Forum: Ballet / Ballet - General

Back warmers during class?
By dancing_for_joy
On Sun Oct 27, 2013 12:26 PM

Hi all,

I was wondering if anyone uses back warmers/supports/elastic thingies during class? And your experience with them? Why do you use them etc...

I remember just a few girls using a warmer/support around their waist/low back throughout all the classes I've taken. But it really doesn't seem as common as all the other warm ups (hip/leg/even lower arm!?) out there...but the back is such a big and important muscle...i don't really get why it's not as popular! One ballet teacher encouraged us to wear a tight neoprene support (the kind you find at drugstores along with the ankle braces!) to help us remember to pull up...I was curious because I never seem to see them sold on dancewear sites.

I have back problems of every sort. One day, I stumbled across a type of back warmer for athletes/dancers. Curiosity, er, desperation, I should say, prompted me to take a risk and try it. I got the "band" (from www.elitesportzband.com, in case you're wondering) and started to use it during class. Keeps my back warm, but not too hot! I like wearing it, I feel more confident in my muscles not spas-ing, haha. But I'm so curious as to others' experiences with back warmers/supports and maybe how/when you use them. And if anyone has tried the one I mentioned? How does it compare with maybe other ones you've tried.

I'm sure I'm not the only one! =) Please share! =)

9 Replies to Back warmers during class?

re: Back warmers during class? (karma: 1)
By hummingbird
On Sun Oct 27, 2013 01:16 PM
If your back is hurting after class it's more than likely because you're not engaging your abs properly, the Transversus Abdominus is the major lumbar spinal supporter.

I can't see that there would be a problem with wearing one of these to start a class in, you can still see the shape of the spine whilst it's being worn, but just like any other warm up clothing it shouldn't really be worn all through class.

If you have all sorts of back issues you really should get some Pilates privates.
re: Back warmers during class?
By dancing_for_joy
On Sun Oct 27, 2013 08:54 PM
I appreciate your response, but I think there are some assumptions you made, and I'll just clear things up...

my back doesn't hurt MORE after class. In fact, it usually feels better after movement. I have different back/spine issues that have confounded countless chiropractors, alternative medicine practitioners, MDs, even rheumatologists. At the minimum, it's a combination of skeletal/mechanical issues (scoliosis, for example), and ligament/muscle issues that cause a chain reaction of problems. With all the experienced doctors I have consulted, no one has been able to give me a clear answer as to why I'm in pain...the most common response after looking at me is, "Hmm, I don't know what's going on, you seem to have opposite things going on from what I would expect to see.Yours is an interesting case" or "You're too young to have these problems, I would expect to see this amount of pain in someone 10 years older than you."

The back pain isn't 100% predictable, and there are several different areas/types of pain that come and go. When I wake up in the morning, I never know how I'm going to feel that day, as it will shift and change even throughout the course of the day!! This has been going on for years, and I've found some things that help, which is lots of movement/strengthening/stretching, and ballet is perfect for that since I get to stay mostly upright (some extreme movements found in modern, per se, might be too much for my back to handle at times), yet i get to use my back continuously.

I have had pilates, full-on with all the fun cadillacs, reformers, etc...At least it didn't hurt...but I don't have access to pilates now (besides the mat version of it)...

so that's it in a nutshell..

I was wondering, what is the reason you wouldn't wear a warmer or back supporter through the whole class? The one I have is made for athletes, like gymnasts use them all through practice to prevent injuries. It's been used by the russians for a long time.Thanks.
re: Back warmers during class?
By hummingbird
On Sun Oct 27, 2013 10:22 PM
Tell me how it stops injuries?

I work with a lot of clients who have back issues and apart from being an extra layer against the cold I can't really see how this would help, I can see how it would do the job of the mid and lower spinal supporters though and that won't help my clients in the long run. What we all really need is healthy back muscles that do their job, not that need a bit of elastic to do it for them.

