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adult ballet
gluteal muscles
lower abdomen
stretching exercises
dance style
elastic band
hamstrings
Fitness Stretching Exercises For Adult Ballet Beginners
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Starting adult ballet beginners' classes is a big step. This article offers you the description of two fitness stretching exercises, which will allow more muscle movement in two key areas of the body. Not only will this improve your flexibility for ballet, but if you change your mind about your form of workout or dance style, doing these exercises regularly will keep you flexible well into your senior years.

Ballet's Big Challenge – The Low Back, The Mid Back – The Arabesque

Aside from postural strength, or the strength needed to stand upright while you lift your legs, releve, pirouette, and jump, the ballet muscles needed to lift your leg to the back, are mostly challenged by the stiffness in the front of your body.

The hamstrings, aided by the gluteal muscles, will lift your leg up behind you. What will stop this motion, is the front of the hip area, (of the leg being lifted), and the lower abdomen muscles at the front of your spine. In other words, your body does not want to go into this bow-shaped pattern easily.

This easy to learn exercise for stretching the front of the body, is called the runner's lunge, and you see people doing it on running tracks, or while walking, all the time. Imagine a wide elastic band the runs from the front of your upper thigh, over your hip bone, and attaching to the front of your spine, up to about your waist. This band keeps your body's movements to a safe minimum, for normal daily activities.

So here it is, to do at home:

  • hold onto a table top, chair back, or counter topfeet parallel, move the outside leg behind you about three feet, bending the inside knee
  • stop when you feel a stretch at the front of the back thigh and hip area
  • keep your pelvis as upright as you can (it will want to swing back)
  • keep the back heel on the floor
  • bend the front knee a tiny bit, and hold the stretch about twenty seconds

Stretch each side three times.

Being enthusiastic and doing each side ten times is not going to help you get more flexible faster. Performing this type of exercise every day after exercising is better than doing too many stretches, once a week.

A couple of more tips - you can add a little tweak to this position:

  • while in the lunge, and after stretching, turn slightly toward the outside leg
  • you will feel a stretch a little more into the groin area – hold twenty seconds
  • then turn slightly away from the outside leg
  • you will feel a stretch more along the outside of the hip area

The Swan Lake Stretch – Opening The Chest

A much plainer name for this pectoral stretch is “the doorway stretch”. Isn't “The Swan Lake Stretch” much more inspiring?

Our posture degrades year by year if we don't sit up straight and relax our shoulders, allowing them to relax sideways and slightly backwards. This is not the same as the stiff military pose, which is a tense forced position.

If you sit all day, especially typing, a good lumbar support in your chair helps you to relax back and not stoop forwards. If you drive all day, this type of support keeps you from stooping over the wheel.

Again, imagine a huge elastic band going across the front of your chest, and if you don't stretch it from time to time, it just keeps getting shorter.

Here is the stretch:

  • stand in a doorway with one shoulder near the door jamb
  • lift that arm up, shoulder height, and bend it up ninety degrees
  • move so that the upright forearm rests against the door jamb comfortably
  • holding the arm position, lean forward slightly into the doorway, keeping your spine held
  • you will feel a stretch across the front of your shoulder, chest and maybe a bit in the upper arm
  • hold for twenty seconds

Repeat three times each side.

This stretch will improve all your ballet arm positions as well as the fluidity of your movements in any dance style. You are diminishing the resistance to these classical positions, and simply allowing easy motion.

These two fitness stretching exercises will help you learn ballet better, whether you are younger, or in an adult ballet beginners class.


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