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.