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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Pre-Class Warmup Exercises


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In the legwarmers thread, there was talk about wanting information regarding warmup exercises and stretches to do before class. I'm particularly interested in this topic- so I thought I would start the thread.


I would love information on what everyone does to prepare for classes- to warm up and loosen the joints and muscles- particularly for our adult muscles and joints that might need a little additional warming up.


Thanks in advance!

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Here are my recommendations:

1st, get your heart rate up with gentle marching in place for about 30 seconds, really lifting the knees high and working the feet off the floor for about 30 seconds, and then jogging in place for about 2 minutes. Then begin gentle stretching like:

1. Ankle circles

2. Calf stretches

3. Quad stretch

4. Hip stretches- sitting on the floor in butterfly and yoga stretches

5. Arm warm-ups like circles and "beats", as well as push ups or crab push-ups

6. IT band stretches

7. Hamstring stretch- very gently

7. Gentle cambrés while sitting in V-split

8. AB work! Crunches, roll-ups, scissors, beats, at least 100 of something

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I like in a downtown metro area, so I usually walk to class (the alternate is subway or other public transpo) and use that as my overall body warmup. I like to get to class early enough to stretch and do body-part warmups, many of which are on Ms. Clara's list (yahoo!) :) . I have had Achilles issues in the past, so I usually do my "pre-hab" exercises and stretching for those, as well as my shoulders and lower back, which naturally tend to tightness. I don't do much for my hamstrings as they are generally quite flexible and always good to go, but I do get them fired up when I do some hip flexor stretches and Pilates exercises. I also adjust depending on how I feel that day...some days I feel warm and loose, but other days I feel like I need more warmup or have a particular body part that is feeling like it needs some extra attention. The pre-class brisk walk is really my ace-in-the-hole though :)

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My warm-ups (for any kind of dance) have ranged from zero to an hour depending on the time of the class and what I have been doing just before class. I like warming up from both a physical and psychological point of view. In an ideal world, I’d like to begin class just beginning to sweat. But I know that isn’t possible if it’s in the dead of winter or the class is the first thing in the morning.


My warm-ups are a mish-mash of moving through the various joints (feet, hips, knees, torso, and arms), stretches, general exercises, and some easy movements for whatever kind of class I am taking. I like doing a fixed set of warm-up exercises more so because they are a good psychological warm-up. I’d tell you my current sequence, but these exercises have no names that I know of. Besides, I don’t think it matters much what you do as long as it follows the formula of exercises+stretching+easy things you will do in class. If you feel warmed up at the very beginning of class, then whatever you did is good.

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mermaid7176, thanks for starting this thread!


And Clara, thanks so much for this list. I knew I would learn something, and I was right. I've always concentrated on my ankles and knees plus some stretching, never even thought to do ab exercises outside of Pilates class. A real Homer Simpson moment for me - why would you NOT warm up the core muscles for ballet class?!?!

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