Blog Archives

Preventing Ankle Sprains in Dance

Ballet Strength Ankle Injuries

The most common injury in dance is a sprained ankle. If you have been dancing long enough, chances are, you have gone through this injury and the long rehabilitation process that comes with it. As a dancer who was prone to ankle sprains early on in my professional career, I looked to strength training for help. I will never forget the first time that I “rolled” my ankle in the studio after a summer of Ballet Strength cross training preparation – my ankle rolled over to the outside of my foot, and immediately corrected itself back to standing due to the strength that I had created in my ankle, knee and hip. No pain, no sprain! I was truly amazed and felt accomplished as all of my hard work over the summer had paid off!

While accidents do happen, there are a few exercises that you can add to your cross training routine to help prevent sprains from happening. Two of the exercises that I will outline in this blog are lunges and squats. These exercises are very common in the gym but not so much in the ballet world. In ballet we tend to work hard on the muscles that hold our “turn-out” while neglecting stabilizing muscles that we use in “parallel” or daily life. This is why us dancers have taken on the reputation of walking like ducks.

Lunges

Start standing with the legs together in parallel. Lunge forward with the right leg, striking with the heel first. Pushing back through the heel (no pointed toes here), return to the start position. Repeat for 10-15 repetitions on each leg.

Ballet Strength Lunges

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Squats

Start with both legs in parallel, slightly wider than hip width apart. Send the hips back (breaking in the hips) followed by a bend in the knee. Be sure to keep the knees in line with the heels, NOT letting them go over the toes. Repeat for 10-15 repetitions.

Ballet Strength Squats

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Adding these two exercises to your strength training/cross training routine will help balance out your muscles, keeping you centered and strong. For a full ankle strengthening program, try my Power Pointe Ankle Strengthening Program! As always, be sure to consult with your physical therapist, physician, or Ballet Strength trainer before performing these or any cross training exercises.

Ankle Strengthening Exercises for Ballet

Hello Dancers! I have been getting a ton of questions from my Facebook Fan Page from those of you who are just starting pointe work and are looking for ways to improve quickly. Today I want to post a ballet video that I filmed about ballet ankle strengthening exercises for pointe. Enjoy!

Ballet Strength on Alex Wong’s Injury

A photo of Alex gives me great insight as to where his injury prone areas may be.

My heart was broken last night watching So You Think You Can Dance for Alex Wong, an extremely talented dancer who captured the dance world’s attention this season. I’m not an avid So You Think You Can Dance viewer, but I do catch the show about twice per month. Being that Alex was a ballet dancer and had left his position with Miami City Ballet to be on SYTYCD, there was quite a story and a passion behind his presence on the show. It kept me watching…

As a Ballet Strength and cross training coach for dancers, I immediately started to think of ways that this injury might have been prevented. Gorgeously arched feet and super tight calves like Alex’s usually mean short Achilles Tendons in my experience working one on one designing plans injury prevention plans for professional dancers. (I could go into more details about his anatomy, but I’ll spare you.)

In my spare time this morning I did my best to find out how Alex Wong “ruptured his Achilles Tendon” to further investigate how something like this could have been prevented. Had his spring nearly sprung? Is it the result of improper technique? Or did he merely land wrong? The articles that I found were quite vague in their description of the incident so I am hoping that there will be more to come in the next few days.

My next thought: was Alex in pain prior to the Achilles rupture? Did he have chronic Achilles Tendonitis, a nagging long-term injury that some dancers suffer with their entire careers? Many dancers push through injuries in order keep their status in companies thinking that the injury will heal itself and get better. Us stubborn dancers think that we can change the reality that rest is the only thing that will truly heal an injury.

In my ballet summer studies at Chautauqua I remember hearing stories about New York City Ballet Dancer Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux rupturing his Achilles, but I don’t know for a fact if he returned to dancing after the injury. I am confident that Alex will dance again.

I guess my message in this blog post is this: Dancers, be smart. Take risks, but don’t risk your career thinking that you can triumph over pain. You cannot mask injuries. Trust me, it will bite you in the behind. Not to say that I know 100% that this is the reason for Alex Wong’s injury, but I have a sneaky suspicion that it may be the case. Hopefully more details will be available to the public soon.

Happy Dancing,

Nikol Klein Professional Ballet Dancer/ Author/ Fitness Expert

Introducing Beginning Ballet Strength©

I am pleased to finally announce the release of my new program, Beginning Ballet Strength©. Now you can have all of the advantages of top professional ballet dancers and be in peak condition year round!

Beginning Ballet Strength is a strength training program geared towards helping you become the best, strongest dancer possible. In this digital eBook, you will be coached step by step through strength training exercises specifically designed by a dancer, for a dancer. Each exercise is illustrated and described to make sure your form is correct.

Benefits of Beginning Ballet Strength include:

★ Improved Balance
★ Injury Prevention
★ Stronger Jumps
★ Improved Stamina
★ Partnering Strength
★ Increased Confidence
★ Heightened Jumps
★ Better Turns
★ Tighter Core
★ Stronger/ Slimmer Appearance
★ Increased Range of Motion
★ and much, much more!
Any young dancer who is thinking about becoming a professional or any professional dancer new to strength training must read this book!
Be sure to check it out at www.balletstrength.com.
The content on this website is © copyright protected.

The reproduction or use of any content found on this website is strictly prohibited by law.

Abdominal Conditioning for Dancers

Today I gave myself barre at my home just for fun to test out a few of the theories I’ve been working on for my next book. I wanted to focus on something technical that only a Professional Dancer with a Certification as a Personal Trainer would know. Something that your Dance teachers don’t know. (they don’t know everything, trust me)

Now I haven’t been taking class consistently by any means, but would still consider myself to be in good dancing shape. I noticed that my balance was very strong whether in passe, arabesque, attitude or the basic positions. I suddenly realized the correlation between my solid balance and my abdominal strength. See, I’ve been working very hard on my abdominal strength lately for my fitness TV appearances.

Abdominal strength is more than just Pilates. Dance teachers always try to push Pilates on students to improve their “core” strength. While Pilates is great, it’s not the solution to the problem. Abdominal strength through strength training is!

NKleincrunch

This exercise incorporates an element of instability

Take the oblique abdominal crunch bringing the knee to elbow on a physio-ball for example. (pictured above) This exercise engages the hip flexors in addition to the oblique abdominals in an active position. This exercise requires extreme core strength.

I could go on to tell you why this exercise will benefit you more than Pilates for example, but I’ll save that for the book! There are hundreds of exercises that you can do through strength training that will leave you feeling strong and energized as opposed to tired and lazy like Pilates can sometimes do.

Most of the exercises I have my Dancer clients do are standing up. Since you dance standing up, doesn’t make much more sense to strengthen you core muscles standing up rather than lying down like Pilates?

By the way, I don’t want you to think I’m knocking Pilates. In fact, I have a Pilates Mat Certification so I’ve been there, done that. Pilates is a wonderful way for injured dancers to stay limber while in a resting state. But eventually they have to translate all of that knowledge to standing.

Stay tuned for more information. In the meantime, you can purchase my Ballet Strength book that contains exercises just like the ones described above! Find out more HERE.

Happy Dancing,

Nikol Klein, Professional Ballet Dancer/ Certified Personal Trainer and Nutritionist