Preventing the Scars of Swungover


What if I told you that you could go to a dance weekend and social dance all you want and minimize the normal physical repercussions? I’m saying no dehydration, no overly sore muscles, achy feet or joints. The physical ailments that used to plague you after a dance weekend before shall never plague you again. Start incorporating these habits when you travel and your lives will forever be changed! 

Ok, I’m getting a little carried away with my Matrix-like monologue but I’m SUPER excited about the information I’m going to share with you all.  At the Great Southwest Lindyfest and Lone Star Championships I took the opportunity to test a theory that I’ve had for a good while, as I’ve started to dive more into corrective exercise and nutritional supplementation in regards to my own training.  I figured there’d have to be a way to apply that knowledge in a manner to assist dancers, and then it hit me: RECOVERY.

What Does it Mean to be Swungover?

I figured I should probably define “swungover” as there could be dancers reading this who’ve never gone to a weekend event, dance camp, or danced nearly every song at a dance.  If you have done these things I’m sure you dealt with the soreness, aches, and pains that are common after swing dance events. This condition is what we call being Swungover.  My dance friends have defined the symptoms as extreme fatigue, sore muscles, and achey feet and joints. There’s a list of mental symptoms as well but I haven’t figured out how to deal with those. I find myself being sad that I won’t get to see my out of town friends at my next dance here in Dallas (you people know who you are).

Weekend Dance Event Protocol vs. Pre Dance Event Protocol

This article is split up into 2 sections with subsections underneath each one. The first one is about habits and things you can do during the dance weekend to help lower the physical scars that come with (as Bobby White puts it) “binge Jitterbugging.” The pre-dance event protocol mainly focuses upon the habits you can take on during the months leading up to a dance event to help prepare your body for the stress that it’s going to be put through during the event.

Weekend Protocol

Ok, I’m starting with the thing that most people will be able to adopt easily and that is weekend protocol. The weekend protocol is pretty much actions you can perform throughout the dance weekend to help prevent chronic aches and pains that you may have for a few days after the event has concluded. The four factors that are always my biggest concerns throughout the weekend are Sleep, Nutrition, Hydration and Stretching.

Sleep: Ok, I know most of you are thinking “How are you going to put sleep on there, man?! No one sleeps at exchange weekends, and especially not at Lindy Focus.” I know sleep is by far the hardest one to manage. I was trying to dance till 3 or 4 am each night at Lindyfest this past weekend, but still somehow get enough sleep to enable me to be up for classes and at least sit, observe, and take notes. We must remember that getting a good amount of sleep is what allows our body to repair itself after all that dancing, as extra protein molecules are produced. Sleeping will also improve one’s memory, so if you’re looking to retain that awesome variation pattern that Todd and Laura taught you or the concept Michael and Nina went over (Shout out to Mobtown!!!) you’re gonna need some sleep.   A lot of different sources that I’ve looked at agree that the average adult needs around 7-9 hours of sleep per night.  This article, Benefits of sleep, touches on other benefits of sleep. Though I know sleep is a rare commodity at events, as people tell me that the fact that I can get 6 hours each night is amazing, I dug up an article on the benefits of power naps. A lot of the benefits that you’ll read about are the same as a full night’s sleep, but if you sleep poorly during dance weekends taking naps in your spare time can spark creativity, boost learning, and lower stress. I’m totally taking a nap before my next competition, that’s for sure!!

Nutrition/Hydration: If sleep is the thing that recharges a dancer’s batteries, nutrition fuels a dancers engine. The food that you put into your body is absolutely crucial for your energy levels and recoveryProtein  plays a huge part in repairing your muscles which are working hard as you dance. Carbohydrates are a necessary and good energy source for your muscles (which continually contract during a song) and allow the body to metabolize (fancy word for burn) fat and energize the central nervous system. Also, don’t forget the under appreciated dietary fat that’s the most efficient energy source we have, and also helps us to absorb vitamins that are crucial to a lot of basic functions–most commonly fighting off free radicals in the body that cause us to get sick. Now nutrition is a tricky thing because by law as a Personal Trainer I cannot make a eating plan for y’all, but I can give general information on the direction you can go, so I’m going to let the Eat Well, Live Well Guide from Lifetime fitness speak for me: (copy and paste the link if it isn’t clickable) The pdf gives general information on the each macro nutrient and good sources for each one. What I’m leaving out?

