How to Do the Yoga-with-Weights Russian Dancer Exercise

By Sherri Baptiste, Megan Scott

The Russian Dancer is a yoga-with-weights exercise that helps build strength, stamina, and endurance. It tones and conditions your legs and gently engages your pelvic region. The exercise is relatively easy to do, but it gives you a good workout and tests your endurance. You’ll feel like you danced up a storm all night long after you finish!

You need both hand and ankle weights for this exercise. When you’re ready, follow these steps:

  1. Stand with your feet below your hips, your toes pointing forward, and your arms dangling at your sides, holding the hand weights with your palms facing inward.

    This is the starting position. Look straight ahead.

  2. Inhaling to a count of four, lift your right knee to the height of your hips.

    Your knee should be bent at a 90-degree angle, with your foot below your knee.

  3. Exhaling to a count of four, press your right heel away from your body and straighten your leg.

    Your supporting leg should be straight, but if you can’t keep it straight, that’s okay. Let your knee bend gently in the beginning until you’re flexible and strong enough to keep it straight.

    Flex your foot, and really push your leg out.

  4. Inhaling to a count of four, return your right leg to the bent-knee position.

  5. Exhaling to a count of four, lower your right leg to the starting position (see Step 1).

Alternating legs, repeat this exercise six to eight times with each leg, take a rest, and then do six to eight more repetitions with each leg.