Dance Team – Strength and Conditioning

Dance Team – Strength and Conditioning

The dance world is rapidly progressing in athleticism, technique, and artistry.  As dance coaches, we owe it to our dancers and ourselves to research new and innovative ways to train and condition our dancers.  Luckily, UDA is bursting with tools and information on how to more effectively AND (maybe even more importantly) efficiently train our dancers to their peak performance.

The time involved in the sport of dance team is demanding, and practice time is valuable.  This class and its elements are designed to help you develop a comprehensive and concise program to meet your team’s needs and reach a level of performance that will ensure success. There in no equipment involved with this program, so you can do it anywhere!

This program will achieve BOTH conditioning and strength training needs of teams and dancers.

Part 1. Dynamic Warm-up

Current sports research suggests that Static stretching alone before competing or playing sports simply doesn’t warm up the muscles as effectively as dynamic stretching.  Dynamic Stretching is the opposite of traditional static stretching, as it promotes quicker blood flow to the muscles, and ultimately more agility of the athlete.  They may not be the most graceful looking movements, but consider this:  if your goal as a coach is to create dynamic, explosive movement from your dancers, why not incorporate   dynamic stretching into your conditioning regimen, and slowly begin to simulate the performance experience at the beginning of practice?  They are proven to heighten an athletes’ performance, and remember that dancers are not only artists, but athletes, as well. Here are some of the most common dynamic stretches modified to be dancer-specific:

  • Heel walks (Achilles’ Tendon, calves)
  • Toe walks  (calves, foot)
  • Knee to chest with releve
  • Bottom kicks (quadriceps)
  • Hamstring Kick out with flexed foot
  • Inch worm
  • Leg swings (front, back and side - hip range of motion)
  • Frankenstein kicks and swing through (hamstrings- leg range of motion)
  • Lie on belly, attitude legs back (back, hips, gluteus)
  • Spider walk (full body)
  • high passe sauté

Part 2. Tabatas

Tabata workouts are high-intensity 4 minute workouts developed by Japanese scientist Dr. Izumi Tabata. In this workout, the dancer will perform a specific exercise as hard as he/she can for 20 second intervals, with a 10 second rest between, and for 8 rounds to complete the workout.  The number of repetitions is not as important as the intensity at which the dancer performs them.  The results will be achieved when the dancer is working at their maximum capacity, regardless of initial fitness level.  One 4 minute Tabata workout, when executed at a dancer’s highest intensity is the equivalent of working out for one hour at a moderate intensity.

This workout is perfect for dancers, in that when we perform routines, typically they last around 2:00-2:30 minutes.  A 4 minute maximum-intensity workout is fantastic for achieving that level of conditioning and preparation for those performances!

Below are some examples of exercises to perform in a Tabata set.  Depending on how long your practice time allows, try to set a goal for 3 workouts of Tabatas, lasting 12-15 minutes, total.

  • Up and Over Side Lunges
  • 2nd position Sautés with Deep Pile
  • Mountain Climbers
  • Push-ups
  • Burpees
  • Sautes in 1st position
  • Passé Runs in place
  • Jump Lunges
  • Tricep Dips
  • Sprints
  • Push-ups with Rotation
  • High Plank to Elbow Plank

Useful Apps:

  • Tabata Pro
  • Tabata Stopwatch
  • 7 Minute Workout

Part 3. Yoga

Yoga is one of the best and most effective cross-training methods for dancers to see improvement in strength, flexibility, and balance in their dancing.  When dancers become more advanced, it’s only natural that their bodies invite more injury.  Many injuries occur whenperforming skills without proper placement.  This fundamentally comes from proper body alignment. The yoga poses that will be covered are designed to naturally realign the body.  If it’s possible to add moist heat into this series, it will bring optimal results. The heat acts as acatalyst for deeper flexibility and a fuller expression of the pose, or asana.

  • Awkward pose
  • Eagle pose
  • Standing head to feet pose
  • Standing bow pulling pose
  • Balancing stick pose
  • Fixed firm pose

Part 4. Putting it all together

Here are 3 examples of workouts your team can perform at practice.  Each workout is a different length to provide variations for different durations of practice.

Workout 1 (30 minutes)

a. ) Dynamic Warm-up

  • Heel walks (Achilles’ Tendon, calves)
  • Toe walks  (calves, foot)
  • Knee to chest with releve
  • Bottom kicks (quadriceps)
  • Hamstring Kick out with flexed foot
  • Inch worm
  • Leg swings (front, back and side - hip range of motion)
  • Frankenstein kicks and swing through (hamstrings- leg range of motion)
  • Lie on belly, attitude legs back (back, hips, gluteus)
  • Spider walk (full body)
  • high passe sauté 

b. ) Tabatas

Set 1

Up and Over, Mountain Climbers, Push-ups, Sprints (Repeat sequence to complete round)

Set 2

2nd Position Sautés with Deep Plie, Passé Runs, Burpees, Jump Lunges (Repeat sequence to complete round)

Set 3

Sautés in 1st position, Tricep Dips, Push-ups with Rotation, High Plank to Elbow Plank (Repeat sequence to complete round)

c. ) Yoga Poses (Asanas)

Awkward pose

Eagle pose

Standing head to feet pose

Standing bow pulling pose

Balancing stick pose

Fixed firm pose

Workout 2 (20 minutes)

a. ) Dynamic Warm-up

Knee to chest with relevé

Bottom kicks (quadriceps)

Inch worm

Leg swings (front, back and side - hip range of motion)

Frankenstein kicks and swing through (hamstrings- leg range of motion)

Spider walk (full body)

b. ) Tabatas

Set 1

Up and Over, Tricep Dips (repeat 4 times)

Set 2

2nd position Sautes with Deep pile, Push-ups with Rotataion (repeat 4 times)

c. ) Yoga Poses (Asanas)

Awkward pose

Standing Head to Feet pose

Standing Bow Pulling pose

Balancing Stick pose

Workout 3 (15 minutes)

Dynamic Warm-up

Knee to Chest with Releve

Inch Worm

Frankenstein Kicks and swing through

Spider Walk

Tabatas

Up and Over Side Lunges, Burpees, Mountain Climbers, 2nd position Sautés with Deep Pile (Repeat entire sequence to complete round)

Yoga Poses (Asanas)

Awkward pose

Standing bow pulling pose

Balancing stick pose

Having a set program that includes Dynamic warm-up, Tabatas, and Yoga as a means of cross-training will dramatically affect your team’s performance, but more importantly, set them up for success and a healthy lifestyle.  Keep your dancers motivated to give 100% effort at every practice by continuing to change the exercises periodically so that they do not stagnate and become bored.  This is the most exciting time for the dance industry, and to learn and train hard will ultimately help improve our sport, and fuel our passion!

 

 

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