[中][ENG] 舞蹈的體能訓練 Strength and Conditioning in Dance

舞動潛能

Optimizing Dancers’ Performance


舞蹈的體能訓練


文:敖君龍


照片由香港演藝學院舞蹈學院提供


舞蹈與其他競技運動一樣,是一項對技巧、體能和精確度有嚴格要求的身體活動。為了滿足表演需求,不論舞者所跳的舞步是屬於哪一種舞蹈風格,體能是不可或缺的元素,當中包括力量、爆發力、心肺耐力、靈活性、協調性和平衡等等。相比競技運動,舞蹈更要求參與者在複雜的舞步及極高體力需求下展示各式各樣的動作來表現獨特的美感,所以有學者將舞者定義為「表演的運動員 」。


一般來說,專業的舞者從外形上並不像一般常見項目的運動員那麼強壯,加上舞者大多追求身體及動作上的美態,這種氛圍漸漸使不少舞者潛移默化地認為進行肌肉訓練會使他們變得碩壯,因此他們並不太熱衷於體能訓練。然而,鑑於舞蹈表演在身體及體力的層面有極高度的需求,如果舞者的基本身體質素沒有良好準備的話,他們受傷的風險便會大大增加。近年有不少學者認為,舞者於表演時需要持續高強度活動,單靠平日的舞蹈技巧訓練可能無法提供足夠的體能以應付表演的需要。有見及此,現今一些舞蹈學院及舞蹈團也為舞者加入額外的體能訓練,藉此配合及提升舞者表演的能力並降低受傷的風險。


首先,在選擇訓練時,舞者大多會採用自身體重訓練、瑜伽或普拉提運動等以提升自己的身體能力。這些訓練各有好處,但往往會因為目標大多集中於伸展或只針對某幾個肌肉群,又或者只依從有限和特定的動作模式活動,所以未必能全面切合舞蹈活動的需求。舞蹈科學學者 Edel Quin指出,舞者的體能需求大致上可分為以下幾類:

  • 有氧適能:提供低 /中等強度、較長時間的活動能力。

  • 無氧適能:提供高強度、短時間的活動能力。

  • 肌肉力量:肌肉能產生最大力量的能力。

  • 肌肉爆發力:肌肉能快速或在短時間產生最大力量的能力(例如跳躍或踢腿)。

  • 肌肉耐力:肌肉產生持續力量或不斷重複動作的能力(例如重複跳躍或腿部擺動)。

  • 靈活性:關節可活動的範圍,包括該關節周圍肌肉的「伸展性」。

  • 神經肌肉協調:包含上述所有要求,但也與平衡、敏捷、協調和技巧有關。

肌力與體能訓練(strength and conditioning)的出現和發展是旨在提升運動員專項表現,也是運動科學領域的一個範疇。由於舞者的體能需求和舞蹈技巧本應相輔相成,因此肌力與體能訓練及「提升舞蹈表現」這個目標不謀而合,所以可應用於舞者身上。肌力與體能訓練著重的是強化身體的能力以追求明確的功能性目標(如提升彈跳能力、平衡、反應和身體協調等),而這些功能性目標正正與舞蹈的動作密不可分,例如強化跳躍及著地的控制、提升移動時的本體感覺以避免失去平衡而跌倒,或是提高身體的協調性。其中舞蹈科學的研究指出,肌力不足的舞者會更容易受傷及需要更多時間恢復。舞者可以利用這些額外的訓練元素強化自身體能上的不足,提升舞者的舞蹈能力並減少受傷的機會,甚至延長舞蹈事業的壽命。


另外,舞者的體能訓練並非如現今社交媒體所流行的家居訓練或減肥運動,如掌上壓、仰臥起坐,或不斷提腿等這般簡單的訓練動作。相反,運動科學家及專業的體能教練會運用系統式負重的力量訓練(weight training)、增強式訓練(plyometric training)、循環訓練(circuit training)、高強度間歇訓練(high intensity interval training)、甚至是功能訓練(functional training),這些都是舞蹈體能訓練常用的方法。要針對提升舞者的能力,我們可以參照科學化的訓練模式,首先由運動科學家及認可的體能教練進行各方面的體能及功能測試,以了解該舞者的身體能力及體能水平,然後因應舞者的強弱項目及與舞蹈老師商討後相應地調整訓練內容,配合舞者的日常時間表,增設額外的體能訓練課或融入其舞蹈技巧課中。當然,訓練內容會定期作出修改,並分階段進行測試以觀察舞者的進度,同時避免舞者因慣性訓練而失去對身體的刺激或使訓練內容變得沉悶單調。


