Understand the Beauty of Dance with Warming Up
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Any high muscle involvement activity requires serious periods of warming, stretching, and cool-down before the actual activity is started. These pre-workout activities help to warm the body by raising its temperature, increase the blood flow throughout the vessels and make your muscles ready for the main activity stretch that will follow. Dance stretches and warm-ups are a bit more serious than other sports see. They need to prepare themselves for global movements and also need to ease the tension persisting in their muscles. With the muscles being prepared, dancers can dance bachata without stress, strain, or worry and these warm-up exercises before dancing help them majorly prevent incoming injuries. We have simplified an ideal routine warm-up for dancers for you to refer to and implement upon.

The main purpose of warming up is to wake up your body’s muscles to modify the movements that will follow. The body’s core temperature will be increased this way and the muscles will be loosened up and the joints will have lubrication. This whole procedure aims at preparing the dancer’s body for more strenuous movements.

A warm-up helps to make the nerve conduction better and this is highly important for dancers because they have their nerve messages traveling throughout the body during the dance. And these nerve conductions take place at a higher temperature than the body normally is in. The warmer the body is, the quicker the nerve messages travel, and that in turn prevents the risks of any injury during the activities.

Stretches to do before dancing involves a lot and not just sitting on the floor and warming up their legs. This can prove fatal because the strength negatively affects upon and the endurance, speed, and balance all are tampered with. Hence, here is a list of the perfect warm-up regime to be ideally followed by you to have your body put to action correctly.

  • A muscle lengthening section
  • A joint mobilization section
  • A gentle pulse-raising section
  • A balance building section
  • Rolling down the spine
  • Practicing isolation exercises
  • Few minutes of jumping jacks, brisk walking, marching, skipping, lunges and push-ups
  • Lengthening full-body movements
  • core body workouts including pilates
  •  

But there is a lot more to dance stretches and warm-ups and here you will find details of the same. The dancers require a regime that is unique to the particular dance form they are practicing. Mostly, every dancer prefers to have their warm-ups done in two phases: dynamic warm-ups that are followed by static stretching.

  • Shoulder and arm rolls
  • In-place jogging
  • Leg swings holding a strong base

Static Stretches

These are a bit different from the cool-down stretches and are performed just before commencing the dance to avoid any sort of muscle injuries. These techniques are important to keep a dancer’s body still to the point of tension and holding the stretch for a few seconds at a time. This stretch helps to lengthen the muscles to increase a body’s overall flexibility. Few common static stretches to do before dancing include:

    • Leg stretches
    • Split stretches
    • Toe touches
  • Forward bends
  • lunges, both walking and static
  • Quad stretches with a partner
  • Calf stretches with a partner
  • Walking or standing knee to the chest for balance

There are pretty specific neck, back, and shoulder exercises that too form an integral part of stretching like:

    • Shoulder stretches with partner
    • Shoulder rolls
    • Neck stretches
    • Shoulder activation on wall
    • Partner backbend
    • Partner chest openers
    • Side body stretches
  • It increases the coordination and the proprioception of an individual.
  • It prepares dancers both physically and mentally before dancing.
  • It increases the heart rate that in turn modifies the blood circulation throughout the body and brain.
  • It increases the temperature of the body.
  • It permits the free movement of the joints, overcoming the stiffness.
  • It improves perception through neurosensory organs and modifies the impulse.
  • It also improves the performance and reduces the chances of incurring injuries by margins

A warm-up is not meant to leave you all tired even before the actual activity starts. It must always be simple and involve hugely low-impact movements that are under continuous control by the dancer. Only correct alignment while warming up prevents injuries. The end of a warm-up must make you feel warmed up and motivated to start the actual activity. A professional dancer is involved with a warm-up regime of nothing less than 20-30 minutes every time they want to hit the studio for their practice. But what must be understood is however important the warm-up and stretching are, cooling down is equally important to them to bring your body back to a normal stable state.

Cool Down

This is something that needs to be done after you are done with your dance and not after the warm-up. This technique helps you to lower down the muscle soreness that results after the dance and helps you recover from any minor injury that you might have incurred then.

This technique must be conducted only after your body is sufficiently drained out after the workout. The static stretches are conducted to cool down the overly warmed body after long hours of dances to increase and maintain the achieved flexibility. These stretches must be performed with the utmost concentration and slowness where the focus must be on one’s breathing rate.

After a hyped-up dance schedule, the body is sure to release a considerable amount of hormones like adrenaline and endorphin, which when circulates through the body, gives you sleeplessness and restlessness. Stopping this activity suddenly will pool in a lot of blood in the muscles rather than returning to your brain, causing unwanted dizziness. A lot of dancing also releases a lot of lactic acids that get accumulated throughout the body, only to result in muscle stiffness and sores. They can also result in muscle spasms and cramps that might take days to leave. The stretching will help you bring down your breathing rate to normal and start the cooling down process in the body. Here are a few cooling down stretching ideas:

    • Abductor stretches for your shoulders.
    • Hip flexors with a partnership involving a huge range of motion
    • Stretching inner thighs in a butterfly position.
    • Stretching parts of your body involving hamstrings, calves, buttocks, and backs.
  • Keep in mind to breathe normally or slower than usual and exhale deeply while moving out of the stretches.
  • The stretches must be conducted slowly and holding it with ease till you release them makes sure your muscles are right in condition. Move into the stretch with caution, hold it still, and move out of it very slowly.
  • You can gain more resistance if you perform your stretches with a friend or partner and you might also buy yourself some extra time for recovery if you help them in return. The options for stretching also increases if you have a partner to share your moves with.
  • Your body needs your complete attention throughout the process. You should not neglect it and understand its demands and limits. It is highly recommended for you to not ignore any pain that arises while these practices are followed and seek immediate help from your instructor or discuss with your medical practitioner.

The process of dance requires dedication and every time you think of hitting the floor is when you need to follow these processes of warm-ups, stretches, and cooldowns. Anything neglected can lead you to some serious injuries.

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Caroline Kjeldgaard

Fulltime dancer and creator

Caroline is giving her all to share knowledge around sensuality and movement as a female dancer. She is based in Hong Kong and provides weekly guidance to her followers.

Caroline Kjeldgaard

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