Strength and Conditioning classes at Swing Dance events

As I usually do on the weekends if I’m not working I’m just watching Lindy Hop videos on YouTube to get some inspiration for my dancing. Recently Stompology went down in New York and I had to check out the competitions to see what type of stuff the dancers were doing and pretty much seeing what I need to work on to be a better slow solo jazz dancer. I can dance really well to fast music but I’m nearly anemic when it comes to slow songs,0 so I always commend the finalist on their creativity at the slower tempos. Also, the things they think of to the faster songs, I hope to one day attend that event and compete. Anyways after watching one video I stumbled across a class recap titled Balance, Strength and Conditioning from Stompology featuring Juan Villafane and Evita Arce. It made me curious, so I clicked on it and took a gander and posted it in the blog so you can to.

And here are my thoughts accompanied by my awesome beard

 

 

In summary I’m super excited to see fitness classes at workshop events and hope to continue to see more. I’d love to see someone like Nick Williams to teach these but if you can’t get Nick and want this I’ll recommend myself I’m dead serious about this, I’ve put a lot of time into seeing how my sports performance training background can lend to this art form.  A Needs Analysis of Lindy Hop shows how much exercise can benefit your dancing as well as your life in general. Also, here’s my article on  Flexibility the youtube links you’ll have to copy and paste over to another window for some reason I couldn’t embed all of them. Hope you enjoyed this post as it wasn’t planned it just happened spur the moment. So comment with questions, arguments or just fill me in on what the class really totally entailed.

Love y’all and God Bless 🙂

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I’m Back!!

Well, I realized it’s been quite sometime but had a lot of hiccups with my job and so much so it led me to leave that job. I had a new Department Head for Personal Training come in of which required me to work more. This left me less time for writing because I only got one off day instead of my usual 2 off days. Also, they really weren’t teaching me the business or telling me what I was doing right, they were just talking about sales numbers. My biggest pet peeve is terrible coaching and I got a lot of that at this job so I jumped ship about a month ago but I have some fun videos of interviews that I did for some other jobs of mine. 

 

Iron Tribe Fitness had fun interview process but gave me the opportunity to get some videos to y’all so you can actually see who I am and watch me workout.

 

I was recently hired by 24 Hour Fitness as a personal trainer there and have freedom with my schedule to travel, compete and do more dance instruction in the evenings. Here’s a sample of what I want to do more of in the future via video post. I’m gonna be posting videos by using my phone so if the quality is kinda crappy my apologies. I’ll get a respectable video camera with money from my new job.

 

That summarizes my absence and hope ya’ll are excited for the things ahead. I’ve still been conducting experiments while away and my next blog is going to cover what I’ve been doing. God bless and love you all and feel free to ask me questions.

 

 

 

 

Let’s talk about Flexibillity shall we

Introduction

Ok, I need to call foul on myself, I kind of sorta put the cart before the horse sort of speak. By talking about strength training, cardiovascular training and even posting a workout before I discussed anything about warming up or stretching.  So shame on me…if you haven’t guessed from the title, I’m going to be talking about flexibility today. Most of my material is going to be coming from the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) because I liked how they categorized everything and made it easier to organize it. Also, it’s fits into my training philosophy and beliefs. Also, I just took my exam last Friday to be a certified personal trainer under that organization and I pass!!

NASM describes Flexibility as the ability to move a joint through it’s complete range of motion dictated by the normal extensibility ( capability to be elongated or stretched) of all soft tissues surrounding it. Now grant it I do have a picture of a friend of mine pulling off a full split in the middle of a underground solo jazz competition but really utilizing flexibility training as a means to improve overall movement and Neuromuscular efficiency or the ability of the nervous system to recruit the correct muscles to produce force, reduce force and dynamically stabilize the body’s structure in all three planes of motion. In normal speak your body functions properly to control itself on the dance floor, which is huge for proper technique, learning moves, floorcraft and overall injury prevention.

Flexibility Continuum

Ok, to be able to put flexibility in a manner that can be progressed and really cover all the aspects of it in regards to fitness and overall well being, I’m going to go over the flexibility continuum. This is NASM’s progressive approach to flexibility and in a way how I like to approach it. There are many other ways I just choose this one. Flexibility is divided into 3 phases Corrective Flexibility, Active Flexibility and Functional flexibility all of these utilize different techniques to improve neuromuscular function in hopes of improving muscle imbalances and improving motor neuron function.

