Stretching and Flexibility Tips for Dancers
June 27th 2021
Flexibility is a key component of wellness. It increases range of motion and prevents injuries and soreness. Other benefits include better technique, longer lines, and seamlessness in performances. Here are a few tips on how to improve flexibility:
1. Warm up before stretching. Go on a walk or do jumping jacks before stretching. In order for the body to gain the most out of a stretch, the muscles should be warm. This prevents injuries and allows the muscles to relax, so the stretch is more effective.
2. Breathe. Breathing also warms the muscles up and allows them to relax. Without breathing, the body holds tension. Inhaling and exhaling releases the unwanted tension, and helps us get a deeper stretch.
3. Stretch whenever you can. Sit in your favorite stretch while you are watching TV or doing homework. This is a great way to reach your flexibility goals, such as the splits, if you are pressed for time.
4. Use assists. There are many things around you and in your house that can be helping you get a better stretch. Thera-bands, towels, tennis balls, or even walls can help you hold or deepen a stretch.
5. Be consistent. When muscles are not stretched they lose their flexibility. It is so important to stretch everyday in order to maintain or increase flexibility.
6. Stretch before bed. Stretching helps the muscles stay relaxed throughout the night and helps you stay on track with stretching consistently.
7. Hold every stretch for 1-2 minutes. The body is more likely to respond to stretches when they are held for longer periods of time. 1-2 minutes is a good length for the stretch to be effective without overextending the muscles.
It is a great idea to set flexibility goals and slightly deepen the stretch every day. However, it is so important to listen to your body and do what feels comfortable for you! Use these tips to achieve your flexibility goals.