宏觀來看,肌力與體能訓練是眾多輔助舞者的手段之一,而絕非舞蹈練習以外的唯一支援配套,因此其他範疇如心理健康、營養、休息、受傷後的支援也是非常重要。除此之外,更應注意不要過度訓練(overtraining)。由於舞者的練習時間表十分緊密,每天的排練平均為六至八小時,當接近表演期的時候更高達10小時,所以舞者的休息時間大多不足。傳統上,舞蹈的訓練強調訓練量的重要性,但長久下去會容易造成過度訓練而產生疲勞、食慾不振、關節或軟組織勞損和體重減輕等症狀。


在2010年一篇對專業芭蕾舞團的研究顯示,平均90%的舞者在每個日常的工作日(定義為上午九時半至下午六時半)只有不多於60分鐘的休息時間,而當中三分之一的舞者休息時間更是少於 20 分鐘。所以,舞者的整體訓練方針上也應以質素為主,盡量減少過長訓練時數所帶來的負面影響。舞者在時間上也可因應週期性訓練(periodization,即因應不同的時期相應調節訓練量及強度的訓練概念),再配合該舞蹈風格的技巧訓練及美感的表達,令舞者的表演水平達致頂峰。雖然目前未有大量的研究證明強壯的舞者能馬上使舞蹈技巧變得更出色,但強而有力的身軀可成為舞者的最強後盾,以迎接未來更大量及高質素的舞步練習,並以健康的身體全面發揮,於舞台上活出自我。



參考文獻

  1. Koutedakis, Y., & Jamurtas, A. (2004). The dancer as a performing athlete: physiological considerations. Sports medicine (Auckland, N.Z.), 34(10), 651–661.

  2. Moita, J. P., Nunes, A., Esteves, J., Oliveira, R., & Xarez, L. (2017). The Relationship Between Muscular Strength and Dance Injuries: A Systematic Review. Medical problems of performing artists, 32(1), 40–50.

  3. Quin, E. (2019, July 12). Supplementary training for young dancers. One Dance UK: https://www.onedanceuk.org/supplementary-training-for-young-dancers/.

  4. Twitchett, E., Angioi, M., Koutedakis, Y., & Wyon, M. (2010). The demands of a working day among female professional ballet dancers. Journal of dance medicine & science, 14(4), 127–132.

  5. Wyon M. (2010). Preparing to perform: periodization and dance. Journal of dance medicine & science, 14(2), 67–72.



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敖君龍

香港演藝學院講師(舞蹈科學)、運動科學博士生及體能教練。他的研究興趣為舞蹈的體能訓練,並以此作為他博士論文的研究題目。他將生理學的知識及過去與不同運動項目的精英運動員的合作經驗,運用到他的教學及研究工作上。此外,他也是奧林匹克舉重、普拉提教練,能為舞者提供全面及多變的體能訓練。


 

Strength and Conditioning in Dance


Text: Jake Ngo


Photo provided by The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts School of Dance


Similar to competitive sports, dance is a physical activity with strict requirements for technique, physical fitness and precision. Regardless of dance styles, physical fitness is essential and indispensable for dancers to meet their performance needs, which include strength, power, cardiorespiratory endurance, flexibility, coordination, balance, and so on. Compared with competitive sports, dancers are required not only to perform under extremely high physical demands with advanced techniques but to express a unique sense of beauty. Therefore, some scholars define dancers as "performing athletes".


Generally speaking, professional dancers are not as strong in appearance as athletes in competitive sports. The pursuit of beauty in physical form and movements makes dancers subconsciously see fitness training as equating to being bulky, which may make them less than keen on fitness training. However, considering that dance performances impose extremely high demands on dancers’ physical fitness, the risk of injury will be greatly increased if dancers are not well prepared in terms of physical capability. In recent years, many scholars have come to believe that, while dancers need to perform high-intensity movements continuously when performing, dance technique classes alone do not seem to provide enough stimulus to meet these physical needs. In view of this, some dance academies and companies are introducing additional fitness training for their dancers so as to enhance their performance and reduce risk of injury.


When selecting supplementary training, most dancers adopt bodyweight training, Yoga or Pilates to improve their physical capabilities. Although these training methods have their advantages, because the goals are often mainly focused on stretching, targeting a few specific muscle groups, or acting with limited or specific movement patterns, they may not fully meet the needs of dance activities. Edel Quin, researcher in dance science, has pointed out that dancers' physical requirements may be roughly categorized into the following aspects:

  • Aerobic fitness – supports low to moderate intensity, longer-duration activities.

  • Anaerobic fitness – supports high intensity, maximal effort, and short bursts of activity.

  • Muscular strength – the ability of a muscle to exert maximal force.

  • Muscular power – the ability to exert force within a short period of time (e.g. jump or kick).

