Updated: May 4
Many Irish dancers have been told throughout their dance career, “you have tight hamstrings,” “get your kicks higher,” “straighten your legs”. Or you could be so tight that every time you kick or jump, your arms fly out or you lean forward because that’s the only way you can get your leg up - to compromise another area…your posture! You stretch, and stretch, and stretch but see marginal levels of improvement.
Does this sound like you or someone you know? If so, it’s time to start implementing a mobility training program into your daily routine.
HOWEVER, mobility training is not just for those dancers who have tight hamstrings! Mobility training is a necessary component for EVERYONE to address the elements that limit your movement and performance
As Irish dancers, we focus so much on flexibility to get our clicks and swings high. While flexibility exercises will lengthen the soft tissue muscle group your focusing on, it does not address the bigger picture - mobilizing the working joint with control and strength. Adding mobility work to your daily Irish dance routine will transform your dancing allowing more control, strength, and flexibility through a joint's entire range of motion.
One of the leading forces in mobility training is former elite-level athlete, physical therapist, and founder of mobilitywod.com, Kelly Starrett. During his early years as a physical therapist, Kelly began recognizing a trend in the fundamental issues with high performance athletes - lack of range of motion, poor flexibility and poor body mechanics. He began implementing mobility training to their pre and post workout routine to help these athletes move more efficiently, improve their performance and found that it was mobility prep, over stretching, that was key to improving the body’s mechanics.
I recently worked with a dancer who has been plagued with “tight hamstrings” throughout her dance career. But instead of approaching it from a traditional flexibility standpoint, we addressed all the elements that limit her movement and performance through mobility training. We had one hour to work through the basic elements of hip and trunk mobility then progressed down her leg. You can see in the BEFORE and AFTER photos the positive effect mobility training had on her range of motion in just one hour. Check out the below video to begin your Irish dance mobility training today!
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IRISH DANCE MOBILITY EXERCISES