Joyful Dance Laura Stanyer

Joyful Dance Laura Stanyer

Monday, 18 July 2011

Safe and Effective Muscle Stretches for Dancers

 

How to Stretch

The body responds best to stretching exercises when you have completed a warm up, it is important to raise the body temperature with light aerobic continuous rhythmical activity for ten minutes. See Flexibility Dance Training article for more information.

Your emotions affect you ability to stretch

It is essential for you to realise that your state of mind and your emotional state can affect your ability to stretch therefore it is important to have a relaxed state of mind when stretching.
  • Complete a range of stretching exercises for different muscle groups stretching opposing muscle groups
  • Focus on the muscle groups that are involved in your dance technique and repeat each stretch 2 - 3 times
  • Ease slowly in to the stretch hold for 10 - 30 seconds. DO NOT BOUNCE!
  • Breathe out as you gently and slowly go into the stretch and breathe naturally as you hold the stretch

Caution: When you perform a stretch correctly you will feel mild sensation in the antagonistic muscles. If you feel pain or a stabbing sensation you must STOP immediately.

Be aware of muscle imbalance, muscles work in pairs work stretch both the prime mover and the antagonist to avoid muscle imbalance. For example, stretch both the (quadriceps) and the back of the thigh (hamstrings) equally. If your hamstrings have a good range on motion (you can put your nose on your knee), but your quadriceps are a bit tight, spend more time stretching your quadriceps, (you may spend more time maintaining the strength of the hamstrings).

 

Safe and Effective Stretches

Passive stretches produce far fewer instances of muscle soreness, less risk of injury and damage to connective tissues than any other form of stretching.
These stretching exercises are effective to maintain your flexibility and can also relieve excessive muscular tension.

