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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Hip flexor stretches


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No doubt this has been asked before, so my apologies if that's the case.


I do various stretches to try and improve the flexibility of my (rather tight) hip flexors.


My main two stretches (after warm up, obviously!) are 1) laying on my back and pulling one knee into my chest with the other leg straight out on the floor and 2) lunging forward with either a straight back leg or resting on the back knee.


I was just thinking I don't have much variety with these stretches and wondered what other people do?

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Another good one is to lie flat on your back with one leg bent, knee in parallel (i.e. pointing to the ceiling) foot flat on floor beside the other knee, or pulling that knee into the chest. You do this on a bench, a table or on a landing at the top of the stairs. Position your hips foot towards the end of your platform and let the other leg, which is fully extended, simply hang below what would be a horizontal plane. Gravity will do the stretch for you.

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Oooh, yes, that makes very good sense! Thank you so much Doubleturn.


Of course for me it will be the top of the stairs, so I wonder what the rest of the family will make of it?! lol


I do find I am getting noticeably looser in the hips and legs (ie from very tight to not quite so tight!) and if anything I am looser than I was as a teen. HOWEVER, as soon as I do anything quickly I seem to tighten up. eg if I do a grande battement I think I'm afraid of something hurting so my whole body involuntarily tenses and my leg is then forced to stay low - much lower than I think I'm capable of. I don't seem to be able to relax the right muscles. It's very frustrating.


I suppose this is a bit off topic already?! :) My apologies.

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I do a runners lunge sometimes, but more frequently one that looks pretty much the same as a yoga one called 'King Dancer's Pose' (?) - which is basically facing the barre, lift heel to butt like a basic quad stretch, but then just keep hauling the foot up as far as it will go.

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Thank you Mazenderan. I'm not sure my body likes that one much (maybe a good thing??! lol) but I'll keep practicing.


It makes a change to try different things instead of the same old, same old!

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Regarding tensing up in battements, if you're warmed up and loose and there's no real concern of actually hurting anything - maybe focus on breathing out on the upswing? Sometimes that helps me, I know I tend to hold my breath and grip up if feeling hesitant or trying to exert extra effort.

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Good idea about the breathing, Sellen - thankyou. I know I often forget to breath at all during some of the more taxing barrework! (OK, so not entirely true, but you know what I mean!). I have got used to breathing techniques in Pilates - just have to remember to think about breathing in ballet too. Oh, so many things to think of!! lol

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edit: after thinking about it, I'm not entirely sure this is for the hip flexors. I do feel it stretch around the hip socket and the position would suggest it being for the flexors, but the teacher didn't say it exactly, so I'm not sure. Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong!


I don't know if your body is ready for this one - it was quite hard for me (but then my hip flexors are quite tight at the moment..), I only learned it a week ago. In our class it was combined with a hamstring stretch, I'll just tell you what we did.


Sit on the floor with one leg bent in front of you (knee on the ground), and the other one bent to the side (knees both in the direction of the 'front leg'.. I didn't realise this position was so hard to describe! :) ). Bend the upper body forward and stretch the 'side' leg to the back, then you lift the upper body again (you can use your arms for support/balance). During all this you try to keep the hips square. My more flexible classmates could keep the sitting bone of the front leg on the ground - I couldn't, but I could still feel the stretch doing its work! The foot is flexed and the teacher told us to make sure you stretch out the knee.


The second part was, pull the leg back into side attitude, stretch out the front leg and bend forward.

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I think Lidewij is describing what I know as "pigeon" from yoga. If I'm right, Google will help you find some images to match up with that description.

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Good idea about the breathing, Sellen - thankyou. I know I often forget to breath at all during some of the more taxing barrework! (OK, so not entirely true, but you know what I mean!). I have got used to breathing techniques in Pilates - just have to remember to think about breathing in ballet too. Oh, so many things to think of!! lol


Merry, I only ever breathe IN...I forget you have to breathe OUT as well....

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Totally. Another thread mentioned pique with grand battements which I have been subjected to on occasion, I think my head is usually ready to burst by the end of the second side. ;)

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You may or may not already be doing this as part of your lunge stretches, but just in case: Kneel on one knee with the other leg bent at 90 degrees in front. Then tilt the pelvis backward (tuck under) as far as you can. If you don't feel it, lean father forward and try again. If it's too much, try it standing. For me, this gives a much nicer stretch than just camping out in a lunge!

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Lidewij, thanks for the exercise and gav, thanks for the tip about the yoga position. I'll check that out today.


lol Sellen and Serendipity!! Sometimes I think 'breathe' at the start of an exercise, but that goes out the window with the next thought about position, pulling up etc etc etc!


groovibug - yes, I'm doing that already, but it's helpful to be reminded. Love the 'camping out' notion!

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Thanks, gav! It indeed looks a lot like that! Only we in class had to turn out the back leg, but for the rest it seems the same :wallbash:

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This is just a great exercise for the hips that we learned a while ago, not for the hip flexor...

you need to find a counter top/table that is a little bit lower than your hips, stand square to the counter top/table and place one leg on top of the table with the thigh straight in front of you and the knee bent at 90 degrees. so your foot is past the hip of the standing leg. You should feel a stretch in the hip/bum if not turn your head and shoulders to look to the side of the raised leg.


Shew, that was really complicated to try and explain :wallbash: , I hope it makes sense

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