Gymnasts require more flexibility than the general athlete to perform the necessary skills of their sport. Summertime is a great time to focus on increasing flexibility. Since stretching is an important component of training, it is a good idea to review some of the safest ways to stretch to prevent injury and progress flexibility.
Gymnastics offers a unique perspective, even allowing some athletes to see the world upside down!
As summer comes to an end, Fall brings a season of routine. This is especially true of dancers who are back to academia on top of rehearsal. Professional dancers, for example, will begin preparing their upcoming repertoire for programs like Joffrey Ballet’s Giselle and Hubbard Street Dance Company’s Fall Series.
The Nutcracker is the most iconic holiday ballet performed by ballet schools and professional companies around the world.
Between December 10th and December 30th, the Joffrey Ballet Chicago will perform The Nutcracker 27 times.3 That’s an average of 1.2 shows per day! For optimal performance, it is crucial that dancers are proactive in preventing injuries from occurring and correctly manage injuries when they do occur. Foot and ankle injuries represent 34-62 percent of all injuries reported by dancers.5 Female ballet dancers are especially vulnerable to these injuries because of the increased demand put on the foot and ankle when dancing en pointe.
For many dancers, summers are filled with morning to evening dance classes. Sometimes learning new styles, other times perfecting their technique in a familiar style. Often these summer dance intensives are away from home allowing the dancer to stay in a dormitory and meet new friends who have the same passion. Auditions for these programs are held months in advance and attention from renowned dance teachers may arise from this experience.
What is “turn out”?
“Turn out” is the amount of outward rotation that can be achieved from the legs.
For a ballet dancer, the ideal amount of turn out is 90° from each leg.1 If that motion is not possible from the hip joints, the motion must come from other parts of the body.2 While the ideal amount of hip external rotation of each leg is 90°, no need to toss your pointe shoes in the trash if you don’t have that much hip mobility. Even elite professional ballerinas rely on compensations to produce the desired level of turn out.3
Most people agree that gymnasts and cheerleaders must be very strong and flexible. Although each athlete is different, patterns of tightness and weakness are often found when screening gymnasts and cheerleaders. As with many sports, some muscles will become naturally stronger and more flexible, while others will be weaker and tighter due to the positioning of the skills practiced. Correction of these muscle imbalances is important to enhance skill level and prevent injury. Read More
The gymnastics and cheer seasons’ are underway! Check out our second blog focusing on staying healthy during the gymnastics and cheerleading season. Our second blog by Melissa Winterhalter, PT, DPT, OCS, CSCS, specializes in gymnastics and performing arts. She is a Board Certified Orthopedic Specialist and a NSCA Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist. Read More