Strength training for a Ballet dancer
- 11-29-2012, 01:03 PM
- 11-29-2012, 01:16 PM
11-29-2012, 01:22 PM
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.
11-29-2012, 01:47 PM
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:
11-29-2012, 01:51 PM
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?
11-29-2012, 01:52 PM
11-29-2012, 01:57 PM
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.)
11-29-2012, 02:05 PM
11-29-2012, 02:07 PM
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.
11-29-2012, 02:11 PM
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.
11-29-2012, 02:28 PM
11-29-2012, 02:39 PM
11-29-2012, 02:43 PM
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.
11-29-2012, 02:55 PM
11-29-2012, 02:59 PM
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