Dance Articles > Resistance training for ballroom dancers

Discussion in 'Dance Articles' started by vcolfari, Sep 17, 2014.

  1. vcolfari

    vcolfari Member

  2. Mr 4 styles

    Mr 4 styles Well-Known Member

    saw that incomplete but a nice start
    SwayWithMe likes this.
  3. Chewie

    Chewie New Member

    I read the whole article, but I'm not convinced. I still think traditional weight lifting is directly opposed to the proper dance technique. It's also misleading to say "resistance" training when he really means weight lifting. Dancers also use "resistance" training, but it's called calisthenics and plyometrics.

    I'd love to see a comparison between dancers who do weight lifting vs. calisthenics and plyometrics, I'd bet we see a clear qualitative between the two.
  4. vcolfari

    vcolfari Member

    In kinesiology, resistance training is exercise in which external resistance is used. Calisthenics and plyometrics are typically performed with the weight of the body. This is the primary difference between the styles of training.

    This article presents resistance training as an adjunct to traditional dance training (which already has much in common with calisthenics and plyometrics). For developing strength, power, or muscle mass (relative weaknesses for many dancers), resistance training is preferred because the athlete can systematically increase the resistance across workouts to improve fitness. The general term, "resistance training," is preferred to "weight training" because bands and tubes are sometimes used in workouts.

    The primary limitation of training solely with body weight is that, to increase the intensity of training, the athlete must make the exercise more difficult (e.g., one arm pull-ups) or increase the amount of work by performing more repetitions. This is an excellent way to build muscular endurance, but sub-optimal for developing strength, power, or muscle mass.

    Regarding research, resistance training has been demonstrated to improve "aesthetic competence" in modern and contemporary dancers. To my knowledge, there is no research of this type on ballroom dancers, specifically.
    CCdance likes this.
  5. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    This is what Dance Spirit had to say in 2012...

    Weight lifting is a great way to build strength. “There are a lot of misconceptions about weight training,” says Emery Hill, athletic trainer at Houston Ballet. “People think that if you lift weights, you’ll get big musculature. But it can be very beneficial as far as being able to lift or be lifted, or to hold your position, because you have more basic strength.” If you’re lifting to get strong, lift a heavier weight with fewer repetitions—more reps with a lesser weight will build bulk. Hill recommends doing no more than three sets of 6–8 repetitions of each exercise when you’re off-season or in a rehearsal period. As you get closer to performance time, do just one or two sets of each so you don’t tire your muscles. - See more at:
  6. Mr 4 styles

    Mr 4 styles Well-Known Member

    there really is no such thing as traditional weight lifting... unless you choose to label olympic lifting as that. Except for deadlifts olympic training has much less use that other forms of resistance training for dancers. so long as you maintain your flexibility and keep a good diet, weight lifting will only give you a leaner, more powerful body to use in dance. who doesnt want that??
    fascination likes this.
  7. DanceMentor

    DanceMentor Administrator

    Most of the work I do outside of the studio is stretching, yoga, and stretch bands. I dance so much that most of what I do outside of dance is for maintaining balance and flexibility. I pay a lot of attention to the hips, because my other work involves sitting.
    CCdance likes this.
  8. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

  9. Chewie

    Chewie New Member

    I agree that lifting weights can help increase your general fitness level, which will help you move better while you are dancing.

    But the reason I believe that lifting weights is not an optimal activity for dancers is because it trains the body in a way that is almost completely opposite to developing good dance technique. (this is all my opinion, of course, feel free to disagree)

    Proper weight lifting technique isolates parts of the body, by locking the other parts. The machines are particularly good at this, but it's also highly recommended when using free weights.

    But, developing good dance technique is about getting muscle groups in your body to coordinate as a whole functioning unit. You want to feel the connection between your arm as you raise it and the energy travels through your body down the torso to your big toe, or vice versa. For example, contra body motion, cuban motion or almost every other fundamental dance move I can think of. At the highest level, the entire body acts as one holistic fluidly functioning unit. Balancing and counter-balancing itself while leveraging the skeletal structure to create movement.

    That's why I think calisthenics, plyometrics, yoga etc. are more useful for dancers. They train the body by working groups of muscles as a single unit. Additionally, plyometrics is particularly good at training explosive power.

    Lastly, increased muscle power from weight lifting can hide a lack of technique. Somebody might look good standing, posing or doing simple steps, weight lifters often look good like that, but ask the them to do a hitch turn and you realize they can't hold their balance or stay grounded, because that requires muscles that are well coordinated throughout the entire body and not just "strong".
    j_alexandra likes this.
  10. JudeMorrigan

    JudeMorrigan Well-Known Member

    And by "particularly good", you mean "particularly bad", right? Compound movements are a good thing, even just looking at things just from the standpoint of resistance training. The people I know who are serious about it (ie, not me), generally tell people to start with Starting Strength or Stronglifts 5x5.
  11. Chewie

    Chewie New Member

    Nope that's not what I meant at all. I'm not putting down weight lifting. I used to body build before I started dancing. I'm just pointing out that good weight lifting technique isolates by locking other parts of the body and that the machines are particularly good at it.
  12. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    I disagree chewie...there are plenty of times in dance where on needs to keep one part of the body still while other parts are working...and I would always say sitll rather than loked because I think the term locked can be mis-applied in dangerous ways on both dance and weight training...muscle strength, including core, as well as muscle endurance and cardio vascular endurance and flexibility are all important in assisting a dancer with the tasks required to dance at highest levels...none of them should be neglected or thought of as a hindrance
  13. JudeMorrigan

    JudeMorrigan Well-Known Member

    I'm not putting down weight lifting either. I'm just saying that the serious lifters I know are very much not fans of isolation and vastly prefer compound movements. It's why the squat is the one absolutely irreplaceable lift. And why those serious lifters sneer quite as hard as they do at machines.

    And example: Starting Strength really is sort of the gold standard for novice-intermediate lifting programs. It includes, in its entirely, the squat, press, bench press, deadlift and powerclean. There is a section for supplemental exercises, but you're encouraged to start with the main five. (Four, actually, since you work up to powercleans.) The supplemental section does include biceps curls, but it's explictly a matter of "this is not a good exercise (because they isolate the biceps), but you're going to do them no matter what I say, so I might as well tell you how to do them properly".
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2014
  14. CCdance

    CCdance Active Member

    would love to study that if come across something targeted on ballroom/latin...
    vcolfari likes this.
  15. tangomaniac

    tangomaniac Active Member

    I found yoga to more beneficial than weight training. Yoga gave me flexibility by loosening my body. Contrabody is a requirement for Argentine Tango.

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