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I have a little problem with my knees. In class, especially when standing on one leg, I have a hard time feeling if my supporting leg is straight, and my teacher often corrects me on that. But when I try to straighten my knee, it feels like I'm locking it. I did this just the other day, and a couple of hours after class, my right knee felt a little strange. It didn't really hurt, but I felt it, if you know what I mean. I also think that I'm a little bow-legged, or hyperextended, but that perhaps has to do with that I lock my knees? So, how do I straighten my knees fully, without locking and hurting them? :D

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You'll know when you're locking your knees when you feel an uncomfortable stiffness just below your kneecap, and when your quads are hard as a rock. You don't want this. You need to be lifted out of the knees, just as you need to lift out of your hips! Awful situation, isn't it, when you can sit into your feet, your ankles, your knees, your hips? So much to co-ordinate!

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Thank you for your reply, Mr. Johnson! I think I'm pressing my knees back and locking them there to make them straight. When you say lift out of the knees, do you mean to lift the kneecaps? When I do that, my knees are straight and don't lock either. But the quads are tight though, not like when I'm locking, but still. Is this correct?

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It depends. Do your legs look straight? Try yourself out in the mirror, or even better, ask your teacher for an "eye outside yourself" and find out where YOUR straight is.

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I did ask my teacher, and she helped me to find out when my knees are straight. She also showed me how I should pull my kneecaps up and really lift myself up, and I suddenly felt really tall and stretched! :wub: It still feels a little weird though, since I'm used to straighten my knees too much, and pushing them back into the hyperextension. But I'm working on that :D Thank you for your replies!

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I think I have the same problem, my knees are hyperextended but when they are not 'locked' into position they do not feel straight, I also find it hard to lift out of my knees & hips as it feels unnatural to my body!


Also another question regarding knees, when I plie my knees tend to go more forward than to the side which makes me look different to all the other ballet girls. Is there anyway I can correct this, I dont want to force my turnout as I know I could cause myself injury as my natural turnout isn't great.


Any advice would be appreciated!



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Jen, you'll have to reduce the amount of turnout (where the feet end up on the floor) you use to the amount supported by the amount of rotation that your upper leg can make in the hipjoint. As you increase the amount of rotation you have, you will then be able to increase the amount of turnout you use. Having the knees go forward in a demi-plié puts awful strain on the joint, and will lead to difficulty down the line.


Remember, nothing about ballet is "natural". It is a very stylized and difficult discipline that takes a long time to achieve correctly. If done properly, it should not give you problems in your general health. Yes, making your legs look straight will feel different from having the knees locked back, but there is so much less hazard involved!

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Thank you for the advice, I just worry when I look at myself in the mirrors my knees bend in a different direction to the other girls, maybe I could work on my rotation and practice plie's more at home. I try doing the 'butterfly' exercise as the 'frog' feels uncomfortable and puts a lot of pressure on my knees.


Are there any other exercises I can do at home, or can you recommend any flexibility exercises I can do on my Pilates Gym Ball?




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