6 tips on stretching for dance

November 3, 2015

How to loosen tight muscles and stretch before you dance

Stretch is an important preparation step in dance. You have to lengthen and release a variety of muscle groups you might not even think about in daily life. Here are some tips on how to stretch.

6 tips on stretching for dance

1. Never stretch cold

Your muscles don't lengthen as much if you are cold when you start stretching. You're better off saving static stretches for after class or a session at the gym. That way, you can safely work toward your maximum flexibility.

2. Be consistent

Practice makes perfect in stretching like anything else. Aim to stretch at least a few times a week. You don't need to allocate a huge amount of time. What counts is making it part of your routine on a regular basis. Even 10-15 minutes a day can add up to getting your splits in a few months.

3. Use proper alignment

Stretching in the correct position will help strengthen your technique in class. For example, if you are stretching into a split, try to keep your hips square. Remember to stretch your knees and point your feet when you stretch.

4. Don't force it

There's a difference between trying to improve your flexibility and pushing past where your body is willing to go. When you stretch, make sure it's not painful. Muscles lengthening might feel slightly uncomfortable, but if you feel a sharp pain or tearing sensation, carefully back out of the stretch. If the pain persists, you might want to see a doctor or physical therapist.

5. Relax

Let your body release into the position. Try not to tense the muscles you are stretching. Instead, let your breath travel to them. Dancing requires your body to be responsive and controlled, but not strained.

6. Have patience

Remember, flexibility takes time to build. Don't get frustrated if it takes a while or you hit a plateau. Just keep working toward your goals. You'll get there soon enough.

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