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Ballet Conditioning: Learn How to Safely Improve Your Flexibility


Why is it important to improve your flexibility safely?


Flexibility is one of the most important physical aspects for a dancer. It allows for greater range of motion, which enables dancers to perform a variety complex movements with greater ease. Stretching is a good way to relieve tension and tightness in the muscles, while helping dancers to improve and maintain flexibility. More importantly, it encourages proper body alignment and reduces the risk of injuries.


However, when the wrong technique is being used, or stretching is done too vigorously, it may result in pulled muscles or painful joints. Hence, it is important to choose stretches that are appropriate for your fitness level and ease into stretches, stopping when tension can be felt.


In this blog, we will be sharing on how to improve and maintain flexibility safely, with some tips and recommendations you can follow.



How to safely improve flexibility?


Before you begin with the exercises, here are some things to take note of


Warm up:

Before stretching, do some warm up exercises first. When we talk about flexibility, we are actually stretching the muscles, to prevent the many injuries caused by not warming up. Warming up helps generate blood flow to the muscles and tissue, reducing the risk of injury.


Relax:

You need to relax your body as much as possible when stretching, especially if someone is helping you. Bouncing vigorously when stretching can lead to pulled muscles as this movement causes muscles to tighten. Instead, when you feel tightness in an area, stop when you feel a stretch and repeat the exercise multiple times.


Breathe:

It's safer to stretch while following your breathing, inhaling first and then slowly exhaling to stretch. Conscious breathing can help muscles to relax during the stretch, making the stretch more effective.



Exercise 1: Back Stretch

  1. Inhale first, then exhale slowly, slowly pushing your body up.

  2. In this process, be careful to lengthen the spine and do not press down.

  3. Inhale and exhale with your head up, lengthening and extending back.

Tips:

  • Try to keep your spine in one continuous line, preventing it from having "breaks"

  • You can keep your legs slightly apart for more stability


Exercise 2: Hip Stretches

  1. Before stretching your hip, make sure sit up straight and turn out your legs.

  2. Inhale as you lift your hands, focusing on lengthening your body.

  3. Lean forward as you exhale, slowly forward your hands, and keep your legs turned out.

Tips:

  • Remember to keep your knees and toes facing the ceiling, preventing them from collapsing or turning to face the front

  • Open your legs as wide as you can until you feel a stretch in your inner thigh -- don't overstretch!


Happy stretching! Remember that it takes time to train flexibility, and take it one step at a time. You will get there!

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