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Stretching for Boys/Men

Guest A Boy

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I'm just wondering whether boy and girls should stretch differently, I know the bones are different in the pelvis. My ballet teacher doesn't really know, so if there are specific streches which boy's should or shouldn't do please post...


Thankyou for all your help.

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Not really. The stretches for classical technique are the same for both boys and girls. Now, boys, especially in adolescence, have a harder time because of the male hormones that start coursing through the system, and the muscles are rather harder and tighter. It's just like the Tortoise and the Hare. "Slow and steady wins the race." Proceed with the stretches, but only increase their breadth in small increments. Don't try to stick your kneecap into your ear right away! Gradually, gradually, increase the stretch. In character work, however, you may encounter some things that the girls won't do, like the prisyadka (squatting) work, but that's far down the line from grade 5!


And ask as many questions as you like; that's what we're here for. :)

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Can anyone direct me to a good site which shows some stretches?


I've looked in the archives and I just get confused.


(And thanks for your quick reply, again, Mel)

Edited by A Boy
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Hey, we work fast around here, when we can. Have to take some time from the board to teach, you know! :jawdrop:


I don't know of any sites on the web that give allaround good stretches, but here are the basics.


1) Jambe à la main, also called pied dans la main and détiré. In this one, the student begins as in a regular developpé passé, and when the working leg reaches retiré, he reaches down and grasps the inside of the foot at the arch and at the same time does a fondu on the supporting leg. The working leg is then carried to the front, the supporting knee straightens and then the leg is carried in a demi-rond de jambe en l'air to à la seconde, then the supporting hand lets go! The student attempts to keep the leg extended and allows it to descend slowly and carefully. Its reverse number to arabesque is:


1a) Begin as before with developpé passé, then grasp the working leg just BELOW (this is important) the knee. Don't grasp the kneecap. It could get pulled out of place. Carry the working leg to attitude derriere, and then penché, extending the leg as the penché increases. Release the working leg at the deepest point in the penché and straighten to arabesque. Again the recovery is slow and deliberate, maintaining the extension as much as possible.


2) The split. Almost 'nuff said, but you may wish to support yourself on the barre as you descend, so that the stretch is controlled and gradual. If you are flexible enough to go into the split and be supported by hands on the floor, also good. If you feel the stretch go from stretch to actual pain, bend the back leg, and sit out of it. We don't want damaged hamstrings!


2a) The center split. Again, almost 'nuff said, but remember, this split shouldn't begin at a standing start. Start by sitting on the floor and carry the legs to the sides as widely as you can without causing pain. You may then be asked to reach to one leg or the other alternately.


3) The cambré forward. This is part of the standard port de bras collection, and it can be varied in quite a number of ways. In RAD, for instance, it is done by rolling down through the back. In America, largely influenced by Russians, leading with the chest as far down as possible is popular. It may be varied by doing a demi-plié in first or fifth positions, and then at the deepest point of the port de bras, straightening the legs - good for a stretch on the hamstrings.


These are just the garden-variety standard old favorites. There are lots more, but you'll run into these much more frequently than others. :)


(PS. Remember to warm up well before stretching!)

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These guys were actually back in Gainesville a long time ago. They worked with a lot of the elite athletes at UF. The stretch book is great but they have some elementary stretches and strengthening stuff on the web site as well as a great section called myths.


Warton Performance


They focus on whole body conditioning where no one part over powers the other. There philosophy is that is what causes the most injuries as well as not looking for root cause of the injury just treating the symptoms.

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OK, I buy into the no-bouncing, opposition/isolation theory, resistance bands and some other things, but remember, these things are for ordinary mortals, not dancers. I.e. NO TURNOUT! I also find the use of ankle weights (except very light ones) usually counterproductive. And remember, there are stretches that you can do cold, but these are mostly passive ones, where gravity is doing most of the work.

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I’m with Mel with regard to ankle weights.


My local book store has a whole shelf of books devoted to stretching programs of various kinds. That’s not counting the yoga books, which is also a good source. Better yet in my opinion is taking a jazz or modern class or two and doing the stretches you do in class. Those have been my personal favorites and you get the added benefit of dancing while in the class. I think yet another good source is the stretches you do in ballet class. Just hold them for longer than you do in class.

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Sorry I forgot the knock knock the first time. I just saw the stretching and didn't realize it was the Men's Forum. Here are a good book on stretching that is ballet focused. The Wharton web site is the only one out there on stretches that I've found that won't just hurt you :blushing: some of them have some really dated information. I like Major Mels approach best if it hurts dont do it.


Inside Ballet Technique: Separating Anatomical Fact from Fiction in the Ballet Class (Paperback)

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It's OK, I understood the knock, knock the first time, just from the good intentions and the beneficial advice in it. And yes, Inside Ballet Technique is a very good book for teachers and students who want to learn something about anatomy to have. A further yes to recognizing when it's work and stretch and when it's pain!!!

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