Preventing the Scars of Swungover

Introduction

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: http://www.lifetime-weightloss.com/storage/Eat%20Well%20-%20Live%20Well.pdf (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.

Supplments:

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 T-nation.com. 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

Conclusion

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 🙂

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How to Build and Maintain Confidence as a Dancer

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! Glad to make it to 2015 and share another blog with you all and hope those who traveled to Lindy Focus or the SnowBall had a great time and were inspired. I hope whatever inspiration and progress that you took from those camps may continue with the article that I’m sharing with y’all today.

Introduction

Through out 2014 confidence and psychology probably had to be the biggest obstacle that I have come across not only within myself but with a few dancers around me. I’ve had conversations with dancers who were frustrated with how their development staggered in comparison with other dancers who were able to consistently travel and or practice their dancing. I’ve spoken to dancers who travel consistently and hit lows due to the feedback they have gotten from instructors and the number of dances they get at events. For myself getting into a masters track at an event and then not making finals in multiple competitions had me questioning a lot of my ideas I had in regards of my dancing but after ILHC specifically this dance from Jamin Jackson 

along with Pamela Gaizutyte they won 1st place in the All Star Jack and Jill. I had to go back and see where did I go wrong in my mental approach that left me to question my abilities as a dancer. Pretty much I found where I went wrong and during a conversation with a friend who’s in a rut herself I figured I’d dig in depth with my own advice a bit.

What is Confidence?

Before diving into the 4 things I recommend a dancer do to promote and maintain confidence we should define what confidence is. In a Ted Talk done by Dr. Ivan Joseph on “The Skill of Self Confidence”, Dr. Joseph defines Self-Confidence as “the ability or the belief, to believe in yourself, to accomplish any task, no matter the odds, no matter the difficulty,no matter the adversity.” I like this definition because it really covers a wide spectrum, taking into account things that can negatively affect ones confidence (ie. odds, difficulty and adversity). Similarly if you watch video presentations of Dr. Jeff Duke on 3Dimensional coaching from Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) he defines confidence as the belief that he/she has the skills to produce a desired outcome. This is similar to Dr. Joseph’s definition but he takes into account having that belief in spite of obstacles. Now that we have 2 working definitions, the next section is going to discuss how we build up these beliefs in ourselves and how these mind sets can help us maintain our belief when the going gets tough.

How to Build and Maintain Confidence

For this article I focused on 4 strategies that I’ve utilized to improve my confidence but also what I have spoken to other dancers to help them get out of a funk.

1. Avoid comparing,unless it’s to yourself

2. Define your own Success or what good dancing is through goal setting

3. Focus on what you can control

4. Disregard what you cannot control

Avoid comparing, unless it’s to yourself

Comparing is by far the biggest thing I’ve come across not only with myself but also other dancers. In competitions where I don’t make finals or don’t place, I tend to observe other dancers and wonder what it is that they’re doing that gets them these results. This really gets us nowhere because every dancer is their own and is exploring themselves within this dance. I feel to help you improve your skills. Jamin Jackson in his post entitled How to Dance “like” ANYONE hits on top of this phenomenon by stating this.” “Dang, I suck.” This is what the subconscious reenforces the moment you start comparing your present skill level to the culmination of an unsaid amount of work another dancer displays on the social dance floor. It’s an unfair comparison, but we all do it” Jamin Jackson. The simple solution to give to this is to stop comparing yourself to other dancers. Your response should rightfully be one of rolling the eyes and being upset on something lacking thought.

When you find yourself comparing your dancing to someone else use a technique I learned from sport psychology classes called thought stopping. This is pretty much a technique where you stop a negative thought and replace it with a positive one. I use a variation of this when I’m watching others dance and start comparing, rather then be like “man I’ll never be able do what *random dancer* does.” instead I find a concept that I like and implement into my dancing one of my dance mentors calls this copycatting. The only time I feel comparing is ok is if you’re comparing yourself with yourself. Now we have to be realistic when we do this because we can be too hard on ourselves but we must do this within reason. This is why I learned to watch myself objectively on video.  I video tape myself dancing frequently and I enjoy seeing how my dancing has grown from video to video. Especially videos I have of me dancing over a year ago, you can’t gauge your progress by watching someone else but you can gauge it by watching yourself. 

I usually take at least one video of myself at practice or have a friend video tape me while at a dance like the video below. You maybe shocked at how you look the first time you watch yourself on video but stop the thoughts of “O MY GOSH I’M TERRIBLE I QUIT!!” tell yourself top and say “my dancing doesn’t look the way that I want it to but I know what I can do to get to that point which leads us into the next section

Define your own Success or what Good Dancing is through Goal Setting

During my schooling in my undergraduate and graduate studies in sports coaching a big factor that came up in regards to promoting confidence in athletes was to define what success is to your team or program .Within 3Dimensional coaching this is huge to not let success be defined totally by the scoreboard because within a game there are so many things that are out of your control, so if you set your confidence off those outcomes, you’re setting yourself up for an emotional roller coaster. With that you’ll most likely be spending more time being dissatisfied rather then being satisfied and could potentially lead to giving up. Defining your own success can best be done by setting goals for yourself that’ll bring you satisfaction and confidence. That way if you’re a competition dancer like myself you don’t rely on your placing or whether you make finals or not be the source of your confidence. While I had to define my success as me conveying what my interpretation and philosophy of what Lindy Hop is to me to the audience and the judges. I had to really set goals that would allow me to work out what my philosophy is. This section is going to dive into the dynamics of goal setting to keep this from getting super abstract and out there.

