Flexibility for a dancer is just as important as strength. It helps to avoid injuries, to move with more amplitude, and to feel your body and its possibilities better. But in addition to the cherished splits, the concept of flexibility also means developed and soft back muscles. Most back stretching exercises are not easy. But if you do it regularly and effectively, you will be incredibly satisfied and surprised at the result! The flexible back gives ease of movement, relieves pain, and helps in everyday life.
Well, after we tried to convince you of the usefulness of exercises for back stretching, let’s start directly to the training.
Always follow these rules to ensure that the result does not take too long:
- Exercise daily.
- Before stretching, do an intense workout.
- Perform all stretching exercises smoothly, relax your muscles as much as possible.
- Exercise in comfortable clothes.
- Start stretching with a small amplitude so that there are no injuries.
- Watch your breathing: breath evenly and deeply.
Warm-up before stretching
When you stretch after a workout, the muscles are already warmed up and additional warm-up is not required. If you decide to arrange a separate stretching lesson, first do some exercises:
- Join-warming: twist joints, tilt, and swivel the body.
- 5-7 minutes cardio: jogging or exercise Jumping Jacks, “Rock-climbing”, running on the spot with a high rise of knees, jumping over the rope.
After you warm up a little, you can start stretching.
1. Sphinx posture
It is a basic and one of the most popular asanas in yoga, it is also called Ardha Bhujangasana.
Technique. It’s done by lying on your stomach. Extend your arms in front of you parallel to each other. Shoulders down and open neck. First, place your head on the floor and relax your back, buttocks, and legs.
With a breath tighten your abs, raise your torso and pull your arms up, bending at the elbows. Find a comfortable position in which the lumbar spine will feel comfortable. The abdomen should be pressed tightly to the floor and the chest should be torn from the mat to the limit of the lower ribs. The top of your head reaches up.
Your main task is to divert tension into the area of the shoulder blades and at the same time relax the lower back and relax the neck. Pull the shoulders down from the neck, pushing your hands off the floor. Feel the tension in the middle part of the back, focus on the inner sensations.
2. Cobra position
This and previous postures effectively develop flexibility and eliminate pain in the lower back. The cobra is a more advanced version of the sphinx posture. The technique is almost the same as in the previous exercise, but you need to put your palms, not your elbows, on the floor, and then straighten your elbows by raising the body up.
If you need to complicate the exercise, remaining in the position of the cobra, bend your knees, and at the same time bend in the back, moving your head back. Pull the toes to the back of the head, deflecting the back as much as possible.
This exercise is not only for flexibility but also for the strength of back muscles. You need to lie down on your stomach and then raise your arms and legs simultaneously. In this position are at least 10 accounts, slowly lower your legs and arms to the floor. After rest, you can repeat one more cycle. Do not throw your head, look directly in front of you, focusing on the muscles and breathing. With this exercise, you will strengthen your back muscles!
4. Forward Bend
Sit on the floor. Align your knees in front of you. Lean forward gradually until you put your face on your knees and touch your toes with your hands.
The same can be done with wide-leg positions. Sitting on the floor, spread your legs wide, lean forward, and you can also try tilting the sides in turn to each leg.
5. Kneeling tilts
Kneel down so that you have a right angle between your tibia and thighs. Then gently stretch back without any sudden movements or jerks. If you have difficulty, first try to guide your hands through the bottom by touching the heels. As the exercise becomes more difficult, try to bend, leading your hands through the top, which is without support.
6. Bow position
Lie on your abdomen, resting on your palms or forearms. Keep your hands behind your back and bend your knees at the same time. The heels should point upwards. Wrap your arms around your ankles and bend as much as possible in your back without throwing your head back. Pull the legs towards the back of the head with your socks so that the result is a pose that looks like a stretched bow.
If you want to complicate this exercise for yourself, gradually align your knees, still holding your lower legs with your hands. So you will drag your back by legs. Ideally, align your knees completely. But this is for the most advanced.
7. Gymnastic bridge
Of course, almost the main back stretching exercise is the bridge. It is excellent for both beginners and advanced, and also helps to relax the shoulder muscles.
Lie on your back and place your palms on both sides of your head, turning them inside out. Bend your legs and raise your pelvis up, straightening your arms. Try to stretch your legs at the knees, and hands at the elbows so that the arch in the back resembles a real semicircular bridge. Standing in the bridge position, try to carry your weight on your hands, slightly leveling your legs in your knees.
