Location: Pensacola, Florida
Hey guys! Just wondering what some other people use for warm ups before dance and stretches to keep flexibility? I'm getting back into dancing after having to take a year off. I have a new partner that hasn't had any formal training, but has danced before. What do you do for flexibility?
Location: Southeast United states
I am interested in this one too. I just do basic stretches that I remember from an exercise tape I used to do. It seems to cover all the joints from head to toe and is something I can do on the floor or against the wall.
Location: Boston Area
Flexibility can come in various forms such as passive flexibility (such as a floor split), active felixibility (like throwing high kicks), and static active flexibility(such as holding a raised leg in a high position for an extended period). Various types of stretching will improve different types of flexibility with varying degrees of crossover to the other types.
As a warm up for dancing, probably a few dynamic stretches would be best. Relaxed stretches should be okay before dance since dance does not rely heavily on strength. Jumping rope might be good if the dance studio where you practice doesn't mind. Stay away from any kind of isometric stretches before dancing as they can mess around with your motor coordination for hours afterward.
Location: Germantown, MD
Usually before I dance or work out, I stretch using Active Isolated Stretching. It requires no warming up, since it uses your own muscles to do the stretching with a little help from outside (a rope or a partner). E.g. if you are stretching your hamstrings, on your back you try to bring your straight leg to your head by contracting your quads and hip flexors; when you can't go further you use a rope to pull it a little extra. For each exercise I do ~10 reps of 2 secs stretch, 2 secs rest (to avoid the tightening reflex) . My routine takes me 15-20 minutes and in the end I feel warm and relaxed. In the long run it has helped my flexibility. Bottom line, it gives me structure, which is what most of us need.
I do a few yoga poses - these both stretch and warm me up, and also seem to center me so that I never have an off day with dancing any more.
For those interested in specifics, I do several sun salutations. If more seems to be needed, I do a few standing poses, such as triangle pose. This takes about 5-10 minutes at most.
I also end with a couple of standing poses and one or more sun salutations, which seems to stretch out my calves from that high heeled dance shoe contracted position - about 2-5 minutes.
Location: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
um... my coach might be crazy (We think he's great!) but most other people freak out. A 2hr Latin class warm up would consist of 30mins of walks, 30mis stretch, 3 full songs (usually the longest ones he can find!) of Jive Kicks and variations and the rest is spent on routines and tech work although we have specific tech calsses aswell.
I love it to bits but most people think we are crazy for putting up with it.
Especially in the winter time, we have to do the more warm up time than the warm weather to avoid the sports injuries occur.
I jump rope and spend 15-25min stretching.
To increase flexibility you need to stretch deeply pretty regularly.
I am currently working towards the splits, and I find that when I stretch every day I see noticable gains over the weeks.
Stretching is really fascinating. The bodies response to a muscle being stretched is to contract it so that it doesn't go too far and injure the body. By stretching to discomfort (but not pain) regularly, you are actually training your body to lower this defense mechanism. Which is why stretching should be done with such care, you are reducing your body's natural ability to protect itself in some sense.
I agree with Sania. I find yoga the best warm up to dancing, mentally and physically. You wouldn't believe how well it help out the flexibility.
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