Of course, Andre Johnson, is hydration. Make sure you’re staying hydrated, people, because water is 60% of our body and aids in flushing toxins out of our main organs. The Mayo Clinic  recommends that men drink 13 cups a day or 3 liters and women drink 9 cups per day or 2.2 liters. Now this will vary by person due to body size and weight, but these are general guidelines. Now during events we need to be drinking more during exercise, adding 1.5-2.5 more cups…I say eff that and grab a big ole gallon jug and just take some swigs from it every 2-3 dances before going back out on the dance floor. This should be done regardless of if you’re thirsty or not. Once you’re thirsty you’re already putting yourself behind the 8 ball as you’ve lost 1-2 percent of water in your body. You have to be constantly hydrating as I shouldn’t have to remind people about the sweating that goes on at events. *Shudders* I still have nightmares of 2014 Kansas City Stomp sometimes. MY PANTS WENT FROM GREEN TO BLACK, PEOPLE! But it was a great event, though. Vine Street Rumble was a phenomenal band and I’m going back again this year. The organizers of 627 Stomp did a great job, so check out the website.


Now I did something different this event which I’d recommend for other dancers to give a shot, especially if you workout 20150312_123720[1]and take supplements. I totally recommend taking your protein powder and blender bottles with you. Also, a container of Branch Chained Amino Acids (BCAA’s). This is great stuff to use going into a late night, because the protein shake is a filling snack to get you back on the floor quickly and the BCAA’s help the muscles recover as well.  Pictured below are the supplements I took with me. I used Syntha 6 protein: 1 scoop is 22 grams of protein, 12 grams of carbs and L Glutamine (amino acid aids in recovery), and I have Lemon lime Amino 1 from Muscle Pharm, and a very potent BCAA blend–one scoop yields 10 grams worth of BCAA’s while most only yield 5 grams. Supplementing really kept me away from the “O my goodness, my legs are gonna fall off!” feeling.

Stretching: Now if there is anything I’d had to say was the real MVP of the weekend it was the fact that I actually took the  time to go through a post-dance stretching routine before heading off to bed. Like I said in my post about flexibility, stretching and Myofacial release can easily be overlooked because, to be honest, it’s kind of monotonous.  But so needed. Outside of improving flexibility stretching is crucial because it helps improve circulation of blood throughout the body, which is a big deal when talking about recovery. Improved blood flow allows for nutrients to be delivered to muscles and waste to be carried out of the body. Also, with the help of a foam roller you can combat pattern overload and myofacial impediment. This is when adhesions form in your soft tissue from from repeated movements and these will impede not only good movement but also stretching. Fascia encases your muscles, so if the fascia is impeded so is the muscle, which is why adhesions in it prevent smooth movement patterns.  Normally some type of joint pain is involved.  Achy knees, ankles, and feet anyone? Every night before leaving the ballroom I’d roll out on my foam roller and stretch the muscles I’d just rolled out.

Below is a playlist of the muscles that I roll out and stretch after dances:

I took various videos from different Youtube Channels that I utilized in researching for training clients or friends who have questions about certain things. So those are the things I did that kept me pretty upright during Lindy Fest. I’ll admit that two things that I’d change would be to have a multivitamin to keep my immune system up and going with the shortened sleep, and add a joint supplement to deal with inflammation. I had some mad wicked tendonitis flair up in my right knee and fortunately it didn’t affect me during my Jack and Jill Finals (videos to come).

