Flexibility Training

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What are Corrective Exercises?

Almost all overuse issues come down to muscle dysfunction, muscle imbalance and fascial restriction, so working on these areas is the key to staying healthy and injury-free over time. Corrective strength and flexibility exercises should therefore feature in the daily schedule of every dancer.

These exercises aim to address muscle dysfunction specifically: tight muscles or muscle groups should be stretched, whereas weak ones need to be strengthened. Such corrective training can either form part of a rehabilitation process, to re-establish proper compensation, or can be used to raise the level of compensation to make an athlete or dancer less prone to injury or overuse.

The videos that you will find in this section show some of the exercises that I frequently recommend to my patients, and are presented here for their reference. As every body and every situation is unique, you should always consult a health care professional before starting any corrective exercises. It is important that an exercise program is tailored to your needs and that you have had a proper functional examination (and any necessary treatment) in advance.

Flexibility exercises are usually helpful in dealing with joint dysfunctions, or “blocks”, associated with muscle dysfunction. However, if you attempt strength training while suffering from joint dysfunction you can seriously aggravate the damage.

When and How Often Should I Do the Exercises?

Corrective flexibility exercises should be applied several times a day, especially in periods of high workload. I encourage my patients to use myofascial rollers (Blackroll, Triggerpoint Roll, Pilates Roll, etc.) whenever they can, and at least five times a day! You don’t need to spend hours and hours rolling out your body; just a five-minute routine can be enough to release some of the tension from your previous exercise and deal with simple “blocks” in your spine. You should always warm-up before stretching and especially before doing any strength exercise; a session of flexibility exercises immediately after class is a good way to start the day!

A proper warm-up will:

  • increase blood flow and delivery of oxygen and nutrients to your muscles, better preparing them for workout;
  • prime your nerve-to-muscle pathways to be ready for exercise, which will improve the quality of your workout;
  • improve coordination and reaction times;
  • allow your muscles and joints to move smoothly through a greater range of motion.

Strength Training

strength

What are Corrective Exercises?

Almost all overuse issues come down to muscle dysfunction, muscle imbalance and fascial restriction, so working on these areas is the key to staying healthy and injury-free over time. Corrective strength and flexibility exercises should therefore feature in the daily schedule of every dancer.

These exercises aim to address muscle dysfunction specifically: tight muscles or muscle groups should be stretched, whereas weak ones need to be strengthened. Such corrective training can either form part of a rehabilitation process, to re-establish proper compensation, or can be used to raise the level of compensation to make an athlete or dancer less prone to injury or overuse.

The videos that you will find in this section show some of the exercises that I frequently recommend to my patients, and are presented here for their reference. As every body and every situation is unique, you should always consult a health care professional before starting any corrective exercises. It is important that an exercise program is tailored to your needs and that you have had a proper functional examination (and any necessary treatment) in advance.
Flexibility exercises are usually helpful in dealing with joint dysfunctions, or “blocks”, associated with muscle dysfunction. However, if you attempt strength training while suffering from joint dysfunction you can seriously aggravate the problem.

When and How Often Should I Do the Exercises?

The recommended frequency of strength exercise depends on individual factors and the specific rehabilitation or conditioning program you are following. A general recommendation would be to train at least three times a week. I have selected some exercises that can easily be performed in the studio with some basic equipment, such as resistance bands or loop bands.

To push your limits further, consider starting weight training in a gym. Many dancers are afraid of building up “bulky” muscles that may affect their shape, posture and aesthetic. However, with the right training routine, it is perfectly possible to gain strength without “bulking up”. In fact, a combination of strength exercises and specific endurance training is the key to staying slim and healthy, without reducing your nutritional intake.

Core training: AB crunches

using a SWISS BALL

vimeo-symbol_93pxThis is a great exercise to strengthen the abs while avoiding too much tension to build up in the hip flexors (psoas muscles) through the training. This is extremely useful when treating muscle dysbalance that occurs with pelvic dysfunction.

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Achilles tendon release

using a DuoBall

vimeo-symbol_93pxThis exercise aims to release tension from the Achilles tendon by releasing the calf musculature and the tissues that surround the tendon. The Duoball is the perfect tool here, as it exerts no pressure on the tendon itself if positioned correctly.

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Foot release

using a LACROSSE BALL

vimeo-symbol_93pxThis set of exercises will allow you to release the short foot muscles and the plantar fascia with a self-myofascial release technique. Releasing the foot is a major goal in treating all kinds of foot pain.

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Calf release

using a DUOBALL

vimeo-symbol_93pxThis is a great exercise to release tension from the ITB. The Duoball is the perfect tool here, as it allows to deeply release the calf musculature. Make sure to rotate your leg in and out a bit to address different parts of the calf.

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Cervical spine rebalancing

using a PILATES BALL

vimeo-symbol_93pxThis routine features two exercises that target the most common muscle dysbalance associated to neck pain and cervical spine dysfunction. It will allow you to release tension from the muscles in front of your neck and strengthen your neck flexors. It can bring better rotation to your cervical spine and take load of your neck.

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Advanced cervical spine rebalancing

using a COVERED RESISTANCE BAND

vimeo-symbol_93pxThis is an advanced routine for more experienced users to effectively rebalance the cervical spine muscles. The two exercises target the most common muscle dysbalance associated to neck pain and cervical spine dysfunction. It will allow you to release tension from the muscles in front of your neck and strengthen your neck flexors. It will bring better rotation to your cervical spine and take load off your neck. Often this intense routine can deliver instant results.

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Deep back release

using a DUOBALL

vimeo-symbol_93pxThis is an advanced technique to mobilize the spine that is quite intense. The Duoball is the perfect tool here, as it allows to deeply release the muscles around the spine without exerting too much pressure on the vertebrae.

 

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Psoas stretch

using a SWISS BALL

vimeo-symbol_93pxThis is a great way to release tension from your hip flexors as well as the abdominal muscles while mobilizing the spine into extension. Make sure to fully relax over the ball and keep your balance at the same time.

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Back Muscle Strain

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What is a lower back muscle strain?

Lower back muscle strains are probably the most common muscle injuries among dancers. They are also referred to as “pulled back muscle” or “torn back muscle”. Typically, the pain is localized in the lower back and does not radiate down the leg. Back stiffness or deep cramps of the back muscles are often associated with this pain.
Acute pain from a lower back strain can resolve quickly if treated efficiently, however, low levels of pain may persist over weeks, and flare-ups can occur.

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Herniated Disk

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What is a herniated or ruptured disk?

A herniated or ruptured disk is an intervertebral disk that has bulged out from its proper place in the back. Disks are small, rubbery cushions between the vertebral bodies that keep the spine flexible and act as shock absorbers. The intervertebral disks are made of tough, circular fibers surrounding a jelly-like nucleus.
When disks are damaged, the jelly nucleus may bulge out of place. A herniated disk alone may not cause discomfort, but pain occurs when pressure is put on a nerve root passing by the disk, or on the spinal cord.

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