Physiological and biomechanical responses to an acute bout of high kicking in dancers

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title

Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research


National Strength and Conditioning Association


Centre for Exercise and Sports Science Research / School of Medical and Health Sciences




Originally published as: Rice, P. E., Gurchiek, R. D., & McBride, J. M. (2018). Physiological and biomechanical responses to an acute bout of high kicking in dancers. The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 32(10), 2954-2961. Original publication available here


High-kick precision competitive dance involves the integration of kicking inline, jumping, and turning during a 3-minute routine and causes a disturbance to both aerobic and anaerobic systems. However, no known study has quantified the effect of a hick-kick–specific protocol on blood lactate (BL), heart rate (HR), and countermovement jump (CMJ) performance. A group of adolescent high-kick dancers (n = 20; age = 15.0 ± 1.8 years; height = 161.5 ± 8.2 cm; body mass = 56.3 ± 11.0 kg; and dance team/weight lifting experience = 2.1 ± 0.9 years) participated in this investigation. Participants' BL was collected, and 3 CMJ trials were performed before (PRE) and after (POST) completing the high-kick protocol. The high-kick protocol consisted of intermittent running and kicking in place for a total of 1:45 at a tempo of 160 b·min−1, while average and peak HR (HRavg; HRpeak) were recorded. Jump height (JH), maximal trunk flexion (MTF), take-off angle (TOA), and relative peak power (PP) were determined from PRE and POST CMJ trials. During kicking, HRavg and HRpeak (n = 13) were 172.4 ± 15.7 b·min−1 and 207.0 ± 23.0 b·min−1, respectively. Dancers' (n = 20) BL significantly (p ≤ 0.05) increased from 1.5 ± 0.5 to 8.6 ± 1.5 mmol·L−1, and JH and PP significantly decreased from 0.42 ± 0.08 to 0.36 ± 0.04 m and 41.3 ± 5.5 to 38.5 ± 4.0 W·kg−1, respectively, from PRE to POST. No significant changes occurred in MTF and TOA measurements from PRE to POST. The demands introduced during a high-kick–specific protocol can therefore be recognized as a metabolic and mechanical stimulus for fatigue; however, esthetics seem to be unaffected. Such findings may indicate that this modality of dance necessitates supplemental strength and conditioning training similar to other sports to sustain the loads of high-kick dance.