Complication: exit to the bridge from standing position. To learn this, try near the wall first. Stand close to the wall, lean back, and find the wall with your hands. “Walk” the wall with your hands downwards until you reach the floor. In the same way, return to the standing position. When you feel that you have enough strength to do the exercise without help, try to move away from the wall carefully.
Another option for complications is the elbow bridge posture. But this option is for those who already have well developed and stretched back muscles.
8. Exercise Plow
Exercise is performed while lying on your back, arms and legs are extended along the body. Slowly raise your legs up, perpendicular to the floor. When the legs are upright, pull the toes towards you. Then slowly lower your legs behind your head, and grab your toes with your fingers. Keep your knees level. In this position, you need to stay at least for a minute. Then you can return to the starting position, avoiding sudden movements, and take a few deep breaths.
The exercise has a complicated continuation. Try bending your knees and laying them near your ears. Not everyone can do it, but all in good time! Perform our complex regularly and you’ll precisely achieve this level of stretching!
9. Cat & Camel
Stand on all fours (table position) with your hands exactly under the shoulder joints and your hips under the pelvic bones. Then arch your back up toward the ceiling and tighten (or brace) your abdominals, drop your chest toward the floor and lift your head slightly, imitating the cat. When arching rise up your chin, and when bending – lower your head down. Work at maximum amplitude but at a slow pace to avoid pain.
10. Twisting from a table pose
While staying in the table position, move the weight on one hand and place the second hand on the floor perpendicular to the body. So, you put the body weight on the scapula and hand, gently lift the second hand up, turning the head and body after it. Look up in the palm of your hand or forward. Perform extremely gently and slowly, without jerking so as not to damage the shoulder. This exercise develops flexibility of the upper back, strengthens arms and shoulders, improves balance and coordination.
After training recovery
After training, you should do exercises to relax back muscles, such as rolls. Sit on the floor, bend your knees, hug your legs with your hands. In this position, your back should be as if hunched. Gently begin to roll onto your back and back to a sitting position. If you have pain in the spine, lay a rug or a soft towel under your back. Do 10 of these rollings.
At the very end of the stretch, be sure to make an embryo pose. Stand on all fours and put the pelvis on its heels, stretching your arms out in front of you. The head touches the floor, the back is straight. In this position, relax all the muscles of the back, shoulders, arms. Lie down in the fetal position for at least a minute. Then stretch your arms along the torso without pulling them forward. You can turn your head to relax your neck. This position maximizes stress relief from the spine and gently stretches it.
That’s it! Congratulations! You have performed a full range of exercises for back stretching. Performing these exercises regularly, over time you will feel exactly how much easier this or that exercise is given to you. Also, your back will hurt less and it will be easier for you to perform different tilts in everyday life.
We wish you a flexible back and a healthy body!
If you completed the complex, please let us know below in the comments how you feel after it! It is very important for us to know the feedback from you!
Some dancers ignore stretching practice. Believing that this is just a split, which is not necessary for all dancers, they forget that stretching effectively helps to prevent injuries and prepare the body for the load. We will tell you in detail about the various benefits of stretching for dancers. And then we offer some effective videos of stretching routine for dancers.
When stretching, pay attention to all muscle groups in your body. Neglecting one muscle can lead to clamp formation and general asymmetry.
Why do dancers need stretching?
- Stretching is the ability of joints to make movements of the maximum possible amplitude, for this it is necessary to improve the elasticity of muscles and ligaments. The higher the elasticity of muscles and tissues, the greater the amplitude of the movements performed, and vice versa: if the muscles are enslaved, the amplitude will be less.
- Stretching also plays a huge role in the prevention of various kinds of injuries, reducing the risk of damage to ligaments and muscles.
- When a dancer pays attention to stretching, the muscles are easier to bear the load and also recover more quickly.
- Additional possibilities in choreography: the ability to perform more complex dance elements.
- The body of the dancer becomes more mobile.
- The ability to relax the body, cleverly manage it.
- Learning choreography becomes faster and easier because a flexible body acquires a motor skill.
Grace and plasticity, flexibility, and mobility – all these qualities can be developed by performing the simplest stretching exercises. Let’s get started with the workout!
Remember to warm-up well before stretching!
