“I want to be flexible.”
This is what nearly every dancer says as their goal for the year. And you know what? There’s nothing wrong with that. We all need a little more flexibility in our lives.
The problem with saying that, is that many times people do not commit to the work it takes along the way. Sometimes dance can be painful – lots of training is. The part that some people don’t understand is that if you are training safely and correctly, the pain can be good, and help you improve.
Without commitment, your flexibility won’t improve. Sure, some people are naturally flexible. But if you want a 180 degree split and 10 consecutive pirouettes, you’re not going to get there unless you actually hold your splits and passés.
Remember, flexibility takes time.
Unfortunately, one day of stretching won’t necessarily get you to the flexibility you desire. You may need to stretch every day to keep in shape.
Don’t think about pain as a bad thing – it doesn’t necessarily have to be bad.
Take a deep breath. Each of these stretches is only about a minute or less. And I promise, if you work hard, you can achieve anything.
After you finish this workout, it will feel absolutely wonderful. And, you will be so much more flexible than you were half an hour ago. That is, if you commit. So, let’s get started!
(8 count) Start by tilting your head back and down to your chin.
(8 count) Look left and right.
(8 count) Tilt your head side to side, so that your ear almost touches your shoulder.
Roll your head around in a circle twice to the right.
Repeat head roll to the left.
(8 count) Shrug your shoulders up and down.
(8 count) Roll your shoulders back.
(8 count) Roll your shoulders to the front.
100 jumping jacks
45 seconds crunches
30 seconds sit ups
1 minute plank (2 minutes for a harder workout)
30 second water break
(16 count) Spread your legs out into a wide second and reach over to the right with your left hand. You can put your right hand on your right knee, or scoop it over to the left side of your body for a deeper stretch.
(16 count) Rotate your body so your stomach and nose point down to the floor. Make sure your back is straight and parallel with the ground. Reach your arms in front of you. This is called a flat-back.
(16 count) Keep your legs in second, but reach down to touch your toes, trying to align your back with your right leg.
(16 count) Rotate so your body is in between your legs and try and place your hands flat on the ground.
(16 count) Lift your body up so it is parallel with the ground and hold in a flat back.
Repeat (stretches after water break) to the left.
Hold your right lunge for 30 seconds (put your hands up for a deeper stretch). Make sure your knee is directly over your heel.
(16 count) Put your back (left) leg down and lean into a deeper stretch.
(16 count) Use your right hand to reach back and grab your left leg. Try and pull it in as close as you can to your body.
(16 count) Bend your front leg in front of you at a 45 degree angle, keeping your back leg straight and your hips square. Reach forwards.
1 minute right side split (2 minutes for a more advanced stretch, or right side oversplits)
Repeat (from the lunge) to the left.
30 second water break
(30 seconds) Stretch your legs out in front of you, pointing your toes, and reach down as far as you can (flex your feet for a deeper stretch).
(30 seconds) Pull your feet into a butterfly position. Reach forwards as far as you can. Use your hands or your elbows to push down your legs, ultimately flat on the floor.
(16 count) Open your legs to as wide a second position straddle you are capable of, and put your nose to your right knee.
Repeat nose to knee straddle to the left.
(30 seconds) Reach in the middle as far as you can. Try and make your back flat on the ground. Don’t arch! Make sure to point your feet, keep your hips square, and toes upright (not rolling over) while in your splits.
(1 minute) Centre oversplits. Try doing this against the wall to find the correct position first. Standing upright with your feet facing forwards in a regular standing position, slide your feet directly out to the sides, keeping your legs in line with the wall and your bottom tucked over. Ultimately lay flat on the ground with your stomach flat and legs straight. Wearing socks or slippery footwear will make sliding down easier if you are on a hardwood floor.
*Centre oversplit challenge (comment if you did this!)*: 2 minute centre oversplit with right or left leg propped up on some cushions, books, a couch, etc. for an oversplit extension. Note that you should already have your centre oversplit completely before trying this challenge.
That’s all! Your flexibility workout wasn’t bad, right? I will be posting more dance tips and workouts like this one, so comment down below if you liked this workout or if you have any questions about the stretches. Feel free to look online to find out what these stretches look like if you haven’t danced before or don’t know how to do the stretch.
Happy dancing! -Kat