Pre Event Protocol

Now in the tradition of having one blog post section be incredibly long and another being incredibly short, I think it’s only important to keep that going. Outside of the fact that all the above tactics should be habits that we should incorporate in our everyday lives and especially on our dancing days, I’m reflecting back on why I haven’t been incredibly sore after dance events. The number one thing I have to point that to is the amount of exercise that I do leading up to events. I predominately focus on resistance training with free weights, weight stack machines, and cable machines. Now the reason this is important is because I feel that I overload my body in the weight room which allows it to sustain the stressors of dancing over this long period of time.

If you go back and read how weight lifting can transform your dancing you’ll see I’ve discussed how weight training improves your bone density and tinsile strength of your muscles, ligaments, and tendons. This makes you less susceptible to injuries as you continue to overload the muscular skeletal system. There are a number of different ways you can go about doing this. I have included one workout by request that takes minimal amount of equipment in my at home stabilization workout , which is a great start for people who’ve never taken on any type of resistance training. An even better way to go about this conditioning is to do basic body weight exercises in a circuit fashion rather then training in a horizantal loading fashion , where you do all the sets for a particular movement before moving to the next one. Circuit training or vertical loading saves times and does more for cardiovascular endurance but I think the horizontal loading does more for specific areas. Here’s an example of the training template I’ve been using from I’ve been utilizing a Body building program because it utilizes heavy weight for strength but good volume and varied sets for endurance. For those who either don’t have access to a gym or equipment I’m posting 2 videos of a High Intensity Interval Training body weight workout and body weight circuit workout from Funk Roberts and Nick Williams.

I enjoy how he designs his workouts and explains them and you can do the workouts along with him.

And now for a fun workout featuring Nick Williams and Bobby White getting some gains!!

Shout out to Alexis Strickland from Houston, Texas for sending me this on Facebook


So for a little bit of recap for things to consider when you head to your next weekend event. Make sure you take some nutrient dense snacks to fuel your body and muscles, get as much sleep as possible and when you need to take a nap. Make sure you take a bit of extra time to stretch before you dance and after dancers, trust me your muscles and joints will thank you for this later. I’d totally recommend investing in a foam roller and tennis ball to perform the rolling techniques I have in the above videos. Those you can get at your local sporting goods stores and last and not least drink water early and often. If you do all of these things I’m sure your physical symptoms of being swungover will decrease dramatically.

I hope that covers enough information for y’all and hope this brings up a number of questions. Keep your eyes peeled for an article Yehoodi is putting out on Health and Lindy Hop as I was asked to answer some questions and provide advice for Lindy Hoppers all around our great scene. I look forward to it and hope y’all take away some great tips from this article.

Love ya’ll and God Bless 🙂


We Talkin about Practice {Revised}


*I was sitting and hanging out about to watch the Jack and Jill Finals at School of Hard Knox in Knoxville, Tennessee last weekend. No lie I was kinda salty to fly from Dallas to Atlanta spend the night in an airport ride to Athens, GA ride in a car so I could do a solo comp there and not make finals and have that same thing happen with the Jack and Jill o well. When a dancer comes up to me and asks “Don’t you have a blog” I look around and I’m like “Yes but haven’t written in a while”. The dancer goes on about how much this blog meant to him as he randomly stumbled upon it and this article really inspired him and motivated him. After trying to keep myself from shedding a tear and coddling this young mans head in my bosom and saying “bless you child” while gently stroking his head as if I was a old Catholic Grandmother, I figured I needed to write again and I’m updating this posts to match my current outlook.

Alright after my last post just to really put up videos and ask what it is I should be writing. A friend of mine out of Panama City, Florida asked me about my view point on practicing. She has dancers that ask her many questions regarding practice, these questions ranged from such things as what should I practice to if I should have a partner etc. So I’m pretty much going to divide this up into what I recommend beginner dancers should practice along with intermediate and Advance/Master level dancers.


