How to improve stamina for Irish dancing? Endurance training is normally associated with stamina development, however, requirements will differ depending on the sport you are taking part in.
There are two ways of developing stamina –
- By continuous training methods
- By intermittent training methods
Continuous training methods would involve exercising at a slow, medium or fast pace without stopping. It may even involve alternating speeds or intensity or alternating exercises from Squatting to running to jumping etc. without taking any rest for a period of time.
Intermittent training methods would involve exercising at a slow, medium or fast pace followed by rest periods. The training method allows a higher quality of work to be done as the rest allows the dancer or athlete to recover.
Looking at both of these options, it is very easy to think that Intermittent training would be the most effective training for you as an Irish dancer unless of course you have an injury or you are recovering from an injury.
Many people believe that running, cycling, swimming etc. long distance is the best way to develop stamina. Are they right? ‘’Yes’’. This will improve the cardiovascular system. It will also help the dancer to survive their dances including dance practice sessions. However, this is not ideal long term. Working for long periods of time with no rest will make you slower as a dancer, will slow down your reaction time and will slow down your movement on stage.
If you would still like to use aerobic training throughout the year, I suggest that you use it at the end of a training session as part of your cool down routine.
So, as you all know Irish dancing is hard work! I have taken part in many activities but nothing compares to Irish dancing. We have to try to maintain good work throughout dance practices, then we do extra practice at home and then we go to a Feis on a Saturday or Sunday usually. It’s no wonder we are wrecked all of the time. So this is why our strength and conditioning program needs to be right! If you haven’t started a program yet, I suggest you do so.
When choosing exercises to perform an intermittent training routine, choose wisely. If you have an injury, try to avoid exercises that focus on that specific area and if you are unsure how you should be performing an exercise, it is probably best you avoid it.
Once you have chosen exercises suitable for your needs you are ready to go! If you need help with this, we will be happy to guide you. Start with a warm up routine including functional movements, dynamic movements and some low-intensity cardiovascular exercises. Then begin by performing suitable exercises for you at a higher intensity to complete the warm up. When you have done this you are ready to begin your intermittent training. Remember that intermittent training must include rest time allowing you to produce a higher quality of work at all times. When you complete your main workout make sure you cool down effectively.
I hope that this brief guideline makes sense to you now and gives you a clearer understanding of what you need to be focusing on most. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact the IDPF Team or me personally. You can get in contact via the website, Facebook or email.
As always, thank you for reading.
Peter O’ Grady
The Author of Upping Your Step.
A training book & DVD for Irish dancing.