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Exercise Outside of Dance - What SHORTENS Muscles?


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Hey guys, feel free to move this appropriately. I can't seem to find a definitive answer on this...

I've been taking the stairs at work for the last two weeks. I normally walk on releve when I do this. It's just a habit. Thus my muscle are all tight while I'm hiking up five flights twice a day.

Tonight in class I noticed that even more so than Tuesday's class, my flexibility is becoming worse. I feel as though I'm about to seriously pull something.

Does this have anything to do with the stair climbing?

It is true that some exercises shorten and bulk muscles, right?


Or is it me getting older and my body reacting?




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I'm not sure about specific exercises, but I think that climbing stairs is fine, just not on relevé! :lol: The thing that bulks muscles the most is sitting in your hips, with your weight in your heels, and overusing your quads on extensions. Classes which are not organized well can also bulk muscles by the way they are designed, but, that only happens with teachers who do not know what they are doing.

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Any repetitive work using only a short range of movement will tend to shorten muscles. I suggest you include a stretch every so often, especially when your muscles are tired.



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I think drinking plenty of fluid helps with muscle tightness. When my muscles are tense and achy it's the first thing I turn to and it usually helps. Not saying that drinking will help with overall flexibility but on days when I'm feeling particularly stiff I feel relief pretty quickly. Even slight dehydration can affect the functioning of our bodies and creeps up without our being consciously aware of it.

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Thanks for all the help, guys. I am probably over-hydrated. I constantly fill up a 32oz mug throughout the day, so I don't think it's that.

I definitely need to take even more time to stretch and I think I will only hike the stairs after lunch (when I'm not carrying a backpack full of magazines and a laptop) and when I do so, I will go flat-footed.

Any more advice is welcome.

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If you're going up those stairs, why not do that calf stretch where you hang your heels over the edge of the step? (I've been told by a physiotherapist to make sure I keep my knees soft when doing that). You could do that for a count of 30 on each leg at the end of each floor.

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Strength training shortens and strengthens muscles. Stretching lengthens and weakens muscles. Doing both together gets you a "balanced" result.

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Citibob I agree with your third sentence, but not the first two. Muscles become shortened when they are not stretched. Muscles become weak when they aren’t worked against some type of resistance.


Nevertheless, from a dance perspective, when it comes to general exercise, both strengthening and stretching muscles is a very very good idea.


As an aside, I think stair climbing is a really good exercise in general and can even be fun and entertaining. When I worked in an office, I’d often do a noon workout of just stair climbing up and down the five flights of stairs in our building. I’d try to make each trip up and down unique, doing it in a different way each time—fast, slow, skipping steps in some pattern, going sideways and backwards, tossing in a few jumps just for the heck of it. Much much better than the stair climbers one finds in a gym.

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