Defining your Level

Probably the trickiest part of writing this entire article, would be how do we differentiate a beginner from an Advance/Master level dancer? Your level of dance doesn’t really depend on how long you’ve been dancing with exception of being a beginner because you can’t be focused on particular aspects when you don’t know your basic. Levels are really fluid and subjective and they aren’t as clear cut as Beginner dancer, Intermediate dancer and Advance/Master dancer. I like how the organizers of  Lindyfest in Houston, Texas break down levels and explain each and everyone. They make a focus on pretty much describing what skills you have mastered not how long you’ve danced but though I’m breaking down concepts to practice by level doesn’t mean an Advance/Master level dancers should not or could not work on beginner level stuff or vice versa.


First up is our wide eyed and bushy tail beginners. Super nervous on screwing things up as they may not have rhythm and syncopation down perfect. So I’m going to lead off with this, I feel for a beginner the best thing they can do is work on their 6 count and 8 count rhythms (or just solely 8 count if you’re in a scene that only teaches 8 count stuff). I feel this can best be done by themselves, unless they’re that person who can’t keep a beat to save their life. The dancer should work on doing the footwork in place, then rotate footwork in place and then traveling with said footwork. Things to focus on with your footwork is pulsing into the floor, moving your whole body, keeping your feet up under you as you travel. After getting things down in place, you can try moving with your triple steps and possibly playing with them aka styling. *A simple aspects of styling will be testing out how much ground you can cover in your 8 count and 6 count Rhythm. So going through your basic see how much space you can cover and figure out what works and what doesn’t work. On the flip side see how little ground you can cover within those rhythms as well see what works and what doesn’t.

The video from the easy swing channel down below is a great progressing exercise to help beginners get the basic internalize. The only thing I feel a beginner should work on in regards to partnering (which I have a strong opinion against because there’s a chance they only learn to dance well with one person rather then a multitude) is making sure you can connect in a manner that is comfortable. So leads and follows having their hands and arms in the correct positions and possibly finding comfortable connection (which starts the endless battle that is connection). *Going big and small with your basic 8 count and 6 count movements with a partner is also super important as well, as this is helpful on the social dance floor with floorcraft.


Being an intermediate dancer is like being a college/high school sophomore you know more then the freshman but you’re still a noob in comparison to juniors and seniors. You have a swing out, lindy circle, side by side charleston and an array of moves to build off of that. You have a “solid” take on the basic and you start to discover what musicality and improvisation is. *My definition of musicality is pretty much dancing in a manner that compliments the music not necessarily hitting every bleep and blorp but complimenting it like a good beer compliments a good steak. To improve that I’m gonna break this down how Michael Gamble broke it down in a class I took with him. “The best way to improve musicality is to listen to more jazz music. Now with that said we’re going to give you a few moves that you can apply to this concept when you feel it’s necessary.” By listening to more music you learn to pick up on what speaks to you the most melody or rhythm then you can take the moves you know and apply them to that. You can also learn song phrasing as well which is explained by the ever so talented Sharon Davis. I’m really big about musicality and phrasing in my dancing hence why I devoted a whole paragraph to this lol.*Also, I’d recommend changing the shape of your body while performing certain moves . You know dip that shoulder to the side on a swing out, put alittle sharpness to a triple step or get really upright on a follow through of a pop turn.

Now musicality is more of what I call a mental skill which you can work on it without necessarily dancing. When I became a DJ and started listening to music constantly, while BPMing my music (logging the tempo/speed of my music) my feel for the music improved dramatically.*Also, this can help you learn to scat with music so you can inspire different moves and body articulations with the different sounds of notes and Rhythms. Now this can happen if you don’t neglect giving yourself a real foundation on your steps and this can be learned in the beginner phase of dancing (some are more tuned to music then others *coughs* musicians) as you practice basic rhythms to music. In this phase I’d recommend the above drill, along with dabbling into solo dancing.

I realized about 2 or 3 years into this Lindy Hop journey that some of the strongest dancers are very talented solo dancers. This inspired me to really make solo dancing vibrant and expressive, turning it into a big strength of mine, which has poured over into my partner dancing. I feel as a lead you should be able to move your body and control it sense your job is to move around another person (how can you expect to move someone when you can’t move yourself efficiently Riddle me that). Follows should have strong solo movement and body control so that way they have ownership of their movement and be proactive rather then reactive all the time as Bobby White goes into great detail in his post titled the Proactive Follower.

