As a dancer, you’ll be given all sorts of advice throughout your career.
That might be advice on how to make it in the industry or how to improve. You might be given useful advice on exercise, as we delivered in our piece entitled ‘The 3 Best And Worst Core Exercises For Dancers’, or even on how to warm up properly for dance, as we will look at here.
A warm-up is a key part of any exercise across any genre. From sports to dancing and everything in between, a warm-up prepares the body for an activity it is not used to. It might be to loosen the joints and get the blood flowing or a psychological process to prepare for the event at hand. The warm-up is a vital part of any exercise or activity. A National Library of Medicine report suggests some authors believe there is a correlation between a good stretch-based routine and a reduced risk of muscular injuries. Those same benefits can be found in the world of dance and performing art; a good warm-up prepares those muscles for the activity ahead and can help prevent injury. Indeed, a SymptonFind article on stretching suggests that stretching can benefit you even if you’re not warming up for something. A stretching workout on its own can improve flexibility, which has huge benefits for dancers.
Therefore, if you’re a dancer and would like to know which stretching warm-ups will benefit you, you should read on, as we have a handful for you to try.
The hamstring is hugely important in dance, not just for kicks, splits and leg mounts but also for core strength. It should be a key focus for any stretching routine ahead of a dance, and luckily, it is easy to incorporate into a warm-up.
1: Sit on the floor and stretch your legs in front of you. You should point your toes for maximum effect.
2: Reach forward with your arms, extending them over your right leg.
3: Allow your torso to follow your extension and gently stretch the body forward. You should feel the gentle pull in your hamstring.
4: Hold for a short while, then release and repeat for the other leg.
Many dancers have trouble learning how to do the splits, but Women's Health Mag claims anyone can train themselves to do it. You can use basic stretching to aid the flexibility required to achieve the splits adequately. Indeed, improving the ability to sit in split positions should significantly improve lower-body flexibility. Incorporating them into a warm-up will reduce the risk of injury when performing splits as part of a routine.
1: Sit on the floor with your back straight and extend your legs outward. Try to go as wide as you can.
2: Gently rotate your torso right, moving it over your right leg. Take it easy, slowly and in your own time.
3: You will feel your body stretch. At this point, hold the pose until your body relaxes.
4: Still going slowly, return to the sitting position, then repeat on the other side.
A well-stretched quad is the secret behind straighter knees and fully extended arabesques. They’re as important as the hamstring and must be worked in the right way. There is a dead simple stretch which will get you on the right track.
1: Stand up straight; you must be careful not to arch your back.
2: Lift your ankle towards your lower back and gently pull it to your body. Do not curve your back.
2: Hold this position for a short time before switching ankles.