Full body stretching routines
Stretching routines for splits
Stretching routines for back
Types of stretching:
Static Stretching involves very slow and smooth exercises, where you need to take a certain pose and hold it for 10-30 seconds. Stretched muscles can be strained periodically or continuously. Actually, this is the classic stretching, from which this type of fitness originates, it is also the most effective for stretching and strengthening muscles.
Slow stretching is good for warming up, it runs at a very slow pace and provides stretching to maximum length.
Pair stretching is performed with a partner who acts as a counter to your stretching.
Dynamic Stretching is slow (by no means sharp) spring movements, at the end of the exercise you have to hold on to the extreme point of stretching for a few seconds.
Ballistic stretching, or, more simply, swing, is an active type of load. With ballistic stretching, it is necessary to do swings with arms and legs, as well as bend and unbend the body with great speed and amplitude. In this type of stretching lengthening of certain muscle groups is short-lived and lasts exactly as long as the swing or bend.
So, Dear dancers, do not neglect stretching to dance better, more amplitude, more plastic!
There’s no point in questioning the benefits of stretching to the body. A flexible body is a sign of his youth. But as for slimming, will the stretching be as effective for weight loss as, for example, weightlifting?
For many, Stretching is not only a way to brag about doing the splits, but also a way to keep yourself in shape and even to lose weight. Stretching exercises do indeed nourish the muscles with oxygen, as a result of which the blood circulation is activated, more useful substances enter the body tissues and metabolism is improved. As a result, you can even lose some pound weight.
Since not every stretching workout is energy-intensive enough to lose enough calories, let’s work out how and in what cases it is effective for weight loss.
Stretching is a set of exercises aimed at stretching the muscles and ligaments and as a result of improving the flexibility of the whole body.
How many calories are spent on a stretching training session?
An hour of stretching exercises consumes an average of 150-200 calories, which of course is much less than an hour of dancing or strength training.
So from a calorie perspective, there are many types of activities that you could be doing to burn more calories during an hour of training.
Stretching has a number of positive side effects that indirectly affect muscle calorie consumption and body quality in general. Among them:
- increasing the amplitude of movement of the stretched muscle, which means it starts to use more energy when functioning;
- keeping our muscles more limber and looser which ultimately means you might perform better when you do your formal training;
- muscles become more prominent;
- decreasing stress hormones;
- muscle tone is improved.
These are the main reasons why stretching is recommended for all athletes who train in weightlifting.
So what about weight loss? – it’s fair to ask.
Stretching training alone is not good enough for a significant weight loss. But you can combine different types of activities to get a good weight loss or choose alternative workouts that include stretching exercises.
A combination of gym and stretching exercises
– works doubly well for weight loss. If you are engaged in strength training and your goal is to lose weight, try to add some days of stretching to your training schedule, or at least stretch your muscles out after weightlifting.
This is when you do a repeated controlled motion to stretch that muscle group. Some pros of dynamic stretching are that it warms up your body temperature, increases your heart rate and your blood flow, so it’s really good for warming up your muscles.
This type of activity also helps with the speed of your nerve impulses. It helps increase your range of motion before activity. It’s really important to remember not to be too vigorous with your dynamic stretches especially if you are a beginner or if you’re covering from injury. For dynamic stretching, the control is key.
So all of these factors mean that dynamic stretching is something like cardio training and in that way, it helps you to lose your weight and look good.
Here are some useful and effective dynamic workouts we’ve found on YouTube for you:
Energetic warming up exercises
Before any physical activity, including stretching, a warm-up is required. Your body must be prepared in order not to “tear” and not to injure the muscles. Often group training sessions on the stretching are built in such a way that warming-up is the most tempo-intensive and energy-intensive part.
That is, due to the intensity of the warm-up increases and, in general, calorie consumption throughout the workout, which means it is easier to create a calorie deficit and as a result lose weight.
To lose weight, you need to follow simple rules of proper nutrition. Because the main thing that helps us lose weight is a calorie shortage.
Efficiency for Beginners
If you are new to the sport and have never trained before, stretching is likely to be an effective way to lose weight for you, and in the first few months, you will be able to lose from 4 to 9 pounds. This is due to an increase in calorie intake because it’s could be enough to do such kind of activity to lose weight for a body unused to sports.