Calf Stretch | Do the stretch on both sidesMuscles
Lunge with one leg in front of the other front knee bent, hands flat and at shoulder height against a wall. The body weight is transferred forward whilst pressing the heel of the back foot firmly on the ground, keep back leg straight. Keep your hips facing the wall. You will feel the stretch in the calf of the rear leg.
Gastrocnemius
Lower Calf Stretch | Do the stretch on both sidesMuscles
Standing with the feet apart as above, with both knees slightly bent, the body weight is transferred forwards whilst keeping the heel of the back foot on the ground. The sensation of stretch should now be experienced lower down in the calf.Soleus
Hamstring Stretch (Sitting)  Do the stretch on both legsMuscles
Sitting down, with your legs out in front of you while keeping your back upright in neutral alignment. Bend your left leg and slowly reach forward and try to touch your right ankle with both hands. Bend from your waist keeping your lower back aligned and your head up.Hamstrings: Semitendinosus, Semimembranosus, Biceps Femoris
Hamstring Stretch (Lying)
Do the stretch on both sides
Muscles
Lie flat on the floor with your knees flexed, feet flat on the floor. Raise your right leg, grasp it gently behind the thigh with both hands. Now ease this leg as close to your chest as possible. You will feel the stretch along the back of the lifted leg.Hamstrings: Semitendinosus, Semimembranosus, Biceps Femoris
Advanced Hamstring Stretch (Lying) 
 ADVANCEDVERSION OF ABOVE EXERCISE *
Muscles
Advanced Level: Lie flat on the floor with your legs extended. Raise your right leg, grasp it gently behind the thigh with both hands. Now ease this leg as close to your chest as possible. You will feel the stretch along the back of the lifted leg.Hamstrings: Semitendinosus, Semimembranosus, Biceps Femoris
Quadriceps Stretch (Standing) | Do the stretch on both sides breathing easily throughoutMuscles
Stand tall with good posture use a wall for support. Lift your right foot up to your buttock and take hold of your right ankle. You will feel the stretch along the front of the thigh of the right leg.Quadriceps: Rectus Femoris, Vastus Medialis, Vastus Intermedius, Vastus Lateralis
Quadriceps Stretch (Lying) | Do the stretch on both sidesMuscles
Lying on your front, resting your forehead on your right hand. Press your hips firmly into the floor and bring your left foot up towards your buttocks, easing it closer to them with your right hand. You will feel the stretch along the front of the thigh.Quadriceps: Rectus Femoris, Vastus Medialis, Vastus Intermedius, Vastus Lateralis
Hip Flexor Stretch (Standing) | Do the stretch on both sidesMuscles
Take a lunge position with your feet in parallel with the front knee bent. The body weight is transferred forwards and the pelvis pushed forward. The stretch is felt at the front of the hip.Ilioposas: Posas Major, Iliacus
IT (Iliotibial Tract) Stretch  Repeat with left leg behindMuscles
Hold on to a supportive surface, stand with the right leg diagonally behind your left leg, you weight on the left leg. Stretch the outside of the right thing by bending your left knee. Lean sideways away from the right hip. The stretch is felt along the outside of the right thigh.Tensor Fascia Latae (Iliotibial band)
Gluteal Stretch (Sitting)  Do the stretch on both sidesMuscles
Sitting on the floor with one leg out straight, the opposite knee is bent and the foot is placed over the straight leg. The hands are then used to gently push the bent knee up towards the opposite shoulder. The stretch is felt in the buttock.Gluteus Maximus, Gluteus Medius, Gluteus Minimus (Hip abductors)
Gluteal Stretch (Lying) | Do the stretch on both sidesMuscles
Lying down, keep one leg to the ground straight, the opposite leg is bent, brought over and ease down gently with the hand. The stretch is felt in the middle of the back and in the buttock.Gluteus Maximus, Gluteus Medius, Gluteus Minimus (Hip abductors)
Gluteal/Piriformis Stretch (Lying)  Do the stretch on both sidesMuscles
Lie flat on the mat bend your knees to your chest and cross the left leg in front and over the right. Allow the weight of the right leg to gently stretch the left hip area as the left leg is moved closer to your chest.Gluteus Maximus, Gluteus Medius, Gluteus Minimus (Hip abductors), Piriformis
Advanced Gluteal/Piriformis Stretch (Lying)
* ADVANCED VERSION OF ABOVE EXERCISE *
Muscles
Advanced Level: Lie flat on the met with both knees bent. Use your hands to ease your right knee and lower the left leg towards your chest. Keep your back and shoulders in contact with the floor throughout the movement. You will feel the stretch along the outside of the hip and thigh.Gluteus Maximus, Gluteus Medius, Gluteus Minimus (Hip abductors), Piriformis
Groin Stretch (Standing)  Do the stretch on both sidesMuscles
Wide standing position, keep right foot pointing forward, lunge sideways on the bent knee and keep the left leg straight. The stretch is felt in the left groin.Adductors
Groin Stretch (Sitting)  Do the stretch on both sidesMuscles
Sit on the mat with the soles of the feet together and sitting upright, gently grasp the ankles. The stretch is felt in both sides of the groin and down the inner thighs.Adductors


