By far one of the major problem areas that we see as therapists working with dancers, athletes, office workers and weekend warriors alike is in the the area of “Core Stability.” The issues we see are two-fold. On one hand, very few people have good natural core control and dynamic stability of the spine. Lack of true stability of the spine leads to over compensation by other structures which leads to many of the injuries that we see in the clinic. This is especially true for young dancers who are training specific movements over and over again.
On the other hand, many individuals who have been involved in Personal Training, Physio or Pilates classes are performing “core” exercises that may focus too much on control or restricting movement by bracing. Often we discover that the very exercises that individuals are using to try and better themselves are actually part of the problem. Over recruitment of muscles can cause just as many, if not more issues, than weakness in muscles, and this often happens when individuals have been formally taught how to move. In addition, many people perform their stability exercises lying on their back, which does not prepare them for the demands of sitting, standing and dancing!
What is needed is a radical rethink of what ‘core stability’ actually is, and a new approach to training stability in dancers which is built up over the years. When addressing core stability when there is an issue with mobility or pain in older dancers, we need to make a careful assessment of each individuals movement strategies, isolate their specific weaknesses and a develop a carefully considered retraining program to retrain optimal stability.
When we ask most dancers what they do for their ‘core training’ we get the common reply of “Planks, Sit-ups and Crunches”. These exercises are not necessarily “bad” exercises, however the problem is in the way they are performed if the individual lacks the control to do them properly. Also, if they are not movements that are a part of our normal movement in daily life, then excessive training of them can lead to altered movement patterns when it matters most! Training your stability should be done in accordance with what you actually have to do in life, whether that is sitting in an office, lifting a three year old, or performing a Grand pas de deux in a Classical Ballet. This program aims to give you a completely new approach to the development of core stability in your own body, whether you are young a dance student, a professional dancer, an office worker or a keen athlete. I aim to give you an insight into the nature of true core stability and how it can be developed naturally over the years, rather than with the onset of problems and pain.
The most important factor in staying vibrant, vital, happy, healthy, and physically capable as we age is stability of our spine. If we are intrinsically more mobile, or spent many hours training in our youth; learning how to correctly stabilise our own spine can give us greater insight into how to train our students. As the demand on dancers increases through challenging choreography, acrobatics being included in dance, and ever increasing ranges of motion becoming ‘normal’, effective and specific training is becoming more and more essential into the long term health of our dancers.
This program approaches Core Stability training in a completely new way. Using a simple visual chart comprising of 5 different positions (Lying, Side Lying, 4 Point, Sitting and Standing) and 5 different grades, you can work your way through the entire program at your own pace, layering levels of stability to achieve ultimate dynamic control of the spine and pelvis. We work on rediscovering the body’s own intelligence, and rebuilding the natural layers of stability that many of us fail to build as infants and young children. This logical and strategic process allows you to develop your own individual training program within the framework of a structured course, and will also give you unlimited options for variations, once you understand the principles.
Thank you for taking the next step in your own professional and personal development, and I look forward to sharing the jewels that I have discovered in this area of training with you!