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Why being skinny might make you lose!
Dancesport competition is as much aesthetic as athletic, and it’s not uncommon to hear a coach suggest to a competitor to lose weight. But do you really need to be skinny to compete in Dancesport, and will you be more successful if you are thinner?
Well, a study at the university in the UK has found out! And, as well as finding out if skinniness is a predictor of success on the competition floor, they also studied whether being fitter guaranteed a better result too.
So - before you go on your next crash diet - or allow your coach to howl at your lack of stamina during practice class - read on!
This study took 30 dancesport competitive couples and, using standard tests, determined which of these three body types (somatotypes) they were.
Ectomorphic: characterized as skinny, usually tall and linear
Mesomorphic: characterized as muscular
Endomorphic: characterized as rounder or fat, usually shorter
As well as body types, the couples were also tested for oxygen consumption as well as aerobic power, with a hypothesis that fitter and skinnier couples would rank higher.
So, were they (and your coach) right?
Whilst the tests found that Standard Ballroom dancers tended to be taller and thinner (ectomorphic) and had greater arm span and sitting height compared to Latin American dancers, it was proven that dancers who had a more muscular (mesomorphic) physically actually had the higher international ranking.
The study also discovered no relationship between international ranking and aerobic capacity. To compete at the international level in DanceSport you needed a certain level of aerobic capacity, but that being the fittest did not mean greater success. Being beyond a certain level of fitness showed no difference in the rankings of the couples, the study concluded, and standard dancers with higher muscularity appear to be more successful.
So what does that mean for Dancesport competitors? You don’t need to be a ‘skinny minnie’ to be a great dancer, and a little more strength training will help with your competition success.
Source: Jurimae, Jaak, Jurimae, Toivo, Wyon, Matthew, Maestu, Jarek, and Liiv, Helena. "Success Predictors in Dancesport." Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise 46.5 (2014): Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 2014-05-01, Vol.46 (5). https://ovidsp-dc2-ovid-com.ezproxy.lib.rmit.edu.au/ovid-b/ovidweb.cgi?&S=DDBKFPNFFLEBKIFEIPAKAFPEKPHHAA00&Link+Set=S.sh.31%7c1%7csl_10&Counter5=SS_view_found_article%7c00005768-201405001-00253%7covft%7covftdb%7covftp&Counter5Data=00005768-201405001-00253%7covft%7covftdb%7covftp