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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Straight legs


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I know there is already a topic on this but it is under parents so I didn't want to post there.


I have a problem straightening my knees all the time!!! I'm not highperextended so its alot harder for me than the rest of the people in my class. Are there any excersises I should be doing for this?


thank you


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Here's an oldie but a goodie. Unless you are actually hypoextended, where the bones of the knees reach full travel short of straight, then you probaby have soft tissue (cartilage)restricting your knees from straightening. It's tough soft tissue, but soft nonetheless.


Sit on the floor with your legs straight in front of you, together, no turnout. Place a tennis ball under one or both knees and try to squish it with the backs of the knees. Alternate legs if you only have one tennis ball. Worked great for me.

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Not a real problem - hyper/hypoextension are tough to spell!

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I used to have extremely hypoextended knees,but some physical therapy helped that (I also had patello-femoral syndrome).


Stretching with tennis ###### helps a lot!Even if you try to straighten your legs down to the ground without it works,and it is also much easier!

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Well, that's not a true hypoextension, which is skeletal, and won't let your legs straighten because bone runs into bone. It's a rare phenomenon, not seen as frequently as hyperextension. Patello-femoral syndrome also deals with a highly mobile bone, the kneecap, and so it's fixable with PT, where hypoextension isn't.

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In hyperextension, the joint (and it can be any joint) reaches full travel in back of straight. In hypoextension, it reaches full travel ("locks") in front of straight. In the former, it can throw the weight onto the heels which is not good, and in the latter, your knees are always bent, even though they're locked. Also not good.

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how do these affect your chances with ballet? as in, could you be asked to discontinue with ballet if you have hypo/hyperextended legs? (i dont, just wondering.)

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If you have truly hypoextended legs, you might as well hang it up. Nothing will correct that except extensive orthopedic surgery with a rehabilitation time in the years. In the meantime, thousands of dancers are dancing with hyperextension. It can be corrected in class, simply by not letting the knees lock back, and working on legs that look straight.

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  • 1 month later...

I have tried the excersize with the tennis ###### under the knees and it works great! I can already start to tell a diffence after doing it every day for a week! Thank you very much Mel Johnson. :thumbsup: Do you know any other excersizes to try to increase hyperextension?

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Er...well, you see, I don't have anything that increases hyperextension - that would be a lot like giving somebody an appendix transplant. (Not much earthly good to start with, and a possible source of trouble down the line.) However, in causing your knees to get straighter, now THERE I can be of some help. Since you're noticing improvement in the exercise, now modify to straighten your knees when you're standing and have weight on them. At first, you're liable to think that you've gone back to square one. But don't get discouraged; keep using the tennis ###### and gradually, the necessary straight knees will follow.

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I have a question kind of along the same lines. I am actually hyperextended, but I don't have very nice feet to finish off the line, therefore my knees are sometimes bent (esp. on pointe). Is there anything I can do besides working on improving my feet to help me with this?

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