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Spine Mobility and Getting the most from your Strength Coach and Physio

Adding Insult to injury is a phenomenon that most of us a familiar with in most walks of life. Rule 101 of Economy is that you cannot make something better off without making something worse off.

So what can Dancers expect when they come into the Strength and Conditioning Room after a hard day of rehearsal?

It is my responsibility as Performance Enhancement Coach to provide a service that allows a Dancer to be at their best. Therefore, it would be naive to assume that Dancers walk into the studio with me and just get beasted for an hour so that they cannot walk the next day. "Anyone can make anyone tired..." but to consider the movements of Dancer and investigate and biologically alter the kinetic chains to cope with the demands of Dancing requires a lot more.

More time... More reps... More attention...

A situation I find myself in as a Strength Coach is often having to adapt my programme and manipulate a few variables in order to provide a session that will benefit the Dancer in the long term but also facilitate short term performance.

So... it isn't a case of just come in and squat... and in fact we do not squat all that often... mainly because it isnt all that specific to the task in hand of Dancing. It is, however, a useful to generally strengthen the nervous system and improve muscular capacity through a large range of motion.

When a Dancer presents with injury, and when they do not, it is important that we provide programming that primarily builds the capacity to perform a muscle action repeatedly, and secondly to that, encourages the body to produce maximal force and power to improve Athleticism and Dynamic Movement.

Many Trainers have worked with Dancers and that is to both their credit and the Dancer's credit. However, via briefly moving through the internet we can see that the majority of exercises prescribed only include movement in the Saggital Plane and with hinged components like a straight back, hip flexion and knee flexion. However, we must consider all the planes that a Dancer will move in. Often the plane that we do not strengthen is the one that we get injured in.

Therefore my two points for this Blog are... As a Dancer or Dance Parent, do not expect to go to a Strength Coach and watch them simply be put through their paces for an hour. There should be a clear outcome for each session in which Strengths are consolidated or where weaknesses can be improved.

And secondly, Trainers... move through all variables, joints and patterns in a variety of planes... singular exercises should be progressed and regressed based upon the biological and movement age of the person in front of you. I, personally, have some great Dancers work in the studio with me but we still maintain the basics and fundamentals and simply manipulate the intensity, volume and plain in which we move.

Below is an example of the Jefferson Curl coupled with a jump with a large anterior moment force (a medicine ball) to encourage rigidity in the spine and core to avoid the spine flexing, this is an exercise couplet I prescribe in low intensities to improve mobility on a neurological level and throughout the spinal joints as well strength the spinal erectors.

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