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Clin J Sport Med. 2000 Apr;10(2):98-103.

Can 16-18-year-old elite ballet dancers improve their hip and ankle range of motion over a 12-month period?

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School of Human Kinetics, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.



To determine the effect of a 12-month intensive ballet training regimen on hip and ankle range of motion in male and female, first- and second-year professional dancers.


12-month longitudinal follow-up.


National classical ballet school in Australia.


28 female and 20 male full-time ballet students with a mean +/- 1 SD, ages 16.8 +/- 0.8 and 17.7 +/- 1.2 years, respectively.


Degrees of range of motion of left and right sides for the following movements: standing pliƩ in parallel-passive ankle dorsiflexion (DF); standing turnout in the balletic first position--lower leg external rotation (LLER); supine hip external rotation (ER); supine hip internal rotation (IR). An additional range of motion was calculated: external rotation below the hip joint (BHER) derived by subtracting hip ER from LLER.


In all subjects combined, hip and ankle ranges increased statistically on the right. However, the amount was generally minimal and most at the borderline of the amount of error associated with the measurement tool. While there was no change in LLER, there was a decrease in BHER. There were no overall gender differences, and year differences existed only for left hip ER and total hip ER with first-year dancers showing significant improvements in these ranges. For DF and sum of hip IR, first-year males and second-year females had increases in range. There was a negative relationship between baseline range and the amount of change over the 12 months.


Dancers ages 16-18 years who enter full-time ballet training did not augment their ankle dorsiflexion to any appreciable degree. Some, but certainly not all, increased their hip active external rotation over 12 months without increasing their total lower limb turnout. Hip ER was more likely to improve in the first-year rather than second-year student in this elite full-time training school.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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