Actors’ careers are currently on the rise and their schedules can be incredibly demanding. With auditions, second jobs, and performing under your belt, where do you find time to work out?
For actors exercising is not about aesthetics although that is a nice bonus.
Acting is a grueling job that demands energy, physical exertion and endurance.
Exercising will help you maintain your energy levels, increase stamina and focus.
Exercising is as important to actors as learning acting skills or working on auditions.
Here are 7 simple yet highly effective workouts that will help you get fit.
7 workouts for actors to get (and stay) in shape.
Acting in different characters can be a difficult task. You have to push your body to new limits and learn how to physically adopt your body for the movements and actions that will be required of you.
Yoga is a fantastic method actors can use to develop their physical strength and flexibility.
Regularly practicing yoga will help you be more flexible and fluid in your performances.
When you perform yoga the main emphasis is on connecting body and mind. This allows actors to understand the capabilities and range of their body’s when performing a character on stage.
Another fundamental aspect of yoga is it’s focus on breathing and how it helps us lower the stress levels in our body.
A lot of actor’s practice focusing on their breathing just before a performance to put themselves in a calm and steady state of mind.
Yoga is also very beneficial in releasing tension, aches and pain in the body through a combination of highly effective stretching routines.
You don’t have to be a yoga expert to start doing it and enjoy the health benefits.
Anyone despite their age, weight size or fitness level can experience the soothing and strengthening effects of yoga on the mind and body.
There are different ways of performing yoga. Find one that you are comfortable with and get started.
2. Full Body Workouts for actors
- Skip rope or jog on the spot: 1-2 minutes
- Jumping Jacks – as many reps as you can for 1-2 min
- Pushups – 10 reps, 2 sets
- Hip bridges – 10 reps, 2 sets
- Lunges – 16 reps (8 per leg), 2 sets
- Mountain climbers – 15 reps, 2 sets
- Burpees – 10 reps, 2 sets
This full body workout engages all the major muscle groups in your body and can be done anywhere.
Depending on your fitness level it should take only 10-15 minutes to perform.
Try to do this exercise 4-5 times a week but make sure you supplement it with other forms of exercise for best results.
3. Pilates workouts for actors
Pilates is a great workout that has immense benefits for actors.
It teaches you to become more aware of your body and its movements, which in turn helps you develop a strong core and good posture.
As an actor one of the scenarios in which the significance of good posture and body awareness is critical is at auditions.
You want to exude confidence in your ability to execute believable movements and portray your character effectively.
Pilates helps you adjust bad posture and faulty movement patterns by engaging and developing the core stabilizing muscles that are essential for correct posture and safe movement.
Actors can find neutral alignment by balancing muscle groups through regular piliates exercises.
Using neutral alignment actors can then easily give life to new characters physically by making the necessary changes.
Furthermore actors who consistently practice Pilates are able to avoid long term pain and injury by knowing how to get out of faulty alignment and back to neutral after a performance.
Actors who perform Pilates are more in tune with their body, have better posture and movements which increases their overall performance confidence.
4. Stage Combat/Stunt Training
Stage combat and stunt training are the perfect way for actors to exercise and act at the same time.
These exercises develop and improve your physical awareness, posture, coordination, reflexes and ability to learn choreographed sequences quickly.
Stage combat involves fighting with weapons like swords, knives, and quarterstaffs as well as grappling, punching and kicking.
Stunt training goes a bit further than stage combat and incorporates elements of gymnastics, horseback riding, driving motor vehicles and more.
Here are some basic exercises stunt actors use:
Hardstyle Plank: involves generating tension by squeezing every muscle in your body while in a plank position.
It’s wonderful for increasing the strength of your joints and improving your posture.
Turkish Get Up: this exercise enhances your overall body strength, develops powerful joints, and sharpens motor skills.
It is especially useful for handling falls and tumbles.
Hardstyle Kettle Bell Swing: this is a special exercise that enhances your athletic performance through a process known as rapid sequential muscle contraction.
After doing this exercise usually demanding things like jumping and sprinting are a breeze.
Pullup: help protect your spine by building strong muscles in your upper back, arms and core.
Plyometrics: are necessary to develop an explosive element to your actions and movements. You can convert most regular workouts to plyometrics. Eg. incorporate clapping into your regular pushups to make them explosive.
5. Dance workouts for actors
Dancing is an exercise that actors can utilize to stay in shape and have fun as well.
Benefits of a dance workout:
- It is a full body workout
- Good for your heart
- Improves balance and coordination
- A half hour session can burn between 100-200 calories depending on the intensity
There are a wide range of dancing workouts that are influenced by zoomba, ballroom, ballet, and hip-hop.
You can join a local dance-fitness group or download some videos from YouTube to get started.
6. Barre workouts for actors
This workout integrates moves from ballet, Pilates and yoga with fast tempo music.
It focuses on good alignment, balance, and core strengthening through targeted exercises.
You can increase the intensity of your barre workout by incorporating weights and more challenging moves.
Physical therapists recommend the barre workout for low-impact joint strengthening.
The exercise targets the following muscle groups specifically:
Glutes: glute raises
Legs: leg extensions and moves incorporated from ballet target the legs
Core: moves taken from pilates and ballet focus on working your abs.
Arms: side arm lifts, triceps raises, and military exercises target your arm muscles.
There are numerous barre classes you can join in person or attend online to stay fit.
7. Voice Exercises for actors
Stretch your body
Start by stretching your sides to extend your rib cage and fill your lungs with air.
Breath in deeply and lift your arms up. Then exhale and bend your body a little bit to the right stretching your upper body as you do so.
Stay in that position for 5 seconds and return to the center position and inhale. Repeat on your left side.
Gently roll your shoulders forward and backward and shrug them up and down to release tension.
Stretch your neck by bending your neck left, right, forward and backward. Hold in each position for a few seconds.
Start humming or breathing in and out with a straw in your mouth. This will allow you to concentrate on your breathing and keep your face and body still.
Inhale and hold your breath for as long as you can and exhale by hissing or making an “sss” sound. Alternate the “sss” sound with “fff” and “shh” and do 3-4 reps of each.
Do some lip trills by rolling your tongue against the roof of your mouth and make a “trrr” or “rrr” sound.
Exercise your tongue
Keep your mouth slightly open, move your tongue in circles, as well as back and forth in your mouth. Do this for five to eight seconds.
Massage your jaw and cheek muscles.
Massage your cheek and jaw muscles with your palms in circular motions. Practice yawning to elongate and stretch your jaw muscles.
Finish off by doing tongue twisters to sharpen your articulation.
- Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers
- Betty Botter bought some butter but she said the butter is bitter
- I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream
- Lesser leather never weathered wetter weather better
Exercising helps actors stay fit, improve their posture. and maintain good energy levels.
Workouts for actors don’t have to be strenuous and complicated. There are simple and fun ways of working out like dance and barre workouts.
Other exercises like Pilates and yoga focus on developing good posture, flexibility and strengthening joints and core muscles.
Which exercise or combination of workouts will you start using today?, Let us know in the comments below…