Written by Tristan Grannum
Professional dancers are usually known for their “out of this world” flexibility and strength. Almost every dancer at some point in their training had to work towards increasing their flexibility. Stretching is one of the most important activities an individual can do to prevent future injuries and increase overall mobility. Stretching benefits your physical health and can relieve soreness and pain of the body. If you are an active person you should never take stretching for granted.
One common misconception of stretching, is that before a ballet class or a workout a person should do stretches that push the limits of their natural flexibility. Practicing splits, or kicking your leg forcefully are not good exercises to do pre-ballet or pre-workout. Static stretching is not considered healthy if you are doing it before your physical activity. Before you begin doing a strenuous activity your main focus should be making sure your entire body is warm. Warming up is essential for stretching. Walking, jogging, jumping jacks, and planks are all exercises you can do that will help get your heart rate up, activate your core, and warm up your entire body.
Each person possesses different levels of flexibility and mobility. Some areas of the body tend to be tighter than others. Focus more time on the areas that need improvement. If you tend to be more flexible in a specific area of the body, focus on building strength in that area.
Stretching is not an easy task however it is useful and necessary for flexibility improvement and overall wellness. Always make sure you have a specific stretching plan which include which parts of the body you will be focusing on, the different stretching exercises you are going to perform, as well as the amount of repetitions for each specific exercise. If you start to feel pain during a stretch, Stop! If the pain persists consult your physician or physical therapist. Stretching can be loads of fun and with consistency, you will start to meet your flexibility goals.
Bueno, Leah. “Could A Tight Back Be Limiting Your Flexibility?” Dance Magazine, Dance Magazine, 6 July 2017, www.dancemagazine.com/tight-back-exercises-2453923313.html.
Wingenroth, Lauren. “The Dancer's Ultimate Guide to Stretching.” Dance Magazine, Dance Magazine, 20 Sept. 2020, www.dancemagazine.com/stretches-for-dancers-2639955572.html.