Theoretically every client gets this same level of attention to detail, but in practice I know there is a time and place to hold a busy working mom accountable for every single repetition in the gym. Athletes hiring a strength coach, however, ought to expect exhaustive detail and accountability for every single repetition completed. That’s where the skill of strength comes from, and it could be the difference between a long career and one cut short by avoidable injuries.
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Dancers are renowned for their work ethic, so the idea that they’re not working hard enough on their conditioning might come as a surprise. Don’t get me wrong, this has nothing to do with discipline or toughness. Sometimes dancers just don’t know how to work hard in the right way.
Male ballet dancers aren’t much different than other athletes who must lift heavy things above their heads. They need to be strong enough to do what they do and well-coached enough to do what they do safely. Strength training offers an invaluable tool for achieving both goals simultaneously.
Too many dancers skip the general strength and conditioning phase and jump right into the dance specific work, which is in part why studies on dancers tend to show that they lack both the strength and the conditioning their activity actually demands. This is the precise recipe for injury: asking the body to do something for which we haven’t prepared it.
Our understanding of this dynamic in the sports world is nearly intuitive. If our best players are able to stay on the field longer and miss fewer games because of injury, our team has a better chance of winning. The dance world is no different, except for it relies on an approach that cares for injuries once they’ve happened (with physical therapists and athletic trainers) rather than an approach that simultaneously enhances performance and prevents injury.