Coaches, congratulations on another great season! Take a moment to reflect on all your team has accomplished, as well as taking inventory of how you’d like to build into next season.
The offseason is the time to build all of the foundations. You might wonder how to categorize “foundations.” We’re here to help you get started!
Stamina – Do you want dancers to complete routines with a greater sense of ease? Do you want dancers to look and feel more energetic toward the end of practices? There are 3 major elements that build into stamina:
- Cardiovascular conditioning: Include 2-3 base-building days. These are low-intensity workouts (heart rate less than 180 – age), generally 30-60 minutes in length. This can include Pilates, yoga, functional movements, barre and hiking. Also include 1-2 interval days, where activities elevate the heart rate above 180 – age for 1-3 minutes at a time.
- Muscle endurance: Think low loads and high repetitions. Start with 10-30 seconds of repetitions or holds, and then build from there. Try to focus on areas where dancers need great muscular endurance. Examples include the single leg bridge, bear hold, and side knee plank clam.
- Alignment & coordination for specific skills: Focus on how the head, shoulders, hips and standing leg align for each move. Cueing to proper skeletal alignment will help improve movement efficiency
Power – Do you want dancers to jump higher at the peak of leaping choreography? We’ll share 3 major elements for power development:
- Speed & Agility: The T drill serves this purpose well.
- Plyometrics: The National Strength & Conditioning Association suggests avoiding box jumps for youth. Instead focus on movements like squat jumps, tuck jumps and skaters. Plyometrics are designed to improve performance; this is accomplished by focusing on form over fatigue. A dancer might perform 1 set of 6-10 focusing on height and technique. This is often followed by several minutes of relative rest so the dancer can perform the best technique again on his/her next turn.
- Technique timing: With the dancers’ permission, film can be helpful here. Video analysis allows you and the dancer together to see where the coordination in timing between the body parts can be altered to increase leap height.
Flexibility – Do dancers want straighter knees on kicks and leaps? Flexibility needs to be the dancers’ best friend. It’s important to work on multiple types of flexibility:
- Self-myofascial release: Use a foam roller or ball to hold pressure on tender muscle spots for 30 seconds. Learn more: https://youtu.be/NLoiS-cvJGQ
- Static stretching: Get the most out of your static stretching by holding each stretch for 4 sets of 30 seconds. Be sure to warm up first!
- Dynamic stretching: Include dynamic stretching in your warm ups. Gradually increase range of motion, speed and coordination/direction of all body parts over the course of 10 minutes. Try this dynamic dance warm up to get started: https://youtu.be/zULQmEAH3gA
- Seeking a guided plan? – How can each dancer train more efficiently instead of over-training and risking injury?
Heart rate variability (HRV) measures the space between heart beats. HRV monitors are different than heart rate monitors. The HRV score allows athletes to know when to go high intensity and do low-intensity recovery workouts.
Twin Cities Orthopedics’ Dance Medicine division is currently accepting dancers into their Spring & Summer 2018 HRV Dance cohorts.
- 12 training sessions
- Comprehensive pre-and post-fitness testing, so they see their individual strength, improvements & opportunities
- Use of the HRV monitors
- Individualized training modifications within the group session
- Training supervision
The program is sponsored by TCO, so there is no cost for enrolled teams.
E-mail SpecialtyPrograms@TCOmn.com for information.
This article was written by Twin Cities Orthopedics’ Dance Medicine providers for educational purposes. It is not intended to diagnose, treat or prevent any medical condition.
To learn more about Twin Cities Orthopedics and our Dance Medicine services, visit TCOmn.com/Blog and Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. For questions relating to Dance Medicine, contact SpecialtyPrograms@TCOmn.com