The easiest way i feel to really get a good arsenal of solo dance moves is to learn different solo routines. If you’ve been dancing pretty consistently over a period of time, I can assume that you know the shim sham pretty well. So to add on to that I recommend diving into learning the Tranky Doo, Jitterbug Stroll, Big Apple, Dean Collins shim sham, St. Louis Shim sham, Slip slop and or my personal favorite the Al and Leon Shim sham. Another way you can go is by watching the Alphabetical Jazz video that I’m posting below and just watch a number of solo competitions from around the world on youtube and copy cat the moves that you can do.


This section is probably going to be my shortest section sense a lot of dancers that I know on a personal level are at this level and I don’t want to be like “Hey this is what y’all should be doing to get awesome.” when just about all of you who are at this point have done a number of things to get to point where you can be referred to as an advance/masters level dancer. It’s at this point where things get really nit picky and there really isn’t a super clear right or wrong when it comes to dancing. Myself still focuses a lot on the things that a beginner does. Pretty much having good footwork and movement in all that I do. I work on refining my solo dancing but if there are dancers who are running into a snag on what to start practicing after going through the other levels here’s what I recommend.

Try mastering another dance. I’m starting to really invest in improving my Balboa sense most of what i’m doing with Lindy is theory based and really can’t clearly see progress on a theory. I’d say I’m an intermediate Balboa dancer, so i take time out of practices to work on dancing Balboa and this year will be the first time I’ll be competing in Balboa at the Lonestar Championships next month (there will be video of my prelims posted here and hopefully of my dance in the Finals) There are bunch of other dance styles. Such as Blues, Balboa, Partner Charleston, Collegiate Shag, St. Louis Shag, Boogie Woogie or Tap Dancing. I’d recommend learning another dance style because certain technique points differ across certain styles ( connection and weight shift is HUGE in blues dancing) and another outlet for creativity can pour over into Lindy Hop if that’s what you’re mainly bent towards.

*Start choreographing to songs that you really like. I have friends in the southeast who make up mini routines on a weekly basis that are 30-60 seconds long. I’ve started coming up with routines as well and has helped my creativity in regards to solo dancing and made my movement cleaner because I’m really focusing on executing a movement a particular way to convey an outlook. If you can’t come up with original choreography start imitating a routine that you love and change it to fit more of your style.

My other suggestion is to really spell out your philosophy about what is good dancing and learn the things that allow you to live that out. To me good dancing is a 50/50 connection between partners where both dancers play off one another and are in tune with the music. So though both dancers can be dancing independently, they’re able to hit the same points in the music with identical or contrasting flair. This has led me to reading articles like Bobby White’s Proactive Follow and Rebecca Brightly’s series on Equal-Opportunity connection. I take the concepts I’ve been studying into my practice.

General House Keeping

In this last part I want to just cover pretty much some general things to consider when you practice.

1. Have a plan for your practice

Determine ahead of time what the goal of your session is and get a bit of organization what you want to do Rebecca Brightly created this cool practice template that I’ve utilized in the past and deviated into my own version.

2. Always do a warm up and always stretch

Make sure to always do some type of warm up before you practice. This will prep your body for movement and loosen up muscles to prevent you from sustaining any types of injuries. I’m a huge fan of jump roping or using some type of solo jazz routine to get you moving and going.

3. Always have a mirror to check your posture

Posture and body lines are important during dance. So the best thing you can have for that fast and instant feed back is a mirror. I do not have mirror at my disposal where I practice mostly so I use my laptop. Sense it has a built in camera for using skype and other instant messenger programs like that. I set the camera up and watch myself on screen from time to time when dancing or I film myself and watch the video right after dancing a sequence. So if your excuse for not practicing is “I don’t have a mirror” bull crap. I’m sure you have a laptop or a camera you can use to tape yourself.


