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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Stretching at home?


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I have a question regarding stretching. If there is already a post with the answer it would be really kind to give me the link because I'm lost with all the topics on stretching (I read through a lot but haven't found the information I needed).


I started stretching seriously a year ago. I'm not naturally flexible, so it takes me a long time to see improvement. But I'm patient, have perseverance and know my body.


I normally stretch for 20 minutes right after class - and I like it. But I want to stretch more and I always read about stretching at home.


I tried to stretch at home - but it was sooo painful. I warmed up (with jumping jacks and running) - and tried my normal stretch routine. But it was nothing like after class. I tried a few times with different stretches and different warm-ups, but it was just painful - and I couldn't do them half as good as after class.


So I wonder what I could do differently when stretching at home?

Perhaps trying just "light" stretches (pike or similar ones) and do them longer (more than 30 seconds and multiple times) and relax more into it?

Or should I warm up more? (but how...)

Do more dynamic stretching?


A friend of mine is always stretching "cold" at home and said once she got used to it it wasn't that painful anymore....will I just get used to the pain (that is so much stronger than after class) when stretching at home?




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Stretching should never feel painful. You should only stretch to the point where you feel the stretch. People like stretching with a warm body because you have a greater range of motion then. You can also stretch "cold." Just go to the point where you feel the stretch and keep it there. Injury usually only comes from forcing a stretch.<br /><br />I do believe that stretching is a matter of feeling rather than range of motion. You want to feel your stretches and feel the body lengthening rather than trying to look flexible.<br /><br />I'm the least flexible dancer I know, though I stretch constantly. I've been stretching and dancing for 20+ years now and am not going to get any more flexible than I am right now. But I still stretch almost every day, most often at home, because I like the feeling and because I believe it makes movement easier.

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IADMS recently published an interesting article on stretching for Dancers -you can read it here http://c.ymcdn.com/sites/www.iadms.org/resource/resmgr/imported/info/Bulletin_for_Teachers_2-1_pp9-12_Wyon.pdf It has info on different types of stretches as well as warming up and stretching "cold".


I agree with Garytech that stretching should never be painful. Yes there is a stretch sensation, and perhaps "un-comfortableness" about stretching sometimes, but there should not be pain or sharpness. Relaxing while stretching is a key concept to master in the mind if you ask me!

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Do you have a foam roller? I usually roll my muscles before stretching cold, so basically I am not cold anymore (I include some light exercises with the roll, not just rolling out). It usually took me some time to get my body ready for stretching when I stretched cold at home but since I use the foam roller, it is much better. Be very carefull when you stretch at home and you are not completely warmed up. Just go until you feel something but make sure that you are not in pain.

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I would add to these wise posts: breathe ....


Breathe out on the effort. Use the breath to help visualise the stretch.


I've been doing a mix of yoga & Pilates to help with ballet & just keep me limber and mobile (old age creeping up :devil: ) and I find it interesting how different physical practices approach stretching, warming up and breathing. I have come to enjoy a particular yoga teacher who gives us poses which we then have to "breathe into" for 10 deep breaths. It really focuses me on the moment (something my A-type personality finds difficult) but also helps me release into the pose which always involves me in stretching. I try to take that principle into my ballet stretching.

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