WATCH OUT FOR HYPER-MOBILITY
We are noticing more and more how many dancers are hypermobile especially in the upper body and totally unaware of what this is or just how dangerous it can be. What’s scarier is how many of them are still stretching even though it is the worst possible thing to do in this scenario.
Hyper-mobility is when a joint can go beyond its current range of motion due to having no strength or support around the joint. If we take for example the elbow join in the photo, you can see the joint can easily hyperextend too far meaning the muscles surrounding the joint are too lose and allow the extra range of motion to happen.
In this instance, the dancer needs to stop all types of stretching around the joint and spend some time strengthening the area (in this instance strengthening the biceps and triceps will tighten the joint back into place).
The elbow is just one example and it can occur in almost any joint and area, which is why you always must consider dancing to be an individual sport. Just like it’s not possible to give everyone the same type of fitness training it’s also not possible to give everyone the same type of stretching because some dancers in this instance need to avoid certain stretches but place a big emphasis on strengthening instead. This is something we have covered in the new yoga course of how to individualize these things to make them specific for you.
A dancer's upper body is much weaker than their lower body and so issues like this become most noticeable. The next time you are doing a straight arm plank or holding in the push-up position notice how several peoples elbows will hyperextend just like this to support themselves as they don’t have the strength to engage the correct muscle groups.
This is a great tip for teachers who will have a large group of people doing a movement like this at once to correct them and make them place a small bend in the elbow. The dancer will feel much weaker and their arm will start to shake but this is a great thing because now we know the stabilizing muscles are working hard to try and hold the movement and the dancer is not locking all the weight on the actual joint.
Partner up in class and have a look at each other's arms and legs, I guarantee there will be at least 1-5 people per group of 30 with this issue to fix.