How to stretch your feet for dance

Ballet Dancers and Stretching the Feet

Ballet dancers are often aware of the importance of properly stretching their feet on a daily basis. This may help to avoid cramps, and stretching may minimize the risk of injury. An effective stretch is performed by crossing one leg over the thigh while sitting down, and pushing into the feet with the hands. It may help to relax the Achilles tendon as the hand pushes into the heel. Pulling on the toes is good for strengthening the overall foot, and it is important not to overstretch. There are some dancers who ask other people for help in stretching their feet, despite research indicating that it is beneficial to perform these types of stretches alone. If you would like additional information about how to perform foot stretches, please consult with a podiatrist.

Stretching the feet is a great way to prevent injuries. If you have any concerns with your feet consult with Frank Henry, DPM from Marble Falls, TX. Our doctor will assess your condition and provide you with quality foot and ankle treatment.

Stretching the Feet

Stretching the muscles in the foot is an important part in any physical activity. Feet that are tight can lead to less flexibility and make you more prone to injury. One of the most common forms of foot pain, plantar fasciitis, can be stretched out to help ease the pain. Stretching can not only ease pain from plantar fasciitis but also prevent it as well. However, it is important to see a podiatrist first if stretching is right for you. Podiatrists can also recommend other ways to stretch your feet. Once you know whether stretching is right for you, here are some excellent stretches you can do.

  • Using a foam roller or any cylindrical object (a water bottle or soda can will do), roll the object under your foot back and forth. You should also exert pressure on the object. Be sure to do this to both feet for a minute. Do this exercise three times each.
  • Similar to the previous one, take a ball, such as a tennis ball, and roll it under your foot while seated and exert pressure on it.
  • Grab a resistance band or towel and take a seat. If you are using a towel, fold it length wise. Next put either one between the ball of your foot and heel and pull with both hands on each side towards you. Hold this for 15 seconds and then switch feet. Do this three times for each foot.
  • Finally hold your big toe while crossing one leg over the other. Pull the toe towards you and hold for 15 seconds. Once again do this three times per foot.

It is best to go easy when first stretching your foot and work your way up. If your foot starts hurting, stop exercising and ice and rest the foot. It is advised to then see a podiatrist for help.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our office located in Marble Falls, TX . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.

How to Stretch Your Feet Safely and Easily For More Flexibility

Stretching and strengthening your feet have many benefits to your overall technique and presentation as a ballet dancer.   Dancers have found all sorts of ways to stretch feet over the years using all sorts of techniques like cramming their feet under a piano or couch, using tools built specifically to stretch feet, or even asking a friend to do it. And while some are effective, some other techniques can actually be quite risky and may result in injury.

A dancer strives for two things, among many others: strength and flexibility.  One without the other and there is an imbalance.

Today we’ll show you a couple ways to stretch your feet that are both safe and easy.

These foot stretches are simple stretches that don’t require you to buy anything, ask anyone or use any tools or gadgets to stretch your feet.

Foot Stretch Technique #1: Grab and Pull Back

The basic idea, as you may have guessed, is that you grab your foot and pull back.  Let’s take a look:

  • Sitting on the floor, place the foot you want to stretch over your other thigh to create a figure 4 with your legs.
  • With the hand closest to your heel, push into your heel.  Be sure to relax your Achilles!  (the large band coming down from your calf that attaches to your heel)
  • With the hand closest to your toes, place it over your toes and up your foot a couple inches and pull back so that your foot arches, feeling a nice stretch on the top.

And that’s it!  It’s simple but effective.  Need a little more stretch?  Read on for technique number 2!

Foot Stretch Technique #2: Wrap n’ Push

It’s not really called “Wrap n’ Push,” as that name was made up just seconds ago.  More important than thinking of a creative label, is how effective this foot stretch really is!  If you find that stretching your feet with your hands hasn’t quite worked well, this one is for you.  Let’s take a look

  • Once again, sitting on the floor, place the foot you want to stretch over your other thigh to create a figure 4 with your legs.
  • Lift your foot up slightly and wrap your arm (that is on the same side of the leg you bent) under your bent leg, grabbing the top of your foot toward your toes with your hand.
  • With your free hand, place it on top of your hand that is grabbing on the top and bottom half of your foot.
  • Lean slightly forward so that your elbow is tucked more closely under your calf and the top of your arm is pushing right into your calf muscle.
  • Now that you’re setup, be sure not to feel any tension in your knee and remember to relax your foot and Achilles.
  • Begin stretching your foot by pulling back with both of your hands and at the same time equally pushing your leg forward.

Stretching TechniqueSitting on the floor, cross one leg over the other to make a figure 4.

Wrap your arm underneath your leg and foot, placing your hand on top, over the bottom half, of your foot.

