Updated: Dec 31, 2022
Rest & recovery - are they different?
Often the concept of Rest is paired with Recovery. Let’s clarify upfront – recovery happens during rest – and rest does not have to mean lying around on the couch. Movement is encouraged, but we want to rest from the repetition of movement performed in the dance studio.
During training, there is a cycle that needs to happen for positive changes to occur. train → fatigue → recover → super-compensation (“grow stronger”)
It may seem confusing, but getting stronger happens on the rest/recovery days, not the training day!!!! During periods of rest, muscles and other tissues have a chance to recover and repair from the physical demands placed on them. It is through the repair process that tissues adapt and become stronger and more resistant to fatigue. Dancers want to minimize fatigue from a performance standpoint – think, crushing that solo until the very last second without losing steam – but also to decrease risk of injury (for which fatigue is a HUGE factor). If rest/recovery days do not happen, dancers will get stuck in a train & fatigue-only cycle WITHOUT the super-compensation and WITH the risk of injury. It's also important to note... it takes longer to rebuild strength and stamina if dancers are overtraining than if rest/recovery days are a regular part of their routine. A good indicator of not enough rest is when overall performance is not improving over a period of time, even with progressive overload during training.
Recommendations for Rest & Recovery:
implement an effective cool down at the end of each exercise bout to support tissue regeneration
relative rest or reduced intensity/duration of exercise for 1 day following training – if training is typical – and 2 days if training is excessive or clustered (2-3x/day for several consecutive days)
rest and recovery days should also follow performances, auditions, and conventions
relative rest periods of 2-3 consecutive weeks, 2-3x/year
activities like low-intensity swimming, cycling, jogging, walking, Pilates, and yoga are all great options
**NOTE: nutrition and sleep are incredibly important for recovery as well
If you’re curious about how your dancer can optimize their training by implementing an individualized rest/recovery plan, click the button below and we can chat about your dancer’s goals and come up with a plan for how to achieve them.