, making them an ideal part of your diet. Also, beans contain minerals and antioxidants, giving your body just what it needs to face a tough challenge. 

6.Leafy Greens 

While the color Green wakes up your senses, leafy greens wake up your inner strength and energy. Leafy green veggies are so popular in the world of fitness enthusiasts because of their health benefits. In addition, they are slow to digest, thus will keep your blood sugar at a high level. And for those of you who may not like leafy greens, well, you’d better start it. Once you do, your body will be grateful to you. 

Stay hydrated 

Make sure to drink a plenty of water because that way, your body will cope with fatigue better. On the other hand, stay away from soft drinks, caffeinated and alcoholic beverages since they dehydrate your body and decrease stamina. 

Do muscle endurance and HIIT exercises

As Aleksander Makarov said in our podcast, dancing comes first, but you should also find the time for other exercises and build your stamina if you want to make it. Those “other exercises” are actually called muscle endurance exercises. These include walking, swimming, cycling, exercises in which you use your bodyweight (planks, squats, etc.) as well as interval trainings. These exercises combine cardio, flexibility and strength so your stamina will definitely be improved. 

But, since competitive dancing is an anaerobic activity, it’s much more performance based. This means that if you’re getting ready for the competition, your best bet is focusing on HIIT exercises (high-intensity interval training). They are designed in such a way that you need to give all you’ve got in a very short time. 

Meaning, these trainings last about 20-30 minutes and comprise of quick, intense bursts of exercise, followed by short recovery periods. HIIT trainings get and keep your heart rate up, building your stamina. 

In addition to all this, make sure you measure your heart rate during HIIT trainings. You can get a FitBit (Android, iOS) or download Instant Heart Rate app (Android, iOS) to help you with that.  

Train as if you were dancing at the competition 

The last thing we want to share with you is that you should train as if you were dancing for the competition. In other words, dance all five dances (for 1:45-2:00 minutes) in the same order you’ll be dancing in the competition, and add 15 seconds breaks between dances. This is undoubtedly the best way to see how you stand in terms of stamina and endurance. 

Perfecting your technique and style won’t mean too much if you don’t have the stamina needed for dancing all five dances in a row. In the end, everything matters, even if you think it doesn’t. So, have a balanced diet, drink plenty of water, and exercise. Of course, the better you are, the harder it is to move your own limits, but you do need to find a way and the time to apply these tips, especially before the competition. Stamina can make the difference between ending first place and getting the fourth place. That’s what makes champions. 

Photography: V.studio photos


I always loved dancing, but I started with ballroom dance six months ago, because I didn’t have chance to start earlier. However, now that I do, I want to make the most out of it. Never stop believing in yourself and give your best to make your dreams come true. As Les Brown said: “Shoot for the Moon, because even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars”.


Tags: dance stamina nutrition

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