Strength training for a Ballet dancer

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    Strength training for a Ballet dancer


    What kind of strength training exercises would you suggest for a ballet dancer? Reps, tempo, sets? Training frequency?

    Has anyone had any experience with this?

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    I would think sprints, box squats, cleans, plyos etc.
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    This is a good and very interesting question.

    We can approach this topic like any other sport: What are the movements and musculature involved, what is the predominant and critical energy system, what is the individual athlete lacking, and what are potential injuries?

    Without having seen a lot of ballet, I would assume that it is a predominantly aerobic activity with the creatine phosphate system being critical for great performance (the jumping, lifting of dancers, etc.). Given my brief viewing, I would think the need to develop power would be most critical, especially power in the lower limbs needed for jumping and the push part of the push-press.

    This would lead me to suggest that a lot of work should be done at sub-maximal loads (about 50-70% of 1 RM) for 3-5 sets of 3-5 reps. The concentric portion of the tempo should be explosive.

    Additionally, core strength is important. This is not the ability to perform and abdominal crunch, but rather the isometric and rotational strength needed to keep the torso rigid during the various moves in ballet. So, planks and anti-flexion/extension work become critical.

    Finally, some extra mobility and corrective exercises to prevent muscle and joint capsule stiffness from the lifting.

    Br
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    I also want to mention that you can perform resistance training for the large toe, which I would assume might help with some of the moves in ballet that involve standing on the toes:

    http://jasoncholewa.com/2012/11/02/o...a-foot-fetish/

    Br
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    Thanks!

    I know that the jumps aren't done like regular jumps (such as an olympic athlete would do), but they are done with an explosive extension of the foot and by using the semi muscles of the hamstrings. There was another muscle group involved but I can't remember which one.

    I was also told that focusing on quads is a no-no. Don't know if this is from an aesthetic stand point or for some other reason. I still would imagine that it would be beneficial to include deep squats to avoid muscular imbalances.

    What do you think?
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    Quote Originally Posted by ZiR RED View Post
    I also want to mention that you can perform resistance training for the large toe, which I would assume might help with some of the moves in ballet that involve standing on the toes:


    Br
    Thanks for the tip!
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    Do you have a link for a video showing the jumps or demonstrating how they are performed?

    I don't see a problem with deep squatting, in fact I would suggest it. I was avoid any isolated knee extension work though (leg extensions, etc.)

    Br
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    Quote Originally Posted by ZiR RED View Post
    Do you have a link for a video showing the jumps or demonstrating how they are performed?

    I don't see a problem with deep squatting, in fact I would suggest it. I was avoid any isolated knee extension work though (leg extensions, etc.)

    Br
    I found these two videos (can't post a link, but copy and paste that after the youtube address):
    /watch?v=Iurx3RhFZ-w
    /watch?v=bVEq1rxRr_Y
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    It seems to me that they don't use a lot of hip extension to create air time. Just foot and knee extension from extremely pronated stance.
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    I see. Ok, the medial hamstrings (semimembranosus and semitendinosis) and the adductors are creating the majority of the force. Sumo style deadlifts are a good exercise to improve that movement. And, when the dancer is strong and conditioned enough, adding a pull (or jump shrug) into the explosive sumo deadlift should really increase force production and jump height.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ZiR RED View Post
    I see. Ok, the medial hamstrings (semimembranosus and semitendinosis) and the adductors are creating the majority of the force. Sumo style deadlifts are a good exercise to improve that movement. And, when the dancer is strong and conditioned enough, adding a pull (or jump shrug) into the explosive sumo deadlift should really increase force production and jump height.
    Thanks, okay. The reps would be in the low end then and tempo fairly fast, at least for the concentric part. Gaining muscle and weight is a concern (this is a female dancer), so I imagine keeping the set duration below 20 seconds would be a good idea?
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    Quote Originally Posted by PrimiFit View Post
    Thanks, okay. The reps would be in the low end then and tempo fairly fast, at least for the concentric part. Gaining muscle and weight is a concern (this is a female dancer), so I imagine keeping the set duration below 20 seconds would be a good idea?
    Yes, keep the training predominantly neural based: low reps, moderate weight, fast movements, moderate rest (1-3 min). I would also suggest following up with unilateral work, such as single leg rumanian dead lifts, rear foot elevated split squats, etc. These I would so for sets of 8-12. 1-2 sets should be sufficient to increase strength while keeping volume (and muscle gain) minimal.
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    Google Sefton Clarke. He is a strength coach who also teaches ballet.

    There won't be a lot of people with greater first hand experience than him.
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    Quote Originally Posted by bdcc View Post
    Google Sefton Clarke. He is a strength coach who also teaches ballet.

    There won't be a lot of people with greater first hand experience than him.
    Thank you! I'll definitely look into his stuff.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ZiR RED View Post
    Yes, keep the training predominantly neural based: low reps, moderate weight, fast movements, moderate rest (1-3 min). I would also suggest following up with unilateral work, such as single leg rumanian dead lifts, rear foot elevated split squats, etc. These I would so for sets of 8-12. 1-2 sets should be sufficient to increase strength while keeping volume (and muscle gain) minimal.
    Yes, unilateral must be important. And the reps etc. make sense. The program is starting to form in my mind. You've been very helpful, thanks .

    Any additional input from everybody is still appreciated
  

  
 

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