How to improve dance flexibility
10 Top Stretches and Exercises to Improve Dance Flexibility
by Stelle World on 0 comments
Flexibility is an important part of dance. Dance flexibility can take up to 6 months or a year of constant discipline depending on the age of the dancer. It can be frustrating for dancers who expect to see results right away.
Here are a few stretches and exercises to improve dance flexibility for young dancers.
1. Standing Hamstring Stretch
This stretch is great for the neck, back, glutes, hamstrings, and calf muscles. Start off standing tall with your feet hip-width apart. Bend your knees slightly and rest your arms by your side.
Exhale as you bend forward from the hips and lower your head to the floor. Try to keep your head, shoulders and neck relaxed as you do this stretch.
Wrap your arms around the back of your legs and hold. Experts suggest that you hold a stretch for 10 seconds to 3 minutes. If you go into a stretch and feel as if you immediately want to release it is a sign that you need to spend more time stretching this area as part of your dancer workout plan.
When you are done holding your stretch bend at the knees and roll your way back up to a standing position.
2. Piriformis Stretch
The piriformis muscle is located outside the butt. It is a deep internal hip rotator. Your deep internal rotators produce a lot of movement at your hips and stretching these muscles should be apart of your daily ballet workout.
Sit on the floor with both legs extended out in front of you. Cross your left leg over your right and place your left foot flat on the floor beside you. Then place your left hand on the floor behind your body.
Put your right hand on your quad or bring your elbow to your knee and press your left leg to the right. You should feel a twist in your body when you are performing the stretch correctly.
3. Lunge With Spinal Twist
This stretch helps open up your hips and improves mid-back mobility, which is a necessary part of ballet turns.
Start with your feet together and take a big step forward with your left foot. Now your feet should be in a staggered stance. Bend your left knee as if you are lunging. Keep your right leg straight behind you.
Your toes should point downward to the ground. You will feel a stretch in your right thigh. Now place your right hand on the floor beside you and twist your upper body to the left. Reach your left arm up toward the ceiling and stretch as if you are trying to touch the ceiling.
Hold the stretch and then repeat on the other side.
4. Tricep Stretch
An area of deep stretching often overlooked by dancers is the arms. Most dancers focus on the legs but you will also need arm flexibility to complete many ballet positions.
For a tricep stretch stand tall with your feet hip-width apart. Extend your arms up over your head. Bend your right elbow and reach your hand behind your head to touch the top middle of your back.
You can gently pull your elbow toward your head yo get a deeper stretch. You should feel the stretch in your neck, shoulders, back, and triceps. When you are done holding the stretch repeat on the other side.
5. 90/90 Stretch
This is another great stretch for dancers because it hits both hips at the same time. Sit with your right knee bent at a 90-degree angle out in front of your body. Keep your foot flexed and your sole should be facing the left.
Let your leg rest flat on the floor as you place your left knee to the left of your body. Bend the knee so that the foot faces behind you. Be sure to keep this foot flexed too.
Try your best to keep your right glute on the floor and move the left glute as close to the floor as possible. This may not be possible if you have been dancing a lot and are super tight in your glutes or hips.
Hold the stretch and repeat on the other side.
6. Frog Stretch
Another one of our dance tips for flexibility is to not sit crossed legged. Crossing your legs can lead to tight hips. Here is a stretch you can do if you do happen to sit cross-legged a lot.
Get down on all fours and slide your knees wider than shoulder-width apart behind you. Turn your toes out and rest the edge of your inner thigh on the floor. Shift your hips back toward your heels and keep your feet flat on the floor.
If you can move from your hands to your forearms for a deeper stretch.
7. Butterfly Stretch
This simple stretch helps the hips, glutes, back, and thighs. Sit on the floor with your back tall and your soles together. Bend your knees out to the side.
Hold your ankles or your feet, engage your abs, and slowly lower your upper body toward your feet as low as you can go while at the same time pressing your knees down into the floor.
8. Shoulder Squeeze
This stretch relieves poor posture and releases tension in the back. Sit on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat. Clasp your hands together behind your lower back and straighten and extend your arms.
Squeeze your shoulder blades together for a few seconds and then release. Repeat this stretch for 5 to 10 times.
