Hip Flexibility

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Hip Flexibility

Benefits & Improvement

with special tips for the dancer’s body

 

Benefits

General:
  • Improved spine health
  • Improved knee health
  • Increased upper and lower body circulation
Dance:
  • Stability in turn out and parallel positions
  • Wider range of motion

 

Stretching Tips

Do:
  • Increase blood flow to muscles to “warm” body
  • Feel stretch in belly of muscle, not joint
  • Breath deeply to deliver oxygen to muscles
Do not:
  • Stretch “cold” muscles
  • Stretch tendons or ligaments
  • Let eagerness overpower safety

 

Types of Stretching

Dynamic Stretching:

Dynamic stretching involves lengthening a muscle with never ending movement.  These movements double as warm-up exercises and stretching.

Static Stretching:

Static stretching involves holding a position for 30-60 seconds.  The motion into each stretch should be slow and gentle.  This type of stretch should only be used after the muscles are “warm”.

Post-isometric Relaxation:

Post-isometric relaxation is a type of assisted stretching that involves the contraction of the muscle to allow for release.  Resistance will be placed on the target muscle for 7-10 seconds followed by a period of lengthening.  This type of stretch can be performed at our chiropractic office.

Ballistic Stretching:

Ballistic Stretching is a technique that involves quick, repetitive bouncing motions to lengthen muscles.  This type of stretching can cause muscle damage and is NOT recommended.  Dynamic stretching is an appropriate alternative.

 

Limitations

Hip Flexibility:
  • anatomy: Length of neck of femur
  • anatomy: elasticity of surrounding ligament
  • dance: time training began

 

Strengthening

Tips & Tricks on How to Get Started:
  • Muscles are strengthened through contraction, or shortening of the muscle
  • As strength improves, resistance should increase
  • Always use full range of motion during exercises

 

Stretches

Starting point- Can you activate the right muscles?

Begin laying on back with knees bent and feet parallel on the ground.  From here, begin by activating glute muscles.  Do so without activating hamstring or low back muscles.  If this contraction cannot be isolated, continue to work on this isolation as well as cat-camel exercises.  Once the glute muscle contraction can be isolated, proceed to the follow exercises.

Abdominal and Low Back Muscles:

The core muscles include the rectus abdominus, internal/external obliques, transverse abdominus, erector spinae, and multifidus muscles.  Exercises useful for lengthening and strengthening these muscles are pelvic tilts, plank holds, and glute bridges.

Hamstring:

Hamstrings include a group of muscles that are responsible for hip extension.  Exercises useful for lengthening and strengthening these muscles are forward folds, standing hamstring ball squeeze,

Piriformis:

The piriformis muscles is one of the six rotator cuff muscles of the hip.  Piriformis is especially useful during turn-out for dancers and tends to be overused for that reason.  Clam shells are a great exercise to strengthen and stretch this muscle.

Iliopsoas:

The iliopsoas muscles are a group of muscles that connect the upper and lower body and make up the main hip flexor muscle.  This muscles tends to be tight on all types of people because of the constant demand for people to be sitting.  This muscle can be strengthened and lengthened with the kneeling Psoas Stretch, runner’s lunge pelvic tilts, and upright half pigeon pose.

 

Advanced Exercises for Dancers:

These exercises are geared towards advanced dancer’s who have already mastered the glute isolation and previous exercises.  Dancer’s should seek advice from a professional when trying to rehabilitate an injury or if pain arises during any of these exercises.  These exercises involved all of the above muscles to increase hip flexibility.

Floor Dancer’s Pose

Laying on stomach, bend one leg parallel to 90 degrees.  Lift leg off ground a few inches, still parallel.  Carry leg up and over opposite leg in turned out attitude position, allowing hip to lift off of ground. Reverse pattern until both legs are flat on ground then repeat.

Coupe-passe-sous-sus

Laying on side with ankles, hips, ribs, and shoulder in line cross top leg over bottom in sous-sus position.  Raise legs a few inches off ground and pull together tightly.  Carry top leg through coupe and passé then reverse to reset and repeat.


Hip Lift & Rond de jambe

Begin in pretzel or double attitude position with arms extended to the front.  Lift and lower back leg 8 times allowing the hip to move.  Fully extend back leg à la seconde and carry front in a rond de jambe en dedans.  Reverse motion en dehors to pretzel position and repeat.

 

References

Berardi, Gigi M. Finding Balance. Princeton, NJ: Princeton Book, 1991. Print.

Clarkson, Priscilla M., and Margaret Skrinar. Science of Dance Training. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics, 1988. Print.

Fitt, Sally S. Dance Kinesiology. 2nd ed. New York, NY: Schirmer, 2001. Print.

Lewit, K., and D. G. Simons. “Myofascial Pain: Relief by Post-isometric Relaxation.” Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. U.S. National Library of Medicine, Aug. 1984. Web. 10 May 2017.

Nagrin, Daniel. How to Dance Forever: Surviving Against the Odds. New York: Quill William Morrow, 1988. Print.

Thomasen, Eivind, and Rachel-Anne Rist. Anatomy and Kinesiology for Ballet Teachers. London: Dance, 1996. Print.

Weeks, Molly. The BalleCore Workout. New York: Ballantine, 2005. Print.

 

 

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