‘Dancing With the Stars’: AJ McLean Isn’t Allowed To Do This During Season 29

Competing on Dancing With the Stars is no joke — especially for Backstreet Boy AJ McLean. His partner during season 29 of DWTS Cheryl Burke has him practicing tirelessly so that he can nail her choreography each week. But there’s something unique about McLean’s training on Dancing With the Stars. Burke asked McLean not to do one thing while he’s competing during season 29. 

AJ McLean and Cheryl Burke
AJ McLean and Cheryl Burke | Eric McCandless/ABC via Getty Images

Competing on ‘Dancing With the Stars’ is hard on the celebrities and their pro partners 

McLean may have some background having danced in a boy band, but training for DWTS is an entirely different animal. Regardless of the challenges this season has presented him, McLean is doing the show for his family. By competing on Dancing With the Stars, McLean hopes his wife, Rochelle, and their two daughters, Ava and Lyric, will embrace the idea that anything is possible when you set your mind to it.

Ironically, DWTS is just as much a challenge for the pro dancers as it is for celebrities. Behind the scenes, Burke says she has a hard time relaxing during any given season of the show. During a discussion on the “What MATTers Most” episode of the Pretty Messed Up podcast, Burke admitted she struggles to decompress until after Dancing With the Stars ends a season.

“It’s because of my personality,” Burke explained. “There’s no such thing as a gray area for me. I’m starting to see a pattern. When I commit to something, I am never stopping until it happens. I get very tunnel vision.”

Fortunately, Burke and McLean have each other to rely on throughout the competition. 

AJ McLean isn’t allowed to lift weights while he competes on ‘Dancing With the Stars’ 

Competing on DWTS requires a certain level of physicality. Before season 29 even started, McLean began working more exercise into his daily routine. 

“I lost about 17 pounds before we started,” he told former Mirror Ball Champion Bobby Bones on The Bobby Bones show Oct. 5. 

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“[Now that] we’ve started, I’ve probably lost another eight pounds,” McLean continued. But there’s one thing Burke asked McLean to stay away from while working on his fitness. 

“One of the first things Cheryl asked me to do is to stop lifting,” McLean added. “She had one of her celebs get really badly injured and [they] had to bow out because of that [injury], but I’m still doing a lot of core workouts, leg stuff…and stretching.”

Here’s why Cheryl Burke doesn’t want AJ McLean lifting weights 

In the past, Burke has been burned by her partner’s getting injured. Last year, Burke was partnered with NFL player Ray Lewis. Unfortunately, he had to forfeit his place in the competition because of a torn tendon. 

“In a game in 2010, I tore a tendon in my foot,” Lewis said during a video package in season 28. “And now, all of this dancing, all this on your toes. I’m reliving a problem that I thought I’d never have to relive again.” Three torn tendons and a necessary surgery left Lewis unable to compete. 

To avoid that situation and keep McLean in the competition, Burke has him taking every precaution by avoiding weightlifting altogether.