Download BODY MAINTENANCE Strength Flexibility Stamina Types of training

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Types of training: floor work; barre work; centre work; moving in space; jumps and aerial
Adjunctive training
Principles of training: progressive overload; specificity; reversibility; warm-up/cool down
Nutrition and Hydration
Body maintenance is vitally important to a dancer, being a component of Safe Dance Practice
contributing to sound dance technique. Safe Dance Practice is a holistic approach to the art and
science of dance and is a basis for the treatment and prevention of injury. Body maintenance
physically prepares the body to perform using correct technique.
To ensure the utmost preparation for optimum performance a dancer needs knowledge of the types
of training for dancers and principles of training to assist in preparation. The types of training are:
floor work; barre work; centre work; moving in space; jumps and aerial work; and adjunctive
training. Principles of training include: progressive overload; specificity; reversibility; and warmup/cool down.
A dancer's ability to perform optimally is not only the level of accomplishment in performance but
the ability to train without sustaining an injury. Dance training programs specifically designed to
develop body skills can focus on different types of training including aerobic, strength and flexibility.
Aerobic training aims to improve the ability of the body to use oxygen, therefore strengthening the
cardiorespiratory system and allowing the dancer to withstand hours of physical activity.
Strength training focuses on the ability of the muscle to produce force. Strength allows the dancer to
move freely and handle the body efficiently. Strength also plays an important role in the prevention
of injury.
Flexibility training works to improve the range of movement at a joint or the extent to which a limb
can be extended or flexed. Flexibility is increased and maintained by either ballistic or static
stretching. However, ballistic stretching movements are bouncy or jerky and sometimes tense
muscles instead of relaxing them. Therefore it's less preferable.
Structures or components of a dance class including; floor work, barre work, centre work, moving in
space, and jumps and aerial work train the dancer and facilitate sound dance technique.
Floor work is an important aspect of the development of body skills. When developing technique
through class exercises or performing movement sequences on the floor, the problem of having to
defy gravity is eliminated. Movement exercises can be performed which develop strength, flexibility,
control, balance, and kinaesthetic awareness without the problems of having to move against gravity
or to balance on a small base of support. As floor work has the least amount of impact on the body,
it is usually done at the beginning of a class so that the muscles are given time to warm-up and
therefore be better able to absorb the impact of centre, locomotor and aerial work.
The barre, like the floor, can be effective in the development of body skills. It allows for physical
stability, as it takes away to some extent the fighting against gravity and allows for a greater base of
support. For example one or two feet on the floor and one or two hands on the barre. The barre also
allows for a development of kinaesthetic awareness as movements and exercises are performed
while being supported.
Centre work develops the ability to move in space in a variety of ways. The skills that are developed
include balance, shifting weight from centre to off-centre, preparation for locomotor movements,
preparation for elevation, preparation for turns and changing the base of support. In the centre, the
floor no longer aids in support. There is now a need to be focused on body awareness and how it
relates to executing the developmental movement correctly. Consequently a higher degree of
control is needed for centre work.
When beginning to move in space, the dancer starts to incorporate all the body skills that have been
developed in the earlier sections of the class. There should be an awareness of how Safe Dance
Practices and alignment applied to the moving body compared to the stationary body. Body skills in
moving in space may include: axial movements such as turns; falls; locomotor movements on all
levels; or a combination of these movements.
Aerial work can often demand a high order of strength, control and alignment. Dancers need to be
aware of the developmental nature of jumps and aerial work to aid this demand. When developing
jumps or aerial work, all the elements of the jump must be considered in the lead-up to the
execution. Lead-up exercises can be executed in the centre, on the floor for strength-building, or the
barre to aid in developing kinaesthetic awareness of a body in flight and articulation whilst
performing. The body skills of take-off, flight, and landing of different types of jumps need to be
developed for optimum performance.
In all tasks during a dance class there should always be a consideration and awareness of Safe Dance
Practices and alignment. Alignment is the relationship of the skeleton to the line of gravity and base
of support. Employing Safe Dance Practices will reduce propensity to injuries
Adjunctive training for a dancer aids in strength, flexibility and stamina. By developing these body
skills the dancer also becomes more kinaesthetically aware. Kinaesthetic sensations are feelings of
the body's muscles, joints and tendons while in motion or stillness. Kinaesthetic sense is a sensory
skill used to understand where one's body is in space. It is of primary importance to movement and
dance. By becoming aware of their own kinaesthetic sensations, students can more accurately direct
and control their movements, copy movements demonstrated to them and empathise with others
when observing their movements.
