General Dance Discussion > Stretches for Dancers

Discussion in 'General Dance Discussion' started by pygmalion, Oct 17, 2003.

  1. emily13

    emily13 New Member

    My greatest apologies.
    Edited :p
  2. Jordan S.

    Jordan S. New Member

    I'm so frustrated right now as far as stretching goes?

    Hi! I'm new to the forums and I wanted to ask this question.

    I was really flexible when I was 3(lol everyone is) then I quit ballet(Baaad descison now that I think about it :( ) and my muscles just overtime became so freaking stiff. I'm 14 and now interested in getting flexible again. I've been watching So You Think you can dance for 4 seasons and it sparked a sudden interest in taking a dance lesson again, but I know I won't get far if I can't do a split. but my condition is pretty bad. I can touch my toes just barely, and I'm only half way towards a split. My mom told me I should just get into a split and hold it for a few seconds but to my disadvantage, I don't have her gene so at the moment, my muscles just won't stretch that far. And If I do, my musces will probably tear lol :headwall: Do you guys have any suggestions for good stretches or other things that might help, so possibly I could do to eventually be able to get into a split?
  3. DancingMommy

    DancingMommy Active Member

    One thing! Don't just "get into a split and hold it" unless you are really well warmed up. When I was not much older than you, I did that and I have had a persistent injury for the last TWENTY years because of it.

    You are 14. Lots of people don't get started until they are around your age. Being able to do a split or not is not make or break, really. Some people's bodies just won't do it. It has more to do with your physiology and less to do with ability.

    For starters, I'd begin with a good "stretch and strengthen" class. Pilates and Yoga are also beneficial for lenthening and strengthening the muscles. Under NO circumstances should you try to do any sort of movement without being properly warmed up. You're asking for a world of pain and injury if you don't warm up properly! has a good article on pilates stretches. Take out the spaces and replace the word "dot" with a "." to make the link work.
    pilates dot about dot com/od/pilatesmat/tp/Stretches-for-Flexibility.htm
  4. samina

    samina Well-Known Member

    muscles stretch best (and most safely) when they are under contraction at the same time. you might wanna check out bob cooley's book "the genius of flexibility".

    you are so young, your flexibility till come back i'm sure no problem. my advice is to put some good music, get down on the floor, straddle your legs, and start feeling how good it feels to stretch to the side over each leg and then down to the center, using rhythm and repetition, but never force. focus not on getting your head down, but on narrowing the space between your legs and your body. keep expanding the width of your legs until you start naturally putting yourself into splits...always feeling how good the sensations are, never ever forcing. "pulsing" to the rhythm is extremely helpful (not bouncing tho -- you must be gentle with your progress while still playing the edge).

    at your age, i bet this will work fabulously for you! take your can easily spend an hour or more doing this. and be sure to invent some counter-stretches to stretch the opposing muscles.

    and of course, this is just the beginning of all the cool stretching you can do using this technique... experiment, and keep the good music on as inspiration!
  5. JJ

    JJ Member

    Samina, are there lots of pics, illustrations, etc in the book? I find books on stretching much easier to follow when there are diagrams that accompany the text.
  6. latingal

    latingal Well-Known Member

    Welcome to DF Jordan S.!
  7. Angel HI

    Angel HI Well-Known Member

    Welcome to the DF, JordanS

    I have been asking this very question for the past couple of months, now. Countless times, I have been told to find a yoga class. So........
  8. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    also bear in mind that the best time to stretch is after a workout...that is when your muscles are good and warm
  9. samina

    samina Well-Known Member

    lots of pictures. there's also a video one can order that shows the exercises, but i don't have it. i think mamboqueen has checked it out.
  10. Chiron

    Chiron New Member

  11. Chiron

    Chiron New Member

    Something else I just remembered from when I was younger, if you've recently gone through a growth spurt your flexibility will be decreased. Your body will loosen up in time, stretching will help get it there faster.
  12. CANI

    CANI Active Member

    I'd be interested in this safety piece. Are you aware of any studies that proves this? Thanks
  13. samina

    samina Well-Known Member

    Studies? No, although I could ask my stretch trainer. All you have to do is try it and you'll see -- when you don't put a muscle into contraction when you attempt to stretch it, your joints & connective tissue are not protected against injury from over-stretching. When you put the muscle under contraction, your true range of stretch is revealed, and significantly limited as compared to when it's not contracted.

    Try and you'll see...
  14. etp777

    etp777 Active Member

    all I know about splits is that guy in our TA couple does them in new routine they were working on this week, and all of us (his partner, coach and I) were all just amazed and disgusted about how quickly and easily he got up out of those splits. Just waasn't right. :p
  15. samina

    samina Well-Known Member

    there is, however, a study i believe regarding the *effectiveness* of resistance stretch training and why it increases power and recovery time in athletes (why, for example, the swimmer dara torres is such an aficionado of this stretch technique). i'll see what i can find and post it here.
  16. samina

    samina Well-Known Member

    my stretch trainer provided this reference regarding eccentric training, which is basically what is done in resistance stretch training -- taking muscle from short position to long position under resistance -- it's a great survey article in a sports med journal:

    Brughelli M and J Cronin. Altering the Length-Tension Relationship with Eccentric Exercise Implications for Performance and Injury. Sports Med. 2007: 37 (9) 807-826
  17. CANI

    CANI Active Member

    Thanks, I'm already familiar with Bob Cooley's book. In my prior experiences, lots of things can feel very, very good in the short term, only to produce long-term problems. That's why safety studies are of particular interest to me. Thanks for asking your trainer.
  18. CANI

    CANI Active Member

    Thanks, yep, read about the effectiveness in the short term...and am familiar with dara torres' story (to an extent)
  19. CANI

    CANI Active Member

    Thanks very much. Can't seem to access this without paying money and can't spend money on this right now. Will save this for a future read when funds are available. But, this might answer my question if it addresses long-term safety. Thanks.
  20. samina

    samina Well-Known Member

    as for whether and how good it feels, that's a separate matter altogether -- you actually feel tighter at first when you do it this way. but it sounds like you already must know that.

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