Co Authors: Team USA’s Laura Zeng and Evita Griskenas
With continued shelter in place orders across the country, many athletes are having to alter training and competition schedules including Team USA’s Rhythmic Gymnasts. Unable to attend practice as they normally would, their competition season has been interrupted along with the delay of the Tokyo Olympics. Laura Zeng and Evita Griskenas, two of Team USA’s top rhythmic gymnasts, give us insight into what they are doing at home to stay active and prevent injury as well as tips for other rhythmic gymnasts.
With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, dance companies and studios are closed for classes and rehearsals. Even without an audience to perform for, it is important that dancers maintain appropriate mental and physical activities while at home.
As a performing arts physical therapist, I wanted to check in with some of Chicago’s professional dancers with Hubbard Street Dance Chicago – Adrienne Lipson, Kevin J. Shannon, and Craig D. Black Jr.. Read below to learn how their worlds are adapting and growing during this time when the theaters are dark and how they are keeping a positive attitude through it all.
Gymnastics clubs across the country have been closed for several weeks in order to keep everyone safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. This has resulted in gymnasts focusing on stretching and conditioning at-home in preparation for when they can get back to the gym. This is a good time to address any flexibility and strength issues that may have affected an athlete’s ability to train earlier in the year and help with injury prevention when allowed to return to practice. Here are 6 key exercises to target common areas of weakness in gymnasts.
Co-author: Derrick Agnoletti, Joffrey Ballet Company Dancer
The majority of the country has adopted shelter in place policies, which means many of our daily routines have been disrupted. For Joffrey Ballet dancer Derrick Agnoletti, this means being unable to attend daily ballet class and rehearsals with his colleagues. As a physical therapist, I am adjusting treatment sessions in order to continue to connect with patients safely. Here is some advice for dancers who are similarly adjusting to training at home.
I am a performing arts physical therapist working at a downtown Athletico clinic in Chicago. I recently had the opportunity to travel with Hubbard Street Dance Chicago to Germany. As I let my patients know I would be away from the clinic, quite a few asked what I would be doing. When I told them I would be working while traveling internationally, many responded wondering “How does your work as a physical therapist take you to Germany for a week?!” Let me explain…
Tendinitis is a chronic, overuse type of injury that is common in gymnasts as they perform multiple repetitions of their routines – on the floor, beam and when sprinting toward the vault. Rhythmic gymnasts are also at risk due to performing up to four different routines on the floor with repetitive jumping, leaping and turning.
With many tumbling sports, such as gymnastics and cheerleading, one of the most obvious risks for injury is to the athlete doing the tumbling skill. However there is also a risk for the spotter.
The spotter is usually a coach or teammate who works to make sure tumbling skills are performed safely. For many coaches, the ratio of athletes to coach is such that they can be performing many repetitions of the same movement during a single practice. This can place added stress and increase the risk of injury to the spotter’s shoulder, wrist and low back.
Is your goal to learn the splits?
Beyond just improving flexibility, this skill can be useful for athletes in a variety of sports – from gymnasts and cheerleaders to hockey goalies. However, learning to safely perform this movement takes a lot of practice and consistency. See below for recommended stretches and some evidence-based tips for improving your flexibility and achieving this goal.