Resource Papers and Fact Sheets
Turnout for Dancers: Supplemental Training
- Now turn over and lie prone with the forehead lying on top of stacked hands. The lumbar multifidi are easier to recruit in spine extension or even slight hyperextension. Begin first by engaging the pelvic floor. Many teachers describe this activity as the action we do when attempting to stop urination. Consider adding to this idea the image of a flow of energy being drawn up into the center of the body from the pelvic floor. Add to this drawing up the narrowing and hollowing experienced in the previous exercise so that there is a magnet or vacuum in the center of the pelvis drawing the waist in, the front of the pelvis toward the spine, and the pelvic floor in and upward toward the center as well. Some dancers will experience a sensation of connection or closing of the space on either side of the lumbar vertebrae and this is the multifidi activating. Not all dancers will be able to feel this muscle action, however, and this is not crucial.
While the above series deals with the deeper muscles important for core support, there are three other abdominal muscles that need adequate levels of strength and flexibility to allow for good pelvic alignment in stance and traveling work, as well as appropriate recruitment and release. The oblique abdominals and rectus abdominis can be strengthened using variations on curls, and curls with twists, while lying supine with flexed (bent) knees. (It is highly recommended that the hollowing and narrowing be done simultaneously with these exercises, to continue to reinforce that core support work with spine action, and there should also be attention to continuous breathing.) Wide elastic bands or cords can be used to increase loading. See Figures 8-10.
This paper may be reproduced in its entirety for educational purposes, provided acknowledgement is given to the "International Association for Dance Medicine and Science."
Copyright © 2011 IADMS, Virginia Wilmerding, Ph.D., and Donna Krasnow, M.S.