Fitness and Stretching For The Dancer – Part 1 of 2

31 Aug

Nearly all Dancers are flexible and like to show it off.  I’m here to tell you it’s counterproductive.  Big Time!

Not only does over stretching with your weight resistance workout plan (at the gym) put you at serious risk of injury but it also plateau’s you from obtaining any serious physique changes that you are so aggressively trying to do.

 Because with all weight/resistance training we need a proper stretch and a contraction.  When you over stretch the muscle before your weight lifting your muscles can not get a proper contraction. It’s like an over stretched elastic band, it looses the ability to contract.  The dancers body can not properly stretch and tear the necessary fibers to physically change the shape of the muscle if the muscle is over stretched prior to exercising.

Dancers – Save the stretching for after your workout.
Ever notice that when you are done stretching your muscles (especially hamstrings)  it’s difficult to run or do cardio properly?  we put our bodies at a greater risk of injury if we over stretch before cardio.  Our muscles cannot achieve a proper contraction to execute cardio properly.  We need these muscles to respond quickly (fast twitch muscle fibers).
Dancers are used to hiding their breath. Performing onstage we do not want to be caught out of breath.  When at the gym be aware of this and make sure to leave a 1/4 inch space between your lips.  allowing oxygen in to feed your muscles.  Denying proper breathing will lead to a lowered ability to execute cardio and weight training to intensity.  relax the back of the neck, this will release the jaw and allow oxygen in.
Feed your body oxygen.
When a dancer either is not working as often as he/she is used to, and or is retired, their bodies have become so accustom to the excessive cardio demands of dancing onstage that they need to do much more cardio than the average.  Dancers bodies usually respond well to aggressive interval cardio for an extended period of time,  30-40mins.
Range of movement.  Because dancers stereotypically have flexible muscles, the dancer cannot follow a trainers advice of “full range of movement”.  The dancer must think of 80 percent of his/her range of movement.  This will hopefully eliminate the possibility of hyper extention.  The dancer must also concentrate on keeping the wrist properly aligned.  Good punching wrists.  see my book for further alignment issues.

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