Legs with hyperextension

Discussion in 'Ballroom Dance' started by Dancebug, Dec 25, 2004.

  1. Dancebug

    Dancebug Active Member

    I have hyperextended legs, and I began to see that they cause a little trouble in my Latin, especially in Rumba (and chacha), where I am supposed to use straight legs. I am afraid that I will fall onto myself if I straighten my legs as much as I can, for example, when I do spiral turn, so I don't, which makes my Rumba ugly. I heard that it could be an advantage if you know how to use it right. Obviously I don't. Does anybody have this problem and get over it? Is there any excercise to help with this problem? Any kind of advice is appreciated. Thank you.
  2. jon

    jon Member

    I'm unclear if you're asking about a real problem you're currently having, or if you're anticipating a problem? I'm hyperextensive in all my joints - as a kid I used to drive my Mom crazy by crossing my toes :shock: - but I haven't found it to be a problem while dancing. OTOH I don't do Intl. Latin, so perhaps there is something in that technique which is especially problematic?
  3. tasche

    tasche New Member

    A hyperextended joint is not a strong one and you should work to stablize the joints. You can however keep the supporting leg slightly flexed and the free leg hyperextended without to much trauma but that of course takes skill and control.

    Latin like many dance form places a high value on hyperextended legs and arms as it "looks" good. However I find that ballroom unlike alot of dance forms now doesn't place alot of value on "safe" technique
  4. standardgirl

    standardgirl New Member

    Hi Dancebug,

    I have hyperextended knees, like VERY hyperextended, and that's why I don't want to get so into Latin. I mean, I am taking privates, and competing in Latin, but I also promise myself to quit Latin once I acheive the "something" I want or BEFORE I kill my legs.

    My dad is a doctor, and I have asked him to ask some of his friends, who are specialists in this problem. They said that most people with hyperextended knees/joints are fine for their life if they use their legs normally, not extensively, and if they do experience problems, it's when they become old. BUT the doctor does tell my to QUIT dancing, especially if I am experiencing pain when I dance latin.

    My latin instructor himself also has hyperextended knees. During our lessons, YES, especially in Rumba, he tells me to LOCK my knees. He said this is the "RIGHT" way to do it, and it makes your legs look GOOD and STR8. But, whenever I lock them, I experience a pain. and just for a note, IT IS ALWAYS BAD TO LOCK OUT ANY JOINT NO MATTER WHAT! I don't do exactly what he said, caz I don't want to kill my knees, like he did. He's had knees surgery! and I strongly think it's b/c of locking and "using" his hyperextended knees.

    Anywaz, I don't know what I am supposed to do either. What I am doing now, is save, meaning don't lock them, my legs at lessons and practices, but lock them and take medicine to relief the pain at competitions. It's yout choice, to lock or not to lock, I don't know what's the better one for you. It's different for everyone, plus it also depends on how badly your legs hyperextended.

    I talked to another teacher about this matter, and he said that he doesn't know much about this, but if I experience a pain then something is wrong, and I shouldn't do it. He also mentioned that it's always bad to lock out any joints.


    I was once complaining about my hyperextended knees, and a pro came by and saw my legs, and said "you have the perfect legs for Latin!" I wanted to kill him at that moment! :?

    Yes, hyperextended legs DO look PRETTIER in latin than normal legs. plus, if you lock the hyperextended knees, it's almost impossible to bend them. In other words, if you lock them (use them "correctly"), then it's almost a gurantee to have straight legs through out the dance, which is something everyonw wants! But, it's bad for your body though........
  5. tasche

    tasche New Member

    When I was studying ballet extensively I had trained my legs in such a way through constant thoughful correction that I couldn't lock them even if I wanted to. However I'm not that fit trained person anymore

    The problem with hyperextension is finding a sweet spot where you are standing straight but not locked. Usually us hyperextended ppl will stand either knees bent or locked but nothing in between.

    The danger with latin is that if you lock your knees you have further to got to be in a bent position but in the same amount of time so to keep it quick you need to "snap" back.

    Heres a useful article

    http://dancespirit.com/backissues/dec01/dancersbody.shtml
  6. standardgirl

    standardgirl New Member

    Maybe I sholuld start working on that.


    I normally walk with my legs straight, but not hyperextended. I also take caution when I am just standing to make sure I am on straight but not hyperextended legs. I am able to do this also when I dance. But I do lose my caution over time, and then I will end up with bent legs....... :cry:
  7. sunderi

    sunderi New Member

    I'm kind of a weird one -- my left knee hyperextends naturally, but my right one doesn't. :) How's that for lopsided? :lol:

    Here's what I've learned in my experience -- totally straightening my left leg to it's most straight (i.e., hyperextended) is generally not a good idea. It hurts, and that's not a good thing. I've learned how to straighten it far enough that it looks straight (it matches my right) but not so straight that it's hyperextended/locked.

    Frankly, I worry much more about preserving the health of my knees than I do about how I look at any given moment. I'd rather not be perfect and still be dancing when I'm 60 than the alternative. ;)

    Seriously, I've talked with an orthopedist about this. She gave me some quad-strengthening exercises to do to help support my knees. They've worked fantastically. If I keep my quads in good shape, my knees seem to be protected.

    So, my advice to you would be: strengthen your quads and don't sacrifice your knees for a 'look'. But that's just me.
  8. standardgirl

    standardgirl New Member

    This is absolutely true. My personal trainer told me the same thing - strengthen my quads! They help take away pressures from your knees.
  9. standardgirl

    standardgirl New Member

    Also, I don't even remember how this conversation started, but we started talking about hyperextended knees today. It was my past latin instructor, one of his current student and me. They ended up looking at my legs and knees. The instructor said that I have "perfect legs" for latin, and then he went like, my partner also has hyperextended knees, but not as much.....I then went on a whole lesson trying to explain how bad it is to use your hyperextended knees dancing latin.......

    I guess, overall, even dance professionals treasure hyperextension......
    and I mean REAL dance professionals (they won rising star at lots of comps this year!)
  10. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Time to go google! :wink: :lol: :car:
  11. MasterSerge

    MasterSerge New Member

    My professional partner for over 20 years has same problem with legs. You just have to learn how to ballance good look and hiperextention. DO NOT LOCK ANYTHING!!!! PLEASE!!! If instructor tell you to lock your knees- run!! Find a better one. You have an advantage over dancers with a stiff joints. Just use them wiselly. For you the extention that you need to look good will feel like you didn't straighten your knees to the max. So, instead of supporting you on "locked bones" you should learn how to use and strengthening your muscles to support you. That what you suppose to do anyway. There are NO dance styles in the world that would requare you to grining your bones!!!! My partner considered to have some of the most beautiful legs on the dance floore and yet we kept them healthy for 20+ years. We both retired from professional competitions now and she never had, and hopefully never will have problems with here beautiful hyperextended legs. :lol:
    Good luck
    Serge

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