Place your free hand over the hand that is already holding your foot.

Begin the foot stretch by pulling back with your hands while your lean forward.

By pulling equally on your foot with your hands and pushing out with your arm, your leg shouldn’t actually move, but you should feel quite a bit more extra strength to better stretch your foot.

You can play around with this one to best suit it to your body, but the push and pull action that allows for the additional strength is the general idea.

Remember, you should never feel that you are straining or “working too hard” to stretch your feet.  You don’t want to overstretch your feet.  Ease into it slowly and take a break from time to time to let the whole foot relax.  You will end up getting more out of your stretches this way.

Here is one final look at this effective stretch, but from the angle you’d see if trying it for yourself.

Why Are These Foot Stretches More Safe and While Some Others Aren’t?

The biggest reason why these foot stretches are more safe is because you are in complete control of the stretch and you are doing it with your hand, meaning you are not adding additional stress on your body.  For example, other stretches may often involve the dancer prying their feet underneath a heavy object and stretching their knee until they feel a stretch.   By doing so, the dancer is placing an incredible amount of tension and strain on the knee joint, muscles in the leg, and digging their heel painfully into the ground for more leverage.

You don’t want to overstretch your feet.

Another popular (for unknown reasons) method for stretching feet is asking a friend to stretch your feet.  For this to happen, the asker first must assume that the stretcher is actually okay with touching his or her feet.  Then the asker usually sits on the floor with a leg stretched out in front while the stretcher pushes down with a lot of force.  This is basically the same idea of prying your foot underneath a heavy object, but now you are at risk of your friend pushing down with enough force that by the time you yell out “Ouch!” its too late and you’ve overstretched your foot.  This technique, though popular in schools, is not recommended for many reasons, besides safety, you are now relying on someone else to do the work for you, which is like asking someone to do all of your homework while you get the credit.

Still, Always Be Careful

Stretching your feet is always recommended, so long as you aren’t facing an injury of course.  But that being said, you always want to be careful.  Don’t stretch your feet so much that you’re actually causing them to be weak, which leads us to our final tip.  Also, be sure that you are not stretching your feet in a sickled position.

Always Wrap Up With a Few Strengthening Exercises

Now that you’ve stretched your feet so well, you want them to be able to get there on their own without help from your hands.  There is little chance that will happen without adding some exercises to strengthen your feet in the range of their new found flexibility. After you’ve done some foot stretching, be sure to grab an elastic therapy band for some strengthening exercises or do some tendus.

A dancer strives for two things, among many others: strength and flexibility.  One without the other and there is an imbalance.  Weak but very flexible feet can be just as much of a hurdle as strong but flexible feet when it comes to ballet technique.

videos for ballrooms and others

Warm-ups for dancing

Like any activity that requires muscle work, dancing can be beneficial, but it can significantly harm the body. Of course, the latter option is possible when the hasty dancers start rehearsing without a preliminary warm-up. How to do it correctly?


  • What is warm-up?
  • What not to do!
  • Basic rules
  • How long should you warm up?
  • What shall we do?
  • Inhale deeply, arms wide
  • Attention - spine

What is warm-up?

Dance warm-up has its own characteristics that distinguish it from the exercises performed by athletes or gymnasts. What does she represent?

A warm-up before dancing is a set of simple movements that improve blood circulation and increase the range of motion of the joints. Its main task is to smoothly warm up the body, preparing it for more complex and serious loads. If you neglect this important part of the rehearsal, then you can easily earn a sprain, dislocation or even rupture of the ligaments. Another, this time a secondary, warm-up task is working out dance moves that you will use during the main session. It is not even so much about the movements themselves, but about individual simple elements: rotations, steps, inclinations and deflections.

In athletics, unlike dance, a different approach is used, strength warm-up is important here. The load on the muscles and the complexity of the movements are many times higher. But, for example, yoga and Pilates involve entering a certain state under the warm-up, “tuning” the body to a high level of concentration.

What not to do?

In any sport, from running to wrestling, the first thing that novice athletes learn is the ability to fall correctly and not make mistakes that can cause the end of an Olympic champion career that has not begun.

When it comes to the warm-up, remember what not to do:

  1. Don't go all out during the warm-up. Your task is not to break Guinness records, but only to gently and gently warm up your muscles. Competitions in speed, strength and flexibility are not about warming up.
  2. Don't waste time warming up. Intense warm-ups based on a complex combination of exercises are an element of great sport. This is usually how professional athletes warm up before the start of the competition in order to work out acceleration from a standstill. For you, this practice can result in increased stress on the heart and injuries.
  3. Do not use complicated movements. Try to focus on simple dance steps that give a moderate load on the muscles and do not require prior preparation. Remember that the rehearsal itself is waiting for you ahead, which will also require strength and energy.

