Present Tense Fitness
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Dance and Sports Performance

Strength training and conditioning approaches for dancers

Posts tagged Pilates
The Fight Against Time

The dance world can be close minded and traditionalist—but a lot of other worlds are like that too. Talk to an old school baseball coach some time and see if you don’t walk away asking yourself what year it is. But I know from talking to dancers that they are hungry for a more modern approach to their livelihoods. I also know how much more confident and secure they feel in their bodies when they get stronger. We owe it to them to value their bodies and their time by developing realistic, recoverable, and science-driven strength and conditioning programs that avoid dogma, borrow heavily from any available best practices, and continue to evolve over time.

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Spinal Extension: Strategies and Pitfalls

Cat/cow is a classic yoga movement wherein a person moves through spinal flexion (think of an angry or scared cat) and spinal extension (belly hangs low, like a cow). Hypermobile people who are attracted to things like yoga and ballet can easily get into impressive-looking cat/cow postures. But the problem is, they almost certainly shouldn’t be trying to exploit all of that range of motion on a yoga mat. Understand the distinction I’m making here: onstage, dancers need to do what they need to do. But in a yoga studio or strength training facility or on a Pilates reformer, their coach or teacher needs to make sure that they are staying within a safe range of motion.

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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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