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This Rockettes Workout Is Inspired By One of Their Most Demanding Numbers

The audition requirements to become a Rockette are pretty brief: You've gotta have a height between 5'6" and 5'10 1/2", and be proficient in ballet, tap, and jazz. It's just understood that you'll also have to be in incredible shape to earn a spot. Performing hundreds of kicks during a show is no joke, and the dancers have to have the stamina to make it look pleasurable. They rehearse six days a week for six hours a day when they're performing, according to People. During the off-season, they maintain a rigorous fitness routine, turning to workouts like indoor cycling, barre, boxing, and gym time. In short, the nickname "athletes in diamonds" is no stretch. (More on that: Exactly What It Takes to Become One of the Radio City Rockettes)

Last year when the Rockettes took us behind the scenes of their Christmas Spectacular, they shed some light on how they recover between shows and keep their energy up while performing. They also discussed one number that's particularly strenuous: Here Comes Santa Claus. "If the Rockettes made a workout video of Here Comes Santa Claus, it would be flying off the shelves," a Rockette named Brooke said. "Because this dance is full cardio, arms, abs, obliques, it's everything." Every dancer is dressed in full-on Santa Claus costumes weighing about 10 pounds, which can't make matters easier.

There's no Rockettes fitness video in the works that we know of—this retro VHS is the closest you'll get for now—but you can still try exercises inspired by the challenging number. This full-body workout straight from Rockettes creative director Karen Keeler and director of athletic training and wellness Elaine Winslow targets the muscles that are worked out (AKA burned out) during the dance. It'll prep you to move like a Rockette, whether or not you have aspirations of heading to tryouts in New York. (For a lower-body focus, try these exercises the Rockettes do for strong, lean legs.)

How it works: Perform each move for the indicated number of reps.

Total Time: up to 30 minutes

You will need: Free weights, Resistance band

1. Bicep Curl with Resistance Band

A.

Stand with feet hip-width apart, resistance band anchored under feet with slight tension, holding ends of band with palms facing forward.

B.

Curl arms to shoulder, then slowly lower to return to starting position.

Sets:

2

Reps:

15 to 20

2. Squat Swing

A.

Stand with feet hip-width apart, holding a 5- to 10-pound dumbbell directly in front of chest, arms extended.

B.

Swing dumbbell down toward the ground while bending knees to sit back into a squat.

C.

Drive hips forward and straighten knees while swinging dumbbell up to return to starting position.

Sets:

2

Reps:

15 to 20

Mistakes and Tips:

Keep back straight and abs engaged.

3. Backward Lunge with Knee-Up

A.

Start in a left lunge.

B.

Transfer weight into left foot to stand up while driving right knee up. Lower right leg and bend knees into lunge to return to starting position. Repeat on opposite side. 

Sets:

2

Reps:

15 to 20

Mistakes and Tips:

Keep head and chest upright.

4. External Shoulder Rotation with Resistance Band

A.

Stand with feet hip-width apart, knees soft. Hold a resistance band with palms up, elbows bent at 90 degree angle, slight tension in band.

B.

Squeeze shoulder blades together and rotate forearms outward keeping elbows at sides. Rotate forearms inward, releasing tension to return to starting position.

Sets:

2

Reps:

15 to 20

5. Dynamic Hamstring Stretch

A.

Stand on left foot with knee bent, right foot forward with heel on the ground. 

B.

Hinge at hips and bend forward to reach toward toes, keeping chest lifted.

C.

Shift hips forward to transfer weight into right leg, scooping arms up to reach toward the ceiling. Bend left knee, lower arms, and bring right heel in front of left foot to return to starting position.

Sets:

2

Reps:

15 to 20

6. Shoulder Press with Resistance Band

A.

Stand with a resistance band anchored under right foot, holding the end in right hand with slight tension on the band.

B.

Curl right arm to shoulder.

C.

Press right arm above head. Lower right elbow then right hand to side to return to starting position. Repeat on opposite side.

Sets:

2 on each side

Reps:

15 to 20

Mistakes and Tips:

Do all repetitions on left side before repeating on the right side.

7. Single-Leg Half Squat with Calf Stretch

A.

Stand in a half squat with right heel popped.

B.

Shift weight into left leg to step right leg backward. Pressing into left heel, bring right foot forward to line up with left foot to return to starting position.

Sets:

2 on each side

Reps:

15 to 20

Mistakes and Tips:

Stay in the squat position throughout the exercise and perform all reps on one side before switching to the other side. Keep weight in heel of supporting leg and knee in line with second toe.

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