Dance Conditioning in Quarantine
How to stay performance and studio ready…when there’s no performance or studio
Written by Dr. Brianne Dwyer, PT, DPT
There are a multitude of physical factors that are required for dance. Here are just some to focus on during quarantine:
Strength = the amount of force a muscle can produce in a single contraction or effort
Power = the ability to exert a maximal force in a short period of time (i.e. jumping)
Cardiovascular Endurance = how efficiently your respiratory and circulatory system
supplies oxygen rich blood to working muscles during physical activity
Muscular Endurance = ability of a muscle to exert force against resistance over time
There is a reason why dance is considered the most physically demanding occupation. In order to achieve the aforementioned factors, requires hours in the studio! And don’t forget the supplemented time conditioning the body outside the studio! So now that there is no studio, besides our small allotted space in our home, what do we do?
Luckily, all those hours spent don’t go to waste during quarantine! Many dancers are worried that loosing what they have worked so hard to obtain. Luckily, those training adaptations don’t just suddenly disappear due to a term called the residual training effect. Don’t get me wrong, the term “if you don’t use, you lose it” holds true. BUT at least you have some time. Components of motor capacity may vary in the duration of residual training effect, however, a recent study found the residual training effect of maximal strength and aerobic activity to be approximately 30 days. Now you are probably saying…well I’ve been in quarantine for over 30 days now! So now what?
Keep training, but in a mindful and organized way to optimize those previously listed physical components. Let’s break it down.
Work on targeted muscle(s) with repetitions between 8-12 reps. Specifically to maintain previous gains OR focus on corrections given continuously throughout class. For example, try these hip turn out progressions:
Clamshell (images 1-2)
Modified Side Plank with Clamshell (images 3-4)
How do you train power, when you can’t perform grand allegro in your home? Break down the components and use cross training techniques! For example, take an explosive jump, such as squat jump to work on the acceleration (taking off) and deceleration (landing) components of power training. This can then be modified, to single leg or transferring between legs. BE CREATIVE! Turn things upside down, or sideways in this case. If you don’t have a sprung floor, practice your petite allegro on a physioball! You are still able to practice and maintain the muscle coordination, the components of acceleration/deceleration, speed and endurance. Then once you get back into the studio, these components are still there and now you can focus on the strength and weight-bearing power.
This summer is a great time to get outside and work our your cardiovascular fitness. OR structure an interval training conditioning program to mimic class or stage. Perform an exercise at your max for 40 sec. to 1 min. then rest 20-30 sec. OR challenge yourself even more perform a combination of exercises in a certain order for 3-5 min. and rest 1-2 min. mirroring the class or performance structure in order to return “performance ready”.
Work on those muscle(s) as listed previously, however, perform anywhere from 13-25 reps. If your classes have been reduced or shortened try single leg releves or eccentric loading to keep up that calf strength!
For eccentric loading, start in parallel.
Step 1: Releve up on two feet
Step 2: Flex one foot
Step 3: Slowly with control lower down on one foot
This may be performed by alternating between legs or completing a full set on the right side and then the left side.
Need some assistance in creating a mindful, organized and creative conditioning program? Contact our Dance Medicine Team today! It doesn’t matter where you are, we do virtual or in-clinic sessions!
1. Hoff M. The 27 most back-breaking jobs in America. Business Insider. https://www.businessinsider.com/most-active-jobs-in-america. Published January 23, 2020. Accessed June 15, 2020.
2. Wilmerding V, Krasnow DH. Dancer Wellness. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics; 2017.
3. Kautzner Marques Junior, Nelson. MOJ Sports Medicine.2020; 4(1), 4-11. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/339340008_Specific_periodization_for_the_volleyball_the_importance_of_the_residual_training_effects