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4 common muscle issues found in athletes

Performance athletes often encounter various muscle issues due to the demands placed on their bodies. Below are four common muscle issues they may experience.


Strains: Muscle strains occur when muscles or tendons are overstretched or torn. This can happen during sudden movements, improper technique, or overexertion. Commonly affected muscles include hamstrings, quadriceps, calves, and groin muscles. Symptoms include pain, swelling, bruising, and limited ROM (range of motion).


Imbalances: Muscle imbalances refer to an uneven distribution of strength or flexibility between opposing muscle groups. This can occur due to overuse of certain muscles, poor training techniques, or inadequate recovery. Muscle imbalances can lead to altered movement patterns, increased risk of injuries, and decreased performance.


Cramps: Muscle cramps are involuntary, painful contractions of muscles that can occur during or after intense exercise. They are often caused by dehydration, electrolyte imbalances, muscle fatigue, or inadequate warm-up and stretching. Commonly affected muscles include calves, hamstrings, and quadriceps. Proper hydration, stretching, and adequate rest can help prevent muscle cramps.


Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS): DOMS refers to muscle soreness and stiffness that occurs 24 to 48 hours after intense or unfamiliar exercise. It is caused by microscopic damage to muscle fibers and the subsequent inflammatory response. DOMS typically resolves within a few days but can impact performance during that time. Proper warm-up, gradual progression in training intensity, and adequate recovery can help minimize the severity of DOMS.


It's important for performance athletes to address these muscle issues promptly and appropriately. This may involve injury prevention, stretching, strengthening exercises, and seeking professional guidance from medical professionals, physiotherapists, or specialised trainers. Additionally, implementing proper warm-ups, mobility exercises, injury prevention techniques, maintaining a balanced training program, and incorporating sufficient recovery periods can help prevent and manage muscle issues in performance athletes.


7 Pre-Point Pointers

As a teacher, here are seven things you should look for in a dancer prior to allowing them to go on pointe.


Age and Physical Development: Ensure that the dancer has reached the appropriate age and physical development required for pointe work. Generally, dancers should be at least 11-12 years old, as their bones and growth plates need to be sufficiently developed.


Technique: Assess the dancer's technique and proficiency in ballet. Look for a strong foundation in ballet technique, including correct body alignment, turnout, and control. The dancer should demonstrate a good understanding of basic ballet steps and have the ability to execute them with proper technique.


Strength and Stability: Evaluate the dancer's strength and stability, particularly in the feet, ankles, legs, and core. They should have a solid level of strength to support the demands of dancing en pointe and maintain stability while on pointe.


Flexibility: Assess the dancer's flexibility, particularly in the feet and ankles. Adequate flexibility in these areas allows for proper foot articulation and the ability to achieve a well-aligned foot position when en pointe.


Balance: Observe the dancer's balance and control in relevé and other balancing exercises. They should be able to maintain balance with control on demi-pointe and demonstrate good alignment and stability.


Work Ethic and Dedication: Consider the dancer's work ethic, dedication, and commitment to their training. Pointe work requires consistent practice and a strong work ethic, as it can be physically demanding and requires additional time and effort.


Mental and Emotional Readiness: Assess the dancer's mental and emotional readiness for pointe work. They should demonstrate maturity, focus, and a positive attitude towards the challenges and responsibilities that come with dancing en pointe.


It is important to remember that each dancer is unique, and readiness for pointe work may vary. It is crucial to consider all these factors holistically and make an informed decision based on the individual dancer's capabilities and potential risks. Consulting with other experienced professionals, such as a ballet instructor or healthcare provider, can also provide valuable insights and guidance.



Injury Prevention For Aerialists

Preventing injuries is crucial for aerialists to maintain their safety and well-being during training and performances. Here are some of our best practices for aerialists to help prevent injuries.


Proper Warm-up: Always start with a thorough warm-up before aerial training or performance. This should include dynamic stretches, joint mobilisation exercises, and light cardiovascular activity to increase blood flow and warm up the muscles. 


Strengthening and Conditioning: Regularly engage in strength and conditioning exercises that target the specific muscles used in aerial arts, such as the upper body, core, and grip strength. Building strength in these areas will provide stability and support during aerial movements, reducing the risk of injuries.

Technique and Skill Development: Focus on proper technique and skill development under the guidance of a qualified aerial instructor. Learning and executing movements correctly can help minimise the risk of injuries caused by improper form or alignment.


Gradual Progression: Progress aerial skills gradually and systematically. Avoid attempting advanced or complex moves before mastering the foundational techniques. Gradual progression allows the body to adapt and build strength progressively, reducing the risk of overuse injuries.


Spotting and Safety Measures: When learning new or challenging moves, utilise proper spotting techniques and safety measures. Aerialists should have a trained spotter or instructor present to provide support and assistance during difficult moves or when attempting new skills.


