Review: Injury Prevention Workshop For Dancers

March 16, 2018

Review: Injury Prevention Workshop For Dancers

The Injury Prevention Workshop for Dancers was one of the most informative workshops I’ve been to lately. I would highly recommend any further workshops like this one.

The event was hosted by Dr Nicholas Lendvoy and Michelle Kwok of Impulse Sport Therapeutics at the Anna Wyman School of Dance Arts in West Vancouver. For more background info on the event and its hosts click here.

Dr Lendvoy is a chiropractor, and the way he explained what he does is that he creates mobility in the joints. Michelle is a kinesiologist, and together they led the group of dancers through all sorts of helpful exercises. Obviously flexibility is a big thing in dance. What is it exactly? Dr Lendvoy discussed it as the muscle length (how far it will go in one direction). It’s important, but he was keen to add that it’s not the only thing dancers need to consider. Strength, endurance, and stability training are needed for dancers, so they showed us how to test these areas, and improve upon them.

I highly recommend reaching out to Dr Lendvoy or Michelle for more information (they’re the ones who really know about this stuff and can help you), but here’s the gist of what I learned from them:

Movement Screen Tests & Athletic Testing:

  • Mobility test
    • Dynamic overhead – stand against a wall and try to lift your arms all the way up to the wall without allowing your chest to move out of a neutral position
    • Ankle mobility – put a foot one-hand-length away from a wall (with the other knee on the ground) and try to touch the wall with your knee. If you can’t do this, your calves are tight.
  • Stability
    • Core strength test – Do a plank on your elbows for 1 minute, then raise 1 arm for 15 seconds, then the other for 15 seconds, then 1 leg, then the other.
      • If you can’t do it, you need to work on your core strength!

Dr Lendvoy mentioned that you shouldn’t do “regular” sit ups – you should actually keep your back neutral while strengthening your core (“Doing sit ups just makes you good at doing sit ups, that’s it”)

Dr Lendvoy holds a foam roller on top of the students to make sure their planks are balanced

      • Pistol squats (as someone who did a lot of figure skating as a kid, this was the classic “shoot the duck” move, which I could surprisingly still do)

Michelle watches the form of an attendee beginning to do a pistol squat

  • Basic Patterns
    • squats – a common problem with squats is that people’s knees cave – watch out for this!
      • Orthodics are over prescribed! People think it’s because everyone has flat feet, but the problem is because your knees are turning inward, so you need to work on getting your knees out (which means strengthening the muscles above and below it)
      • Many people have overly strong & tight quads and weak hamstrings from not using their hamstrings and glutes enough in movements like a squat
      • In order to do a squat properly, squeeze your bum! This will activate your glutes so you’ll use your quads less
      • If your quads are tight, use a foam roller – you can use it as a fulcrum to go over your quad in order stretch the muscle (do this by lying down on the roller, then bending and straightening your leg)
    • pushups – shoulder blades should not protrude when doing pushups, if they do, you have a weakness there

Corrective Training:

  • Thoracic mobility (spinal movement)
  • Ankle mobility
    • Pin & glide calf – if you don’t have a lot of ankle mobility then your achilles tendon is likely tight, so use a foam roller, find the sticky spot on your calf (wherever it hurts and feels tight), hold the roller there, then point and flex your foot to loosen up your calf
      • this tricks your fascia (connective tissue beneath the skin) into relaxing!
    • Banded flossing – this is where you wrap a band around your ankle very tightly
      • DON’T DO THIS ON YOUR OWN, SEE A CHIROPRACTOR OR PHSYIOTHERAPIST. Dr Lendvoy can certainly help you with this!
  • Core strength
    • Bird dog – static/dynamic – get into table top position, then raise 1 arm and 1 leg
    • Michelle demonstrating proper technique
    • Deadbug progression – lie on your back, knees up at 90º, then push against 1 knee while straightening the other leg (don’t let the bent knee move) (advanced version: move your arms as well)
    • Side plank – static/dynamic

I found all of these exercises extremely helpful, and immediately realized where my weaknesses were. Dr Lendvoy and Michelle also touched on potential issues dancers could have, such as:

  • hyper mobility – this can cause hip pain & can be fixed by doing strength training
  • torn meniscus – this causes bone on bone action which is the beginning of arthritis
  • shoulder impingement – inflammation in the shoulder caused by repetitive strain
  • spondylolisthesis – when bones slides over top of one another
    • this usually occurs in the discs of the lower back (sports like dance and skating can cause this, as well as gymnastics and football because they put pressure on the back)

They were very knowledgable and helpful. They were more than willing to help each person with their individual problems. This was a must-go-to event! Check out Dr Lendvoy & Michelle Kwok at Impulse Sport Therapeutics for to find out when their next event may be, or to speak to them about improving your own fitness.

And thanks to the Anna Wyman School of Dance Arts for hosting the event!


March 16, 2018

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