Joyful Dance Laura Stanyer

Joyful Dance Laura Stanyer

Friday, 24 June 2011

Core Stability in Dance


Core stability is the ability of the postural muscles to control and maintain neutral alignment with or without movement and is the physical foundation of the musclo-skeletal system to control 'neutrals' when moving.

Why is Core Stability Important?

Along side the postural muscles maintaining an upright posture they also work to control and stabilise your centre (trunk) to reduce the work load from the working muscles creating more efficient function. This allows you to dance with a sense of freedom.

Trunk Stability

Various muscles work in co-ordination to stabilise the trunk and they need both endurance and strength to give spinal support, protect the lower back from injury and promote greater freedom of movement especially in the hips.

Core Stability has been described as a box:

  • Top - Diaphragm
  • Front - Rectus Abdominus, Transversus Abdominus
  • Sides - Internal and External Obliques
  • Back - Thoracolumbar Fascia, Paraspinals Multifidus Gluteals
  • Bottom - Pelvic floor hip musculature
Core stability serves as the centre of our structural support as all movements are initiated from here. Working these muscles correctly will enhance stability and protect the lumbar spine. Often dancers overuse certain muscles and these muscles become dominant and take over the function of another muscle causing muscle imbalances.

Muscle imbalances can be caused by:

  • Injury
  • Functional misuse (for example, bad posture)
  • Faulty training
Muscle imbalance leads to an uneven pull around the joints causing stress, overuse strains and potential risk of injury. Strength and flexibility training helps improve a balanced posture helping to correct muscle imbalances and postural problems.
Maintaining a balance of strength and flexibility of the opposing muscle groups and the co-ordination of postural muscles improves postural alignment and enhances performance. See the additional articles on strength and flexibility.

Benefits of Core Stability Training:

  • Greater efficiency of movement
  • Increased power output from the centre, trunk and limbs
  • Improved body control and balance
  • Reduced risk of injury Improved balance and stability

Issues Concerning Core Stability Training

There are concerns that only training the core muscles in a passive way, for example laying on the floor and isolating the transversus abdominus, are not appropriate for specific activities such as dance. The core training needs to be suitable to your training requirements. So if your dance activity involves floor work where you transition from the floor to upright position in rapid motion, for example contact improvisation, you may benefit from floor core exercises. However, if your dance practice remains upright majority of the time you may want to consider core exercises that maintain and improve upright position where the core works in coordination with the upper and lower limbs. Ideally the core can be trained working with and in response to the dynamics of the moving body. Many dance exercises can be considered exercises that train the core as these muscles will naturally be maintaining alignment, while jumping for example.

It may be helpful to engage in floor core exercises as a part of the dance class but not to let this take priority over specific dance training.

Disclaimer: The information contained on this web page is intended as general guidance and information only. Laura Stanyer and its authors accept no liability for any loss, injury or damage however incurred as a consequence, whether directly or indirectly, of the use this information. All advice on this web page should only be used under the supervision of a qualified dance / fitness / healthcare professional.

1 comment:

  1. I definitely agree that core stability is essential for any serious dancer. It serves a purpose in both aiding poses and injury prevention. I work at a job where I sit all day but still try to dance on the weekends. I need to focus on my core more since it degenerates from sitting all the time.