Training programs such as swimming and pilates benefit the dancer with different types of training
and developing different body skills. Swimming uses all the major muscle groups, and is a demanding
aerobic exercise that develops flexibility (as the joints move through the water), strength and
stamina all at the same time. The particular groups of muscles used in swimming vary according to
the stroke. A variety of backstroke, freestyle and breast stroke will use all major muscle groups:
abdominals, biceps and triceps, gluteus maximus, hamstrings and quadriceps. The natural buoyancy
of the water helps to avoid jarring of joints causing injuries.
The Pilates method of body conditioning focuses on improving flexibility and strength for the total
body without building bulk. Pilates utilizes a series of controlled movements. It involves the
systematic practice of specific exercises coupled with focused breathing patterns. The core muscle
groups (abdominal muscles, lower back, hips and gluteus maximus muscles) work together and all
other movements are generated from this area outward. Pilates movements challenge the deeper,
often neglected abdominal muscles, creating an amazingly strong core. Benefits of the Pilates
method are balance and control over the body and mind, and improved muscular strength,
flexibility, and posture. Pilates can also be integrated into rehabilitative exercise and physical
therapy programs designed to speed recovery of soft tissue injuries or to prevent re-injury.
Training for a dancer is vital. All types of training play an important role in improving body skills. A
balance in strength, flexibility and stamina is necessary and achieved by the components of a dance
class and adjunctive training to minimise the risk of injury.
To ensure the utmost preparation for optimum performance a dancer not only needs knowledge of
different types of training but principles of training.
In order for the body to make a physiological adaptation or produce a training effect, exercise should
be progressively performed above that at which the individual usually performs. This principle is
known as Progressive Overload. The overload principle states that strength and endurance cannot
be increased unless the muscles and cardio-respiratory system are stressed beyond their normal
workload. To Increase the workload, a dancer needs to increase the frequency, duration arid
intensity of their exercise program.
A training program needs to be directly linked to the nature of the performance required. Specificity
in dance involves participating in a range of technique classes developing locomotor and nonlocomotor skills incorporating the elements of dance.
The effects of a training program are reversible. If there is a break in the training program there will
be a decline in fitness and skill levels. Participation in regular classwork specific to the development
of dance technique and performance quality is essential in the development and maintenance of
fitness and skill levels.
A pre-performance warm-up and post-performance cool down are essential to body maintenance. A
warm-up is movements and/or movement phrases designed to increase blood flow to muscles with
an increase in oxygen delivery, reduce muscle viscosity leading to smoother muscle contraction and
increased mechanical efficiency, increase speed of nerve impulses and quicker muscle reaction
times, decrease injuries due to increased joint range and flexibility of tendons and ligaments and
bring the mind into focus for the dance activities to follow.
An effective warm-up should be a minimum of 15 minutes of continuous movement. It should start
gently then gradually increase in range, tempo and complexity. You should begin with joint
mobilisation by circling the joints before undertaking a 3-5 minute cardio warm-up. You should
stretch by doing ROM and dynamic stretches only. This is to ensure the muscles are not lengthened
before needing to be contracted when performing. Following the stretch phase, a stylized warm-up
should be conducted, involving the primary movements or combinations of the dance to be
performed. It is extremely important in terms of injury prevention to finish the warm-up session
with movements from the dance.
In order for dancers to perform optimally, their bodies must have sufficient nutrients to properly
supply the working muscles. Good nutrition involves the daily intake of five primary food groups in
balanced amounts to provide normal organic function.
The first group of breads, cereals, starches and rice contain carbohydrates which when ingested into
the body supply the body with energy. Secondly, milk and milk products contain calcium which is
essential for strong bones, teeth and normal muscle function. Thirdly, fruit and vegetables contain
vitamins necessary for normal metabolic functioning of the body and minerals. The fourth group of
meat, fish, poultry and alternatives contain proteins mainly used in the body for muscle tissue
building and repair. Protein is not an efficient fuel. Finally, fats are necessary for normal functioning
of the body. Fats are also a source of fuel during aerobic exercise; however the energy is not as
readily available as that from carbohydrates. Fat provides essential fatty acids and vitamins
necessary for metabolism.
A sound and balanced diet is one comprised of foods high in complex carbohydrates and low in fat.
Carbohydrates should constitute 55-60% or more of the daily intake. Fats should constitute 25% of
the daily intake. Proteins should constitute 15% of the daily intake.
The dancer's diet must maximise performance. Consequences of poor eating habits include injury,
fatigue and illness from malnutrition and unbalanced diets. The body's energy stores are depleted
each time exercise is carried out. If they are not replenished fatigue will occur.
With the knowledge of dance training and nutrition a dancer can properly prepare and maintain
body condition for optimum performance. This is achieved by training the body by: attending regular
dance classes; incorporating specific strength, flexibility and endurance exercises to assist in safely
controlling movement; incorporating adjunctive training; eating a balanced diet and consuming an
adequate fluid intake; having adequate rest; and avoiding abrupt overload.