Sorry if I come across as very sceptical, but over many years of dancing I've seen lots of things that claim to be able to the work of our muscles for them and very few of them work in reality. I'm not saying don't buy it, what I am saying is look into how and why people say it works before you invest your hard earned cash, not just that, it's just a bit of elastic that's sold at any haberdashers store sewn into a loop, look into how much it would cost to just buy that elastic and make your own.
re: Back warmers during class?
By dancing_for_joy
On Sun Oct 27, 2013 10:38 PM
i understand your skepticism, but that's why I posted and asked for others' experiences. Take a look at the website's homepage. It's their product, they're the ones who make the claim. It specifically says that it's not a brace and has addresse what you said...but anyway...I'm not here to argue, but gather other people's experiences and ideas.
re: Back warmers during class?
By toroandbruinmember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Sun Oct 27, 2013 10:55 PM
Edited by toroandbruin (202876) on 2013-10-27 23:10:10
For the long run, you need to keep seeking very knowledgeable dance teachers or PT instructors, or ideally somebody who is both, to analyze how you are using your muscles with your particular skeletal structure so as to best maximize your form, strengthen weak areas, and get rid of your back problems. Just because no MD or chiropractor has yet come up with a pat, "canned" answer doesn't mean you shouldn't quit trying. Every human structure is unique and you need to find someone who is curious enough about yours, as an individual, that they'll keep working with you and trying different things in order to come up with answers.

When someone has sprained or strained back muscles (or any muscles), taping or strapping can sure help! My mother, who was a nurse, knew how to strap just about everything. I saw her strap a back. She could have given you something even more effective than that simple elastic band.

And today there's all sorts of kinesiology taping!

So I'd say use whatever works for you with taping and support but also go forward with you quest to find the right exercises and muscle controls for your body to manage better on its own.

You asked about personal experiences with that elastic back hugger. I've never tried it. My back is not my weak point. But I did for a short time have plantar faciitis. When I got back to exercising and jumping I kept up, for a while, strapping the soles of my feet. With today's tough but flexible sports tape it felt like having an extra set of foot muscles and eased me back into going full bore without a relapse of foot problems. Hopefully you will be able to do something similar with your back.
re: Back warmers during class?
By Storm_Trouper
On Sat Nov 09, 2013 06:13 PM
Edited by Storm_Trouper (249942) on 2013-11-09 18:17:13
This post raises some interesting points.

Strapping / taping / bracing / banding, either non-stretchy/stretchy or stiffer /flexible, seems to offer a range of 'benefits', like limiting or restricting tissue and joint movement, compressing tissues with the attendant effects upon circulation, raising the local temperature of the underlying tissues close to the surface, in short supplementing or altering the body's natural, inherent qualities. Heat pads introduce potential thermal benefits into the equation of what 'works' i.e. ultimately leads to improved performance, accomplishment, comfort and activity enjoyment for the wearer / user.

I read with much doubt the touted claims regarding the actual (versus perceived) benefits from wearing so called 'athletic compression garments' like compression shorts ('eliminates the shock of muscle bounce'! Huh?!!!)

Some ballet schools seem to encourage the use of a compressive, wide elastic torso band for some of their younger aged novice students. Woven bands may breathe better than neoprene, whereas neoprene is firmer and warmer. I presume it is because the bands provide sensory feedback to encourage (remind until it becomes automatic, second nature)
engagement of the core muscles, analogous perhaps to a teacher offering correction utilizing tactile stimulii through brushing or gently poking a body part in a way designed to stimulate the desired movement or pose correction response from the student.

Routine use of body part supports (versus foot related supports for pointe shoe wearers) is not widespread (so few products offered by online dance suppliers) I presume because the whole point of training is to be able to self support, free of aids, crutches and support that detract from the performance (Even I could turn 32 tours a la second if I had enough bracing!). Hwvr, use of some kind of bracing for specific rehabilitative or mechanical deficit compensation seems staright forward. But it would generally come from a medical suppler not a dance supplier... though arm bands for tennis elbow synndrome are commonly available from online tennis suppliers.