Equipment Inspection and Maintenance: Regularly inspect aerial equipment, such as aerial silks, hoops, or trapezes, to ensure they are in good condition. Check for any signs of wear and tear, and replace or repair equipment as needed. Properly maintained equipment reduces the risk of accidents or injuries due to equipment failure. Always remember to LFO (Look, Feel & Operate).


Rest and Recovery: Allow adequate time for rest and recovery between training sessions. Aerial arts can be physically demanding, and overtraining without proper rest can lead to fatigue, decreased performance, and increased risk of injuries. Listen to your body and give yourself time to recover.


Listen to Your Body: Pay attention to any pain, discomfort, or signs of fatigue during training or performances. If something doesn't feel right, take a break, and consult with a healthcare professional if necessary. Pushing through pain or ignoring warning signs can lead to severe injuries.


Cross-training and Conditioning: Engage in cross-training activities that complement aerial arts, such as yoga, Pilates, or strength training. These activities can help improve overall strength, flexibility, and body awareness, which are beneficial for injury prevention.


Proper Nutrition and Hydration: Maintain a balanced diet and stay properly hydrated to support overall health and recovery. Proper nutrition and hydration can help prevent fatigue, muscle cramps, and other issues that may increase the risk of injuries.



Remember, injury prevention is a continuous process, and staying informed about best practices and safety guidelines is crucial for performance athletes. Working with a certified and reputable instructor, seeking professional guidance, and being mindful of your body's limits are essential for maintaining a safe and injury-free aerial practice.



5 Common injuries in performance athletes 


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Sprains and strains: These are common in sports that involve running, jumping, and sudden changes in direction. Ligament sprains and muscle strains can occur in the ankles, knees, wrists, and shoulders.

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Fractures: Fractures or broken bones can result from direct impact or excessive force. They can occur in various areas such as the wrists, arms, legs, and fingers.

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Tendonitis: Overuse of certain muscles or repetitive movements can lead to tendon inflammation, commonly known as tendonitis. It often affects the tendons in the knees, elbows, shoulders, and wrists.

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Concussions: Contact sports like football, soccer, and hockey can put athletes at risk of concussions. These occur when the brain is jolted or shaken within the skull, resulting in temporary impairment of brain function.

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ACL tears: The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is commonly injured in sports that involve quick stops, changes in direction, or jumping. ACL tears can cause knee instability and often require surgical intervention.


Cardio for dancers

In the context of dance, aerobic and anaerobic exercise can be approached in slightly different ways. Here's how they differ in the training spaces when specifically looking at dance.


Aerobic exercise in dance: Aerobic dance exercises involve continuous, rhythmic movements that elevate the heart rate and increase oxygen consumption over an extended period. Examples of aerobic dance exercises include dance styles like Zumba, jazzercise, or dance-based cardio workouts. These activities focus on maintaining a steady level of intensity, often incorporating repetitive movements and patterns that target large muscle groups. Aerobic dance helps improve cardiovascular endurance, stamina, and overall fitness levels.


Anaerobic exercise in dance: Anaerobic exercise in dance involves high-intensity, explosive movements that are performed for shorter durations. These movements require a significant amount of energy in a short period, relying on anaerobic energy systems. In dance, anaerobic exercise can be seen in various forms, such as quick jumps, powerful leaps, fast turns, or intense bursts of choreography. Anaerobic dance exercises help develop strength, power, explosiveness, and muscular endurance.


In dance training, both aerobic and anaerobic exercises can be incorporated to enhance overall fitness and performance. Warm-up routines often include aerobic exercises to gradually increase the heart rate and prepare the body for more intense movements. Dance combinations or routines, on the other hand, can involve both aerobic and anaerobic elements, depending on the choreography and style. Choreographed routines that require sustained movement over an extended period can provide aerobic benefits, while explosive, high-intensity movements or sequences focus on anaerobic conditioning.


It's worth noting that different dance styles and genres may emphasise aerobic or anaerobic exercise to varying degrees. For instance, Zumba may involve more sustained aerobic movements, while acrobatics, ballet or contemporary dance may incorporate more anaerobic bursts of energy. Ultimately, the specific goals, choreography, and training methods of a dance routine will determine the balance between aerobic and anaerobic exercise.


Understanding these differences can help you best prevent injuries in your classroom or training space. Try not to have your dancers/athletes focus all energy on cardio when it may not entirely be needed in the genre and technique you are teaching.


This informaiton, class management, technique and injury prevention techniques can be found in our online and in person courses.



Injury Prevention for Pre-schoolers 

Nursemaid's elbow, also known as radial head subluxation, is a common injury in young children, typically between the ages of 1 and 4 years. It occurs when the radius bone in the forearm slips out of its normal position at the elbow joint. This injury is often caused by a sudden pulling or yanking motion on a child's outstretched arm, such as when an adult pulls the child's arm while lifting or swinging them.