So with that or some of my thoughts on practice I know, that there could’ve been more stuff that I could’ve covered but these are all the things that seem imperative. I urge you to film yourself semi regularly so that way you can see if you have any bad habits that you should just make yourself conscious of to correct or if there is anything you hate about your dancing. My last piece of advice was handed down to me by a mentor and that was to do something simple and consistent each and everyday and that will put you on the fast track to Mastering this dance. Feel free to comment or ask questions, until next time love y’all and God Bless 🙂

*indicated a revision or addition from when it was originally published

At Home Strength Training Stabilization phase

One of my favorite follows in the whole wide world from one of my favorite scenes proposed a good question and scenario for me. After reading my post in regards to strength training, Rebecca Kilby out of Greenville, South Carolina, where if you ever get the chance you should check out the Greenville Lindy Exchange and discover the beautiful Greenville all their fantastic people and dancers in the Palmetto state. Ms. Kilby (as I call her affectionately) sent me this message on facebook. “I workout at home, not at a gym. So I don’t have access to fancy equipment. So what exercises you can do at home or on the go with minimal equipment? For example, I only have 5 lb., 8 lb., and 10 lb. weights, a chair, and the floor.”

So challenge accepted!!! As I know gym memberships are expensive so as much as I’d LOVE to say all ya’ll should join a Lifetime Fitness I understand budget comes into play you can join gyms for as low as 10 dollars a month and I slightly just vomited in my mouth advertising for another gym but do what’s best for the readers. Anyways you can get a pretty decent workout utilizing these pieces of equipment and I’m going to make suggestions of what you can add to this for minimal cost so you can get an all around workout.

Phase 1 Stabilization with dumbbells a chair and the floor.

This phase is circuit style training of 1 set 1-3 rounds which is a set of each all 8 exercises with 45 seconds between each round and 2 minutes between a set (1-2 completed rounds). Each exercise will be done for 12-15 reps at a tempo of 3-1-1 that means the 3 second lowering phase, 1 second lift and a 1 second squeeze at the end of the lift.

The Exercises

Body weight or Dumbbell Squats

Start with feet shoulder width apart with toes forward or turned out at 45 degrees. Have your hands on your hips or straight out in front of you, have your hips go back as if you were sitting down keep your chest up and head neutral (looking straight ahead). If you have difficulty with this I recommend getting a stability ball for a stability ball squat  or use a chair to sit in and to stand back up or you can simply widen your stance as shared in this video. You can progress by making your stance more narrow or adding dumbbells.

Bent over row

For this exercise you’re gonna have a dumbbell in each hand bend over at the hips, have knees slightly bent. Keep your shoulders back, chest  up and have your upper torso parallel to the floor and pull the dumbbells till your elbows are at 90 degrees and slowly go back to starting position . If you need stability you can put your hand on the chair for balance but keep you back flat with shoulders back and chest up and just do a single arm bent over row.

Romanian Deadlift w/dumbbells or Single leg Romainian Deadlift

 Personally a favorite movement to teach if you’ve ever seen Legally Blonde a Romanian Deadlift is pretty much a “bend and snap” if you haven’t here’s the clip . I say this to for fun but also I seriously teach this movement this way. You’ll have your dumbbells in front of you bend over with your hips going back, keep your chest up and shoulders back and slightly bend the knees. Go down as far as you can and return to starting position. Here’s a more serious video that I love because it’s taught by British trainers and I just love the cues they use. You can do this movement on one leg with a single dumbbell or body weight to work on balance and stability but I like to teach the move on two feet first. If you struggle with balance on the single keep your free leg toe on the ground so you can stabilize yourself when need be. If that doesn’t work do regular deadlifts till you’re strong enough to do single leg.

Chair bridge chest press

As you’ll see in the video demonstration from Hyper strike. This exercis is more commonly done with a stability ball but you can relax on the corner of the chair to give you free range of motion with the elbows and dumbbells. You’re going to want to use a towel or something to cushion the seat of the chair so you’re more comfortable. I’d recommend purchasing a swiss ball because it’s a versatile piece of equipment that is fairly inexpensive. Rest your shoulder blades on the chair, press heels firmly into the ground and raise hips to create a bridge with the body and keep abs tight. Start arms extended bring down slowly till elbows are 90 degrees then press upward.