Leg warmers may or may not compress enough to offer some kind of compression 'benefit'; closer fitting offers greater thermal effectiveness.
re: Back warmers during class?
By hummingbird
On Sat Nov 09, 2013 07:49 PM
Some ballet schools seem to encourage the use of a compressive, wide elastic torso band for some of their younger aged novice students. Woven bands may breathe better than neoprene, whereas neoprene is firmer and warmer. I presume it is because the bands provide sensory feedback to encourage (remind until it becomes automatic, second nature) engagement of the core muscles, analogous perhaps to a teacher offering correction utilizing tactile stimulii through brushing or gently poking a body part in a way designed to stimulate the desired movement or pose correction response from the student.


Which ballet schools and where are the sources that collaborate these claims?

You don't need an elastic band to create proprioception in your students, that's what your job as an instructor is, no bit of elastic is going to do this for them.

Leg warmers may or may not compress enough to offer some kind of compression 'benefit'; closer fitting offers greater thermal effectiveness.


Leg warmers are loose knitted footless socks, they are not compressive in anyway, they can be very warm depending on the fibre content.
re: Back warmers during class?
By Storm_Trouper
On Sat Nov 16, 2013 01:01 AM
Agreed, leg warmers are generally loose. What I meant was that IF one donned something that was a bit more compressive (not saying should, just if) then the wearer would likely experience both warmth and compression 'benefits' But I am dubious about compression 'benefits'. So is there a possible analogy here to a back band?

Re: wide compressive torso bands (since the OP was about back support) I have found images online taken in what appear to be (eastern?) european classes of kids (boys only) wearing said bands. I don't claim there IS functionality nor do I know why they are worn... I was merely speculating (presuming, supposing) and surmising what purpose their wearing might serve, a proprioception aid being a W.A.G. (Wild Arse Guess) as I can't think of any better reason for them to be worn (aesthetics?).

I do know from personal experience however that whenever I am wearing an especially snug compression shirt (i have several of different makes and sizes) that fits particularly tautly around my torso (compared to a close fittting t-shirt that is still loose and drapey) that I am much more aware of my core... In fact the wrinkle pattern of the tightly stretched fabric looks different depending on whether I am pulling up properly and my pelvis is tilted/tipped correctly and my abs engaged. (Since improving my posture and alignment are something I struggled with initially re: my pet peeve post, I found wearing a tighter than normal white compression shirt to be a useful tool or aid... constant correction i.o.w. not just when a teacher is present to observe and correct me.) For lack of a better term I wrote proprioception because I know when it feels right or not with the stretchy shirt on without even having to look into the mirror (e.g. while pirouetting). I suspect that the effect might be similar were I to wear a wide enough compressive band around my lower torso. Bit the effect is more pronounced I think in a shirt that covers my entire torso. I don't rely on using the shirt any longer b.t.w. as I became more habituated to properly pulling up continuously. It just feels right now whereas before I didn't have a good sense. Will see if I can dig up an image to post here for discussion. Maybe my therorizing is all out to lunch!
re: Back warmers during class?
By pols
On Sat Nov 16, 2013 03:47 PM
I can't honestly imagine that sort of elasticised band being useful for very much. But then, I have a specific reference point which may be totally irrelevant to your pain issues.

I wear a Serola sacro-iliac belt for barre when I have a lot of pain. This is if I have taken my back medication and am still be unable to dance. I have complications from a herniated disc that has resulted in instability in my lumbar spine and pelvis. The belt helps my pelvis remain fairly square so that I can try to work the correct muscles and not aggravate my back further.

Ideally, I should be training my muscles to accomplish this without the belt. The belt does help me work my transverse abdominus but I need to be able to do it independently too. However, my back is too bad at the moment to accomplish this and I have just been recommended for surgery.

All of this may not be relevant at all, but I guess I am just saying that often there are belts/bandages etc designed for fairly specific purposes that can be very beneficial if you have a specific injury. Outside of that, I would imagine they would have more of a psychological effect than anything else.

ReplySendWatch

Powered by XP Experience Server.
Copyright ©1999-2019 XP.COM, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
XL
LG
MD
SM
XS
XL
LG
MD
SM
XS