Even the best sense of rhythm, the most careful technical training and the most clever dance intuition aren’t enough to make a dancer truly excel; you also need focused strength, balance, and flexibility to execute the movements with power and grace.
Strength and conditioning for dancers improves your technique and performance in all dance methods by stimulating the body’s abdominal and back muscles while developing coordination and stability, balance and alignment as well as optimizing ones flexibility. The result of consistent core conditioning is more lift without tension, deeper plies, higher jumps with less effort, tighter turns, and improved extension and turnout.
These body improvements are beneficial to those who are usually physically active, especially young dancers.
What is Conditioning for Young Dancers?
Conditioning is defined as a state of being physically fit so your body can safely perform the physical demands with least risk and possibility of injury. For dancers, body conditioning is all about working on the tone and lengthening of muscles which will in turn assist with the physical demands of the dance repertoire.
With a combination of exercise such as pilates, allows muscle toning and lengthening paired with light weight and cardio training is hugely vital for both rehearsals and of stage preparation. With a healthy body practising as well as performing the dance choreography becomes easier and improves technique.
Elements of Conditioning
There are various aspects of conditioning that young dancers need to understand and are equally crucial for a well-trained body.
Strength: Medical and physical strength means the ability to overcome external resistance by using muscles. The ability to lift an object as high as possible, repetitively and at the speed desired. The three pillars of strength are muscular strength, muscular endurance, and power.
Alignment: Good alignment means your ability to align the skeleton for maximum movement efficiency. Movement efficiency helps segregate the muscles needed for a particular task. This reduces stress in joints and muscles and paves the way for a beautiful and precise movement.
Neuromuscular Coordination: Neuromuscular coordination is the ability of our Central Nervous System (CNS) execute a set of complex movements of dance and choreography.
Flexibility: Flexibility refers to the ability to move your body to the maximum range. Every joint has a unique “end range” that is a limit it can move structurally. For example, the shoulders can be used to move arms behind the back, some people can do it comfortably, and some struggle. Being flexible essentially means being able to push through a range of movements without restriction.
Cardio-vascular endurance: Also known as aerobic endurance, the heart and lungs can fuel muscular activity over an extended period.
Relaxation and resting: Resting is an essential aspect of overall fitness and conditioning. Dance education should also focus on relaxing and resting. Mind and body training techniques are primarily helpful for dancers. Resting also assists with the body’s way of repairing.
Importance of Conditioning for Young Dancers
Body conditioning aims to improve technique and overall presence during the performance, and it’s so essential that many dancers end up working on it even after they have stopped dancing.
Benefit #1: Helps Prevent Injury. One of the top benefits of strength and conditioning is that it will help protect you from preventable injuries. Those who understand body mechanics and have a good foundation when it comes to working out will be well-poised to strengthen tendons and ligaments and eliminate any muscle imbalances.
Benefit #2: Promotes Healthy Bones. Smart strength and conditioning programs can help prevent osteoporosis, one of the most common ailments athletes suffer from later in life. By integrating regular weight-bearing exercise and strengthening, you will be strengthening your bones, which will, in turn, result in a healthy musculoskeletal system.
Benefit #3: Improved Posture. A strength and conditioning program or class will help train your muscles, allowing you to lift and hold your body upright in a much safer manner. With this in mind, you may appear taller and more confident when you perform.
Benefit #4: Enhanced Mood. Endorphins are released during an effective workout, such as our strength and conditioning class. This type of exercise will provide you with the opportunity to burn calories at a faster light while strengthening and toning your muscles at the same time. As you are burning calories and those endorphins are flowing, you may notice that your mood is elevated and you can deal with stressful scenarios much more relaxed.
Benefit #5: Increased Fitness. Strength and conditioning work to make your body stronger, providing you with the skills you need to create a more effective workout overall. When your core is strong, you will be able to transfer energy to the rest of the muscles, resulting in more powerful muscle contractions and quicker repetitions.
Benefit #6: Increased Metabolism. As with many other types of exercise, strength and conditioning can increase your metabolism, helping you lose weight and maintain a healthy lifestyle. By creating stronger muscles through strength and conditioning, you will burn more calories and keep the unwanted pounds off.
If you are interested in learning more about our fitness classes, please feel free to contact Revitalize Exercise Physiology + Pilates. We are more than happy and open to having a chat with all the young dancers who are seeking advice on how to get back on track. All you need to do is reach out (03) 9016-3415.