Friday, 25 January 2013

The rules of supplemental training

Supplemental training will make you a better dancer. There's no question about it. Being stronger, faster, more agile, more powerful, more flexible, generally fitter... all of it will improve your dance performance. But it's no good deciding you're going to push yourself and develop outside of the dance studio if you don't do it sensibly. There are some incredibly simple rules you need to follow if you're ever going to make progress in additional areas you're training, otherwise you're just going to waste your time.

1. Train 3 times a week
Whatever you're working on - endurance, plyometrics, strength - it's not going to get better if you're only doing it once a week. Do it every 2nd day, give your body a chance to recover and adapt on the day off, then straight back to it again the next day.

2. Give yourself time to develop.
Been going running for 2 weeks and still nowhere near that 10k? Of course you're not, your body takes time to adapt and grow. Give yourself 3 months, stick at the 3 times a week and you'll see a huge difference.

3. Push yourself.
If you're resistance training, lift heavy. Ladies once again, you're not going to bulk up, but curling 3kg dumbbells or squatting with 8kg is going to get you nowhere. You squat all day when you're doing plies, push yourself and add some weight . If you're developing your aerobic training stop calling it a day after 2km, push it to 5km, if you can do 5km go to 7km, go to 10km; as soon as it's comfortable push yourself harder again, work on your speed, do interval training. The old adage of what doesn't challenge you doesn't change you rings true, you need to work.

4. Eat.
Eat well, eat sensibly, if you're adding extra training to an existing heavy schedule make sure you're addressing your food intake. If you push your body but don't nourish it you're only going to get weaker, and more likely to get injured. Equally don't use additional training as an excuse to eat everything in sight, there's no point ruining your hard work by adding a tonne of chocolate and junk to your diet. Be sensible.

5. Sleep.
Your body heals and rebuilds when you sleep. You need sleep for muscle development. You need rest so you don't burn out. Sleep sleep sleep.

6. Don't over do it.
Finally just use your common sense. If you're training full-time, or even part-time, remember you need break. You know your body, if it starts to feel too wrecked after dance training and a 7km run 3 times a week then reign it in. Pull back to 5km, switch to cardio at the gym or go swimming one day instead. It'll all develop you aerobically, but you need to be careful not to run yourself into the ground. The same goes for any other area you're developing - you'll get nowhere if you don't look after yourself.

Strength training. Less likely to do this. 
More likely to do this.

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