Seems every dancer’s doing it but what is the purpose and value in using a foam roller? And, should you be doing it too? Here’s the 411 on fascia and foam rolling.
Strengthen arabesque, work your turnout, and stretch hands-free when you win a Balletband. It’s a favorite flexibility tool among aspiring and professional dancers, alike!
If you’re struggling with getting all the way down in those elusive front-splits, there are two areas of flexibility that you’ll want to pay special attention to: the hamstrings and the hip flexors. Spend some time working to increase your range of motion in each of these areas individually with the stretches in this article.
While the image of a rubber band is useful in demonstrating the elastic nature of muscles in the stretch reflex, it’s not always as simple as the stretch/recoil and stretch-farther/less-recoil that we gain from thinking of muscles simply as rubber bands.
If you are stretching with the goal of long-term changes in your flexibility (for example, you can’t do the splits and would like to), save your stretching routine for after class or between barre and center when your muscles are “warm.” Generally speaking, both of the stretching techniques above have acute (short-lasting) effects on your range of motion before activity, but don’t really increase your overall flexibility.
It is extremely important that someone working toward oversplits spend equal (if not more) time on strengthening and stabilizing the hips and core of the body. If you ignore signals that you are pushing too hard or too far, you may be hindering or halting any current progress you’ve made in your flexibility. You may even be sacrificing joint stability and overall joint health, perhaps ending your career early or causing problems later in life.