Spartan 300 Challenge
One of the most difficult aspects of life on the road is maintaining the fitness and strength the show requires over the entire length of a tour, which can be anywhere from 6-9 months at a time. Seeing as Irish dancing is typically short burst of highly intense exertion it is necessary to continually cross train in order to build strength and flexibility. The most obvious solution would be just to go to the gym where you can lift weights, use the cardio machines, swim or what have you. And a lot of the time we do just that; however, sometimes it can be difficult for us to find gyms that are nearby and willing to allow us to workout for just a couple of days without a membership.
Fortunately, for us, one of our very own Principal Leads, Chloey Turner, on top of all of her dancing accolades is also a fully qualified personal trainer, sports enthusiast and general health nut! At the very beginning of this tour she designed a full body workout, which we can all easily do at work without requiring any weights or equipment. She has affectionately named it, “Spartan 300” in reference to the movie, 300, which is a two hour length film showcasing warriors who are the paragon of physique and athleticism. Chloey’s version consists of 100 varying press-ups, 100 sit-ups followed immediately by (and this is the killer) 100 various squats and lunges; totally in 300!
Now, there is an unspoken rule that any night Chloey is off lead before warm-up we all gather together to attempt Spartan. If you complete the whole routine you’re a Spartan for the rest of the day. The effects have been so positive that more and more dancers have started to join in and we have even taken it upon ourselves to do it even when Chloey is unavailable.
Personally, I’ve always considered myself fit, but it was only after joining the show that I realised how unbalanced my fitness truly was. Irish dancing’s primary focus is on everything from your hips down, often leaving your arms, back, chest and core completely neglected. I started working out regularly with Chloey and a few of the other lads and within weeks saw and felt a difference. You look and feel better and are able to push yourself further and further each time.
Therefore, the single most important piece of advice I could give to any Irish dancer, especially lads, is to not forget dancing and more important, performing require a body that is fit and strong from head toe. Here in The Liffey we do Spartan 300; who’s up for the challenge?