Static Lunge/Split squats

You must always learn to produce strength from one leg. So I always recommend a single leg pushing exercise such as the step up to balance but knowing the fact that said chair maybe too high for most novice fitness trainees. We’re going to break down the static lung instead. You’ll start off one leg in front of the other weight loaded on the heel. Lower hips down to front knee being 90 degrees back knee slightly bent. Go down and push back up from the heels.

Renegade row

Awesome core and shoulder stability exercise with dumbbells. You’re going to start off in a push up position on dumbbells core drawn in (abs tight) back flat and straight. You’re going to pull one dumbbell towards you slightly turning the body place it on the ground then the other leading with the elbow of course.

Floor Bridge

Another bending movement to help strengthen the glutes, lower back and hamstrings. You lay flat on your back feet flat on the ground. Hands flat on the ground. You’re going to push your heels into the floor lifting your hips up till your back is straight and slowly bring your body back down.

Push ups

Help stabilize your shoulders strengthen you abs and lower back push ups are great you can. I’m not even really going to write much on this exercise because speaker Rachel Buschert Vaziralli does a great job breaking this down and give awesome regressions and progressions to make this exercise easier or more  challenging.


So here is a workout you can do circuit style to help you build up some stability for your joints and muscles to get you a good foundation before moving on to other exercises to challenge you while you’re at home. Hope this one helps. I apologize for the links that weren’t live totally copy and paste those into another tab so you can access they’re also very useful to watch. Thanks for reading  and feel free to ask me question. Love y’all and God Bless ^_^

Photo Credit to Jamie Lynn Photography Youtube channel credits to Howcast, The Fit Lab, HyperStrike and Well Fit

How Weight Lifting/Resistance Training can transform your dancing


Bro do you even lift? No, seriously do you because there are a ton of ways this can help you as a dancer and I have really no idea where to start.  So I’m going to lay these benefits/adaptations out in the manner that the National Academy of Sports Medicine does by giving physiological benefits, Physical benefits and last but not least performance benefits. I’ll be tying each benefit back to where it falls in regards to dancing. Resistance training does more then just build big muscles. As always this is just an overview if you want specifics don’t hesitate to ask questions.

Adaptive Benefits of Resistance Training


Resistance training helps improve cardiovascular efficiency, decreases body fat, and Increases metabolic efficiency (metabolism). So first of all resistance training can improve cardiovascular fitness/efficiency Gettman and Pollock showed in a study that 20 weeks of circuit training with weights can improve VO2 Max by 5-8%. Also, Stone, Wilson, et al  found in high volume Olympic weight lifting program can improve aerobic capacity by 8% in an 8 week program. This due to the number of large muscle group exercises like squats, cleans and high pulls with minimal rest between sets. Now a increased metabolism and decreased body fat go hand in hand. As you build up your muscle, your body will rely more on fat as an energy source not only at rest but at higher intensities of exercise. With this you spare glycogen or carbohydrates allowing you to do high intensity activity for a longer duration of time. Which means, you guessed it, you can dance more consecutive songs and effectively with an improved metabolism.


When it comes to the physical adaptations these are all about things that help prevent injury. A good resistance training program increases bone density and tissue (muscle, tendons, ligaments) tensile strength. Increased bone density makes your bones less susceptible to fractures (and a shin splints common among dancers), gives your muscles a sturdier anchor to pull on making your movement more efficient. Improved tensile strength of the tissues makes you less likely to strain a muscle on the dance floor and to suffer from spraining a tendon or a ligament. This will also lower the severity of tendinitis as well. So your body is going to feel a lot better dancing during those long exchange weekends. Also, resistance training will increase cross-sectional area of muscle fibers. In non science speak your muscles get bigger fellas, not only does this mean your arms look WAY better when you roll up your sleeves of those dress shirts at dances and ladies you get some pretty awesome toned legs to show off with your flowy skirts. You’re able to move with less effort as now you have a bigger motor unit  contracting to produce that move and more motor units recruited. This benefit will be covered in more detail in the performance section.