Normally people would define their success by whether they satisfy goals they set or not, but what if I told you that those goals could be a big part of why you end up having your confidence take a hit. An article on breaking muscle.com discussed how a lot of successful people and companies don’t set goals. The reason behind this being that goals tend to set us up for limitations and also there are so many unknown factors (market change, injury etc.). Rather then setting no goals as you look at my Lindy Hop Resolutions post for 2015. You’ll see the goals I have are to commit myself to task that’ll aid me to some type of improvement or give me a new experience of some kind. So if factors out of my control were to arise, I can still achieve that task and improve. Then I can’t allow myself to beat my own brains out if I don’t achieve a particular outcome.

So rather than defining your own limitations through long-term goals, perhaps just make a commitment to continual improvement.” Breaking muscle.com‘s above statement pretty much touches on the advantage of setting process goals as opposed to outcome goals. A process goal is setting a goal to perform a task to work towards a particular event “I’m going to practice at least 3 times a week”. That is a process goal, a outcome goal is what we hear the most and that is a goal that focuses on the outcome of an event

“I want to make the Masters Track at Lindy Fest again this year.” That’s an outcome goal possibly me practicing at least 3 times a week can create the outcome of me making Masters track at Lindy Fest again. Ultimately all of these tricks in goal setting can help you take steps to achieving what you feel good dancing is and be able to have more control over gaining success within your dance philosophy. As I said earlier the outcome goal is completely out of my control, while the process goals are more in my control. By having goals that are in your control your odds of success increase a bunch. The next two sections will go more into depth with controllable and non controllable circumstances.

Focus on what you can Control

As we introduced this point towards the end of the previous section, process goals are the things we want to keep in mind to keep up our belief in ourselves as dancers. To focus on the process of improvement rather then an outcome that’ll show us that we improved that has a lot more chance played in. A TedTalk titled If you want to Achieve your Goals,Don’t Focus on them  coves this quite well. This feels contradictory after going over setting goals to begin with but the speaker Reggie Rivers talks about a time how when he focused on the actions needed to get him to a desired outcome, he had the belief in himself to take care of those particular tasks. Rather then focus on achieving a goal he was more occupied with completing the process for him to get there and this allowed him to be more confident and focused. 

As a dancer we must put more focus on our processes to become better. Find ways to practice, things to work on in our dancing, try doing another dance to improve a particular skill, attend classes or teach classes. If it’s a task that can help you improve and build confidence in yourself then keep your eyes on that. I spend lots of my spare time trying to come up with drills to work on a particular dance skill, also this is how I prep for teaching classes.

In Rebecca Brightly’s blog post titled When Lindy Hop isn’t Fun Anymore she has a list of concrete actions to take to break dance stagnation. A lot of these can help you maintain confidence in yourself. The 4 that stand out the most is learning better practice skills giving you a renewed and revamped process to continue forward. Another action is to deepen relationships with those who support you, the best thing is having that little team who you can celebrate your triumphs and your blunders with.

Also, if you want good honest feedback from somebody you’ll get it. The same goes for having a mentor as I danced in Orlando, Fl, I could always count on Blake Wilkinson to give some moves to try to add to my dancing and honest feedback. Though at that time I didn’t really take workshops that really helped my dancing. I also had the benefit of International Instructor Joel Green to tell me that my hold step in a Balboa class was and I quote “Effed up” lol. The last and most important thing is always focus on the positive, always be proud to take a lesson away from anything. Anytime you can learn something new consider that a victory. In short make sure to be process focused and positive in all that you do. You can never control your circumstances but you can control your attitude.

Disregard what’s out of your Control

“But I have no partner! I have no money! I have no time! I’m not creative enough…” This is the opening to Jamin Jackson’s blog post titled But I don’t Have you want to know about how to disregard what’s out of your control this blog will show you. I really want people to read this blog so I’m not going to spoil it. Due to circumstances out of Jamin’s control he’s not always able to practice with his principle partner but in spite of that he didn’t let that hold him back. He was able to overcome the circumstance and end up placing 3rd with her at ILHC. Through out this year I realized I hit a slump in my dancing, a big part of it was I had a partner I practiced with but we mutually split up after Lindy Fest in March. After that I made no effort to practice at all but seeing Jamin’s example made me realize that I can overcome my circumstances of not being able to travel as much as I would like or not having a practice/competition partner.