9. Side Bend
This easy stretch keeps the groin, and hips inner thighs flexible. Kneel on the floor with your legs together. Keep your back straight and your core engaged. Extend your left leg out beside you.
The reach your right arm up and rest your left arm on your left leg. Gently bend at the torso and right arm to the left side of your body. Try to keep your hips facing forward as you hold the stretch. Then repeat on the other side.
10. Neck Stretch
Most dancers forget to stretch their necks. A good neck stretch can positively impact the rest of your body.
Drop your right ear down to your right shoulder. Press down on your head to deepen the stretch and hold. When you are done, complete the stretch on the other side.
Keep Working on Your Dance Flexibility
No one has ever become flexible overnight. To improve your dancer flexibility, stretching should be apart of your daily routine. Just keep at it and you’ll start to see a noticeable difference.
Stelle is a dance label created by a mother of three girls who love to dance. Our blog is full of great content like this article on how to help your budding ballerina do a proper plie squat.
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How to Boost Your Flexibility
"How can I get more flexible?" It's a question every dancer has asked themselves at one time or another. Whether you're attempting your first split or trying to nail a crazy high extension in your new dance uniform, flexibility is one of the key components to being a great dancer. If you want to improve yours, it can certainly enhance your rehearsals in the studio and performances on the stage. Just make sure you take the right approach. Here are some tips to help you in the process.
Tip #1: Take your time.
There's no fast way to get more flexible. So don't look for some quick fix on the Internet that will magically elongate your dance moves. It doesn't exist and you could actually wind up hurting yourself in the process. In fact, when you try to make too much progress too fast, you're going to end up with some kind of sprain or strain in your muscles, tendons or joints.
Instead, take a gradual approach. Try to slowly and patiently improve flexibility so that your muscles have the time they need to safely adapt.
Tip #2: Warm up first.
Another vital tip to improving your flexibility involves warming up first. If you start stretching with cold muscles, you're going to wind up with an injury because your muscles aren't limber and ready to stretch in the way you want them to. Doing so can also cause muscle instability that impacts both your strength and agility.
So rather than jumping into difficult stretches or exercises to enhance flexibility, warm up first with a few minutes of cardio. This can be as simple as some jumping jacks or running in place for a couple of minutes. Then ease yourself slowly into your first stretching pose and take it from there.
Tip #3: Listen to your body.
When it comes to stretching and building flexibility, everyone's body is different. What's easy and comes naturally for one dancer -- who's more limber -- might take months of work for another. That's why it's important to listen to your body and pay attention to what works for you. Some dancers are naturally built to be more flexible, so don't compare yourself to others during the process.
When you're holding your stretches, also be careful that you don't hold them for too long. In the beginning of class, aim for holding your stretches no longer than 15 seconds. Toward the end of class, however, you can hold stretches for longer - from 60 to 90 seconds.
Tip #4: Perform dynamic stretches before class and static stretches after.
According to Dictionary.com, a dynamic stretch is "a type of sports fitness routine in which momentum and active muscular effort are used to stretch and the end position is not held."
These types of stretches -- such as shoulder rolls, torso twists, and arm swings -- are best used just after warm up, at the beginning of class. Some other good dynamic stretches for the lower body include hip circles, forward and backward lunges, and leg swings. Regardless of which you choose, dynamic stretching is ideal for the start of class because you're getting your heart rate up, while also stretching and warming up muscles.
Static stretching, on the other hand, involves holding a certain stretch for a specific period of time. This is usually best done toward the end of class, during your cool down period. You should hold these stretches for at least 30 seconds, or even up to 60 or 90 seconds -- especially if you have a particular muscle you're trying to enhance flexibility in. At the end of your dance class, your muscles will be nice and limber, so you'll be able to push them further during static stretches.
Both dynamic and static stretches are good ways for dancers to improve their flexibility. However, it's best to avoid ballistic stretching, which incorporates bouncing movements where the muscles and tendons are rapidly stretched and relaxed. This can cause strain and can even damage tendons, joints and muscles.
Tip #5: Use strength training.
If you're trying to improve your flexibility as a dancer, then add some strength training to your workout routine mix. While flexibility improves the length of your muscles, strong muscles mean you can hold your dance positions for longer.
