Flexibility The way in which we approach flexibility nowadays is so very different to the way we used to think about flexibility even 5 years ago. We now know that flexibility is not solely influenced by muscle tightness but is greatly impacted by other factors, like neural mobility, fascial mobility and other factors like stress.
There are several components to physical fitness including strength and flexibility, both of which are necessary for a dancer. Flexibility allows for increased range of motion and accomplishes the aesthetic of dance. Dance flexibility and strength essay strength creates speed and force, making for more powerful movement.
It is evident through research that dancers are not as strong as they should be to support their flexibility and technique.
Media often highlights dancers in overly stretched positions to amplify flexibility, but rarely are dancers encouraged to engage in muscular strength training. A balance between muscular strength and flexibility needs to be understood and encouraged in the dance world to ensure that dancers are properly trained to promote health and career longevity.
Movements such as jumps, floor work, partner work, or adagio slow controlled movements require muscular strength for control, graceful execution, and safety. Commonly dancers are forcing positions, which compromise alignment in order to achieve the pleased aesthetic of dance.
A study discussing stretching for dancers stated that having too much focus on increasing flexibility and range of motion without developing the muscular strength to do so effectively is often problematic and not successful Wyon,p.
This allows the dancer the ability to maintain the position for longer. For dancers to have more control of their movements, specifically when in a hypermobile position, muscular strength offers support to the joints making for safer landings, effortless movement and decreases the likelihood of soft tissues injuries.
When incorporating a balance between muscular strength and flexibility, it must first be understood what muscular strength is and the science behind the training of it.
When a muscle applies speed and force against a resistance it is demonstrating its strength. Muscular strength training activates the brain to recruit more muscle fibers to work against the resistance.
When resistance is added over a period of time, the muscle fibers and neural pathways begin to adapt, making the muscle more efficient and stronger. There are various strength-training principles such as specificity, overload, recovery, and adaptation, which must be applied to any training program for the program to be effective and produce results.
Specificity is focusing on the muscle or muscle groups associated with the action to gain strength. Overload includes intensity, duration and frequency of training. If overload is done properly, with recovery included, adaptation of the body will occur.
These concepts are important to understand for training to be successful. Dancers often take part in Pilates or yoga due to their similarity to dance; they help build muscular strength and endurance, and focus on joint mobility and flexibility. Both are considered bodyweight training, meaning the weight of the body is the only resistance.
Over time, the weight of the body will not be enough to overload the muscle and will not be varied enough for muscle adaptation to occur. Pilates and yoga are beneficial for dancers; however, they often focus on the same muscle groups as dance technique. It is not being recommended that dancers stop engaging with these forms of physical fitness, but that dancers should consider utilizing a more varied routine of muscular strength training to increase overload and avoid muscular imbalance and overuse.
Numerous studies have outlined that dancers either believe their technique class offers enough physical training or, and more significantly mentioned, that they do not have enough time to participate in supplementary training. These few exercises outlined below are relevant to dancers and target various muscle groups.
It is recommended that these be done after a warm-up. They can be performed before a class to prepare the muscles, but do be cautious to avoid overuse and exhaustion. It can be done in both parallel and turned out positions, which can vary the medial and lateral thigh muscles.
Alignment is slightly different, and there is a different intent to the movement.
Example of a squat. Photo by Sutton Anker. Legs are slightly wider than hip width apart, hinge at the hip joint allowing for the pelvis to move posteriorly, 90 degrees at the knees, knees track over toes.
Arms can be placed on hips, held above head, straightforward or to the side. Do a few reps, then hold at the bottom of the squat. Hold weights for additional resistance do so gradually! Legs are slightly wider than hip width apart, do not go to your full turn out. No hinging forward at the hip, the pelvis will drop directly down.
Can do small pulses to engage the medial thigh muscles.Aerobics is a form of physical exercise that combines rhythmic aerobic exercise with stretching and strength training routines with the goal of improving all elements of fitness (flexibility, muscular strength, and cardio-vascular fitness).
Dancing is clearly an artistic endeavor, but it also requires great physical skill and puts great physical demands on the body.
With the amount of training involved in preparing for a performance, and the stress and intensity of that performance, one could argue dance has similar qualities, intensities, and time intervals as a sport.
Flexibility and coordination are essential when training as a dancer, as these skills increase a dancer’s ability to perform more advanced routines and learn alternative dance styles. While many believe that both flexibility and coordination can only be achieved by training at a young age or by being born with natural talent, there are many stretches that can be done to improve your skills.
Dance. Fitness and Health. Health Care in Exercise and Sport. Athletic Training/Therapy.
The importance and purpose of flexibility This is an excerpt from Foundations Proper posture minimizes stress and maximizes the strength of all joint movements. Express and embrace your feminine side.
pole dance lessons are offered as well as pole parties. Pole Dancing is the new and fun way to get fit. Express and embrace your feminine side. pole dance lessons are offered as well as pole parties. Special attention to the needs of growing dancers: during the growth spurts of adolescence dancers lose a great deal of flexibility, strength and balance.
During this critical time of increased injury risk, a thorough strength and flexibility regimen is even more crucial.