Here are a few suggestions and tips to safely increase your flexibility:
Before doing any stretches it is important to warm up your body! This could be anything from running in place to jumping jacks to taking a hot shower, whatever works for you! Also, if any stretches cause a sharp pain stop IMMEDIATELY!
Stretching your legs
Some easy warm up stretches like hip swings or lunges are good for warming up your hips and knees. You can do them front to back or side to side. Each stretch can last anywhere from fifteen (15) seconds to a minute. Be careful not to overstretch, this could lead to injuries!
By gently pushing your knees towards the ground with your hands or elbows you are able to stretch your hips. Walking your hands out in front of you or reaching to either side will help stretch your hips and your back. The butterfly stretch helps create a better turn out!
Straight Leg Stretch
Extend your legs in front of you and keep them straight as you lean over towards your toes. This stretches out your hamstrings and reduces the risk of pulling a hamstring while dancing. After you can successfully reach your toes, try flexing your feet and grabbing for your toes, then drop your elbows to your knees. This will help with lifting your leg higher in grands battements and other leg extensions.
Put your legs out to either side until you feel a stretch in your groin. You can walk your hands out in front of you for a deeper stretch, try and get your torso flat on the floor. Reach for your toes to pull yourself down. To stretch an individual leg, turn your body so it is facing that leg and reach over your leg.
The Wall Stretch
Gently raise your legs up on a wall. Extend your legs to the side and gently stretch while trying to extend as far down as possible. Flex the feet and hold for 3 counts of 8 and repeat.
Laying Down Butterfly Stretch
Lie on your back, arms extended. Draw your feet in up to the butterfly position and push your knees down as far as possible.
Stretching your back:
Make sure your muscles are warm before stretching them.
Lay on your stomach, flat on the floor. Bring your hands up to your shoulders and press your torso up. Dropping your head back will create a bigger stretch. This pose creates back flexibility for développé en derrière.
Stretching your feet:
Stretching your feet is extremely beneficial to you. It helps your arches and makes a better pointe!
Stretching arms and wrists:
Make sure your arms and wrists are warmed up and stretched. Warm up the joints and muscles by placing your forearm on a flat surface, palm down, and massage from your elbow to your fingertips.
Take your arm straight across your chest using your other hand to pull it closer to stretch your deltoids (shoulders).
Put your arm up and bend at the elbow, putting your forearm towards your back. Reach over with your other hand and gently pull your elbow back for a stretch in your biceps and shoulders.
Circle your wrists to warm them up. You can also place your hands on a flat surface, fingers towards you, and pull your upper body back. Try keeping your hand flat to stretch the underneath of your forearm.
Feel free to comment if you have anything to add 🙂