Present Tense Fitness
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Dance and Sports Performance

Strength training and conditioning approaches for dancers

Posts tagged HIIT
Between Preparedness and Expectations

Our approach is to try to prepare every dancer we see as if they are principals or soloists, which means an emphasis on interval training that tracks with the demands of high intensity performances. If someone usually dances is the corps—these dancers have demonstrated relatively weaker cardiovascular capacity in studies, according to the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research—but are prepared for the rigors of solo or principal work, then the chances of them getting chosen to perform more rigorous choreography improves.

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Letter to Dancers: How to think about training

If you think of training on a spectrum of rehabilitory work to extreme bodybuilding or powerlifting, what you’ll begin to recognize is that athletic performance training falls somewhere in the middle. Athletes put themselves through movement demands that an untrained 9-5er going through physical therapy never does and also that the powerlifter responsible for only executing three lifts ever does. An athlete needs to be healthy enough to practice and compete consistently but also strong and powerful enough to practice and compete with the required intensity.

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Dancing and Body Composition

My priority as a strength coach is to simplify matters and find efficiencies for my dancers and athletes as much as possible. The good news is, we have data, experience, and research from thousands of athletes around the world—and an increasing amount of this work is being done with women specifically in mind. So if we synthesize Abbie Smith-Ryan’s work with some of this other research and best practices, we begin to see a picture emerge for what healthy body composition strategies look like for dancers.

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Group Classes for Dancers? Sure. Random? Never.

But think about a dancer’s schedule. Class. Rehearsal. Learning new choreography. Often a side hustle. Time in the physical therapy room. Dancers are often busy from very early in the morning to late into the evening. This means that you can’t afford to waste time with a random group exercise routine that has little to do with your specific needs.

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