If you’re a dancer or a parent of one, you understand how important it is to continuously increase and focus on flexibility. Increasing range of motion, extension, and the ability to reach higher and farther is constantly at the forefront of every dancer’s mind. However, there are definitely wrong and right ways to stretch properly. If you don’t learn how to safely increase your flexibility, you can cause muscle strains, tears, sprains, and even broken bones. In this post, we’ll discuss some tips to carefully stretch well without incurring injuries. For an excellent performing arts school that offers amazing kids dance classes, contact Skyra Studios in Longwood. We’re proud to employ some of the best dancers in the industry to offer amazing classes to all of our students. Call today for more information!
Always Warm Up
Jumping immediately into stretching will only spell disaster, and can cause serious injuries and muscle strains. If a dancer wants to see results from a consistent stretching regimen, then he or she should always begin with completing some cardio exercises to warm up the body before practicing a stretch. These exercises can be jumping jacks, jogging around the studio, or climbing a few flights of stairs. Only once the body is warmed up should a flexibility routine begin. Stretching while the muscles are cold and sedentary will only cause them to be stiff, and forcing the body into a stretching position can cause injuries.
Did you know that there is a technique to stretching? Proper form is essential to completing a stretch effectively. Dancers should always pay attention to posture and body placement when completing their flexibility routines, because aligning the body correctly can mean the difference between seeing results or overextending the muscle and causing tears or strains.
It also is important to consider how often you should be stretching. Based on your body’s natural disposition, you may be able to enjoy stretching less often while seeing more results, or you may have to spend more time practicing flexibility movements to expand your range of motion. You should be able to tell how often you should be stretching based on your class performance and if you’re able to keep up with your other classmates. Flexibility is important, but it’s crucial to not focus too much on it so you won’t harm your body or exhaust your muscles.
Here are some flexibility no-no’s that you should never be doing:
- Never hold a stretch for more than 20 minutes at a time.
- Don’t push through sharp, searing, or severe pain.
- Don’t force your body into a stretching position.
- Don’t stretch before a performance too much, or you may not be able to leap or jump.
- Everyone has a less flexible side, but don’t make your weaker side match up with the other.
- Don’t continue a stretch or a combination in class if you feel like a muscle is injured.
- Don’t compare yourself to others.
If you struggle with tight muscles, use a foam roller to help them release and relax. It’s important to listen to your body when you’re stretching so that you don’t run the risk of hurting yourself. If a friend or teacher is helping you with your flexibility routine, communicate with him or her so that an accident doesn’t happen.
Take Rest Days
If you’re feeling tired, constantly sore, or like your body is just worn out, it’s important to take a rest day at least once a week to allow your body to heal. Remember that slow and steady wins the race, and taking one day to let your body recuperate won’t affect your flexibility all that much. When taking a rest day, go for a walk or get a massage to help your body flush out lactic acid and to keep your muscles moving. Swimming is also an excellent choice, as it takes all of the pressure off of your body and is a no-impact form of exercise.
Flexibility is essential to being a successful dancer, but it should be completed with caution. If you’re interested in a performing arts school or have a child who is interested in taking kids dance classes in Longwood, give Skyra Studios a call today! We look forward to hearing from you!