We've all seen those dancers who jump and seem to just hang in the air for a split moment in time before returning to the ground. Want to know how you can achieve this yourself? Well by understanding your muscles and how your body works a little bit better you can.
3 Types of Skeletal Muscle Fibres
- Type 1 Fibres: slow twitch fibres - good for endurance!
- Type 2a Fibres: a hybrid of type 1 and 2 fibres. They're fast twitch and react to little force.
- Type 2b Fibres: power producers! Fatigue quickly.
Muscle Types and Jumping
From experience I know I can put myself in the Type 2b category! I'm great at sprinting, but long distance running and my muscles fatigue. In fact, anything requiring short bursts of energy I'm good with, and I love big jumps - so Type 2b Power Produces that fatigue quickly! Complete the following exercise to find out a little bit more about your muscles...we're going to wall sit!
- Grab your phone so you can time your wall sit.
- Find a wall to lean against, stand in parallel 2nd, step a little away from the wall, lower until your hips and knees are in line.
- Hold until you can hold no more
Ok, so how long did you hold for?
- Around 30 seconds - You're probably best at big jumps...right? Type 2B
- Around 1 minute - You can swing both ways, you like big jumps and maybe continuous jumps too? Type 2A
- Around 2 minutes+ - I'm guessing you like continues jumps...can't wait for that saute exercise in ballet? Type 1
How to Make The Most of This
As said by Einstein 'energy can not be created or destroyed just transferred' (if only someone had told me at high school that physics applied to dance!). So keeping this in mind, sitting in a plie before our jumps can suck up energy, therefore, it is important to time our plie for ultimate push off. Try this exercise to find out the best way to get the most out of your plie and get more height in your jumps...
- Stand in 1st position turned out
- Part 1 - Plie for counts 1, 2, 3 and jump on count 4. You might want to do this a couple of times. Take note of how your leg muscles feel and also your jump height.
- Part 2 - Plie for counts 1, jump on &, wait 2, 3, 4. Again do this a couple of times. Take note of how your leg muscles feel and also your jump height.
Which one was easier for you? Which one gave you more height? Generally...
- 1, 2, 3, jump 4 suits Type 1
- 1, jump &, 2, 3, 4 suits Type 2B
- and we know Type 2A could be either or
Now that you have a better idea of how to maximise your jumps, take this into consideration when prepping in your routines. Obviously, in team routines, we have to all be in time and there is a way we can work out preps and still be in time - but I think that might be another blog post!
Miss Dani x