Forum: Advice / Stretching

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-=Stretching Essentials=- (karma: 141)
By wana_be_a_dancer
On Fri Sep 12, 2003 09:12 AM
Made sticky by MIClogger (28613) on 2003-09-19 16:15:44 Member Request...

As dancers, majority of us would stretch for flexibility, but did you know stretching is good in a variety of other ways?

Stretching helps:<li>Improve Circulation<li>Relieve stress<li>Your Posture<li>Increase Flexibilty<li>Enhance your Coordination and Balance

We all have heard about the stretching essentials but some of us never really understand what they involve. So I've compiled all the steps I believe are "stretching essentials"

~Stretching Essentials~

Warm up first - The warm up should last for about 4-8 minutes depending on the state your body is in. The body must warm up to loosen the muscles because the colder your muscles are the harder it'll be to stretch them. Cold muscles are contracted and if forced to stretch you could tear or pull a muscle which isn't only painful but frustrating too.
A warm up consists of working the major muscle groups, ie. Biceps, Quadriceps, Calf muscles, depending on whichever area you are willing to stretch. By walking around, lightly jogging on the spot or even doing a few star-jumps you are increasing the flow of blood to the working muscles therefore making them warmer, bringing them nourishment and getting rid of waste byproducts in the muscle tissue. If you don't like star-jumps and aren't keen on jogging then any desired activity will do at low intensity for about 5 minutes.
Also, do some exercises that have a steady rhythmical nature involving other joints of the body, such as gentle knee bends, arm and shoulder swings, neck and trunk rotations, etc.
A proper warm-up should raise your body temperature by one or two degrees Celsius (1.4 to 2.8 degrees Fahrenheit), but if you don't wish to get the thermometre out you should be able to feel the difference if your blood is circulating around your body or if you feel a light sweat. The aim of a warm up is simply to elevate the heart rate and respiratory rate to transport oxygen and nutrients to your working muscles.

Light Stretching - Light stretching is what I like to do next. Let's say that I want to stretch my Hamstring. So I might raise my leg at a 90degree angle so it's resting on a bench top. Then I will manouver either my body or my leg in order to feel the slightest stretch and then I stop and hold. Hold for 15 seconds, move again to add to the slight tension in the muscle and hold again for 15 seconds.
Repeat this for the other limb when stretching to even out your flexibility. Don't force your muscle, this is a light stretch. Repeat light stretching after each major stretch.
Light stretching prepares the muscle for an upcoming stretch, rests the muscle after a major stretch and helps remove any lactic acid after major stretches which give you cramps the next day.

Major Stretching - This is the more intense version of stretching. This is what many of you jump straight to after a quick warm-up. Major Stretching can be efficient if done correctly. We've all heard the rules, "don't stretch a cold muscle, don't bounce a muscle.." but for some reason, maybe out of habit, we still end of doing it. We make excuses for ourselves.
"I don't have time for a proper warm-up" - In my oppinion, if you don't have time for a proper warm up then you don't have time for proper stretching. Work out a timetable and organise a time for a stretching routine. Make several routines if you must, maybe a 30 minute stretch for Monday, Wednesday & Thursday after school and 1 hour for weekends?
So remember, when doing your Major Stretching you don't excede your pain limits. You know how far you can go, in some cases a trained professional may push you down but you know your limits! The last thing anyone, anywhere, would like to do is have a torn muscle. A torn muscles means days and weeks of healing and time wasted.

After Major Stretching remember to follow up with some Light Stretching afterwards. Also, during stretching drinks lots of water. Water not only keeps us cool and hydrated but lubricates our joints and flushes toxins from our bodies. If you're not keen on water then try adding a squeeze of lemon juice or a tiny bit of concentrated cordial. Afterall, water can actually help you in the battle against the bulge.

The Cool Down - Another of the most important aspects of stretching. The Cool Down is beneficial because it allows teh body to gradually wind down towards a resting state rather than just suddenly stopping. Another way to look at a cool down in an optimistic way is to see it as something to do instead of sitting there catching your breath and feeling your muscles tighten and your heart pound. You only need to perform light exercise during the recovery period, i.e. walking, and you should be able to relax physically and mentally. The cool down will guarantee you no sore mucles or injuries for the next day. If you really want you can just repeat your warm up, but towards the end slow down, afterall you don't want to work yourself up again!

Image hotlink - ''

Those, to me, are the stretching essentials. Now some more of my tips for you:

Dedication - Remember to work at it. But don't over work yourself.

Stretching Log - Everyday write what you've done and how you can improve. Always keep Sunday (and maybe Saturday) for your rest day. You NEED a rest day either once or twice a week!

Motivation & Goals - To keep motivated you can find pictures from the internet (from people here on or from other websites) and print them out and stick them in your log book. Everday look at these pictures and visualise yourself doing it.

Time - We think to ourselves and say "I have homework! I haven't any time for stretching!!" but this isn't true. All you need to do is base your stretching around your timetable. Remember that you can stretch while watching TV, doing your homework, etc.

Plan of Action - Draw yourself a PLAN OF ACTION. Tell yourself what to do and tick it off when you complete it. Having a Plan Of Action helps you feel more organised, and it helps too.

LINKS for Splits and Stretches:

"2 weeks and I almost have my splits. Here's my routine! By wana_be_a_dancer . . .

THIS IS THE BEST STRETCH IN THE WORLD. I'm so not joking!!! Read! By BeverlyHillsBabe . . .

Easy and Quick Split Tip By wana_be_a_dancer . . .

*My Own Workout For All 3 Splits* By BaLLetDaNceR055 . . .

Stretching Sites By amsy . . .

Splits Training (Diagrams included!) By raindancer . . .

