Notes on Conditioning

Through the spark of dance media online, conditioning and cross-training for dancers is becoming even more apparent.  But, we need a way to sift through all of the conversation and tips and organize our brain so we can fully digest this information!  That is what today’s post is – an organizational tool for everything conditioning!

Types of Conditioning

To begin, we will analyze the 2 types of conditioning and their subcategories:

Classical Conditioning: This is the regular, exercise-based type of conditioning that you would do on the main floor of the gym.  But, there are a few different specific types of classical conditioning that you can do, each of which targets a different area of fitness:

  • Aerobic (targets cardiovascular endurance)
    • Example – running on the treadmill
  • Strength (using resistance to acquire the ability to reach full range of motion)
    • Example – lifting weights, crunches, planks, etc.
  • Flexibility (using an outside force to increase range of motion)
    • Example – stretching in the frog, splits, etc.

Many exercises, such as the elliptical, combine these areas.  This is an even better, well-rounded exercise regimen that is recommended by many…and it saves you some time!

Specialized Conditioning: This is also known as “cross-training,” which is currently a hot topic in the ballet world.  Basically, it is substituting other fitness techniques or physical activities to strengthen different parts of your body in a new way.  Cross-training often combines many different areas of fitness (above) and workout techniques (below).  Here are some examples:

  • Swimming (using water resistance to increase endurance + strength)
  • Pilates (using body weight/specialized machine to increase strength + flexibility)
  • Yoga (using breathing/relaxation to increase flexibility + strength)
  • Gyrotonics (using specialized machine and circular motions to increase strength + endurance)
  • Sports (utilizing all areas of fitness to excel in a competition)
  • Others (many types of cross-training — HIIT Tabatas, Barre classes, etc.)

Workout Techniques

Within all of these types of conditioning, there are a few techniques or formats that we can use for our workouts in these different areas.

Continuous: This workout technique involves doing the same exercise at the same intensity level for an extended period of time, often over 20 minutes.  An example of this would be running on the treadmill or the elliptical for 30 minutes without changing speed or resistance level.

Fartlek: Yes, the name is funny.  Haha.  Get over it.  This workout technique involves doing the same exercise at varying intensity levels — but without coming to a complete stop and start.  An example would be running on the treadmill and varying your speed or resistance level from 10 to 20 to 30 and then back to 10.  This also involves doing the exercise for an extended period of time, often over 20 minutes.

Interval: Interval training, which is also very popular with HIIT workout classes, involves doing the same exercise with varying intensity levels…this time coming to a complete stop and start.  For example, you would do push ups at your highest intensity level and effort for 2 minutes, and then take 1 minute’s rest, and repeat.

Circuit: This is doing different exercises at the same or slightly different intensity levels and repeating the process until you are exhausted.  This is typically the regular workout – a dancer would do crunches for 2 minutes, plank for 2 minutes, work on their obliques for 2 minutes, and maybe repeat the series.  Typical workout routines are in the circuit format.

Take a look at this graphic organizer for the different workout techniques below:

Workout Techniques Organizer.png


Thanks for reading this, and I hope you learned something new!  Be sure to respond below to any questions, and check out my 28-day meal plan challenge!

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