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How to improve extensions


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Now, I know that extensions can't improve suddenly, but I really need some stretching exercises that could help me gain flexibility. Do any of you moderators have some flexibility exercises that I could do to improve my extensions? Thanks.


P.S. I only have my right split and my legs start shaking tremendously when I try to extend it higher then 45 degrees to the side or to the front. My arabesque is really high though. :P

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Extension is a function of both flexibility AND strength. Since you have shaking starting even just after 45°, I must conclude that you are challenged in even rudimentary strength, so we can leave flexibility quite alone until you have achieved the strength to put the legs where they belong at both 45 and 90 degrees, front, side AND back. After that, we can talk about stretchiness.

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  • 1 month later...

I have been stretching and I can say my extensions have gotten better. I can now hold it 90 degrees or higher. Now, what stretches could I do??

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Now, now, not so fast! You've worked on your flexibility, now it's time to make sure that your strength is developed. And while we're on that, accuracy is a goal now, too. Are you absolutely SURE that you're putting the leg where it should be? Can you tell the right place from the wrong place without looking? There are a lot of considerations when we address extension, not the least of which are placement and alignment. Can you get your leg up where you want it without messing up the rest of your body?


PS. What stretches have you been doing?

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Yes. I can. My hips are square and I have not got any corrections by teachers for that. I have been doing all my splits and I am always shouldering my leg then releasing my leg.

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Okay, I have a bit of trouble envisioning "shouldering my leg." Does this mean that you grasp the leg around the thigh and pull it up until the knee meets the point of the shoulder, extend the leg then let go? That can work. Splits are excellent stretches, but any stretches must be done when you are well-warmed-up, as after class.

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Shouldering your leg is when you hold your foot and limber your leg up while your leg is straight so that it meets the point ofnyour shoulder. Yes, I am always fully warmed up. I don't have the time to stretch daily, but I do stretch on the weekends at least for an hour practicing my splits.

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Okay, then "shouldering the leg" is a variant on the "jambe dans la main" or "pied dans la main" stretch which is excellent, Here are some tips to make yours better. Start in fifth position, bring the front foot up to retiré (passé position). Demi-plié on the supporting leg and reach down with the same arm as your working leg and grasp the heel from behind with your hand. (Here, you can be kind of un-ballet in your posture) Carry the working leg to the front with the foot still held in the hand. Straighten the supporting leg. then carry the working leg to the side, and correct for placement and alignment. When the leg is significantly above the waist, the hips don't have to remain flat - in fact, it's impossible. Release the hand, and only allow the leg to descend from the high à la seconde position, not fall. As time goes on, you will be able to hold the working leg in that high extension without it dropping at all.

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Wow, that sounds excellent. I will try that today! Now, will I still be able to improve my flexibility if I only stretch on the weekends since I dont have time on the weekdays? I usually stretch for about an hour and a half on weekends.



Edited by ArabesqueForever123
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Oh, you can do all sorts of gentle stretches during the week. You don't even have to be that warm if you just bend over from the waist to pick up a schoolbook! Keep the knees and back straight, and you'll maximize the stretch. There are lots of other stretches which can be done, even while sitting at your desk!

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Now that's good. Relaxation is just as important in building flexibility as sticking your legs up in the air or out along the floor. You know, it strikes me from what you've put in the two threads that are now active, that you may be tensing all along both your legs while you do barre, and may not be getting as warmed-up as is possible. You have to know which muscles to relax as you work so that the body gets as warm as possible.

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