Examples of Stretching Exercises
You can use any of the exercises available on youtube and on Instagram. We have picked out some of our favorite ones:
Routine for the Inflexible and beginners:
Middle splits stretching:
Back flexibility stretches:
Stretching is a quite injury activity. If you train on your own, please be careful: be sure to warm up the body, do exercises without sharp jerks and without using physical strength, breathe deeply, and do not try to achieve quick results. Flexibility requires patience and regularity in training.
You can find many other ways to lose weight that are focused on stretching the muscles but not only on that. There are different kinds of yoga, body ballet, pole dance, bar class. All of these exercises will help you with stretching muscles and losing weight. And these ways are not only very effective but also very interesting and include learning many other skills.
To sum up, stretching is not a primary weight-loss activity. It’s something that helps your overall health and will help all the other things that you’re doing with your diet and your exercise. So that’s not to say that certain kinds of exercises that are very stretching focused aren’t phenom for weight loss. That’s examples like yoga or pilates or bar class – those things can really help weight loss but that’s not static stretching, these are dynamic motions that you happen to be stretching but your quads are also burning, you’re activating your core and you’re burning more calories than during static stretching class.
But! It needs to say, that stretching helps you to lose weight indirectly because It gets your body stronger.
Also, stretching can help to lose weight effectively if you are a beginner and you’ve never done any sports activities.
Have you ever tried stretching as a way to lose weight?
If so, what were your results?
Write about your experience, maybe some readers will find it useful.
And also let us know if you liked the article.
The myth that stretching is painful, scares away many people from any attempt to do splits. In fact, strong pain is an obstacle to relaxing your muscles and ligaments, which means it is an obstacle to stretching progress. But also, severe pain is a risk of sprains and other injuries. When working on a stretch, stretching to a medium level of discomfort and no more is sufficient.
The next misconception – good flexibility can only be achieved in childhood. Of course, in childhood, muscles and ligaments are more flexible. But this does not mean that in adulthood, you can not do splits. All in your hands, you just might need a little more time.
The main thing in stretching training is regularity. You should not stretch daily. The optimal variant is 3-4 stretching trainings per week lasting 20-40 minutes.
Before you start training directly, you must understand that neither muscles, ligaments nor tendons are physically stretched. We can increase the distance between our attachment points only by changing the muscles’ tonus. Our task is to change the tone of the muscle fiber, not to make it longer. If we understand this, it becomes clear that there is no point in physically stretching the muscle trying to physically push it. We need to influence the brain, whose task is to protect the body from injury. Therefore it is necessary to do all exercises for heating and stretching without strong painful sensations. Do all the exercises on breathing.
The task of ligaments is to fix and limit certain movements in the joints. That is, they do not stretch at all, just like the tendons.
To make a stretch as effective as possible without the risk of injury, we suggest doing the following:
- Breathe deep while doing the exercise. This will give the brain an extra signal and it will switch to breathing a little, thus relaxing the muscle that we are pulling.
- Tighten the antagonist muscle. For example, when you stretch the right longitudinal split, try pulling the sock of your right leg on yourself (the tension under the knee will increase), then strain the front thigh of your right leg (the knee is even more level), and then breathe deeply. In this position, you will feel the tension in the body switches from the stretched muscle to other parts of the body.
- If you don’t have enough strength to stretch, you can ask for help. But! You don’t have to ask to be laid down or pulled with great effort. It’s enough for your assistant to just guide you by his hands. For example, when you do the right split, it is enough for your assistant to direct the hips with his hands to a level position. Then the tension in the area of the front thigh of the hind leg will increase.
In this article, we will offer you several exercises that you can alternate on different training days, or do the whole complex on each training session.
Before stretching – be sure to warm up. You need to prepare your muscles for such a load. You can try warming up like this.
Preparatory exercises for longitudinal split
To do the right or left split, you need to warm up the back of the hip and the hamstrings.
Sit on the floor, stretch your legs forward, tilt into a fold. IMPORTANT: do not round your back, stretch with a flat back. When we stretch with a rounded back, the back is not the back of the hip or the hamstrings.
The more actively the feet are stretched on themselves, the more the hamstrings are stretched. Do the exercise for about a minute statically. Then do 10 active tilts with even back, touching the feet with your hands.
Then we bend one leg on the passe. Pull the bent knee to the floor. We stretch out the hand of the same name with the bent leg upwards and go diagonally to the flat leg. That is, we stretch a little in a twist.
Do the same thing on the other leg.
