Teen Ballet Dancer

by Matthew Blair Davis |   Date Released : 31 Mar 2009
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Matthew Blair Davis

About the author: Matthew Blair Davis

Matthew Blair Davis is the President of Functional Revolution Fitness, Inc., located in the Washington DC area. He is also a Featured Strength Coach for Off-IceStrength.com, a web site devoted to the off-ice strength and conditioning of figure skaters. Matt specializes in the training of elite level figure skaters, corrective exercise techniques, Olympic lifting and hard style kettlebell training.

Matt has a BS and MS from Florida State University, and he became an IDEA Master Level Trainer in 2004. Matt is an NSCA Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist, USA Weightlifting Sport Performance Coach, NASM Performance Enhancement Specialist, NASM Corrective Exercise Specialist, NASM Certified Personal Trainer and ACSM Health/Fitness Specialist. He also completed the three-day Russian Kettlebell Challenge in Minnesota, where he was trained by Pavel. Matt is a member of the NSCA's Figure Skating Special Interest Group.

Matt has been an award winning Fitness Director for Sport & Health Clubs in Northern Virginia (2002) and Regional Director of Personal Training for Gold's Gym in Northern Virginia (2003-2005). He has been a special guest trainer for the Washington Post and authored the "Train Reaction" fitness Q&A column for the Washington Post Express from April 2006 to June 2007.

Matt works with figure skaters at the Fairfax Ice Arena in Fairfax, Virginia and the Cabin John Ice Rink in Rockville, Maryland. He is also a National Off-Ice Training Presenter for Audrey Weisiger's seminar program, Grassroots To Champions. Matt is the off-ice strength coach of senior level skater Tommy Steenberg, a USA National competitor.

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Comments (1)

fitzpatrick, maia | 10 Jun 2009, 05:44 AM

I am a professional ballet dancer myself, as well as a personal trainer and a ballet teacher. One of the primary areas I focus on with my ballet students is core strength and conditioning. I often use pilates-based excercises to this end, as they emphasize proper posture and breathing during movement. After a postural ascessment, I often use rows, planks, and push ups to improve posture, especially in the thoracic spine. I always emphasize neutral spine during knee bends (plies) and leg lifts (tendus, battements, etc.). In addition, I work on hip rotation (turn out) with a tool called a swivel disk, which increases the outward rotation of the leg in the hip socket. I also do alot of ankle and foot conditioning using a theraband as resistance for plantar and dorsiflexion (pointing and flexing the foot, especially the ankle) and proper articulation of the foot (pointing the ankle first, then the metatarsal arch, and then the toes, and reversing the process for the flexing of the foot). In addition, depending of the level of the dancer, I work on proper jump mechanics (plie, straight knee, then releve on ball of foot) and also on turn mechanics, which include proper use of the head (spotting) and balance. Ballet is a very specific art form, so it may be advisable to watch the dancer take class and confer with their instructor on what the dancer's particular goals, strengths and weaknesses may be.

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