Updated: Feb 12
Chances are, you're stuck at home right now. Whether you're social distancing or in a full-fledged lock down, your in-person dance class is almost certainly canceled, and you may not be sure when it'll start back up again. But when you do get to head back to the studio, you won't have magically maintained all of your technique if you don't use this time wisely. You will begin to decondition. But how do we prevent that from happening? And how soon will that begin to happen?
One of the key principles in exercise training is reversibility - the idea that if you stop training, you will lose the physical benefits of your previous training - through a process called detraining or deconditioning (1). The effects of deconditioning can vary anywhere from slight decreases to massive changes in your overall athletic performance, depending on the amount of time taken off of training. You've probably felt this before, when you come back to class after a vacation or holiday break and you don't feel as strong as you did before. Unless you've continued training at the same level as you were before the break, your body has deconditioned.
For Irish dancers, the biggest concern after a period of low or no training is usually stamina, or cardiovascular endurance. Not only is endurance the most challenging aspect of performance to improve, it's also the easiest to lose during deconditioning. Studies have found a significant decrease in cardiovascular endurance after only 10 days of inactivity - and training-induced gains are greatly compromised after not training for more than 4 weeks (2)!
So how can you make sure you come back to class just as strong as when you left it? KEEP TRAINING! Just because you can't practice the same way you've always practiced doesn't mean you shouldn't practice at all. Find a small space in your house and drill your dances. And we've got a couple training options at Target Training to keep your strength, flexibility and stamina on track.
- Check out Target Training's Virtual Live Classes! These twice-weekly, 55-minute classes are designed to help maintain strength and endurance to help you avoid deconditioning. Check out all the details HERE!
- Join the Target Training Online Institute and get a FREE 14-day trial! The TTOI includes skill specific videos that develop your cross, turnout, extension, power, pointing, posture, etc, 30 Day Challenges, and more! Click HERE to get started and select the FREE 14-day trial of the Trainer subscription, no code needed.
1. Romer, L. M. & McConnell, A.K. (2003). Specificity and Reversibility of Inspiratory Muscle Training. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 35(2), 237-244. Retrieved from: ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12569211
2. Mujika, I. & Padilla, S. (2001). Cardiorespiratory and metabolic characteristics of detraining in humans. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 33(3), 413-421. Retrieved from: journals.lww.com/acsm-msse/Fulltext/2001/03000/Cardiorespiratory_and_metabolic_characteristics_of.13.aspx