THE BEST WARM UP PRE-COMPETITION
As a dancer, the primary aim when warming up is to prepare yourself for whats about to come. This means post warm up your body must be ready to produce high force ballistic movements rapidly in all directions.
You must not assume that static stretching in a seated position with a rested heart rate would in any way prepare our body for this, and so it is time to introduce you to the world of dynamic warm-ups.
When warming up we need to firstly mobilize the joints of the body ensuring that you are mobile in all movement patterns and the muscle tissue is released.
Once complete you will then proceed to activate the nervous system through dynamic movements, movements that are designed to replicate the exact same dance patterns that are about to come. The main aim of this activation section is to activate your nervous system and fire up your fast twitch muscle fibers so that you are ready to be explosive on stage.
For those of you that struggle with flexibility prior to the competition, you must understand that the aim is not to improve your flexibility pre-competition, but instead just prepare the body for competition. These are two completely different goals.
Too many dancers try to improve their flexibility pre-competition if you are not flexible enough this is a problem that must be dealt with far out from the competition.
Now that you understand the goal of the warm-up pre-competition let me take you through the exact warm-up structure used by 6 x World Champion Lauren Early, along with countless other top athletes.
A sample layout will be:
PRE-COMPETITION WARM-UP STRUCTURE
Hip mobility & Dynamic stretching (10-15mins)
The goal of this section is to mobilize the hip joints and release muscle tissue.
Faster movements with explosive components (10-15 minutes)
The goal is to release adrenaline (adrenaline produces energy) fire up the fast twitch muscle fibers and activate the nervous system with generic movements such as fast feet, high knees, bum kicks and walkouts.
DANCE SPECIFIC ACTIVATION
Fast sharp dance movements (10-15 minutes)
Closest to going on stage the warm-up must be very specific to whats about to come and therefore made up of dance specific movements. These movements can be made up of the first 10 seconds of your dance, or generic dance steps so long as they are completed in a fast sharp powerful manner to get everything switched on and ready to go.
Remember a warm-up must activate the body but it must not create fatigue, so take your time in-between the high force movements to ensure complete recovery from one movement to the next. There is no need to rush the activation movements, you will stay activated for much longer than you think and so rushing into the next movements will only cause fatigue.
The Reaching New Heights Team
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