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Earn the right to lift

I had a conversation the other day with someone outside the dance community who asked what it takes for leads to be able to lift the follows. My answer was essentially ‘they have to earn the right to lift’. Dancers should not be allowed to lift other dancers until they can safely squat and lift with proper form and sufficient strength and breathing techniques.

This applies to dancers but it also applies to any athlete that wants to incorporate weight training as a supplement to their sport. The last thing we want to do when we are incorporating some cross training to improve our sport performance is to cause more harm than good. So before you begin to lift, get assessed for your movement kinetics to make sure your lifting program is working for you.

As personal trainers we are educated in assessing movement patterns in some standard activities such as squatting, pushing, pulling and twisting. Deviations from ideal movement kinetics can give us cues to underlying imbalances but also forewarn about injuries that may be more likely to happen. If your movement kinetics aren’t ideal when you aren’t lifting a weight, then once you introduce weights you are prone to both introducing or reinforcing less-than-ideal muscle memory patterns and making yourself more susceptible to injury.

Ideally, before starting a weight-based program, you should be assessed for your movement deficiencies by a trained professional and then remedy those deficiencies before starting your program. If you choose not to start with a solid foundation you run the risk of not achieving what you’d hoped to with your cross training pattern. Taking a bit of time to step back and get your foundations solid will pay off sooner and for longer. This also applies to anyone starting a body-weight based program. Without proper movement kinetics, those body-weight movements could introduce poor muscle memory and sprains or strains.