Image hotlink - ''

Luv Jess
**Dance into your dreams**

263 Replies to -=Stretching Essentials=-

re: -=Stretching Essentials=- (karma: 2)
By girly_girl13member has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Fri Sep 12, 2003 09:37 AM
OMG, karma for u, Thnaks very much for that


x Laura x
re: -=Stretching Essentials=-
By RoyalBalletGal
On Fri Sep 12, 2003 10:50 AM
Wow! What a fabby post, well done you!

RBG xxx
-=Stretching Essentials=-
By lovelydancer
On Fri Sep 12, 2003 12:31 PM
Wow!! Great Post! Thanks for all the information!! :) That really helped a lot!!

re: -=Stretching Essentials=-
By balletgirl1
On Fri Sep 12, 2003 02:36 PM
Edited by balletgirl1 (73681) on 2003-09-12 14:37:17
Edited by balletgirl1 (73681) on 2003-09-12 14:37:43
Great post!!!
This will help alot of people with their stretching. It helped me alot (already printed it) Keep posting!

p.s. karma points for u
re: -=Stretching Essentials=-
By khah2522
On Fri Sep 12, 2003 10:21 PM
this should be made a sticky!!
very well put together, & very informative!!
thank you very much!
re: -=Stretching Essentials=-
By ikke
On Sat Sep 13, 2003 05:34 AM
wow, that was great! Karma coming your way!

Can someone PLEASE make this sticky????
By irishwannabe
On Sat Sep 13, 2003 02:05 PM
Fabulous post! How come it's not a sticky? PLEASE Make it a sticky somebody! I don't have the power!
re: -=Stretching Essentials=-
By SamiDancer
On Sun Sep 14, 2003 07:55 AM
That was an excellent post! Excellent job on keeping us dance.netters informed :D
re: -=Stretching Essentials=-
By Baby_jazmember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Sun Sep 14, 2003 09:18 AM
thank you so much! :)
re: -=Stretching Essentials=-
By Baby_jazmember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Sun Sep 14, 2003 09:22 AM
Well... I just have one question, You shouldn't strech a cold muscle but I have read that it's good to stretch when you wake up in the morning... isn't the muscles cold then??
re: -=Stretching Essentials=-
By iluvballet
On Sun Sep 14, 2003 08:46 PM
wow...such a good information!!!! ya..karma for you too...thanks for sharing...
re: -=Stretching Essentials=-
By wana_be_a_dancer
On Fri Sep 19, 2003 08:41 AM
>> Well... I just have one question, You shouldn't strech a cold muscle but I have read that it's good to stretch when you wake up in the morning... isn't the muscles cold then??

Many people find it easy to stretch in the morning, and I hear many times that they don't exactly know why but morning is just easy for them. My theory is that your legs are relaxed, which is also important when stretching because tensing a muscle will hurt and make it harder to stretch. I don't know how many people here actually warm up in the morning when they stretch but they still should.

Please understand that I am no expert or anything, i'm just proving information to the extent of my knowledge.
re: -=Stretching Essentials=-
By passiondancer
On Fri Sep 19, 2003 09:22 AM
This like one of the best or the best post yet!! Thanks alot :)
re: -=Stretching Essentials=-
By RamTamTam
On Sat Sep 20, 2003 02:23 PM
Thank you so much for the help..I'm involved in a lot of physical activities this fall and I need some good tips so that I don't hurt myself.
re: -=Stretching Essentials=-
By balletgirl1
On Sat Sep 20, 2003 04:14 PM
Yay it was made stiky
By panthermember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Sun Sep 21, 2003 02:47 AM
Thanks a lot for your informations!
I really recommend everybody to read or buy the following book!
Stretching Scientifically (A Guide to Flexibility Training)
The Safest and the Fastest Stretching Method
by Thomas Kurz
ISBN 0-940149-45-1 ($25.99 U.S.)
This is a really good book. After 3 months I can do the front splits on both sides. And im working toward the side split.
re: -=Stretching Essentials=-
By paigey5
On Sun Sep 21, 2003 04:23 PM
Thanks for the awsome info!
re: -=Stretching Essentials=-
By LarcenTyler
On Sun Sep 21, 2003 10:09 PM
Even though you might feel more limber in the morning, it's still a good idea to warm up nonetheless. It's always better to be safe than sorry. Besides, the initial warm up helps get me more awake and ready to stretch!
re: -=Stretching Essentials=-
By Nicci_member has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Tue Sep 23, 2003 12:05 AM
This is excellent :) Just one thing though...its not recommended to do star-jumps because it can cause shin splints and other problems with your feet, knees and legs. Other then that, its excellent (as I've said) and Kamra for you.
re: -=Stretching Essentials=-
By LadySonjamember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Tue Sep 23, 2003 01:06 AM
Wow! This is so cool! Thank you so much! This is just what I needed. You people on inspire and encourage me so much! I never realized how much fun stretching is, it was just part of my dancing classes. But with postings like that I get more structure in my workout.

Thanx for sharing!!

re: -=Stretching Essentials=-
By Dancin_Babe
On Wed Sep 24, 2003 04:47 AM
thanks heaps for posting. i'm wanting to work really hard on my flexability and i'm looking for good advice and i found your info really heapful thanks agian for posting
re: -=Stretching Essentials=-
By GKtpt03
On Wed Sep 24, 2003 04:06 PM
hey guys im back, im at school and really busy... but those girls are really flexible. esp. for being so young

re: -=Stretching Essentials=-
By disco_lynny
On Thu Sep 25, 2003 03:28 PM
cool pic.
love lynny x
re: -=Stretching Essentials=-
By dancingfairy
On Sat Sep 27, 2003 01:35 PM
great advice, thank you soooo much
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