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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Is stretching every day bad for you?


Guest Aurora

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Guest Aurora

I've heard a lot of different stories and decided it's time to ask for help from professionals :)

 

A friend once told me that stretching every day is bad for you. She explained that when you stretch, it creates tears in your muscle. According to her, if these tears don't have enough time to repair themselves & fill the gaps with protein, you won't become any more flexible. She said that she learned about it in a class she took.

 

I have had teachers, however, who encouraged stretching hard every day.

 

Which is the right way to go?? I'm a bit confused... :wink:

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  • Administrators

Aurora, I think the muscles do need some recovery time, and I usually recommend that dancers work no more than 6 days a week on a regular basis. There will be times when rehearsals on that 7th day are necessary, and that's okay once in a while, but not every week. As far as stretching is concerned, I guess it would be more a matter of how much you are talking about. I mean, doing some basic floor stretches every day is probably not harmful, but getting fully warmed up and doing a full barre and then all the most difficult extension stretches every day is not the best idea. Six days a week is enough!

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Guest RachelD

Most of my teachers say that its fine to stretch every day because it makes your muscles longer (which is good) and if you keep doing the same stretches alot your muscles will get used to it and you will become more flexible. But if you don't stretch alot then your muscles will get smaller tighten up.

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Still, save the easy ones and only do them on Sunday. Ms. Leigh is right. Your body needs a little time to settle down. And of course, never do the hard stretches unless you're totally warmed up! :devil:

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Yes, but only at the beginning, and it's micro- rather than macro- in scale. That's the reason we don't do the really vigorous stretches until we're really warmed up and as part of the "warm-down". Large tears can and do happen - those are termed "injuries"! :devil:

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Guest Jaime

This summer at ABT nyc we had a stretch class, and our teacher told us that you should stretch at least 4 times a week before, during and after class!

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Yes, and doing extreme stretches for which you must be completely warmed up seven days a week is a Bad Idea. Period.

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Guest Rosefire

what is an extreme stretch?

i find that when i stretch everynight, jsut before bed, i feel good and more able to motivate myself in the mornings, and my flexiblity in class also increases.

every inght, even if i had a ballet class, i stretch. i stretch in frogs, then with my legs out in front of me, then in second (not a huge second, just to where i fell a stretch) then a quadracep stretch, then splits, then lying on my back with my leg extended in fornt, and then tummy exercises, foot exercises, etc.

are all these stretches 'extreme stretches', and is it wise for me to do them every night?

 

thanks.

 

rosefire

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None of those seems terribly extreme with the possibility of the splits. My definition of an extreme stretch kicks in when the angle of the legs being stretched closely approaches or meets 180º. One really must be warmed up thoroughly to do those, and by that I mean a full class precedes them.

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Guest Terin

What exactly counts as being warmed up? If you just do a short set of pliés and tendus before stretching (including splits), is that alright? Or do you need to do more exercises to be warmed up enough to do extreme stretches?

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If you're going to do splits, I wouldn't recommend doing them until you had at least done a barre through the developpé part, then it will be safe enough. For more vigorous things like oversplits, I think they're useless, but you don't want to do those, if you can do them at all, until after a full class, barre AND center.

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Plies and tendus do very little to get you ready for splits or extreme stretching. All of the joints and muscles involved in the type of stretching you want to do need to be very warmed up. This would involve the hamstrings and the hip flexors, as well as the quads, rotators, and just about everything! That is why you need to go well beyond plies and tendus, and include forward stretching, retires/passes, rond de jambes, fondus, and grand battements.

 

(Working from laptop for two weeks, so can't put accent marks in. Sorry.)

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