Basic Rules

Before starting to warm up for dancing, you should first of all tune in, feel your own body. Thus, you can not only perform the exercises, but also enjoy the moment. Naturally, it should be performed in the form in which you will be dancing, so change clothes - and go!

Unlike competition suits, rehearsal uniforms should be as comfortable as possible. It is advisable to use light cotton knitwear, as they have sufficient hygroscopicity, and the skin in them "breathes" throughout the session. As for shoes, if we are not talking about tap dance, you can rehearse in ordinary Czech shoes, or even better - barefoot.

How long should you warm up?

As for the time it takes to put the muscles on alert, it all depends on the particular type of dance. But in general terms, we can say that it should take about half an hour to complete the exercises, so renting a dance hall on an hourly basis should be planned taking this time into account. For dances with elements of acrobatics, it may take twice as long to warm up, since it is necessary not only to warm up the muscles, but also to set up your vestibular apparatus for the upcoming work

Attention - the spine!

During the main warm-up before dancing, you should pay attention not only to the muscles and joints, but also to the spine. Its flexibility and readiness for dance movements is the key to safe classes. The spine itself is a rather “lazy” part of our body. It easily adapts to static positions, and with age it completely loses mobility, becoming overgrown with salts and losing cartilaginous layers. The well-known gentle bends are a very suitable way to develop the spine before starting a rehearsal. Make sure that the movements are smooth and restrained. Then your back and its main supporting element will not suffer from excessive compression or displacement, which is fraught with unpredictable complications.

What shall we do?

A set of exercises, as a rule, is developed by trainers, taking into account the specifics of a particular dance direction. Different dances - the warm-up is also different. So, girls who prefer oriental dances need to pay special attention to the muscles of the thighs and chest (for example, “draw” eights with them). It is important for hip-hop performers to set aside time for cardio exercises, and for strip plastics, stretching and a thorough warm-up of the hands are necessary. If you prefer ballroom dancing, the warm-up should be aimed primarily at coordination of movements, since this type is paired.

However, if you decide to take up dancing on your own, without a coach, then master a small set of exercises that can be called universal. It can be performed before any workout, if necessary supplemented with exercises that are typical for each individual direction. For those who prefer dancing, warm-up - the video will illustrate everything clearly.

Deep breath, arms wide

What do the universal warm-up exercises before dancing include? First of all, these are head tilts - both forward and backward, and to the sides, as well as turns and rotation with this part of the body.

Next, you should shift your attention to the shoulders and stretch them in the same way (raise and lower, rotate back and forth). Warming up will help the mixing and breeding of the shoulder blades.

Make time for your back: make several bends (forward, keeping your back straight, to the sides, back). Do not forget about stretching - when lateral tilts, perform movements as smoothly as possible, as if sliding. Warm-up for dance will be incomplete if you ignore the hips. Rotate them, do squats and lunges. After such a complex, your muscles will be filled with warmth, and you can easily perform even the most complex movements.

In any case, you may prefer different dances - dance warm-up remains a mandatory element of each class.

Brief description of useful exercises for dancers

Brief exercises useful for dancers

Does anyone know any special chest exercises?
Well, first of all, start not from right to left, but from front to back. And most importantly - start SITTING. There will be no problems with isolation0136 .It also trains in Jazz and Yoga. There is such a feature as the rotation of the chest. As well as the pelvis.
The pelvis and head remain in place. They begin to learn from the accounts. 1 - chest to the right, 2 - forward, 3 - to the left,
4 - back. Then back. when you get used to it, begin to rotate smoothly. Shoulders don't help. Once from the 99th it should work.

Can you tell me exercises for back muscles? Common exercises from gymnastics: lie down on your stomach and raise
queues: body (legs lie motionless, you can make movements like swimming with a breaststroke), legs
(do not lift the body), legs and body (you can hold your legs with your hands, arching the wheel)

How to pump up the muscles that move the foot at the ankle? Rise on toes to the maximum and stand
1 minute. 5 approaches. When it becomes easy - 2 minutes for 5. Etc. up to 5 minutes. Then you pick up the weight and start all over again.
Another good thing is running. but not just, but a slow run, at every step you jump as high as possible, and at the same time you pull your socks and knees. Another good thing is step-hops in quick, for those who are engaged in sports dancing.

How to stretch the ball of the foot? You put the foot of one foot on the bench with an instep down and lean on the weight, but not too much so as not to pull the ligaments. And you pull. Same thing with the other leg. If there is no bench, the same can be done on the floor, with each foot in turn, or both together, leaning on the hands. when doing leg raises, make sure that the weight is on the inside of the foot. In other words - so that the ankles never diverge to the sides. The same thing - when doing on one leg - push the ankle inward.