Tip #6: Don't push too hard.
If you're having sharp or severe pain, chances are, you've taken things too far. Don't continue on or try to push through the pain. Pain is your body's way of signaling that something is wrong. Likewise, don't stretch for too long before a big performance. Doing so can actually cut down on your ability to perform your jumps properly.
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types of flexibility and basic stretching exercises
A flexible body, elastic muscles and mobile joints are the key to beauty and health at any age. Flexibility is not only innate, but also an acquired quality. Without a doubt, every dancer should have it.
What is flexibility
Flexibility is the ability of the body, namely muscles, ligaments and joints, to give maximum amplitude in various movements and physical exercises.
The flexibility of the body depends on genetics, the structure of the joints, the elasticity of the tendons. This indicator is also related:
- with age. Children and adolescents tend to be more flexible than adults;
- with floor. Women are naturally more flexible than men;
- with the level of physical fitness and fitness.
Types of flexibility as it happens
There are several varieties:
- Dynamic flexibility is the maximum possible range of motion in a joint without any outside help. For example, standing against a wall, the athlete raises the leg to the highest possible level and holds it for several seconds. Also, the dynamic view is fixed when performing exercises, for example, with swings;
- Passive (static) flexibility always exceeds active dynamic. It is achieved with an external impact on the joint. For example, the athlete or his partner holds the raised leg with the hand in maximum amplitude;
- Special refers to the mobility of specific joints. Different sports and dances require different levels of joint mobility;
- Anatomical. Habitual daily movements in terms of joint mobility are very limited. Use of the reserve of pledged flexibility up to 95% occurs only during special classes;
- Excessive flexibility is dangerous, as the stability of the joint is lost and the maximum stretching of muscles and ligaments is reached. This is fraught with injuries (dislocation, rupture, sprain).
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Why flexibility is important for dancers
Good flexibility is the key to beautiful amplitude movements and speed of changing positions
A flexible body is more responsive, plastic and enduring. Good amplitude in the work of all joints gives excellent coordination between all parts of the body.
These motor indicators are extremely important in dance. Movable joints and stretch-responsive muscles make the body supple, able to quickly perform complex movements and ligaments.
Flexibility can be improved by regular stretching.
What exercises help to develop flexibility
Stretching (from the English "stretching") always begin with a quality warm-up of the whole body. Pulling muscles and ligaments is possible only in a heated state. To do this, it is enough to perform a warm-up of 2-3 dynamic exercises, involving all the main joints.
- Neck . Grab your head with your right hand and press your ear against your right shoulder, stretching the left side of your neck. Lock the position for 30 seconds. Repeat with your left hand.
- Spine, thoracic . Starting position on all fours. Bend your back down and lift your head up, remaining in the position for 10-15 seconds. Arch your back up, lowering your head down. Hold the position for another 15 seconds. Repeat several times at a slow pace.
- Spine, back of thighs . An exercise from the arsenal of yoga "Downward Dog". Place your feet and hands on the floor shoulder-width apart and bring them closer until you reach the body in an inverted V. The foot is completely on the floor, legs are straight. For greater effect in position, you can sway slightly, creating a arch in the back.
- Spine, core muscles . Lying on your stomach, bend your knees, bring your feet to your buttocks. Wrap your arms around your feet and pull your legs back and up. The thoracic spine takes the maximum deflection. The position is fixed for 20-30 seconds.
- Hip Extension . Lunge forward with your right foot and shift your weight onto it. Tilt your body forward and lean on your elbows. Maintain the position for up to 30 seconds. Repeat with the other leg.
- Lateral Thigh Extension . Sitting on the floor, spread your legs as wide as possible. Place your body and arms on the floor as far as possible. Stay in position for up to 30 seconds.
Tips from experienced choreographers for stretching
Flexibility exercises are performed at a calm pace, the muscles are stretched until a slight tolerable pain appears. In each position, you should stay up to 20-30 seconds, holding the maximum amplitude of the stretch.
For general flexibility development, it is enough to stretch 1-2 sessions per week as a small addition to the main workout. The presented set of flexibility exercises is one of the possible options for this form of training.
