PT on the Net Research

Classical Dancer


Question:

My client is a classical dancer. If I am to train a dancer to get stronger for lifting the girls he dances with, I would use squats and deadlift, but should I let the feet turn out a little (obviously with knees over the toes) as this is how they lift when dancing? Would this be more functional, or should I just teach with feet straight ahead? I would be very grateful for your opinion on this.

Answer:

When performing squats and deadlifts, you need to maintain perfect form. These movements are basic movements, not actually functional athletic movements. To strengthen the correct muscles effectively and safely, you need to keep perfect form.

The form should not change, but you need to increase the tempo (the main focus should be on the power phase). Since dancers primarily use fast twitch muscles fibers, you need to produce more of these fibers, so you should perform these exercises at a quicker pace (i.e., 4-1-2).

A key point is to make sure your client has a good flexibility program. The reason is dancing can at times ca have violent movements, and if your client has tight muscles, he’ll have a greater chance of injury. Thus, an effective flexibility program will not only lessen the chance of injury, but it also gives your dancer a longer leaner look, plus a “longer muscle is a stronger muscle.”

Having said the above, when training, you want to mimic the sport as best you can. You mentioned your client having to lift a dance partner. Below are some exercises that mimic that movement. While not exactly the same, the biomechanical movements of the exercises are very similar to a classic dance lift. These exercises will produce the correct strength needed to make lifting a dance partner easier. Use these exercises and go ahead and add your own twist to them to get the form of the lift as perfect as you can. 

  1. Rotation - PNF With MB
  2. Squat w/ Bosu Ball
  3. Squat - Oly Bar w/ Oblique Shoulder Press

I hope this helped. Good luck, and good health.