Conditioning Myths


Conditioning Myths
As a dancer today, you may have inherited certain myths about supplemental conditioning that are not necessarily true nor helpful. Two main myths in dance are as follows:

The first myth states that you must have extreme hypermobility in order to have a successful career in dance. In fact, you can do more harm than good if stretching goes on too long or too early, before a thorough warm-up. It is important to recognize that hypermobility is often coupled with lack of strength and control, leading to injuries down the road.
Passive flexibility is different than dynamic flexibility, and in the moment of performing a leg extension, you need strength to get the leg higher in the air along with flexibility and coordination of the body as a whole. The desire to get your leg higher in the air will not come by doing a series of floor stretches alone, because they are invariably passive stretches rather than active stretches.
The second myth is that strength training will increase the size of the muscles to a large extent. In reality, the only way in which you will develop massive bulkiness is if you take supplements alongside your training and have a certain genetic predisposition. For women, it is nearly impossible to attain excessively large muscles because of the lack of testosterone in their bodies. In fact, dancers who do strength training can reduce body fat and increase fat-free mass. This clearly discredits the notion that strength training is correlated with an increase in size or bulk. If you fear losing your leaner, smaller frame, this is actually more of a reason to strength train rather than not. Smaller typically means weaker, and without adequate muscular strength, the body will not be able to keep up with the physical demands expected of it.
Another common misconception about strength training is that strength training with lighter weights or no weights, done with high repetitions, is better. Activities such as dozens of abdominal curls will increase muscle endurance, but they will not assist in strength gains. In contemporary choreography, women are often asked to lift other dancers just as often as men. Therefore, strength training for women is essential. As you can see, sometimes ideas in dance that have no scientific basis are taught or passed on.
Working to be hypermobile and avoiding strength training for fear of muscle bulk can predispose you to injuries, and it will not improve your dancing. If you need additional flexibility or strength, you have many excellent and safe ways of achieving these goals.

『Dance Wellness』
(Mary Virginia Wilmerding, Donna Krasnow, International Association for Dance Medicine & Science 著)








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