Thursday, November 18, 2010

Hip Hop Dance Related Injuries: Knee Strength

Mind, Body, Heart, Soul, Spirit

This is a very familiar topic for dancers of any genre. The injuries.. and if you are lucky and you have health insurance.. God Bless you, but many in the arts are not so lucky and use other means to heal in time for the next gig or job or opportunity.

I am no stranger to injuries related to dance from knees to back pain and spasms. I learned through experience what NOT to do. Starting with:

Improper Warm-Up
I injured my knee while performing a move I was not properly warmed up for. Not a smart move and I paid for it the following morning and there after. I was aware of the importance of warming up, but I was young/naive and took that for granted. My excuse for not warming up thoroughly.. Laziness...

Attention to Time Frame

I waited too long before I actively did anything to properly heal my knee. I did see a doctor for an MRI so I was aware of the damage. The doctor encouraged me to continue with my strength training and rehab it instead of surgery. I knew has a good chance to build my knee strength with proper training. So I focused on building muscle to be better and stronger.

Wear and Tear Over Load

As I trained, my legs were stronger and my knees felt better. But then i craved more and more weight in my training sessions. I would challenge myself by testing my strength squatting 270lbs, Leg Press 720lbs, benching 180lbs.. I would give myself a target and work on reaching it. It was a necessary phase in my workout strategy. My next step was to get on stage and compete. The wear and tear with the weight over load.. intense leg workouts combined with restricted calories and lack of hydration was enough. I went in for orthoscopic surgery shortly after my competition in 2005.

My healing process was challenging, but rewarding.. and it was work. Not only physical work, but mental and spiritual. Stress, lack of proper nutrition, Sleep, mind and body connection to recognize the body signals are signs to look for. Solution, injury prevention through strength, cardio and flexibility training, energizing nutrition, plenty of restful sleep, proper hydration to name a few. Injuries are also self inflicted sometimes without knowing. Everyday we do damage on a cellular level when our spirit is not being nourished. Instead we feed our bodies with negative, judgmental thoughts that causes a reaction that can later produce harmful effects from depression to disease. Developing a strong positive structure in the mind, body, spirit and environment will lead to a longer, happier life.

Easier said than done in many cases.. Start small.. Find a quite peaceful place, even if for just 10mins a day and meditate on the life you want for yourself. Not sure how to meditate? There are plenty of guides online that can help you.

Hip Hop Dance Knee Strengthening
I developed a passion for building muscle at an early age but did not think it was attainable. Now my training sessions are moderate intensity, enough of a challenge for my cardio and strength endurance with less pressure on my joints with heavy loading.

I love leg training days. They are the most challenging for me and requires my focus on form and load. Even as a personal trainer I enjoy workouts with other trainers. I need that extra push of motivation as well. Especially when I am preparing for a competition.

A typical leg workout for me consist of:
A circuit of each element available at most gyms; Machines, Free Weights, Cables and Functional Calisthenics.

Leg Extension, Leg Curls, Free Squats, Leg Press, Deadlifts, Walking Lunges and cable work. I train with weights and without to keep the balance. Calisthenics are just as important. In my opinion it's better to keep the variety and not just one and be consistent. It's fine if you need to take some time off from strength training, a week to a month. But very important to return to maintain your overall well being.

Comment Below;-)


Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing this info! You ladies need to come to Atlanta! I am so excited to have come across your site!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing this information! You ladies need to come to Atlanta. I am so glad to have come across your site.

Blessings!- T.L.

Deena 'SnapShot' Clemente said...

Thank you very much.. I appreciate your comment. We would love to make our way to ATL to teach our dance fitness workshops;-) Do you have any contacts?
Paz Amor Luz