Hello, fellow dancers!
Have you ever been frustrated by being unable to perform the perfect dance move? Or been set back in training due to recurring injuries? Well, I may have a solution for you!
I have taken part in many forms of dancing – tap, jazz, ballet, modern, and even Irish dancing! All are amazing forms of exercise that keep you fit and flexible. However, sometimes when in training for competitions or performances there is a lack of strength work involving your stabilising muscles.
It is very common to become dominant in our big powerful muscles which means our deep core muscles can become weak or just a bit lazy. This can give us a major disadvantage when trying to perform the perfect jump or spin. If our core muscles are not strong you may find balancing when on a small base of support difficult e.g. when performing an arabesque. You may also find it hard to maintain an upright position when performing spinning movements such as a pirouette and find you tend to fall to one side.
Weakness in stabilising muscles around the hips can also cause messy landings following high jumps. If your deep gluteal muscles (hip stabilisers) are weak you may find your knees tend to sway inwards upon landing or your hips tend to drop side to side when landing on one leg e.g. during a split leap or straddle jump. This is known as the Trendelenburg effect and can lead to low back, knee and hip pain!How can Physiolates help?
Here is my good news! Pilates exercises can help strengthen your core and stabilising muscles! Plus all of our instructors are highly trained in movement analysis and anatomy to ensure you get the most out of your workout.
Our core muscles and stabilisers help to maintain a neutral spine and good lower and upper limb alignment when we are moving around. This is an essential skill needed when performing regular dancing activities to avoid injury and maximise performance.
Taking part in regular Physiolates exercise can help to:
- Improve balance and coordination
- Increase flexibility
- Improve landing control
- Improve turning or spinning techniques
- Reduce the risk of injury/ recurrence
- Expert instructors on hand to optimise your potential
What exercises can I do?
All Pilates exercises can help benefit dancing performances! However, personally, I think some of the most beneficial Pilates exercises to help improve dancing performance are the clam and swimming level 4 exercises.
- Clams – The clam exercises (level 1, level 2 and level 3) aim to increase the strength and endurance in your glute muscles. Your Physiolates instructor may make this exercise more challenging by adding in equipment such as weights, resistance bands, magic circles and soft balls. The clam exercise is also great for recruiting your core muscles to maintain a neutral spine position while your hip rotates forwards and backwards.
- Swimming level 4 (or what I like to call the superman exercise!) is great at challenging your core muscles as you move both your upper and lower limbs in alternation. This exercise is very challenging as not only are you changing your base of support but you are continuously moving your upper and lower limbs meaning your balance and coordination is constantly being challenged. Again, your Physiolates instructor may also use equipment to make this exercise harder such as resistance bands and soft balls!