top of page

Four Step Warm-Up for Irish Dance

Updated: Mar 16

irish dance training, irish dance exercises, stretches for Irish dance, ramp protocol, Irish dance injuries, Irish dance workout, Irish dance warmup, Irish dance training program

When you imagine an Irish dance warmup, you may picture a half-hearted jog around a dance studio (or competition venue) followed by some light, static stretching and running through your steps. However, there is so much more to developing a well designed warmup that prepares your body and mind for dance.


Research indicates the best warmups are well-planned, with exercises and content that directly relate to the goals of the training session (1). For Irish dancers, that means a warmup that will prepare your body for improved technique and the high demands of Irish dance.


Ready to perform at your best and set yourself up for success with a personalized warmup? Check out our Four Step Warmup guide as recently seen in Irish Dancing Magazine!


irish dance training, irish dance exercises, stretches for Irish dance, ramp protocol, Irish dance injuries, Irish dance workout, Irish dance warmup, Irish dance training program

The Four Step Warmup

To plan a good warmup, Dr. Ian Jeffreys developed the RAMP protocol: Raise, Activate and Mobilize, and Performance (2). We follow these four steps in every Target Training warmup. Follow along to better understand the foundation of each step and ideas of exercises you can do in this part of the warmup. Keep in mind that while every dancer will have a similar foundation for their warmup, each dancer’s needs vary. A dancer’s warmup should incorporate the specific areas they need to focus on. You’ll notice a range in recommended exercises and time allotments to account for a variety of ages and needs for different levels of dancers.


STEP 1: The RAISE Phase

The ‘raise’ phase is dedicated to raising body temperature, heart rate, breathing rate, blood flow—all to start getting your body physically ready. Spend 2-5 minutes performing exercises like jumping jacks, jump kick your bum, jump high knee, or jogging. Your goal should be that you’re breathing heavier, your heart is beating faster, and your body is physically warmer. I always say a good sign of completing your raise phase is that you get so warm/sweaty that you need to take off your warmup jacket. Use this as a gauge!

TIME: 2-5 minutes

EXERCISES: Jumping jacks, jogging, jump high knees, jump kick bum, etc.


irish dance training, irish dance exercises, stretches for Irish dance, ramp protocol, Irish dance injuries, Irish dance workout, Irish dance warmup, Irish dance training program

STEP 2: MOBILITY Phase

The mobility phase works to mobilize joints that will be used in the following training with a goal of increasing range of motion. Think of this as “moving flexibility” - controlled moments that increase the range of motion instead of holding static stretches. Static stretching is most effective and safest for a dancer to perform AFTER dance. Before we dance, we want to focus on dynamic stretching.

This phase can include a variety of mobility techniques. The baseline in any Target Training class is to complete the “Animal Mobility” series.

TIME: 5-20 minutes

EXERCISES: Target Training’s “Animal Mobility” series. Complete each exercise for 0:45-1:00


irish dance training, irish dance exercises, stretches for Irish dance, ramp protocol, Irish dance injuries, Irish dance workout, Irish dance warmup, Irish dance training program

STEP 3: ACTIVATION Phase

The activation phase is focused on activating key muscle groups that will be used in the following training/dancing. Some activation exercises look like strength exercises. But the goal with the exercise is different. During strength sets, we typically have high rep counts, using heavier weights with multiple sets. For activation, we’ll use lower reps and sets. Some key areas for Irish dancers would be.

TIME: 5-20 minutes

EXERCISES:

General - core stability

Turnout - deep lateral rotators

Crossover - adductors

Pointing - intrinsic/extrinsic foot muscles

Toe Height - glutes, calves, intrinsic/extrinsic foot muscles

Posture - mid/upper back, lats, triceps


STEP 4: PERFORMANCE Phase

The final phase, ‘performance,’ aims to directly prepare an athlete for their specific sport performance. In Irish dance, this would be where you change into ghillies or hard shoes for dance drills and run-throughs of your steps. During this phase, it’s important to start dancing at a lower intensity and slowly build up to dancing with 100% effort. This could take anywhere from 10-30 minutes depending on the dancer.


Few additional notes regarding your warmup.

PREPARING YOUR BODY AND MIND - Of course your warmup prepares your body for dance but it is also preparing your mind. Use this time to connect with your body, see how your body feels, and get into a productive headspace for the demands of what will happen after your warmup is complete.


CONSISTENCY IS KEY - The majority of your warmup should remain the same whether your practicing at home or competing on the World stage. The consistency of your warmup will trigger your mind that it’s GO TIME and give your body the proper preparation it needs. While small changes to your warmup are necessary from time to time, avoid utilizing a new warmup the day of a competition or even the week leading up to a competition.


ELEVATE YOUR WARMUP WITH MUSIC - Music is a powerful tool that can help aid in preparing your body and mind. Create a warmup playlist that suits the mood and energy you need during your warmup.



INTERESTED IN A IRISH DANCE SPECIFIC WARMUP VIDEO OR OTHER IRISH DANCE-SPECIFIC TRAINING VIDEOS?  

Get 14 DAYS FREE @ the Target Training Online Institute!

On-deman Irish dance strength and conditioning, anytime, anywhere! No code necessary.


References

  1. Walker, O. (2016). Warm-Ups. Science for Sport, retrieved from https://www.scienceforsport.com/warm-ups/

  2. Jeffreys, I. (2007). Warm-up revisited: the RAMP method of optimizing warm-ups. Professional Strength and Conditioning, (6), 12-18. Retrieved from researchgate.net.

  3. Magnusson S Petal . Mechanical and physiological responses to stretching with and without preisometric contraction in human skeletal muscle. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 1996;77:373-8.

  4. Bandy W, Irion J, Briggler M. The effect of time and frequency of static stretching on the flexibility of the hamstring muscles. Phys Ther. 1997;77(10):1090-6

518 views0 comments

Comments


bottom of page