Friday, 20 November 2015

Dance Medicine: Preventing Injury & Strengthening VMO

I saw the physiotherapist yesterday and he was very impressed with the strength I've built in my VMO (Vastus Medialis Oblique), the front thigh muscle that stabilises the knee. So many turn-out, straight leg lifts. It has made my abs burn like crazy to do them properly too. Bonus.
As they say though, the best cure is prevention. I don't want to put my joints at risk when I work in fitness and when I love training, teaching and the independence of free movement.
I also want to always be learning more about the body and how it works - the muscles, the bones, the brain. To that end, I have collected my tools and I want to share them with you.

Stretch and self-massage: So important when preventing an injury or just being able to move more freely, to stretch and also to massage and work into muscles that are feeling really tight. I have very tight glutes and hamstrings - especially after a couple of classes in a row. This can pull on my knee joint and also result in compensation with other muscles so that I'm feeling tense and sore.
While a foam roller is great for the ITB, I prefer a massage ball for glutes, back and feet.
My favourite way to use it is to come into a squat with my back against the wall. I place the bakball towards my mid-back and then I slowly come to standing and squat again, allowing the ball to roll up and down my spine. Eases out all those little niggles between the shoulder blades!
There are videos of how to use the bakballs for particular areas. I also take mine in the car and sit it either under my shoulder blades or into my lower back and press back into it. It presses into sore spots. If Drake or Diplo comes on, I end up doing a bit of a dance in my seat, which results in a mini massage. Recommended! 


Understand the muscles you use: Yesterday I asked my class to be curious about their bodies. I think we ought to be in wonderment every day at what we're capable of and the incredibly engineered machine that our body is! Having been through surgery and illness, I have so much appreciation for how the body wants to heal. It wants to perform. It loves movement. 
On my desk is Liane Simmel's Dance Medicine in Practice: Anatomy, Injury Prevention, Training. This is a guide to self-analysis, basic anatomy and injury prevention techniques. It also provides advice around training, nutrition and technique.
Liane Simmel is a former professional dancer who now runs her own clinic in Germany specialising in osteopathy and sports medicine. She also supervises strength and training programs for dance students and professional dancers. Dance Medicine $52.95 @ Taylor and Francis

I'll be attending to the chapters on hips and knees very closely! I'll also be continuing my VMO strengthening. Now, I have popped this video below to encourage you to work your VMO too. It not only helps with stabilising your knee but it also gives you great muscle definition in the front of the thigh (priorities?!) By the way, this is a very appealing trainer with a cool accent. You're welcome - my pleasure.




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