Dance Trainer Q&A
Welcome to Dance Trainer Q&A. Where dance and fitness come together. If you have general fitness/workout questions, or fitness related to dancing, this is the place for you. Questions will be answered and posted every Monday.
Q: “My calves are tight and sore at the start of a Balboa dance. It eventually eases, but maybe there is a way to it. Thanks.”
A: Tight calves are an issue for most people, in their daily lives as well as dancing. There are a couple effective methods to use:
1. Myofascial release, which is soft tissue therapy (like massage). The most common method of this is foam rolling. Sit on the floor and put one calf on the foam roller. Roll back and forth and side to side. Stop and hold on the parts that are particularly tender or tense until it releases. If you need more pressure, lift yourself off the ground. For even greater pressure put one leg on top of the other.
It’s also amazing how much tension our feet hold, and how much that can affect our calves. Use a tennis ball or a lacrosse ball to roll out and stretch the bottom of your feet.
2. Dynamic stretching, using force production and momentum to move through a full range of motion. This form of stretching prepares the body for physical activity. Static stretching (holding a position) is great after exercise or any other time, but can exhaust the muscle. Dynamic stretching will warm up the muscle properly.
Stand on the edge of a step, heels hanging off the step. Pedal the feet back and forth in a slow controlled motion. As the muscle warms up, gradually dip your heels deeper. This can also be done leaning your hands against the wall, or hands on the floor.
The optimal warm-up is myofascial release followed by dynamic stretching. For a cool down, after dancing, try myofascial release followed by static stretching. A proper cool down will help in recovery and battle any soreness you might have later.
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