What is warming up?
Why do we have to do it?
How do you warm up properly?
Warming up is the most crucial component of your dance practice. It's not the technique or the run throughs, it's the warm up! To warm up is to raise your heart rate, start a more profound and active flow of blood to your muscles, increase oxygenation, and to raise your body temperature. Sure, all of this can occur by jumping up and down for a minute but that is not a proper approach to preparing your body for dancing, and you are being, to be blunt, lazy. Ultimately, you are then sabotaging yourself, your dancing, and your partner!
A warm-up serves two purposes: to enhance performance and prevent injury. The increased heart rate produced from the warm up increases circulation of blood flow to the muscles, therefore increasing the muscle temperature. Hemoglobin then carries more oxygen to the muscle and as a result, creates a better muscle performance. Performance is also enhanced from the temperature increase, which contributes to faster muscle contraction and relaxation. This allows for muscle flexibility, further preventing injuries such as strains and tears. If you are a person that loves your body and its capabilities, we recommend you prepare it before you push it to improve.
Now comes the fabulous wonder of how one warms up effectively. First and foremost, it is vital to understand that a proper warm should last around 15-20 minutes. No excuses. Get to the studio early and do it. Second, dress warmly and in multiple layers. Sweaters, leggings, scarves, and even gloves if you have freezing hands and want to be aware of your fingers. The more layers there are, the faster your body temperature will increase and the better the muscle will perform. Third, increase your activity slowly, unless you plan on tearing your hamstring during the warm up. Warm-ups are very personal to each person; one may need more stretching and light jogging whilst another needs constant jumping and sprints. It is up to you to find your own routine, what makes your body feel best and what will effectively prepare you without tiring you out before the actual dancing begins.
- Turn on motivating music.
- Do this with your partner if you feel self-conscious.
- Laugh at yourself, doing jumping jacks in a scarf and gloves, will get you into a better mood!
- Focus on yourself.
- Do not pay attention to anybody around you, this is about you and your preparation.
- Create a mixture of cardio, light strength, and stretching exercises.
- Slowly increase the intensity.
- Change and freshen up after the warm-up session, your coach and partner will appreciate it.
- Stay hydrated!!!
- Circle as many joints as possible to increase joint flexibility.
A video is worth a thousand words. Please let Mr. Voronovich show you how he warms up!
Warm-up exercises to consider:
- Jogging (in place or around the floor)
- High knees
- Butt kickers
- Jumping jacks
- Arm circles
- High kicks
- Splits, straddle
- Shoulder and arm stretches
- Quadricep stretch (grab your foot and pull it towards your buttocks)
- Point and flex your feet
- Touch your toes (hamstring stretch)
- Basic ballet barre
Once again, those are only suggestions. Good luck to you in your future practices!