If increasing the flexibility of the body is the main task, then it is worth doing stretching in the format of a full-fledged lesson. We recommend starting stretching under the guidance of an experienced instructor.
Benefits of working with a coach:
- safety : no risk of injury;
- effectiveness : the coach selects the exercises based on the physical data of the student;
- speed : a professional instructor uses techniques to achieve maximum results in the shortest possible time.
The dance studio "La Boca" is open for stretching and stretching. Classes are conducted by a professional ballerina Victoria Krivtsova and an international master of sports in Latin American dances Olga Dubravina. Lessons are held in small groups and with an individual approach to everyone.
Sign up for a trial session and experience the benefits of stretching with a professional.
5 tips to help you make progress in dancing
Is it possible to quickly improve your dancing skills with a few simple and effective steps? Yes! Read our tips to improve your dance technique.
Whether you're a beginner or an experienced dancer, whether you're into ballet, modern jazz, hip hop, or any other style, these 5 tips will help you reach your peak.
Would you like to change your dance costume while keeping the same clothes? This can be done with a single accessory or piece of clothing - a favorite item that can be worn in many ways.
Depending on your style of dancing or how you feel at the moment, you can wear this piece however you want right now to give yourself a whole new look.
Your dancewear is part of your expression, so get creative by choosing an outfit that reflects your personality. Mix styles and develop your creativity.
What dancer has not had difficulty maintaining balance during the batman retreat or when performing a pirouette without a somersault?
To keep a good balance, remember this: when you move into a half-pointe position, automatically think about getting taller, as if someone is pulling you up. Press down on the ground with the foot that touches the floor to keep a firm footing. Also pay attention to the muscles of the core: tighten the stomach, imagining that the navel should touch the spine, and tighten the gluteal muscles.
Dancing is not always easy to gracefully express yourself and see your body moving smoothly and elegantly. However, viewers often pay attention to the upper half of the dancer's body. To become more graceful, try to move in a relaxed way and keep a natural expression on your face. No one should notice the slightest sign of effort in your eyes!
Free your head and let it move, don't tense up. Do not spread or close your fingers as if you are holding something. A good dancer should have "light" hands. Your fingers should be controlled but relaxed (imagine water dripping from your fingertips and focus on the sensation).
Watch how you hold your hand: from the shoulder blades to the very nails. Keep your elbow from "falling" by taking care to support your wrist. Good support and resistance will help you shape curves that are smooth and elegant!
Flexibility is not required in dance, but it remains a highly sought-after characteristic for many dancers nonetheless. If it is not an innate trait, it can be developed gradually, with patience and care, given the capabilities of your body.
To make your body more flexible, we recommend a special exercise - splits . It is recommended to perform it only under the supervision of trainer ! Find a trainer at All Do Sport to train efficiently and safely.
First, warm up for 10 minutes, alternating several basic exercises. Sit on the floor with your legs together in a butterfly position and do a few rolls on your back. Then warm up your legs with a few exercises, do a series of jumps and a few deep lunges, and move on to the next:
- Execution: lie on your back and put your feet on the wall. Use your hands to move as close to the wall as possible. Touch the wall with your buttocks. Straighten your legs up and stretch your toes, keeping your feet and knees together. Legs and buttocks should rest on the wall. Start slowly spreading your legs apart. Lower them down to the most extreme position. Fix this position and try to relax, allowing gravity to push your legs towards the floor. Lightly press your hands on your feet. Gradually open your legs wider and wider, stretching your muscles.
- Breathing: inhale deeply and exhale slowly throughout the exercise to relax and oxygenate your muscles. This will gradually help your body become more flexible.
- Safety tips: make sure you keep your buttocks firmly against the wall and your back against the floor throughout the exercise. Pull in your stomach and lower your legs as low as possible, but not with force!
Do this exercise once every 15 minutes.
If you are already flexible enough, put on ankle weights such as Gym Weight Domyos. They will increase muscle tension and add extra inches to your stretch!
Before the performance, it is important to take time for yourself and relax. Every dancer has their own set of tips for overcoming fear on stage. Do you want to know the proven way? Learn to relax through conscious and deep belly breathing.