Updated: Apr 14, 2020
Are you sidelined with an ankle or foot injury from dancing?
Now is the perfect time to take action so that when you return to dance, you have a strong foundation, improved mobility and decrease your risk of re-injury. It’s time to let the injured area rest while you continue working towards your goals. The two most common areas of injuries in Irish dancers are in the ankle and foot.1 A common treatment plan is to take several weeks off and protect that area with a boot or cast. This can be a frustrating time for athletes who are working hard to achieve their goals. While it’s necessary to allow the injured area to heal properly over time (you do not want to rush back to dance and re-injure it!), it’s time to address others with strengthening and mobility exercises. *Note: always check with your doctor before returning to any activity. Hips & Glutes Weak hips or glutes play a role in many lower leg injuries. Non-weight bearing exercises are a great way to strengthen and mobilize these areas while you’re injured. They’ll also help improve your turnout, toe height, power and more when you return to dance. Core A weak core causes instability and can also play a role in lower leg injuries. Non-weight bearing core exercises are a great way to improve your posture and carriage when you return to dance. Upper Body Often overlooked in Irish dance training, non-weight bearing upper body exercises are critical to an Irish dancers posture and carriage.
Now that we know what areas to target, what exercises should you do?
On the Target Training Online Institute, (Target Training’s online training center for Irish dancers) we feature many videos that are perfect for dancers dealing with an injury or those who are looking to strengthen and mobilize their hips, glutes, core and upper body. Video suggestions on the TTOI - Strength Training with an Ankle or Leg Injury - This focuses all on the hips, core, and upper body and is such an effective way to train while injured. - Core & Hip Strength - The title tells it all! Perfect to develop your core and hip strength. - Foam Rolling for the Lower Body - perfect way to improve your mobility - Training In the Pool - low impact, high resistance training - 30 Day Posture Challenge - This is an incredible 30 day challenge to improve posture. There would only be 1 or 2 elements you wouldn't be able to do with a lower body injury.
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Stein, CJ et all (2013). Injuries in Irish Dance. Journal of Dance Medicine & Science, 17(4): 159-164. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24565331.