Weight Training for Ballroom Dancing

By Arthur H. Greenberg.


Ballroom dancing is a "physical skill". In order to engage in this endeavour, be it for social or competition or both you are working a physical human machine that that burns fuel (glycogen). For whatever the physiological reason when you use muscles repetitively and frequently those muscles usually respond by becoming "conditioned" (Terminology is changing over the years. Toned muscles are muscles at rest. Poorly toned muscles implies that they are "flabby" or have a higher percentage of fat content. Conditioned muscles or muscle groups (you cannot usually use only one muscle at a time in the real world) that are used often, stay "in shape"/conditioned. Conditioned implies that when called upon to perform, the muscles/muscle groups respond better to the demands made upon them. The more a muscle atrophies Usually from lack of use) the less capable it becomes of responding. It is probable that when your muscles are trained and in condition they will respond better. I believe that this is a subject to debate! In between my dancing excursions, which are frequent, I pay regular visits to the gym to "work out". I ride the stationary bicycle and engage in high rep low weight exercises.

Although I do not dance for exercise (per se) I cannot deny that I am getting "exercised" in the process. One cannot do three hours of dancing, social or other wise, without coming away feeling that you have exercised and/or expended calories and there reaches a point in one's dancing when you realise that you have had enough. "Enough" not only occurs when you get tired physically but also tired mentally ( have quenched your desire for dancing or every one has gone home leaving you standing or sitting alone in the ballroom). A conditioning exercise program between dancing can assure that your muscles can respond when called upon. If you spend more time in the gym than on the dance floor you are conditioning yourself to dance.

If you do not have enough energy for both, all other factors being equal, the conclusion will be that if you spent more time on the dancing you would become a better dancer. This logic is irrefutable.One does not need large and powerful muscles to perform on the dance floor. (Weight training for muscular strength, however, is quite necessary for lifts, depending on the kind of lifts you perform and the partner you are performing them with.) Leading and following capability is determined by many other factors than strength. "Timing", is the most important factor in a well given lead. Response by the follower is more achieved by paying attention or focusing on your partner's messages (leads) than strength.

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