Ballroom Dance > Proper way to stretch your way into a split?

Discussion in 'Ballroom Dance' started by chocobebe, Apr 10, 2011.

  1. madsypx

    madsypx New Member


    My flexibility isn't good enough, so now it is the time to improve and finally be able to do a split, etc.

    To make sure I'm making good progress, I have a few questions:
    1) Any recommendations on a good strategy for improving my flexibility? (I have brought the book Stretching Scientifically, but it's pretty old and I'm not sure it's still good advice?)
    2) For the split, I can currently not get further down than ~45 degrees without warming up first (that is half way between standing straight and doing a split). How long will it realisticly take me to be able to do a split?
    3) My plan is to focus on split and spagat for the lower body. Can anyone recommend 1-3 good positions to go for for the upper body?
    4) I do some running twice a week (usually 5 kilometers). Can I continue doing that without affecting my flexibility improvements? (when I run, it's maximum speed most of the time, ~3:45/km)

  2. nucat78

    nucat78 Active Member

    Bikram yoga, assuming you can literally stand the heat.
  3. 3wishes

    3wishes Well-Known Member

    Welcome Madsypx to DF. There is another thread on how to accomplish the splits, use the search bar and input key words. Good luck with your flexibility goals for splits.
  4. samina

    samina Well-Known Member

  5. madsypx

    madsypx New Member

    Thanks a lot for the link to the other thread. Lots of good advice there.

    But I still have my two last questions ;)
    3) My plan is to focus on split and spagat for the lower body. Can anyone recommend 1-3 good positions to go for for the upper body?
    4) I do some running twice a week (usually 5 kilometers). Can I continue doing that without affecting my flexibility improvements? (when I run, it's maximum speed most of the time, ~3:45/km

  6. samina

    samina Well-Known Member

    what are your goals/areas you want to work on for your upper body?

    as for running...if you don't stretch well after running you will very likely tighten up. when i run, i focus on repetitive stretches for quads, hammies and hip openers, and hurdle stretches & splits & straddles would be a good idea for a dancer as well.
    Jananananana likes this.
  7. madsypx

    madsypx New Member

    How much stretching do you do after running?
  8. samina

    samina Well-Known Member

    the more you do, the less likely you will become tight. i would say that stretching after is more important than before. IMHO...

    but everybody's goals & needs are different.
  9. madsypx

    madsypx New Member

    Totally agree.
  10. dancetwirlbow

    dancetwirlbow New Member

    This is meant to be a discussion question where. you guys can all post your tips on how to gain flexibility fast and effectively. For example, any particular stretching exercises you do to have a certain desired effect? Or any tips you have tried out which worked really well? I'm 15 next year and would really like to be able to do splits, catching of front side and back leg and backbends with ease. Could really use some help :)
  11. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    welcome to df ...we already have many threads on this if you care to do a search. thx
  12. samina

    samina Well-Known Member

    Please bep
    Please do read this thread from the beginning - it contains good information.
  13. Jananananana

    Jananananana Active Member

    Hi and welcome! I noticed your age - which is a great thing to include in this discussion. Isometric and PNF stretching, for example, is not appropriate for your age. Read here for some advice on which stretching may be appropriate for you:

    Then, I would go through this thread to figure out things that are age appropriate for your muscles and which will help you develop a good stretch. For back stretches, I recommend always having a good spotter (read: a professional teacher.)
    Larinda McRaven likes this.
  14. alen wast

    alen wast New Member

    Whether you are in a ballet class doing multiple releves, or modern class with an off center balance or jazz or ballroom dance - ankle stability and strength is essential. Practice the following 2 tips and improve your balance and ankle strength!
    First start by practicing balancing on one foot (in parallel and in turnout) while turning your head and doing simple arm movements. As your balance becomes better with that variation, then add small movements bending side or front with the upper body, which definitely challenge your balance. Try timing yourself and balancing on one foot for up to three minutes at a time. You'll be amazed at how long three minutes can seem when you are on one leg!
    After some successful flat-footed balancing exercises, then begin to challenge yourself with doing single leg rises with the ball of your feet on the bottom step of a stairs, or off of a thick book.
    Allow your heel to lengthen below the book or stair and then slowly rise into your releve, sometimes with a straight leg, sometimes rising from the smallest of bend, or plie, of the supporting leg. Do both legs singly, and count where you begin to feel the fatigue - is it after 5 releves, 10 releves? I don't think it is asking too much for you to work towards doing 15 releves without much fatigue.
  15. tonitas

    tonitas New Member

    I used to split when I was a kid but can't stretch much now.:oops:
  16. Miss Silly

    Miss Silly Well-Known Member

    I love the idea of developing ankle strength using things like releves. I had no idea i had to "develop" my ankle (LOL) for the longest time in my dancing!
  17. slhull.13

    slhull.13 Active Member

    I technically "have" both of my splits (my right is easier than my left) but I've always found it difficult to hold them for any extended period of time beyond ten seconds. I know at this point, for me, increased flexibility in kicks and developes will only come from achieving this split more easily, and for a longer period of time. Does anyone have any suggestions on how long I should try to hold them before giving up? Like time intervals over the course of a few weeks/months? It'll definitely take a long while to get to ballerina status (and I probably never will....haha ;) ) but a little extra would sure be nice.
  18. samina

    samina Well-Known Member

    Once you get into your split, don't just hold it, make your split active. Play with the squareness of your hips and roll them gently side to side and forward and back, even if at first these are almost infinitesimal muscle contractions. As your muscles relax over time, these movements will become larger.

    Work on getting your torso down to your front leg and laying it flat. Once you've achieve this, you can roll your whole body in the split side to side. When staying in the splits becomes comfortable, you can even practice doing full side rolls while in the split.

    Valuable trick: Do one side and play with what you can do, then do the other, then come out of the splits and do some counter-stretching (for example, go into the straddle as wide as you can and bring your torso forward as flat as you can). Then *go back* to the splits exercises. Going back and forth this way a few times every time you work on the splits is the best way to improve. A single "get into the split and hold once" approach is comparatively almost useles.

    Good luck!
    5678dance likes this.
  19. 5678dance

    5678dance Active Member

    I would also like to add that if you're working on your split in order to better your developes, then you also should also work on strength, not just flexibility. This way, you have control when your leg is coming down from that high kick! The best way to do this is actually to stand at a bar, and hold your heel in your hand, pull your leg as high as you can while keeping both the leg in the air and the leg on the ground as straight as possible, then release your foot from your hand and try to hold it there as long as possible. Essentially, do an assisted develope using your hand to guide your foot, and release and hold your leg in the air. easier said than done!!!!!

    (see ya later slhull ;) )
    smidra86 likes this.

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