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Ballet Talk for Dancers
Guest alliecat93

Hyperextension???

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Guest alliecat93

This is going to sound really stupid, but how do you know if you're hyperextended? :confused: Thanks to everyone who responds!

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Mel Johnson

No problem. Hyperextended refers to any joint which makes full travel to a point beyond straight. If you were to drop a plumb line from your hip joint to the floor, and bring your knees back as far as they will go, and the knees are behind that plumb line, you just might be hyperextended.;) Any joint can hyperextend, and having it in one set of joints doesn't necessarily mean you'll have it anywhere else! Hyperextension is usually bilaterally symmetrical, that is, if it's on one side, it'll be on the other, too.

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Guest tianehu

can you be hyperextended and bow legged at the same time? And can hyperextension be increased, and will that be harmful? Thank you!

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Victoria Leigh

tianehu, to the first part of your question, yes, you can be hyperextended and bow-legged at the same time. To the second part, no, it will not increase, HOWEVER, it can LOOK like it is worse if one pushes back into the hyperextension and exaggerates it. Therefore, learning to work correctly with hyperextension and/or bowed legs, is very important. Weight placement and use of rotation are the keys to correcting the look of the legs when weight bearing. Of course the hyperextended leg looks very pretty when it is extended in the air, especially if one has the good foot that frequently accompanies this leg structure. :)

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Guest tianehu

Really, is that so? Because my gymnastics teacher sometimes makes us put our heels up on a block of spongey stuff, and in pairs, we push down each other's legs, so I thought it was to hyperextend the legs, because hyperextended legs look very nice? Or maybe it's just to teach us how to fully straighten our legs...

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Mel Johnson

Sounds more like the latter to me, tianehu. Intentionally altering the skeleton to make hyperextended legs is a surgical matter, and one that would be a lot like getting an appendix transplant!;)

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Guest skater_girl

Hello

 

I too have significantly hyperextended legs and I find it confusing to know when to be hyperextended and when to relax my working leg. Would you mind clarifying this?

 

I've also heard that it is not a good idea for people with hyperextended legs to do pointe. Is this true? I've been doing pointe for about a year now and I still have trouble remembering that I have to hyperextend my legs everytime I'm on pointe! Does anyone else have this problem??? I feel so stupid everytime my teacher tells me to pull up or that I'm stepping with a "bent" leg (for me).

 

Thanks for your help

Gloria

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Victoria Leigh

Gloria, working with hyperextended legs can be a bit tricky, and takes some special attention, but there is certainly no reason to not work on pointe! Good heavens, if that were true there would be a LOT of professional dancers who would never have been professional dancers! (And I would have been one of them :eek: ) Take a look at the photos of dancers in the major companies. You will find many of the top dancers with hyperextended legs!

 

As to the working leg, you don't have to worry about that at all. When the leg is extended, the hyperextension is not a problem. Straighten it all the way! It's the standing leg that you have to be concerned about, and also when you are standing on both legs. They must be straight, but you have to adjust your weight so that you are not pushing back INTO the hyperextension. You don't bend them, you just adjust your alignment and your balance point so that you are not back into the knees. You have to learn to use the quad muscles and not push the knees back when you step on pointe in a piqué or when you relevé. Be very sure that you are leading with your body and not with your legs when you move onto pointe, or when you move anywhere in any exercise.

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Guest ilive2dance

i do rhythmic gymnastics and when there, we do and exercise similar to one mentioned before which envolves us sitting with our ankles up on a bench and a partener sitting justbelow the knees. we do this for about 2 mins and then the partner moves down to just above the knees for the same perios of time! over time this has noticably made my knees more hyperextended!

 

a great test to see if you are hyperextended in the knees is to sit on the floor with your legs strait in fron of you and pointe your toes and straiten your knees as hard as you can. if your ankles come off the flor, your knees are hyperextended!!

 

my friends knees are so hyperextended, that when she does this, she can put 2 apples, 1 on top of each other under her ankle and her knee touches the floor! yuk!

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Victoria Leigh

As Mr. Johnson said, hyperextension is a skeletal thing. It is the shape of the bones. One is not going to change that. You may be able to get your knees straighter now, by learning to work the quad muscles and fully stretch all the muscles, however you will not create hyperextension if it is not there.

 

And I would check for hyperextension by having the feet flexed in that exercise on the floor, not pointed.

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Guest sarez

That's a test for hyperextension? Then I must be slightly hyperextended and bowlegged:rolleyes:.

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Guest tianehu

I told that to my friend, and she tried out the test, but she is convinced that her heels come off the ground only because she says she has fat legs :) [when I think it's actually all muscle anyway], but if the legs are fat or muscular, will the test be as accurate? Because the muscle kind of pushes up the leg a bit...I hope you understand what I'm talking about! :)

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Victoria Leigh

Yes, that could affect the test, tianehu.

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Guest tigger_fan_ann

oh... so my knees are a little hyperextended. My heels go of the floor a little. Hehe! New discovery! :)

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Guest toedancer23

Ms. Leigh, as much as I'd like to be a bit hyperextended in the knees, that exercise that ilive2dance described in her post sounds kind of dangerous.

 

Do you think so? It sounds like a lot of pressure on the knees, but maybe I didn't understand what she meant.

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