It is essential to understand the importance of warm up to prevent injury and fatigue as a dancer. Before asking our bodies to do the physical demands required in dancing, we need to adequately prepare. A proper warm up will enhance your performance and is essential for a long dance career. Sometimes, we feel pressed for time, and we hurry right into stretching only to find it left us sore and tighter later in the day. Our bodies crave a quality warm up! Before you start dancing… you should be sweating.
Coming into the studio and dropping into splits is NOT the proper approach. It can potentially harm a muscle that will leave you out of your classes for weeks! A “Dynamic warm up” will get the blood flowing, and warms up all your musicals, joints, and ligaments. For example, start with cardio such as jumping jacks then move on to working the feet, ankles, hip joints, and spine. Pay close attention to your posture throughout the warm up.
Key factors of a dynamic warm up:
• Gets your heart pumping and blood circulating (cardio)
• Activates your central nervous system
• Prepares body for movement that’s coming
• Reduces potential for injury
“Static stretching” means holding a stretch for a certain length of time. This stretching will help maintain and improve flexibility and correct muscle imbalances. Holding a stretch will return the muscle to its normal length, after contracting during lots of movements and release stress and tension within the muscle. This is best used at the END of a dynamic warm up.
Key factors of static stretching:
• Breathe to allow oxygen to get to the muscles
• Hold stretch for 20-60 seconds
• Work both sides in leg stretches and not just your favored side
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