How To Break Dance: How Do Break Dancers Avoid Injury?

Break dancing can result in severe injury, so learn different methods of protecting yourself when learning this dance method.

Break dancing, introduced in the 1980's, has resulted in hundreds, even thousands of injuries during its run of fame. Some common injuries include head trauma, broken bones, pulled muscles, and scrapes or abrasions. It's natural to assume that anytime you stand on your head and spin, land on the floor in the splits, or bounce back and forth between feet and hands, that you could at the very least, come away with a sore muscle or two. As with any dance method, it takes much practice to perfect the moves, but with break dancing, even more practice than usual is needed to learn the art without injury. The safest way of learning break dancing is to have a qualified instructor to help you, but if you don't have this option, take steps to protect yourself while learning. One recommended practice is to do warm-up and stretching exercises before beginning the dance routine. This will loosen the muscles and make it less likely for injury to occur.

Although there's no "correct" way to break dance, there are some steps which others have taken to lessen the severity of injury to themselves, even though the chances of learning these moves with no injuries whatsoever are slim. The main reason for this is that most of the moves can't be done on protective mats, instead, they require a smooth, slick floor. For all moves which can be done on a mat, many break dancers choose to do so. Spinning while doing a headstand is one maneuver which can't easily be done on a protective surface, but some break dancers practice with a helmet, progressing to a hat with some cushioning, like foam. After getting the move down pat, the cushioning is removed but the hat is left on for some protection during additional practice. Eventually, the move is tried with no head protection whatsoever.

Falling to the floor in the splits, then slowly pulling yourself back up with just the feet is another move which is difficult to master on mats. Some dancers start by doing the splits, then working their way up slowly until they can fall into the splits while legs are very far apart. This puts them closer to the floor upon impact. Eventually, they will work their way up to falling into the splits while feet are close together, then actually jumping up, then down into the splits. Working slowly to accomplish the move is the safest way to protect from leg or groin injury.

Many of the break dancing moves require great back strength, so protection is often worn for supporting the back while learning these moves. The apparatus is usually very comfortable and adjusts to fit most waistlines. The wrists and ankles are other parts of the body which receive additional support while learning this dance style. Any time your entire body will rest on a small area, such as your palms, there is bound to be some strain, therefore, wrist supports are worn with every practice, then removed during performances. Some break dancers powder their hands before performing, since this makes it easier to do hand spins and rotations without straining the wrist. The problem with this is that the feet can later slip in the powder which is transferred to the floor. Other dancers wear gloves while practicing to protect hands and especially, knuckles.

Learning to break dance can be lots of fun, but will also require dedication, strength and perseverance. In addition, break dancing also demands a certain amount of carefulness in order to walk away uninjured. Take all the necessary precautions available when learning this dance method and practice, practice, practice.

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