MOVEMENT MONDAYS #2: Strength Training

| December 14, 2009 | 2 Comments

Well, hi! They let me come back, can you even stand it?  I am just tickled.  See, one column, well; I’m not certain that’s really a column, now is it?  Two, however. Now, that shows a trend, that shows continuity… that shows that perhaps I need to get out more, do you think?




This week, I am taking on a subject near and dear to my very soul…Yes, my darlings, let’s talk about STRENGTH training.  Oh, I know.  You don’t have time, you don’t see the benefits, there is no need to do this when we’re already stretching…. Silly, silly Movement Chick. 


Mmmm Hmmm.  I’ve heard them all.  Trust me.  


For a long time, we talked about the core, and the importance of training the core muscles, and the benefits provided therein.  And this is absolutely true – and there is no excuse to skip your Pilates, boys and girls [more on that soon, pinky-swear.]  However.  A lot of what we ask our students to do involves throwing things in the air.  [Do you enjoy my command of the technicalities of what we do? You’re welcome] As such, the strength in the upper body is a major contributor to our student’s success with their flag, gun, or blade.


**Caveat coming: Please, please, don’t send your students into a gym to do weight training to help with equipment skills and upper body training.  That is a subject best learned under supervision, and with care that muscles, ligaments and tendons are not being improperly strained at a young age***


Okay, I’m back.  What I am to reveal to you may just change your world.  It is the Lowly PUSHUP. For those of you far ahead of me on this, you may carry on with your dance block.  If, however, you are not incorporating pushups, of more than one variety, into your rehearsal schedule, get out your pens and paper, please.  This is super-duper important.  [Brevity? What brevity?]


Pushups, done at least three different ways, will ROCK your program’s world.  I am serious on this one.  Here we go.  The standard pushup format is your starting point.  If you are just beginning [or old and tired like, well, ME] do the bent knee “girly” version.  [I’m totally fine being girly, thankyouverymuch.] 


Go. Slow. 


Both in terms of the introduction of the skill, and the speed at which you work the exercise.  Yup, you’re going to hate me, but I’m okay with that.


Next, pull those fingers close together.  Make a diamond with your index fingers and thumbs.  This is putting more emphasis on the tricep.  I know, stop calling me names.  And finally, open those hands wide apart – past the shoulders by at least six inches on each side.  We’ve switched the torture emphasis to the bicep now.


Start with five to ten of each kind, with a goal of working up to fifty; twenty-five, okay, fine:  fifteen of each version. And when you can once again reach over your head to open a cupboard door, note the continued improvement in your weapon technique, you can thank me then. 



[oops, forgot you can’t raise your arms… sorry]


The Movement Chick

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Category: Instruction, Movement

About the Author (Author Profile)

Cheryl Myers (aka “The (self-proclaimed) Movement Chick”) is a movement instructor, adjudicator and would-be rockette, living in the Fingerlakes area of New York State. Primary affiliations include the New York Federation of Contest Judges, and the Atlantic Indoor Association. She has most recently worked with Trumansburg High School, and is continually blessed by the opportunity to consult and adjudicate for circuits around the country. In addition to her pageantry career, Ms. Myers works in the accounting and insurance fields, and yes, is great fun at parties, thankyouverymuch. Her primary job, and that which she is most proud of, is raising her two beautiful children, a future dancer and drummer.

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  1. Terrell says:

    I completely agree with you! Coming from the dance world, especially as a male dancer, I was required to have an extremely strong upper body, while continuing to be flexible. Granted, my methods of having pliable upper body strength – kettlebell swings, cleans, handstand pushups, snatches – are a little beyond what is required for guard, but I’ve taken some of these same exercises and modified them for my ensembles. Regular pushups, wide-stance pushups, close-stance pushups, pike pushups, and pull-ups are all exercises that require little to no equipment, and have been absolutely amazing and giving my ensemble members the strength and muscular endurance they need to be able to succeed. I normally do two to three sets of each, with 8-16 reps. Since I instruct a college guard I can push them a little harder, but my high school guards do have their share of upper-body strengthening exercises as well.

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