In Dance, flexibility is very important. Flexibility refers to the absolute range of movement in a particular joint; it also includes the length in the muscles that cross the joint itself. Flexibility can vary on an individual. Things that effect flexibility include;
- Joint structure
- Tissue injury
- Fat tissue
- Body temperature
So as you can see many, many things influence flexibility. However, before you give up, regular stretching can improve your flexibility! (Even a little). I am still working on my flexibility, as its not to the standard that I would like it to be. In order to perform all those high kicks, leaps, and jumps, strong and yet limber muscles (and joints) are needed.
Here are some tips and tricks for leg stretches;
Pike leg stretches target the hamstrings. To do this , sit on the floor with your feet pointed straight ahead of you. Bend your torso forward and reach for your toes. (If you can touch your feet, try to get your chest down flat on your legs). To further increase leg flexibility in the pike stretch, try flexing your feet and grasping the soles of your feet with your hands or cross over your arms grasp the soles again and bend your elbows away from each other.
It is great for those who wish to increase flexibility in the inner thighs. Sit on the floor with the soles of your feet together and keeping your back straight. Lower your knees to the floor. Hold the stretch for at least 15 seconds before releasing. I usually hold the stretch , then release, and repeat a few times. Resting and repeating the stretch will increase leg flexibility, especially if your inner thigh muscles are very tight.
You may wish to attempt this stretch as it improves your turn-out. However you need to be cautious of your knees while doing this, as it puts extra pressure and potentially dislocation. Start like a butterfly but on your stomach.
Attempt to get your feet to the ground.
Hip flexor and hamstrings. Your front leg should be bent in front, with the knee directly over the toe. The back leg should be straight, with weight only on the ball of the back foot. Try to drop your back leg thigh towards the floor. To make the lunge more challenging and further increase leg flexibility, try dropping your elbows to the floor and holding the lunge for 30 seconds.
If your are finding these easy, then go for the splits and raise your front leg of the ground with a phone book (to start) After this try leg mounts etc…
Have fun working on those stretches 😀