The main symptom of nursemaid's elbow is sudden onset of pain and discomfort in the affected arm. The child may hold the arm close to their body and refuse to use it. They may also exhibit signs of distress or cry when the arm is moved or touched.


To treat nursemaid's elbow, medical intervention is usually required. A healthcare professional, such as a doctor or nurse, will perform a gentle maneuver called a reduction to relocate the dislocated bone back into its proper position. This procedure involves applying slight pressure and rotating the forearm in a specific manner. It is typically a quick and relatively painless procedure.


After the reduction, the child will often experience immediate relief and regain full use of the affected arm. It is important to follow any instructions provided by the healthcare professional regarding activity restrictions and follow-up care to prevent recurrence.


Prevention of nursemaid's elbow involves being mindful of how you handle and lift young children. Avoid pulling or yanking on their arms, especially when the arm is outstretched. Instead, support the child's arm near the elbow and gently guide them when necessary. By being cautious and mindful of the child's arm movements, the risk of nursemaid's elbow can be significantly reduced.


Keeping Dancers Safe

To keep dancers safe, it is important to consider the following measures:


Proper training and technique: Ensure dancers receive proper training from qualified instructors who emphasise correct technique and body alignment. This helps prevent overuse injuries and promotes safe movement patterns.


Adequate warm-up and cool-down: Dancers should always warm up their bodies before engaging in intense physical activity. This includes dynamic stretching, cardiovascular exercises, and specific warm-up movements for the muscles and joints involved in dance. Cooling down with gentle stretches and movements after practice or performance is also important.


Conditioning and strength training: Incorporate strength and conditioning exercises into dancers' training routines. This helps develop strong muscles and stabilises joints, reducing the risk of injuries.


Appropriate footwear: Dancers should wear proper dance shoes that provide the necessary support and cushioning for their specific style of dance. Ill-fitting or worn-out shoes can increase the risk of foot and ankle injuries.


Safe dance environment: Ensure that the dance studio or performance space is well-maintained and free from hazards. Keep floors clean and clear of objects that could cause slips or falls. Adequate lighting and properly secured equipment are also important.


Injury prevention programs: Implement injury prevention programs designed specifically for dancers. These programs may include targeted exercises, stretching routines, and injury prevention strategies tailored to the demands of dance.


Rest and recovery: Encourage dancers to prioritize rest and recovery to prevent overuse injuries. Sufficient sleep, rest days, and time for muscle recovery are essential for maintaining optimal performance and reducing the risk of injury.


Nutrition and hydration: Promote healthy eating habits and proper hydration among dancers. A well-balanced diet and adequate fluid intake support overall health, energy levels, and muscle recovery.


Monitoring and addressing pain: Dancers should be encouraged to communicate any pain or discomfort they experience to their instructors or healthcare professionals. Prompt attention to pain can help prevent further injury and ensure appropriate treatment.


Regular assessments and screenings: Periodic assessments by healthcare professionals, such as sports medicine physicians or physical therapists, can help identify potential issues or imbalances early on. These assessments can guide injury prevention strategies and address any concerns proactively.


By implementing these safety measures, dancers can minimize the risk of injuries and enjoy a long and healthy dance career. It is important to foster a culture that prioritizes dancer well-being and emphasizes safe practices throughout training and performances.



7 common back injuries

There are several common back injuries that individuals may experience. Here are some examples.


Muscle strain: This occurs when the muscles in the back are stretched or torn. It can happen from lifting heavy objects, sudden movements, or overexertion. Symptoms include pain, stiffness, and muscle spasms.


Herniated disc: A herniated disc happens when the soft inner portion of a spinal disc protrudes through the outer layer. This can cause pain, numbness, and weakness in the back and sometimes radiate to the legs or arms.


Sciatica: Sciatica occurs when the sciatic nerve, which runs from the lower back down the legs, is compressed or irritated. This often leads to pain, tingling, or numbness that radiates from the lower back to the buttocks and legs.


Spinal stenosis: Spinal stenosis is the narrowing of the spinal canal, causing pressure on the spinal cord and nerves. Common symptoms include back pain, numbness, and weakness in the legs, especially during walking or standing.


Spondylolisthesis: This condition happens when a vertebra slips out of place and onto the one below it. It can result in lower back pain, stiffness, and sometimes leg pain or weakness.


Compression fractures: Compression fractures occur when one or more vertebrae collapse or fracture due to trauma, osteoporosis, or other factors. Symptoms include sudden and severe back pain, limited mobility, and height loss.


Sprains and strains: Sprains involve stretching or tearing of ligaments, while strains involve stretching or tearing of muscles or tendons. These injuries can occur from sudden movements, lifting heavy objects, or overuse. Symptoms include pain, swelling, and limited range of motion.


It's important to note that back injuries can vary in severity, and proper diagnosis and treatment should be sought from a healthcare professional. Treatment options may include rest, physical therapy, pain medication, or, in severe cases, surgery.