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How to turn your Irish dance weaknesses into your strengths

Updated: Feb 16, 2023

Irish dance strength and conditioning, irish dance training plans

Every Irish dancer has that “thing” they struggle to overcome.

It’s that comment that has been shouted at you numerous times from your dance teachers and written in most (if not all) of your feis comments. Maybe it’s held you back from reaching your goals or excelling to the next level. It’s time to learn how to turn those weaknesses into your strengths! Every week, I do my own “Weakness Workout”. It’s where I identify weaknesses in my own performance, or skills I want to develop, and focus solely on that. This is a perfect fit for Irish dancers who need to work on improving specific skills. We’re going to do this in three simple steps. Then it’s up to you to put in the work if you’re serious about accomplishing your goals and getting stronger. I’ll take you step by step how I design my own Weakness Workout so you know exactly what to do for your own. STEP 1: Identify your weaknesses Start by figuring out any weaknesses you have in the below 2 categories.

  • Technical aspects of your dancing you need to improve on - These are the common corrections you receive from your teachers, the notes frequently written on your competition sheets, or elements of your dancing you want to improve on.

  • Examples: turnout, toe height, straightening leg, executing a certain movement, etc.

  • Injuries (past & present) - What type of pain and injury have you had to face? Did you go to the Physical Therapist afterwards and receive exercises to help prevent that injury from happening again? You may have muscle weakness or imbalances due to your injury or that caused the injury. We want to prevent this from happening again.

  • Example: sprained right ankle, shin splints, surgery etc.

STEP 2: Design your Weakness Workout Now that we’ve identified any weaknesses, it’s time to design your Weakness Workout. This will take a little research on your part but I’m here to help you!

Look at the skills you need to improve on in your Irish dancing. We’re going to find 3 exercises that will help improve each one. Look at other Target Training blogs or do some research online to identify these exercises. Write those exercises down.

Now look at your injuries of past and present. What exercises were you given to help resolve these injuries? If you weren’t given any, look online for suggestions from certified medical professionals. Write those exercises down.

Put all the exercises together to create your Weakness Workout. STEP 3: Do the work! You’ve identified your weaknesses and what exercises will help improve them, now it’s time to get to work! Complete your weakness workout at least 1x a week. As your weaknesses become your strengths, make adjustments to your workout and remove the areas that you now excel at and add exercises to help improve other areas of weakness. When you’re going through this, you may get stuck on what exercises to choose. I’m here to help! Take a look at the Target Training Online Institute which has videos broken up into the specific skills you need to work on for Irish dance. Need to work on turnout? There’s a video for that! Working on hang time in your leaps? There’s one for that! Working on toe height, posture, etc? Yep, one for all that too!


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Ellen G Waller Irish dance strength and conditioning

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