Advanced Groin Stretch (Sitting)
* ADVANCED VERSION OF ABOVE EXERCISE *
Muscles
Advanced Level: Sitting upright with legs extended, gently ease your body weight forward.Adductors
Side Stretch (Standing)  Do the stretch on both sidesMuscles
Have a good stable base by placing your feet hip width apart, feet in parallel. Bend your knees slightly and keep your hips facing forward. Lift up and over to the side.
Internal & External Obliques
Advanced Side Stretch 1 (Sitting)  * ADVANCED LEVEL *
Do the stretch on both sides
Muscles
Advanced Level: Keep your hips facing forward with leg open in a comfortable position Lift up and over to the side.Internal & External Obliques
Advanced Side Stretch 2 (Sitting)  * ADVANCED LEVEL *
Do the stretch on both sides
Muscles
Advanced Level: Keep your hips facing forward with leg open in a comfortable position Lift up and over to the side body weight over your leg.Internal & External Obliques
Lower Back Stretch (Lying)Muscles
Lying on your back, gently grasp around both thighs bringing your knees towards your chest. The stretch is felt in the lower back.Erector Spinae (Lumbar region)
Back Stretch (Kneeling)Muscles
Kneeling on a mat, sit back gently onto your heels, reach forward. This stretch is felt along the back, sides and shoulders.Erector Spinae
Trunk Stretch (Lying)Muscles
Lie down on your stomach a mat, resting on your forearms. Rest on elbows for support, and ease your chest off the floor, keeping your spine long and your hips firmly connected into the mat. You will feel the stretch in the front of the trunk.Abdominals (Lumbar extension)
Upper Back Stretch (Standing) Muscles
Stand with good posture, your knees slightly bent. Interlock your fingers and push your hands as far away from your chest as possible, allowing your upper back to relax. You will feel the stretch between your shoulder blades.Erector Spinae (Thoracic region)
Shoulder Stretch 1 (Standing or Sitting)  Do the stretch on both sidesMuscles
The palms are placed together to lift up towards the sky attempt to straighten your arms keeping your shoulders down. The stretch is felt in the shoulders, sides and in the stomach muscles.Deltoids, Latissmus Dorsi
Shoulder Stretch 2 (Standing or Sitting) | Do the stretch on both sidesMuscles
The right arm is placed over the left shoulder, and the right elbow grasped with the left hand. The elbow is gently pushed towards the shoulder. The stretch is felt over the outside of the shoulder.Deltoids, Latissmus Dorsi
Arm Stretch (Standing or Sitting) Do the stretch on both sidesMuscles
The elbow is bent and grasped with the opposite hand. The hand is then gently pushed down the back. The stretch is felt in the back of the upper arm. The stretch is then repeated on the other side.Triceps
Neck Stretch 1 (Standing or Sitting)Muscles
With good posture keep your spine and neck long and your shoulders down and relaxed, lift head to sky and back to neutral alignment. Then bring chin to chest and gently back to neutral.Neck Flexors, Extensors
Neck Stretch 2 (Standing or Sitting)Muscles
Keep your neck long, tilt your head gently to the left side, bringing your left ear toward your left shoulder. Slowly bring your head back to neutral. Repeat, tilting your head to the right.Neck Flexors, Extensors
Neck Stretch 3 (Standing or Sitting)Muscles
Keep your neck long, rotate your head gently to the left side, looking to your left side toward your left shoulder. Slowly bring your head back to neutral. Repeat, turning your head to the right.Neck Flexors, Extensors

 


 


 


Stretches To Avoid

Standing Toe Touches  * DO NOT PERFOM THIS EXAMPLE *Muscles
Avoid bending over to stretch the hamstrings. Forward flexion past 70° stresses the lower back and cause hyperextension of the knees. This is often seen in dance but it can overstretch the lower back muscles and stress the vertebrae, discs and muscles of the lower back. Adding a twisting movement to the toe-touch can cause damage to the joints. It is best to perform hamstring stretches shown above.Safe Alternative: Hamstring stretch
Hurdle Stretch  * DO NOT PERFOM THIS EXAMPLE *Muscles
The stretch puts great strain on the inside of the bent knee and can strain the ligaments, cartilage and muscle of the knee joint. The aim is to stretch the hamstrings, and there is no reason to involve the knee of the opposite leg to do this.Safe Alternative: Hamstring Stretches
Neck Rolls  * DO NOT PERFOM THIS EXAMPLE *Muscles
Avoid neck rolls. Head circles compress the cervical intervertebral discs and can potentially cause nerve damage.
Rolling the neck puts undue stress on the vertebrae at the top of the neck, causing them to grind upon each other. Also the rolling movement does not produce effective stretch as the neck muscles are not held in a stretched position.
Safe Alternative: Neck Stretches 1-3


Disclaimer: The information contained on this web page is intended as general guidance and information only. Laura Stanyer and its authors accept no liability for any loss, injury or damage however incurred as a consequence, whether directly or indirectly, of the use this information. All advice on this web page should only be used under the supervision of a qualified dance / fitness / healthcare professional.

1 comment:

  1. #1 muscle that eliminates joint and back pain, anxiety and looking fat

    I bet you can’t guess which muscle in your body is the #1 muscle that eliminates joint and back pain, anxiety and looking fat.

    This “hidden survival muscle” in your body will boost your energy levels, immune system, sexual function, strength and athletic performance when unlocked.

    If this “hidden” most powerful primal muscle is healthy, we are healthy.

    Is it…

    a) Abs

    b) Chest

    c) Glutes

    d) Hip Flexors

    Take the quiz above and see if you got the correct answer!

    Sign Off

    P.S. Make sure you check out the next page to get to know the 10 simple moves that will bring vitality back into your life!

    ==> Click here to discover which “hidden survival muscle” will help you boost your energy levels, immune system, sexual function, strength and athletic performance permanently!





    .

    ReplyDelete