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AHHHH Whole body sore


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Hi again fellow dancers,


As I've stated previously I've been dancing for about 11 months now. In the beginning of April I moved from one class per week to two. (for the first several months I could really feel it in my muscles for about 3-4 days afterward. As a result of this, after the 3 days or so I would only do Pilates, etc to recover and add some strength building for the rest of the week. Muscles were VERY weak when I started, not even balletwise, just in general :yawn: )


In April I added another class which is really fun. I enjoy having both classes and it is my plan to work up to more in the future. Both classes are beginner classes, though the one does include pirouettes and pique turns. I'm a little behind the class on that one as my original teacher is quite thorough with the fundamentals. (She has encouraged me to join her intermediate class this summer though).


I guess i just have kind of a general inquiry. I seem to be MORE sore now than when I began, actually more sore now than when I even added the second class. At this point I've been taking 2 classes per week for 8 weeks.


I feel like I'm finally just *starting* to use some of the right muscles now after 6 months of learning to stand up. (I could not even balance on one foot in the center for a long time - I'm a tall, thin, super flexible drink of water :sleeping: My poor teacher, having to watch this!!!) I still do Pilates at least 3x per week, it also is getting *excruciating* although I am clearly becoming better at that as well. Likewise, Pilates used to feel like a "stretch" but now is just so much more ... painful, difficult I guess.


Is this normal? My question is, would it be helpful for me to try to work through this discomfort "faster" by adding a third class per week? Or should I take it easy?


I'm trying to plan out my summer schedule so that's the reason for the inquiry.


Thanks for any advice you may have :thumbsup: .



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I would advise that you hold at your present level of activity for a few more months. Ballet is a slow building-up process, and the only thing you're liable to get from adding more classes now is big knotty cramps from oxygen debt. Keep building up (and stretching out, gently) at this stage for awhile to see if things don't go a little easier for you, then add another class, if so. (October is close enough for our purposes)

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As an older person let me say that for some of us muscle soreness is just something you have to get used to. I’ve had sore muscles every day now for years. Once warmed up, however, the soreness vanishes. So for an older person, I’d counsel just get used to it. That is if it is just soreness and not some serious injury (you will usually know the difference).


For the younger person, the conventional wisdom in treating muscle soreness is to repeat the activity that caused the soreness, but to do it at much less intensity than when originally practiced. The idea is that light work performed in the same manner, increases blood flow to the affected areas and hence tissue repair in the affected muscles. That’s a general principle, and you have to translate that to your own specific situation.

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Many thanks, Major Mel and Garyecht. I will stick with two classes per week for the summer. Garyecht, the thing you said about light work helping with soreness is definitely true for me.


Also sometimes I am just plain old cranky from the soreness, and Pilates, although semi-tough, pretty much takes it completely away. I feel fine today, whereas yesterday when I posted I was very sore (from Sunday class I guess).


I don't like to take aspirin etc too much.


I'm hoping someday to be able to meet a lot of you at ADC. :) Maybe next year.

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I've found that when I have to cut down to taking only one or two classes a week for some reason, I get much more sore after each class than when I'm taking 3+ classes a week... I don't have any good explanation for it, that's just been my experience. Just to clarify, I'm not disagreeing at all with Mr. Johnson’s advice (I would never do that), but you might find when you do finally add the third class, you’ll be a little less sore. Personally, even at the beginner level, I find that three classes a week is the minimum number that I need to take, both for improving my technique and my overall health. If I have to take a break for some reason (usually work related), that’s when my knees and other joints start to hurt... now if only I could convince my insurance company to pay for my ballet classes....

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Everybody's body has a different fit to ballet! Some have more fits than others! :)

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I feel like I'm finally just *starting* to use some of the right muscles now after 6 months of learning to stand up.


spankster, this could be the cause of the increased muscle soreness. i remember that when i increased my dancing quota and actually starting to pay attention to all of the basics, one of the worse things that happened was discovering that i had muscles i didn't know exist. :(


it took months before they stopped aching. of course, now the question is has my muscle strength improved, or am i beginning to be lazy again? :wub:

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Guest mic31

stay at it, play close attention to your nutrition. If you are lacking in certain vitamins and minerals your will have a tough time and be more open to these aches and pains

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Guest beckster

I remember reading a post once from someone saying that when they got back from ballet they always took some sort of painkiller. I was horrified by that as I don't think taking too much medicine is a good idea, especially when you know it's just pulled muscles from ballet and will be gone in a couple of days. I have always believed that general achiness is a good thing as it means you're working the muscles. A sharp pain means you've done something bad to a muscle and need to rest it - usually I know immediately when I've done this! My ballet teacher always tells us to have a long hot bath after a hard class to relax the muscles out.

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Thanks guys. It almost seems like maybe soreness is not the right word exactly. I guess it's like a whole body stiffness. But it drives me NUTS.


As soon as I start to work again, I feel tons better whether it's ballet exercises or Pilates. There isn't always time for me to do something in the morning (like a Pilates video etc), so it just drives me nuts since I sit all day crunching numbers.


The exercises are using the *whole body* now instead of limited areas which is good. That feels great.


These were some very valuable responses. I'm going to take a closer look at my diet. I may just be getting old too. :)


Hee hee

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Guest annie

It may be that as you become aware of new muscle groups that need to be worked that it is like "starting over" all over again. Each new "find" needs to be strengthened, stretched and controlled. It will probably get better as you progress. Just don't push yourself. Make sure that you get a really good warm up before you start doing center work.


As an adult (I'm 36 now), I find that I need a full barre to get really warmed up, while my younger teenaged counterparts, who have been dancing for most of the day anyways, don't need a full barre before working on recital work. I always request a good warmup even when the youngsters are rearing to work on the performance. After 5 years of dance, I have not had any serious injuries. Some aches and pains, especially the calves after 200 releves - but no serious injuries.


I did have to give up pointe work. I started having difficulty walking from my bed to the shower in the mornings - my feet were so sore. After a summer off, it got better - so I gave it up. Being crippled in my old age just to dance on my toes was NOT worth it!


Also, when I first started dancing, my co-workers could tell when I just had class. Two days after class, I had difficulties climbing the stairs! My legs were so sore. !It got better as the year went on and came back after the Christmas break. I don't get as sore now.

Edited by annie
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