Switching to virtual classes again? How to stay strong & pain free while training at home.
Written by, Dinah Hampson and Geneviève Renaud
Here we go again! We know dancing in the kitchen (or living room, or basement) is not quite as fabulous as being able to train in a beautiful studio. Here are a few tips and tricks to make the most of training from home while decreasing your risk of injury!
Use the right equipment: Injuries in dance happen more frequently with changes in flooring surfaces, footwear and physical demand. Try to find clear floor space that is similar to your regular studio flooring and wear your regular footwear appropriate for your class and dance style. To add some cushion and absorb shocks on a hard floor, place a yoga mat under a sheet of wood or under a square of marley!
Respect that your muscle balance will change if you have been moving differently: Maybe you are sitting more, walking less, driving less, moving in smaller spaces? These changes in movement will affect your muscle balance. More sitting leads to tighter hip flexors and iliotibial bands, less walking leads to less fitness, less movement overall leads to a feeling of “stiffer” or “shorter” connective tissue. Do not skip that dynamic warm up! Schedule it in your calendar before the start of every class. Being a few steps away from your home studio might make it tempting to stroll straight into class from the kitchen but those connective tissues need to warm up to avoid injury. Think of chewing gum; you need that gum soft and pliable to blow good bubbles!
Mix it up: Training at home can end up feeling like we are stuck in a rut due to limited access to a variety of teachers and dance styles. This is both mentally and physically fatiguing. Your brain needs stimulation to stay energised and motivated. Your body needs variety in order to see physical change and avoid overuse injuries. This is the perfect time to try something new, focus on strength & technique or explore other dance styles. There is no need to think about being intimidated by the “experts in the room” or “looking silly” because there is no one else in the room!
Train on a schedule: When you don’t have regular classes in your schedule, it’s easier to delay or skip training. It is also much easier to overdo it if you are self-training and don’t have a structured end to studio time. Book your dance classes and strengthening sessions into your daily schedule and stick to it!
Eat on a schedule: When you are at home, grazing and skipping meals can become a lot easier. The lack of consistent schedule, the decrease in training and well, you are always close to the kitchen for when you feel like grabbing a bite! Keep yourself on a regular meal schedule in addition to maintaining a consistent sleep, activity and work schedule.
Write down your week: Decide on one area of focus for each class and write it down, keep a journal! At the end of the day, look back and reflect on what you did and learned. At the end of the week, reflect on where you could challenge yourself to maintain balanced training. Finally, at the end of the month, you will have an excellent record of your goals and accomplishments.
Find the silver lining: Not having a “normal” and finding the silver lining can be hard. What dancer ever backed away from hard? Now is your opportunity to improve in ways you never even thought about. If you get stuck – we are here to help get you unstuck! We can’t wait to meet you!
Dinah Hampson and Geneviève Renaud
Dinah and Gen are the co-founders of Pivot Dancer, Registered International Sports Physiotherapists,
Fellows of the Academy of Manipulative Therapy and Dance Physio experts.