It should come as no surprise that Strictly Come Dancing’s Aliona Vilani is in great shape. Of course this is down to her dance practice and routines, however it’s also based on her workouts. Here she shares 5 of her best dance workout moves with us.

The Strictly star won the coveted glitter ball trophy in 2011 but was unfortunately kept out of the main competition during the 2012 series following a freak rehearsal room incident that resulted in a fractured ankle. However, she was able to make rapid recovery and returned to take part in memorable professional dances.

She also competed in the Christmas Day Special in which she partnered the remarkable Fabrice Muamba in a moving Samba performance that represented an amazing comeback for the footballer after his 78 minute heart failure. Aliona adheres rigidly to a warm up and workout routine she has developed for herself. It’s one that utilises all her experience and expertise across all dance disciplines.


It’s designed to keep her in optimum dance condition and deliver the crucial levels of all round flexibility, mobility, strength and muscular endurance required to be an outstanding professional dancer. Here she teams up with personal trainer and dancer Ina Gutowska to demonstrate some central elements of her conditioning programme, with her 5 best workout exercises.

Exercise one

With one arm extended above the head and the other stretched parallel to the ground and feet shoulder-width apart and slightly turned out, twist your trunk about 45-degrees and lean forward whilst keeping your back perfectly straight. Then lean backwards at an even, steady, flowing pace. Do this for both sides.

“The stretching and contracting is what this exercise is all about”, explains Aliona adding. “The transition from forward to back in a controlled motion is great for range of movement and is something frequently seen throughout dance. A slight degree of difficulty can be added by placing both arms above the head and locking hands together.”

Aliona Vilani_exercise1

Exercise two

With feet turned out and beyond shoulder-width apart and arms held upward go into a deep squat and then transfer your weight across to one leg, back to the middle then over to the other leg. All the while retaining a strong upright upper body. “This exercise must be performed steadily and accurately. It is fabulous for legs but the control and balance needed to do this correctly engages much of the body and demands precision of movement. Keeping the arms straight up and locked above the head accentuates the needs for balance,” explains Aliona.

Aliona Vilani_exercise2

Exercise three

For the mid section – working through the front, sides and back. “There is a lot of hip isolation in dance (all you Strictly viewers will have heard the judges going on and on about hips!), so this kind of exercise is ideal,” explains Aliona. With arms extended and parallel to the ground and feet shoulder-width apart, extend your ankle and pick up the pelvis on the same side, elevating the hip bone. Circle the hips outward around the foot that is raised. Your upper body must remain solid and still throughout.

Aliona Vilani_exercise3


Exercise four

Drop into a press up position (knees off the floor) then move the pelvis up, down, right to left, all the while ensuring your feet stay in the same position with your toes to the floor.

Aliona Vilani_exercise4

Exercise five

Sit on the floor, with arms extended behind you and legs outstretched. Keeping your feet together raise your legs steadily and in a controlled fashion. Then tuck one knee up and tilt the pelvis to the opposite side. Return back to middle and repeat with the other knee and opposite side. All of these exercises can be repeated multiple times. Remember that accuracy of movement and control are critical throughout.

Aliona Vilani_exercise5

Photography –  Andres Lesauvage  &

Demonstrated by: Aliona Vilani &  Ina Gutowska

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