Corrective Flexibility

This is designed to increase joint range of motion (ROM), Improve muscle imbalances and correct altered joint patterns. These can result to lack of movement or repeated patterns (pattern overload). This can result in altered patterns of body movement as trigger points develop in soft tissue known as fascia resulting in one muscle that is overactive (tight) and a under active muscle (weak).Which can create altered movements that can result in injuries and chronic pain. So corrective flexibility uses Foam rolling or self myofascial release covered in the video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0UQMLGvgf-0 this utilizes autogenic inhibition to cause muscle relaxation. Another technique used in corrective flexibility is static stretching and this is the type of stretching that is more commonly known as to holding out a stretch for like 10-20 seconds. Static stretching helps to lengthen shortened muscles to allow them to have better ROM and function. Many people should start here because it’s important to deal with any areas of chronic pain and loosening the muscles that are tight to alleviate that pain before really progressing in their training.

Active Flexibility

The next step of flexibility is the active portion just like corrective you’ll be utilizing myofascial release aka foam rolling. Straight form NASM’s Essentials of personal training which is available on Amazon. Active-isolated stretching is designed to improve the extensibility of soft tissue and increase neuromuscular efficiency by using reciprocal inhibition. This allows for the agonist and synergist muscles to move a limb through a full ROM while the functional antagonists are being stretched http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R1gk_tHVxn4. Do This is good before dancing because it increases motorneuron excitability which is good when you’re about to be pulsing around the dance floor.

Functional Flexibility

Last but not least is functional flexibility here we’re still utilizing foam rolling on common areas that tend to get tight for us but we go into utilizing dynamic stretching to get the muscles prepared for movement. Dynamic stretching requires integrated, multiplanar soft tissue extensibility, with optimal neuromuscular control, through the full range of motion. or essentially movement without compensations. Also, known as movement prep dynamic stretching is utilized before athletic competitions. My partner and I have a warm up routine to music that we use to get ready for practice. It get’s our bodies going in all the different directions we could hit on the floor and also gets us pulsing warming up our ankles, knees and hips. Here’s an example warm up that’s not geared towards Lindy hoppers but it is dance minded http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CUqWuFCOMMc. Remember if you have any compensations with any of these movements you MUST regress back to active stretching or corrective stretching because all that’ll happen warming up compensated movements is you getting injured.

Conclusion

So there we have it flexibility and it’s importance. As you noticed I didn’t address this subject till my 5th post, which shows how this can be easily overlooked. I’m going to be really getting serious about my own flexibility routine and will document the improvements I have utilizing it. Feel free to ask me any if not many questions. Love ya’ll and Good bless

Photo credit to Alex Buchalter photography Video Credits to OSR Physical Therapy, Dr. Mark Cheng, Running Times Magazine

Website resource: FreeDictionary.com and National Academy of Sports Medicine Essential of Personal Fitness Training.

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 http://youtu.be/dxWQgMpEFjs  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 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X-4tIs00NvM . 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 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CSmhMKo6jV4 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.

Conclusion

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

What happens when you have an energetic Lead, a Heart Rate Monitor and a near endless Resource of Follows?

Introduction

Years ago a friend of mine had a debate of how much of Lindy Hop was Aerobic cardiovascular training (low intensity with oxygen) or anaerobic cardiovascular exercise ( moderate to high intensity without oxygen). For years I always speculated because with a lot of the explosive movements utilized in the dance, I had my qualms with a utilization of ONLY low intensity aerobic training by dancers to improve endurance. Which led me to a pretty awesome and fun experiment utilizing a heart rate monitor and follows from all over the mid west.

The Experiment

When I became a Fitness Professional at Lifetime, we’re required to have our own heart rate monitor. Us wearing the watch is part of our uniform so we can show them off to the members and show them the different functions rather then just tell them about them. I was equipped to see how exactly the cardiovascular system functioned during a night of endless dancing. I wanted to figure 2 things from this experiment 1. How many calories do I burn in one night of dancing and 2. was Lindy Hop primarily aerobic or anaerobic.

With this in mind, I decided that one night I’d go to a dance with my heart rate monitor ready to track my heart rate through out the night and track the number of calories burned. After utilizing the information gathered from a peak VO2 treadmill test at Lifetime, I knew exactly when I’d be working aerobically and anaerobically based on my heart rate. I tracked calories burned and heart rate zones on my Polar RS300  (web link to see what it looks like). The watch breaks divides my heart rate into 5 Zones. Zone 1 is a warm up zone that teaches the body how to burn fat more efficiently, Zone 2 is where I build my aerobic endurance, Zone 3 is where I then start to become  more anaerobic utilizing more carbohydrates to function this is where anaerobic endurance is improved, Zone 4 is nearly “balls to the walls” this is how you improve your VO2  at this workload one can only last really a minute at best unless they’re an elite level endurance athlete. Zone 5 represents my absolute maximum and really I shouldn’t be getting that high honestly.

