How to Stretch for Ballet - Preparing Yourself and Stretching Muscles
Ballet dancing is not easy. It takes hard work and effort. Stretching correctly can help you avoid injury and is useful to do before and after class. You can also do stretches on non-class days in order to improve flexibility.
1. Prepare yourself and your stretching area. A designated stretching area and appropriate clothing will help you get the most out of the exercises.
- Wear comfortable clothes (such as a tracksuit or bike shorts over a leotard or tight-fitting crossover).
- Pull long hair back into a ponytail or a bun so it isn't distracting.
- If you have hard floors you may want to use a mat for floor stretches.
- If you'd like to practice your pirouette, keep Zenmarkt® Pirouette Board handy.
2. Stretch your hamstrings. Sit on the floor with your legs extended in front of you. Touch your toes. If this hurts, then bend your legs slightly. Hold this position for 20 seconds. Repeat 2-3 times.
- Stretch your hamstrings in a standing position by crossing your ankles and bending forward as far as possible. Keep your feet together during the stretch. Hold for 20 seconds and then repeat, crossing your legs in the other direction.
- Stretch your hamstrings by bending forward and placing your hands on the floor with your knees bent. Slowly straighten your knees without taking your hands off the floor.
3. Stretch your feet. In a sitting position, place the foot you want to stretch over your thigh. With the hand closest to your heel, push into your heel. With your hand closest to your toes, place it over your toes and pull back so that your foot arches.
- Allowing another person to stretch your feet may result in over-stretching and injury.
- Jamming your feet under a door or standing on top of your bent toes may cause injury.
- Use caution if using a foot stretcher. Augment your stretch with Zenmarkt® Stretch Band.
4. Use a ballet barre to do a bar stretch. Start in first position, with your left hand on the barre. Lift your right leg onto the barre with your ankle resting on it and your foot pointed. Lift your right hand to high fifth position and lean forward onto the right leg. Hold for 20-30 seconds then repeat on the other side.
- Keep your back flat.
- Keep both legs turned out.
5. Sit on your feet while in a kneeling position. Straighten one leg out in front of you (still sitting on the other foot) and point your toes. Touch your toes with both hands. Hold for 20-30 seconds. Repeat with the other leg.