My career ended for the most part because I had extreme pain in my knees. Officially I had Patella tendinopathy, and was often told that the only solution to fixing it was painful electrical therapy or plasma injections to revitalise my knees.
I even have a video of my daughter's first birthday which was taken during my last year as a dancer where I am walking down the stairs of our townhouse and I had to come down sideways because I couldn't bend my knees to walk down the stairs. I was 30.
I, like many dancers had been told for years not to do much leg strength work because I didn't want to build big quads. Even worse I was told the number 1 myth quite often, which is "use the backs of your legs to stretch your knee". Anatomically this is impossible! But the damage was done and nobody seemed to have an answer to how I could heal my knees, or better yet, bulletproof them against any pain.
So I retired and spent the next year not dancing at all, instead I was strength training as my new profession was as a personal trainer.
Through intensive study of anatomy and connecting it back to dance technique I discovered that much of what I knew about how to properly use my legs and train them was wrong. Not only did I need to be doing a lot of strength work for legs, with heavy weights, but I needed to be working my knees past the line of my toes.
Fast forward to 2020 and I have found a methodology of training my legs that has me stronger than ever before, dancing again, and it is now my mission to make sure what happened to me doesn't happen to any other dancer. You can see Top 5 exercises to improve leg strength for dancers here.
My plea to dance teachers is to stop telling young dancers that they shouldn't strengthen their quadriceps. Not only is this a dangerous mentality it is literally ending careers early.
If you are a dancer looking to protect your knees against injury, I want to help. Let me know what you are struggling with and let's work together