How to train endurance and GPP (general physical training)? a) Conventional methods: swimming, skiing, aerobics training, any outdoor sports (football, basketball), running (some trainers suggest that the muscles are not clogged with the same running movements, do not run long distances, but do a 100 snatch - 200 meters, stop, next jerk, etc. ), jumping rope, training on simulators. b) Dance methods (for those who are engaged in sports dancing.): As long as possible, dance a variation of the jumping jive or a variation made up of all kinds of quickstep jumping elements.

What are the exercises for a slender waist and development of the intercostal muscles? a) Conventional methods: metal hoop (hula-hoop), tilting the body to the right and left (only strictly in one plane, not deviating either back or forward), metal cover (on which you stand and make rotational movements from right to left), push-ups from the floor, tilting the body forward, backward, to the right, to the left (try to bend as much as possible to “I can’t”), aerobics training. b) Dance methods: As often as possible, dance the figure eight in front of the mirror (for sports dancing), dance the meringue dance or belly dance (literally, the basics are figure eights, mostly vertical, cymbals, barrels)

How to pump up the press? a) see most exercises for a slim waist b) hang on the bar, raise your legs at an angle of 90 degrees, exercises with a wheel with handles on the sides (roll from your knees to full height and back), common gymnastics exercises: Lie on your back, first, raise straight legs together with the pelvis vertically upwards, then you can try to reach the floor with your feet and back, etc. exercises c) see exercises for the muscles of the back, only they should be done lying on the stomach, and not on the back. d) Someone takes a light gym stick and lightly starts hitting you in the lower press. not much, so that there would be reflex muscle contractions without severe pain.

How can plastic surgery be improved? Do choreography, classical ballet, jazz, afrojazz, do electric boogies in front of a mirror, oriental dances (just be careful, because after long and serious oriental dances, you can get used to other principles of hip movement and you will have to relearn in Latin).

And I'm very interested in the question of "isolation" of the hips from the body? 1. Practicing in jazz classes. 2. Standing against the wall and leaning on it with your hands, and then, twisting with your supporting leg, turn your hips. Since the hands are on the wall, the body does not turn. 3. The legs are together, the knees are softened, and the hips work in turn (as if they rise and describe a circle): right - left - right - left.

How to determine tightness? Tightening of the hands - slightly move the fingers of the hand (it is very difficult to move the fingers with the fingers clamped), for the legs - in the standard there may be: falling from the top of the leg, not taking weight with the leg, shooting the leg (tango), in Latin

How to relax the hands ? Try to move your fingers slightly or mark the rhythm by snapping your fingers, you can also train with weights on your hands, a partner can do push-ups 20 times before training at a slow pace.

How to relax your legs? To relax the knees, I can advise a couple of deep squats. For a few minutes, this helps even for heavily clamped legs.

How to remove the blockage? Tightness can be psychological and physical. Of the physical reasons - not muscle training (their insufficient physical strength, not stretching, not dancing), some injuries, congenital developmental deficiencies - everything is removed by appropriate training, you can try massage. From a psychological point of view, tightness comes from strong concentration, from excessive zeal. You can try to improvise, dance those figures that come to mind while leading a partner. It can also pass if you clearly know the steps, your actions. You can also pass if you stop controlling the entire dance to the smallest detail, relax and enjoy the dance

How to straighten your back? The easiest way is to raise on your toes and stretch your crown to the ceiling, stretching your spine up from the floor, then slowly lower yourself to the floor, your back should become straightened. Another way: stand with your back to the wall and try to make sure that your palm does not slip between your lower back and the wall. You can also lie down on the floor, relax and try to achieve the same effect - so that the palm does not crawl between the lower back and the floor. But the most effective way is to ALWAYS keep your back straight in ordinary life, because then the back will get used to the correct posture and look more beautiful and it will be much easier to hold it.

About the warm-up

1. IMHO, for better dancing, a dynamic warm-up to cheerful music with elements of choreography at the end is suitable. After this, you just gush with energy and desire to dance. Sometimes our coach, with a large amount of new material, where we hardly work out, but rather stand and listen, sees that we are tired, and our attention is scattered. In such cases, he simply turns on loud dynamic music and makes us chat for about 5 minutes. After that, everyone who is satisfied continues the lesson.

2. It is best to warm up at the barre. Both useful and pleasant.

3. Well, how do you warm up in general classes? Also alone. Tilt your head back and forth, right and left, stretch your shoulders, arms, back, knees, feet ... But you never know what you can think of! And to use a jive... the meaning of the warm-up, probably, is to stretch, warm up the muscles, and not to sweat as much as possible))) In addition, the warm-up will help not to stretch the ligaments in the same jive.

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