When it comes to ballet there aren’t a whole lot of dancers out there who can honestly say that they have never had an injury. Whether it’s an injury as major or career ending as an Achilles tendon rupture or an injury as minor as a shin splint, it is imperative that the root of the problem be discovered.
Luckily today there are preventative measures being taken by ballet companies and schools lead by younger artistic staffs to keep dancers fine tuned. In the past there were ballet teachers and company artistic directors who were not educated on injury prevention for dancers, thus indirectly encouraging dancers to continue through injuries shortening the life of their career.
Common injuries for dancing include (but are not limited to);
Lower back pain
Check out a complete list on the Harkness Center for Dance Injuries website. It’s very helpful.
Of course there are ways to prevent some of these injuries through core conditioning, pilates, strength training, and ballet cross training. Most ballet companies have on site physical therapists who work with dancers daily aches and pains and can prescribe a correct physical therapy routine. There is also the Ballet Strength DVD which has a library of exercises that you can do to prevent injury and improve strength.
As dancers today, there is no excuse to allow the body to be plagued by injury and pain. With all of the helpful resources available dancers are extending their careers well into their 30’s. Don’t wait to address your injury prone areas…you don’t want to wait until it’s too late!
In ballet, your core is one of the most important areas of movement and function while performing key ballet exercises. The core originates the majority of the full body movements that you perform. The core is also what determines your posture as it plays a large role in aligning your ribs, spine, and pelvis.
As a dancer this means a strong core is essential from standing in basic positions all the way to balancing and even turning! At a young age we develop muscle memory to keep the “ribs in” as you have heard from your ballet teachers many times. Holding those “ribs in” is just a start to learning core strength at a young age.
Contrary to what you may think, your core is actually more than just the abdominal muscles. The core consists of these major muscle groups including a few key back muscles;
External and Internal Obliques
There are simple exercises that you can do year round to help strengthen, tone, and firm your core for peak performance. You may even find that you will break some of the bad habits developed in ballet class after finding your core strength.
For Example; Many back injuries are caused by a weak core. If we work on strengthening the abdominal muscles and sides, we can take some of the stress off the back. All ballet movements will feel much easier and freer once you strengthen your core.
I have put together a comprehensive eBook with over 30 pages of core conditioning exercises for dancers. You can buy it now at www.balletstrength.com.