Now for the performance part of it. If you’re to take part in a well organized program, you’d not only be able to improve your strength but you’d be able to improve power as well. Power is strength with a high rate of speed which is vital in dancing Fast Lindy when you have to perform directional changes quickly. Power is also important when performing aerials as you need to be able to get your follow off the ground efficiently as a lead and the follow can help out by jumping quickly. You can improve muscular and cardiovascular endurance through a number of different systems of  resistance training. The more endurance your muscles have the longer you can maintain good technique with your footwork, while dancing and maintaining a responsive connection. My favorite benefit is resistance training increases neuromuscular control (coordination). For those of you who want better balance weight lifting gets the body to recruit more motor units (muscle fibers and motor neurons) and become more coordinated in firing. This improves how well you move and are able to learn a particular movement along with improving balance.

Tips for Starting/Designing a Resistance Training Program

1. Focus on Core aka Multi Joint Exercises

When you start a resistance training program, whether that involves weights or just using your own body weight, focus on Core exercises, as they recruit one to two large muscle groups and involve 2 or more primary joints. This is going to give you the above adaptations in the shortest amount of time. Also, core exercises will have a bigger cross over to dancing as well as a lot of other sports movements. Assistance exercises or single joint exercises are good for working areas that are commonly injured. Here’s an article from Lifetime Fitness (my employer ya’ll) on the type of movements I feel should be staples in your routine and help you get results 4 Movements You should focus on.

2. Have your Exercise Order go from Big down to small

This is kind of similar to the above tip but when you train you want to work the large muscle groups first. So if you’re working out legs do squats, deadlift and lunges first. At the end you can just work the quadriceps (front of thigh), Hamstrings (back of thigh) and do calve raises. For Upper body it’d look like this do Chest press, Pull ups, Dips, Rows, shoulder press and then you would work your biceps and triceps at the end. Assistance exercises don’t need much time spent on them because those muscle are utilized during the core exercises. Fitness trainer confessional I hate seeing members go out to the workout floor and go straight to doing curls and tricep extensions when they want to lose weight and I try to give them advise to help improve their workout and they get mad…please don’t be those people.

3. Start with basic movements and then go up from there

If you don’t know how to squat don’t try doing single leg squats and if you have to do a push up with your knees on the ground that’s perfectly fine. Rome wasn’t built in a day and we all have to learn how to crawl before we can walk and even God took seven days to create everything. I feel one should not engage in box jumps, med ball throws or any other power or ballistic movements without going through a series of stabilization, endurance, hypertrophy and strength exercise Optimum Performance Training Models. That’s just asking for an injury and that’s honestly something I hate seeing which is why I’m writing so if you want guidance feel free to ask me because I’d love to help.

4. Less can be more

The most important aspect of any training program is rest and recovery. It took me 10 years of running track for me to learn this when it came to my off season training. I trained  4 days a week in the summer 2 of those in the weight room, one on the track and I utilized Ultimate Frisbee after campus ministry as another conditioning day and which didn’t seem like conditioning because I was having a blasts. I came into the season fresher and in better shape then the seasons I trained 6 days a week over the summer. We tend to fall into the myth the more the better. The most important thing for your body is to recover the only way for these adaptations to happen is the body needs to rest and regenerate to a higher level of performance known as super compensation, Here’s the visual aid I always use to explain this point to people.


That’s all I have for now FEEL FREE TO ASK ME QUESTIONS. I’d love to help and totally plan on going in depth with this subject on a later post love ya’ll and God Bless 🙂


I’m being very forward about ya’ll asking questions because I want you dancers from all around to drive the material. This is how i work with my clients at times and we’ve been pretty successful doing this. Also, Photo credit to Jamie Lynn Photography in Orlando, Florida LOVE YOU AND MISS YOU JAMIE 😀