I conducted this experiment twice the first didn’t render enough data going to the  dance  BAM, which is a  dance that is focused on intermediate and advance dancers in Dallas takes place last Friday of every month. There were too few people and so I didn’t dance very frequently and other people weren’t dancing much as it was mostly a practice and experimentation kind of night. Due to that my heart kept plummeting out of my registered zones and I really never got my heart rate up above the bottom of my Zone 2. So the simple answer to this problem; go to a dance with more people and by more people I mean follows. What better event to go to then a workshop weekend that is follow focused!!

All Follow’s Eve Friday November 1st, 2013

Ok, so here’s the situation All Follows Eve was put on by the lovely ladies of the  Fort Worth Swing Dance Syndicate. There follows were able to get instruction from the fabulous Laura Glaess, Miranda Longaker and Joanna Lucero.  With that we had the pleasure to rocking out to the Solomon Douglass Quartet with Allyson Dreyfuss. Along with all follow performances from the Houston Hepcats (Houston, TX), Dallas Divas (Dallas, TX) and Shiny Stockings (Witchita, KS).

In short ya’ll should come dance in Fort Worth. Now I did the experiment on the Friday evening dance because I didn’t want my watch to clash with my threads Saturday evening. The rules were set, I was going to dance just about every song the only time I could miss was to change shirts and I’d get water while finding my next dance partner (I have this down to a science). This was easy to do as I attempted to dance with every follow at least once as the night went on but it was like they never stopped walking in. It literally seemed endless great classes and I ended up getting great results dancing with follows from Minnesota, Houston, San Antonio, Oklahoma, Kansas City, Wichita, Kansas and more. Learned a great deal from the classes on being more attentive as a lead and allowing my follow to shine as a dancer. Ok, back to the results and findings.

Results

Now I danced just all but 4 songs through out the entire dance missed 1 because I had to check in and put my shoes on and make sure they were tied tight enough. The other 3 were all for shirt changes with this minimal rest I succeeded in burning 1600 calories in that single dance. Now while looking down at my watch through out the night, I spent the night mostly in my Zone 2 heart rate zone, which makes a good claim that the dance is mostly aerobic cardiovascular training.

Conclusions

Based off the evidence presented you can conclude that low intensity cardiovascular training would be sufficient to help improve a dancers endurance to hold up for an entire night of endless dancing. Though 2 things that happened over the weekend that I know I need to take a look into again. I feel that training for a lead and for a follow may have to differ as they have different stresses on their bodies. I found when I followed my heart rate was higher then when I was leading but I didn’t start following till the end of the night and that could’ve been because of Cardiac Drift as I was able to keep my activity level the same and so my heart rate went up. So in the future this same experiment would need to be done with an experience follow or myself following for an entire night to see if cardiovascular training needs to be more intense for a follow then it would for a lead. Also, try a night where there is faster music overall, live bands tend to be faster then dj’s because while dancing to the Solomon Douglass Quartet, I realized I had more lactic acid building in my legs after dances, which side effect of anaerobic conditioning and the cause of that burning sensation with prolonged sprinting. So it leaves room in the future for this experiment to be done with a live band performing to see where my heart rate goes with overall faster music. So with this in mind you can plan out how you want to do your cardio and if you have any specific questions be sure to let me know because there is way more to cover on this subject. I just wanted to put out this experiment to get peoples wheels turning. Love ya’ll and God Bless 🙂

How Weight Lifting/Resistance Training can transform your dancing

Introduction

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

Physiological

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.

Physical 

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.

Performance

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.

Conclusion

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 🙂

P.S.

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 😀

A Needs Analysis of the Dance We all Love

Intro

As this site is designed to help inform dancers how to utilize exercise as a means of improving our swing dancing, I found that it’s only appropriate to start off revealing what components of fitness does Lindy Hop really utilizes. This will allow all of you to have an idea on what to ask questions about if you have already been doing this or directions on how and where to start.

What is a Needs Analysis?

The needs analysis is the starting point of any training program. It consists of determining the basic needs of the individual in accordance with the target activity. The analysis generally focuses on three primary areas: physiological, biomechanical and medical (Hoffman 2002). The physiological analysis focuses on determining the primary energy source used during activity (ATP-PC, Glyoclytic and Oxidative). Additional needs of the dance are analyzed by examining the emphasis placed on other major fitness components these of which being strength, power, speed, agility and flexibility. This information will give us an idea of how intense the exercises will need to be, how much rest will be needed to properly simulate dancing and adapt the body correctly in training for the dance.

