When To Stretch
Stretching before you dance can improve the range of motion of your joints, relax muscles, boost performance, assist good posture, and reduce the risk of injury.
As part of your warm-up you should use dynamic stretching.Dynamic stretching increases blood flow to the muscle, increases the heart rate and prepares the muscle for work Static stretching has been shown to reduce strength and power output, neither of which would be ideal for dancers about to perform. Static stretching is best used at the end of class as a means of increasing the overall range of motion and flexibility of the muscle.
How Long To Stretch
Maintaining a static stretch for 30 seconds is enough to maintain range of motion and current flexibility. Typically, each stretch is repeated 4 to 6 times in a single stretch. But, if increasing flexibility is the goal, then deformation of the tissue is needed to produce permanent muscle length change. When trying to increase flexibility, it is important to employ stretching AFTER dancing when muscles and connective tissues are warm.
Stretches To Help Increase Flexibility for Dancing:
Ankle Joint Stretch
The ankle and joint stretch will stretch and strengthen your ankle joints. Performing this stretch would reduce the risk of strains and ankle sprains.
Lean forward with your hands on a chair. Stand on your left leg with your knee straight. Extend your right leg behind you, with your knee bent.
Bend your standing leg, pointing your knee inward. Keep your heel and little toe on the ground.
Return to the starting position. Bend your standing leg again, driving the knee over the middle of the foot. Return to the starting position again.
Hip Flexor Stretch
Kneel on your right knee and extend your left leg in front of you with your foot flat on the ground and your left knee bent at 90 degrees.
Raise your right arm and push forward gently with your left leg, keeping your left arm by your side.
Squeeze your glute muscles and press forward with your hips. Don’t allow movement in your lower back. Return to the starting position.
Get on all fours and cross your right foot behind your left leg. Resting it slightly above your calf.
Keep a neutral spine and place your hands on the floor as you sit backward into your right hip.
Return to the starting position
Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet together, flat on the floor. Open your arms to your sides. With your palms face up, bend your elbows to a 90 degree angle.
Slowly slide your arms up towards your head. Stop when any part of your body loses contact with the floor.
Ceiling and Toe Stretch
This is an effective stretch for the back, sides, arms, and legs.
Sit on the floor with your legs extended. Reach your arms to the ceiling, extending your fingers and palms facing each other.
Stretch your left side by pressing your left arm toward the ceiling for 5 to 10 seconds.
Repeat on the other side.
Extend both arms in front of you. Keep your back straight and move forward at the waist and reach for your toes.
Go as for as you can and hold the stretch for 10-15 seconds.
Repeat on the other side. Then, extend both arms in front of you. Keeping your back straight, hinge forward at the waist and reach for your toes. Go as far as comfortable possible and hold the stretch for 10 to 15 seconds.
The butterfly stretch is used to elongate the muscles in the your groin and inner thighs.
Start the stretch by sitting on the floor with your feet flat against the floor. Allow your knees to fall to the sides and press the soles of your feet together. Pull your heels and close to your groin as possible without causing any pain and discomfort. Use your elbows to gently press your knees towards the ground for 10 seconds.
After You Stretch, It is Time To Dance!
Our Durham dance classes range from Ballroom to Latin to Swing, and everything in between! If you’re ready to Jive, Waltz, Hustle, and Mambo your way to great physical and mental health, call us at 919-489-4313 to schedule your first appointment or learn more about our group classes!