Going back to Rebecca Brightly’s blog on dance slumps she touches on 5 things that can cause a dance slump and in turn a drop in confidence. One thing that I find compelling that I see a lot of dancers get caught up in is the fear of missing out. In every scene there are dancers who don’t get to travel very often if at all. In my 3 years of Lindy Hop thus far I’d put myself in that category actually. I can’t control the many factors that have kept me from traveling to events (ie. injuries, money, schedule, emergencies) though I’m not traveling I still have been able to improve my dancing. Grant it traveling is a great way to improve so if you can travel to an event do it but if you can’t don’t feel like you’re missing out. I’ve never been to a Lindy Focus but in past years that time period is where I’ve made most of my progress mentally as a dancer. Anytime a situation comes about like this you have to make a conscious decision “am I going to sit and complain about my circumstances or am I gonna find a way to get better today.” If you’re a beginner or someone who finds themselves in this situation but have no ideas on how take make lemonade out of the lemons you have, check out the recommendations I have at the bottom. Also, just hit me with a question in the comments or on Lindy Fitness Facebook page and we can make the best of your circumstances.

Conclusion

I had to realize those things I can’t control, so I must remain resilient and continue to practice even if that means that 99% of my practices are by myself.This comes down to the old saying, you can’t control your circumstances but you can control your effort. If improving as a dancer really means a good deal to you, why let obstacles stand in your way of what you really want. Jamin has a lot of great advice in his post How to master lindy hop as a part time dancer this advice works and it just isn’t just relevant to leads it works for follows as well if you don’t have a partner. I dance both roles and use this philosophy for both and it has helped me SO much. Follows if you want more information on how to take control of your dancing check out Swungovers The proactive Follower to get ideas on what things to focus on. Like my Facebook page I’ll be posting fitness articles along with Lindy Hop ones between posts to help y’all train to be better Lindy Hoppers. Feel free to check out my other posts.

Love y’all and God Bless remember to be inspired and to dance inspired.

Photo Credit to Ashleigh Beckman from Dallas, Texas

Lindy Hop Resolutions

Let me start this off first by saying *clears throat* HAPPY LINDY FOCUS DAY!!! 

For us who aren’t there, that means we’ll be reading facebook post, after facebook post, after facebook post from the people we know who are in attendance. So it’ll kind of seem like we’re there but not at all really…not even close. During this time it’s easy to just sit and sigh at the fact that you’re missing out on this awesome event. Instead let’s  take a page out of the quote from probably one of my favorite fictional characters all time….Barney Stinson. Instead of getting sad for not being at Lindy Focus how about we be awesome instead, so was born Lindy Hop resolutions. 

Lindy Hop Resolutions started because I never really did New Years Resolutions outside of me taking on one to Deadlift on a regular basis while training but other then that I only do this for my dancing. I’d set out things that I really want to accomplish and pretty much try to make it happen by the end of the year. The biggest one I set for myself was to learn some tap dancing and thanks to Falty and Delilah Williams, I learned how to put some tap dance moves into my lindy hop and solo jazz. Ever since I started doing this I’ve seem to get more out of my dancing because I have a specific task with a time limit on it. This is a period of time to focus and really find out what it is that you want from your dancing and set out the task to do it. For 2014 I focused on being an encouraging to young dancers in our scene, start teaching in Dallas and Choreograph 2 pieces (I only choreographed 1). A lot of my resolutions were more milestone wise and focused on strengthening the community and getting me out of my comfort zone.

2015 is all about the process. I did a lot of focusing on outcomes as I really only had fun in 3 competitions this year as having fun was a goal and that fell by the way side tremendously. Got myself thinking about too many outcomes when my success and confidence as a Track Athlete comes from a good process of preparation. So most of my resolutions focus on the process of improving my dancing and building the community.

2015 Lindy Hop Resolutions

  1. Take at least 1 private lesson per Quarter- putting myself in a situation to really have my dancing dissected isn’t the most comforting thought but if i can learn to watch myself dance on video objectively. This will be something that pays dividends.
  2. Practice minimum 3 times a week- I know the great dancers are putting in more time then this but the mind set is to start out small and as my confidence grows so will the number of sessions.
  3. Participate in at least 1 group practice per Quarter- Practicing with a group of people can benefit me way more then just on my own. I need to cut down on being a loner
  4. Travel and house with dancers I already know- I tend to bond more with dancers when i ride with them to an event or we stay in the same housing. This can help create deeper bonds in not only the local community but the national one as well.
  5. Believe that I’m a talented dancer and instructor- I never want to be an arrogant prick but I do need to realize that I possess talent. Am I the best Hecks no but do I have an ability to inspire others hecks yes and I need to believe in myself but be willing to listen and always learn

Conclusion

So there you have it my brothers and sister who aren’t at Lindy Focus. My decree to y’all is to not feel lowly or jealous (even though Lindy Focus is the bees knees from what I hear). Instead of getting sad let’s commit to getting awesome.

Love you all and dance inspired and be inspired 🙂

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 🙂

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 🙂

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