  • Muscular endurance – the ability of a muscle to produce strength continuously or explosive/ fast actions repetitively (e.g. repeated jumps or kicks).

  • Flexibility – the range of motion available at a joint, including the ‘stretchiness’ of the muscle(s) around that joint.

  • Neuromuscular coordination – required for all of the above, but also associated with balance, agility, coordination and skill.

The introduction of strength and conditioning in sports science aims at improving athletes’ performance. Considering that dancers’ physical fitness and dance skills should complement each other, it is reasonable to apply strength and conditioning in dance to optimize dancers’ performance. Strength and conditioning focuses on maximizing physical capabilities and pursuing functional goals (such as improving jumping ability, balance, reaction, coordination, etc.). Furthermore, these functional goals can then benefit dance movements, for instance, strengthening jumping and landing techniques, improving proprioception during movements to prevent falling, and improving overall body coordination. According to dance science studies, dancers with insufficient muscular strength are more vulnerable to injuries and require more time to recover from them. Dancers can utilize these training elements to strengthen their physical weaknesses, improve their dancing ability and reduce the chance of injury. This also helps dancers to extend the lifespan of their dance career.


In addition, conditioning work for dancers is not the same as home training or weight loss routines on social media, or simply performing push-ups, sit-ups, or heel raises. On the contrary, sports scientists and professional conditioning coaches commonly adopt scientific training methods, for example, systematic weight training, plyometric training, circuit training, high-intensity interval training, and even functional training to improve dancers’physical abilities. Before prescribing training, sports scientists and accredited strength and conditioning coaches need to conduct various tests to examine the dancer’s physical abilities and fitness level. The training content would then be adjusted according to the strengths and weaknesses of the dancer and discussion with dance technique teachers. A systematic and progressive training regime will then fit into the dancer’s daily schedule. Of course, the training content will be constantly revised according to results from regular testing and the dancer’s progress. This also helps to prevent dancers losing physical stimulation due to fixed training content or making the training dull.


To be specific, strength and conditioning is one of the many ways to assist dancers and is by no means the only support besides dance technique training. Other areas such as mental health, nutrition, rest, and post-injury support are also vitally important to dancers. Furthermore, we should try our best to avoid overtraining dancers as they usually have such a heavy schedule. Their average daily rehearsal time is around 6 to 8 hours and may reach as high as 10 hours closer to the performance period. Traditionally, high training volume is commonly seen in dance and dancers may suffer from overtraining. This can easily lead to symptoms like fatigue, loss of appetite, joint or soft tissue strain and weight loss in the long run.


In a 2010 study of professional ballet companies, an average of 90% of dancers only had less than 60 minutes of rest time in each working day (defined as 9:30 am-6:30 pm), with one-third of dancers even having less than 20 minutes. Therefore, the overall training objective should focus on quality over quantity so as to minimize the negative impact of excessive training hours. Dancers can also adopt periodization (the training concept of adjusting the amount and intensity of training corresponding to different periods) to work around the technical training classes to optimize their performance. Although there has not been much research to prove that strengthening dancers physically can immediately boost their dance skills, a stronger body is always the best support for dancers to face challenges and express themselves wholeheartedly on stage.



References

  1. Koutedakis, Y., & Jamurtas, A. (2004). The dancer as a performing athlete: physiological considerations. Sports medicine (Auckland, N.Z.), 34(10), 651–661.

  2. Moita, J. P., Nunes, A., Esteves, J., Oliveira, R., & Xarez, L. (2017). The Relationship Between Muscular Strength and Dance Injuries: A Systematic Review. Medical problems of performing artists, 32(1), 40–50.

  3. Quin, E. (2019, July 12). Supplementary training for young dancers. One Dance UK: https://www.onedanceuk.org/supplementary-training-for-young-dancers/.

  4. Twitchett, E., Angioi, M., Koutedakis, Y., & Wyon, M. (2010). The demands of a working day among female professional ballet dancers. Journal of dance medicine & science, 14(4), 127–132.

  5. Wyon M. (2010). Preparing to perform: periodization and dance. Journal of dance medicine & science, 14(2), 67–72.


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Jake Ngo

Lecturer (Dance Science) at The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, PhD student in sports science, and certified strength and conditioning coach. His research interest is strength and conditioning in dance, which also became the research topic of his doctoral study. He applies knowledge of physiology and previous experience with elite athletes in various sports to his teaching and research work. In addition, he is also an Olympic weightlifting coach and Pilates instructor, providing dancers with a comprehensive and flexible conditioning experience.



本欄合作伙伴:香港演藝學院舞蹈學院

This column is in collaboration with: School of Dance, The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts

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