My Analytical Findings

Physiological Analysis

First we must determine if Lindy Hop is aerobic cardio or anaerobic. If cardio is aerobic it’s low intensity and will utilize oxygen to burn fat for energy. Anaerobic cardio is higher intensity and utilizes carbohydrates for energy as there isn’t enough time for oxygen to be utilized to burn fat. This can be determined by looking at heart rate zone ranges going off a variety of estimation formulas. At All Follows Eve in Fort Worth, Texas in early November, I wore a heart rate monitor during the Friday evening dance and found that I predominately stayed in my zone 2 heart rate range (aerobic zone) which means I was using aerobic energy system most of the time. I crossed over to be a bit anaerobic at times for faster songs. Cardiovascular training will be covered in more depth down the rode.

Lindy utilizes a good deal of strength both for the lead and the follow. The lead has to be able to move his partner with his body as the follow has to be able to control her body while being impeded from time to time. A lot of this strength comes from the core which encompasses your abdominal muscles (abs), hips and lower back. Lower body speed, power and agility or foot quickness is a great asset to have as this allows the dancers to be able to dance to faster tempos and allows footwork variations as well. Upper body strength is vital as the shoulders and upper back are engaged the most. Flexibility is important in the shoulders for both leads and follows to avoid injury there and in the hips primarily for follows as this allows for awesome swivels and switches. Leads benefit from having flexibility in that area as well they need to be able to turn freely to complete a good swing out.

Biomechanical Analysis

While analyzing the dance there are a lot of different movements that happen in all different planes of motion frontal (away and towards body) sagittal (front to back) and transverse (rotation on axis). Depending on a dancers style you can move in all of these planes but here are the most common below and I’ll provide a chart that gives visual reference so bear with me if this gets a bit squirrely. This link will help give you a visual and explain in more detail http://www.teachpe.com/anatomy/movements.php

Starting with the shoulders you’ll have flexion and extension this occurs when moving from open to closed position and vice versa. Internal and external rotation mainly happens with  leads using the right arm to lead pop turns or catch a follow for a lindy circle or swing out. Some people tend utilize circumduction which is normally done for arm styling. Usually a follow does this arm circle when being pulled in for another swing out; watch Maeva Truntzer and Sharon Davis https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HY_fodTVzbk.

Hips tend to stay neutral but will externally rotate while doing circular movement as the follows internally and externally rotate to swivel. Hip abduction and adduction occur sometimes on dancer preference if they do a certain move (Bell kicks and slip slops to name a few). There’s also flexion and extension at the knees and hips for rock steps and the dorsiflexion (toes point up) and plantar flexion (toes point down) of the foot and ankle. Here’s a video of Skye and Frida in Slow motion to help you visualize this.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=waYJdPx8G3s.

The range of motion varies depending on the moves a dancer chooses and the speed of force on each joint varies as some moves carry more momentum then others and song speed/tempo comes into play. The muscle action that’s most apparent is concentric (shortening) and eccentric(lengthening) and some isometric movement. The shoulder muscles use eccentric contractions to slow down pulling and concentric to start movement for leads. The muscles in the legs constantly lengthen and contract as you pulse on the dance floor. If you hold any pose you’re using isometric contractions. In the video Jamin Jackson demonstrates a lot of these actions while balancing one leg he’s pulsing and strikes isometric holds on breaks. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hbbNSXafeyc

Medical Analysis

This portion of the needs analysis is pretty much different depending on what an individual has had happen to them during their life. So I can’t really make a general deduction for everyone which this makes creating a workout program very individualized. As I need to do work to strengthen an ankle that I had sprained and learned to dance on and take into account a hip strain I experienced while running track and patella tendonitis and now Golfers Elbow but I can go over common places of injuries for dancers though.

While seeking the knowledge of more experienced dancers that I know and love to see what they have observed. A follow friend said most common injuries are general knee strain injuries, hip joint over-stress (from swiveling wrong), sore feet (from bad shoes), and possible shoulder injuries (usually from bad leads). As for leads Knees, hips and shoulder injuries are common due to long periods of social dancing, pushing oneself well passed the limits of fatigue. This will enlist a number of exercises and other modalities to be utilized for injury prevention and recovery.

Conclusion

So now that the needs analysis is done, we’ve set the foundation on what things we can address when it comes to training our bodies to be more efficient Lindy Hoppers and articles following this one will address a lot of the things that were touched on here feel free to ask me questions so I can answer them below or write a post about it. Take care and God Bless