Dancers are athletes. Just like football players and gymnasts, dancers deal with the risk of injury. In order to decrease the chance of injury, it is important to condition dancers in functional strength and flexibility while teaching them the appropriate way to use their bodies. As dancers progress to the advanced levels of class, the demand on the body is increased just as it is with sports. There is a greater need for endurance to complete prolonged combinations and train through longer class times efficiently. With ballet being one of the most physically demanding pursuits on this earth, it is therefore very important that dancers begin to take strength and conditioning seriously with the goal to not only improve performance but to enable career longevity as well as prevent injury. Strengthening and conditioning students as they grow and improve as dancers helps to create an intelligent, well-rounded artist with self-awareness.
There are many benefits of conditioning and strengthening for dancers including:
- improved fitness,
- improved strength,
- decreased chance of injury,
- greater jump height and the ability to increase frequency of demand of jumps,
- improvement in aesthetic appearance of the dancer (more toned physique)
There are many ways that dancers can access strength and conditioning training. Many dance studios will offer a class in addition to your enrolled courses, or even in the summer during the off season. There are also many exercises that you can access on line for free using YouTube or Google, or you can order a conditioning DVD from Amazon.
There are also a variety of tools for dancer conditioning that are available online or in dance stores. One of my favorite is my #FierceAndFocused Sugar Resistance Band! There are many other favorite tools as well such as stretch ladders, balance balls, and more!
Do you incorporate strengthening and conditioning as a part of your dance training?