Dancing is one of the most demanding sports to master as there are so many elements that go into making a well rounded dancer! From control to strength to balance the list could go on forever, but today Dance Sensations has got you covered on some of the best tips and tricks to help you out with flexibility and stretching!
Goal setting is a fun way to stay focused on your flexibility skills while tracking your improvement. It is important to set realistic goals so that you don’t feel disappointed when you can’t achieve a super hard skill. A good way to break down your list of goals is by making a short term list, and a long term list. The short term goal list should have little goals that you think can be achieved in a matter of days or weeks. Your long term list can include harder goals that may take months or even the full year to reach! Try not to overwhelm yourself with super long lists; keep it short and simple, you can always start a fresh list once you have completed all of your goals! It’s a good idea to keep track of your goals and tick them off when you complete them to help keep your motivation to stretch up. For some inspiration, checkout @flexible.peoplee on instagram, there are tonnes of amazing flexibility tricks for some longer term goal ideas!
Flexibility does not come easily to most people which means lots of hard work needs to be put in to see results. Often when students want to achieve their goals quickly they overstretch, which can lead to some long term injuries. Some key points to remember when you’re stretching include:
- Stretching both sides equally
This is SUPER important! If you only stretch one side of your body you can risk getting long term back injuries and pain, especially if you’re still a young and growing dancer! It is completely natural to favour one side of your body (just like being right or left handed) but make sure you are always working both sides of your body equally.
Warming up before you begin to stretch will reduce risk of injury and will also help your muscles relax into the stretch! This means you’ll see results faster. Check out our last blog post on dancing in winter for more about the importance of a warmup and stretching tips!
- Knowing your limits
It can be very tempting to push yourself to do a flexibility skill that you’ve seen on the internet, or try to be just as flexible as that naturally bendy girl in your technique class but you should always work at your own pace! Everybody has their own limit and personal goals to work towards, so try to focus on yourself. When stretching you should feel a mild, tolerable “pain”. If you’re in extreme pain you’re pushing yourself too hard and can risk injury, whereas if you aren’t feeling any pain you won’t see any improvements as your muscles won’t be stretching out. Always listen to your body!
Flexibility is all about consistency! No matter how much you stretch in a day, your flexibility will not improve unless you are practicing on a daily, or at least a weekly basis. It can be hard to fit it in every single day, but if you set aside a specific time e.g right after you shower (a great time since your muscles will be warm) you will create a habit and stretching will become part of your daily routine rather than a chore. If you really struggle to make time to stretch check out some of the ballet and technique classes offered here at Dance Sensations! It will allow you to have a scheduled time to work on your flexibility in a studio space while having fun with your friends. You’ll also get to work on other skills that will help with your overall dance education!
Keep an eye on this space next week as we will be posting the 5 secret stretches to get your splits! We would love to know in the comments below what your next flexibility goal is!