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Assessment of Maximum Aerobic Capacity and Anaerobic Threshold of Elite Ballet Dancers

Matthew A. Wyon, Nick Allen, Ross Cloak, Sarah Beck, Paul Davies, Frances Clarke
From: Medical Problems of Performing Artists: Volume 31 Number 3: Page 145 (September 2016)

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Abstract: An athlete¿s cardiorespiratory profile, maximal aerobic capacity, and anaerobic threshold is affected by training regimen and competition demands. The present study aimed to ascertain whether there are company rank differences in maximal aerobic capacity and anaerobic threshold in elite classical ballet dancers. Seventy-four volunteers (M 34, F 40) were recruited from two full-time professional classical ballet companies. All participants completed a continuous incremental treadmill protocol with a 1-km/hr speed increase at the end of each 1-min stage until termination criteria had been achieved (e.g., voluntary cessation, respiratory exchange ratio <1.15, HR ±5 bpm of estimated HRmax). Peak VO2 (5-breathe smooth) was recorded and anaerobic threshold calculated using ventilatory curve and ventilatory equivalents methods. Statistical analysis reported between-subject effects for gender (F1,67=35.18, p<0.001) and rank (F1,67=8.67, p<0.001); post hoc tests reported soloists (39.5±5.15 mL/kg/min) as having significantly lower VO2 peak than artists (45.9±5.75 mL/kg/min, p<0.001) and principal dancers (48.07±3.24 mL/kg/min, p<0.001). Significant differences in anaerobic threshold were reported for age (F1,67=7.68, p=0.008) and rank (F1,67=3.56, p=0.034); post hoc tests reported artists (75.8±5.45%) having significantly lower anaerobic threshold than soloists (80.9±5.71, p<0.01) and principals (84.1±4.84%, p<0.001). The observed differences in VO2 peak and anaerobic threshold between the ranks in ballet companies are probably due to the different rehearsal and performance demands.

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