Doing the stretching exercises you can stretch in a static position or a little “wobble”. But! Swinging should be as soft as possible and accompanied by correct breathing: do a small effort to exhale and relax on inhalation.
In addition to the patellar ligaments, we should stretch the front thigh surface. This is the most clogged area of the legs, because even when walking these muscles strain. A variety of forward impacts on both legs are well suited for this purpose:
- put the right foot forward with the foot turned outward, keep the angle of the front knee at least 90 degrees;
- we put the foot of the back (left) leg on a rise;
- watch your posture – it must be flat, the blades must be together;
- watch out for hips and shoulders – do not turn your hip to the side, and shoulders – be sure to keep it straight;
- if it’s easy for you in this position, put your hands on the lower back and press the left thigh down slightly with your hands, you’ll feel exactly how the front surface of the left leg is stretched;
- after – try to bend them back leg in the knee and pull it up with the same hand, you should feel it stretching in the front thigh area of the back leg.
After the preparatory exercises, try to sit on the longitudinal right twine. Remember to breathe deeply and relax.
Repeat the same on the second leg.
Preparation exercises for transverse split
Sit down evenly, conveniently place pelvic bones on the mat, bend the legs in the knees and spread the knees to the sides with a straight back. Foot are kept together. Sitting in this position (and always with a flat back) try with effort to open the knees to the side to the floor. Do such 10 pushes with the knees. Then put our hands back behind the lower back and do 10 more such knees movements. Try to do everything smoothly and without sharp movements.
As a preparatory movement you can make two variations of the frog: lying on the back and on the stomach.
The frog on the back will be suitable for those who have an assistant. Lie on the back, press the lower back to the floor and do not lift it while doing the exercise. Then bend your legs in your knees, putting your feet together. Spread your knees apart. A person who helps you can push your knees and thighs slightly to the side. Then move your feet a little further, i.e. make a corner in your hips a little more, and stretch in this position again. This is a static exercise, smooth, no need to do any jiggling or jerking.
If you stretch alone, try the frog on your stomach. We sit as if on a cross twine, but with bent knees, shoulders and chest serve a little forward, hands in front, if it turns out – hands on the forearms.
In this position, you can also make small smooth rolls back and forth. Then try to roll your hips back a little, screw your coccyx in and be in this position for another 10 counts.
Then smoothly align one leg and do rolling to back and forth. Change the legs and roll again.
After these preparatory exercises, try to sit on a transverse split and stretch it more.
Common mistakes when stretching splits
Mistake №1. When you stretch a longitudinal split, keep your hips level. Very often the hip of the hind leg turns to the side and does not let us stretch the twine to the end. Pay close attention to this during all the exercises for stretching longitudinal twine.
Mistake №2. Performance of preparatory exercises with a round back. Do not forget to straighten your back all the time. Smooth posture will ensure the most effective tension exactly where you need it. A round back does not allow you to exercise effectively enough.
Mistake №3. No warm-up of the muscles. Warm up your body before stretching practice. Do joint gymnastics, squats, plank. Unheated stretching is very traumatic!
Mistake №4 – to stretch out without strength training. Bark and leg muscles, which are in good tone, will be a great bonus for your stretching. Periodically make different curls on the press, plié squats, plank. Tonus in your muscles will help you achieve better stretching results.
Can everybody do a transverse split?
There is an opinion that some people cannot do a transverse split because of the structure of the hip joint. Indeed, we are all different, and physiologically as well. It happens that it is much harder for some people to do the transverse split, but it does not mean that you can not do the split in principle. It’s just that you’ll need more time for that. For this, you will need to work actively on developing and opening the hip joint.
How do you do the splits in one day?
The main rule of stretching – do not try to do a split in one day. Stretching should be moderate and uniform, without jerks and strong painful feelings. Otherwise, you risk getting injured in ligaments. And it hurts and you will have to recover from this injury for a long time.
Do the splits in a month?
How quickly you can do the splits depends on your level of training, genetics, intensity, and quality of training. In general, doing a split in a month is real. But we recommend not to chase for speed. It is better to reach the goal slower, but confidently and without injury. So you can not just do the split, but to be in it painlessly for a few minutes.
How do guys do the splits?
In stretching, it is more appropriate to consider the physiological specificity of the body, rather than sexual. As a general rule, stretching exercises are equally difficult for girls and boys. It’s just that guys often have more clogged muscles and it leads to difficulties with stretching.