General Dance Discussion > Stretches for Dancers

Discussion in 'General Dance Discussion' started by pygmalion, Oct 17, 2003.

  1. Angelo

    Angelo Member

    It depends on what stretching method you are using. Relaxed static stretches can be held for as long as 5 minutes. If you use the Active Isolated Stretching Method, the "stretch" is held for something like 2 seconds. Dynamic stretches aren't "held" at all. The exact protocol will depend on your goals and what method you are using. A lot of different ways to skin the cat. This probably will only add to the OP's confusion but que sera sera
  2. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    Reminds me of a Tai chi teacher who would stop us mid form frozen in whatever position we'd reached then would reel off some anecdote about his visits to China for ten minutes while our muscles started to ache and start quivering.....

    and for those Qi Gong static 'hugging a tree' positions nothing less than half an hour will do.
    if you don't believe me see what happens; my experience is that it goes from aching muscles to some kind of energetic response; you get very hot and then it all gets easy again; its just getting through the wall to reach that point that's difficult.

    off topic I guess
  3. vices

    vices New Member

    What is the difference between pulsing and bouncing?

    And if I were to listen to my own body, I'd spend 20 minutes or more on each stretch...
  4. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    I don't do either but pulsing involves keeping the muscle tone...if I were to hold a stretch for 20 minutes I'd either fall asleep or die of boredom
  5. samina

    samina Well-Known Member

    yah, around 20 overall minutes on the same area feels good to me, too. but i prefer to work on something a bit, then something else, then come back... and so on. over the course of an hour, i can notice a significant release in a few areas.

    as for pulsing vs. bouncing, both for me include having my muscles activated. with pulsing i am already in the stretch and "pulse" deeper into it pretty much on the spot, whereas "bouncing" for me involves more movement away from & back toward the stretch. keeping your muscle group active seems to protect yourself from injury because it actually limits your range of flexibility. any flexibility you're able to produce is genuine & feels good in that case.

    you could hurt yourself if you just bounce into the stretch without care, without contracting or activating the muscles. many years ago as a cheerleader in a pep rally, with no time for warmup, i did a round-off into splits & tore my groin muscle... that's an extreme example of the danger of bouncing.
  6. Chiron

    Chiron New Member

    When I stretch I like to warm up a bit (if I'm dancing it usually involves a couple lines of foxtrot or waltz and some rumba basics). Then I usually like to do static stretches for around 20 seconds per stretch. I will also hold any longer if it feels tight or repeat it if it feels tight. If I'm stretching to increase my flexibility, not just part of my usual warm up. I try to do it after some activity where I'm really warmed up, (e.g. just finished practicing dance, just got in from a run). Then I usually start with static stretches and hold them usually longer than 20 seconds. I will also repeat anything that feels tight to me. After that I will do some PNF stretches. I think that to see results you need to be patient and persisent, just like most things in life. Running, lifting, dieting, dancing... For me it usually takes a month or two and then I'll have an "ah ha" moment, like the other day I look in the mirror and noticed one of my muscle groups is considerably more toned than it used to be. (I also have the opposite "ah ha" moments when I slack for a while, e.g. I used to be able to do this run no problem and it is kicking my butt today, those can usually motivate me to get back on the horse though).

    One other thing I noticed some of my friends who were dance majors do. When they were doing misc things they would be stretching. When they were outside the dance department talking they would be stretching, one guy would have his leg up stretching his ham strings on a bench, another girl would be sitting on the bench in the splits. My ex would naturally sit in stretching positions if we were watching TV or just hanging out. They weren't in their full stretch position but were lightly stretching. It may not be necessary but probably wouldn't hurt to get into that habit if you wanted to be really flexible. Good luck, be patient and persistent and you'll get there.
  7. samina

    samina Well-Known Member

    Hmmm. I don't think I do static stretches at all for any body part. If it's static and I'm holding still, I think it's either because I'm at the end of a stretching session and I'm just feeling how good it is, or am in a danger point.

    Upon reflection, I think when I find myself in a relaxed static stretch, it's because I've gotten sloppy and am doing an action without control, and am thus too deep into a position...and know immediately I need to protect myself by activating my muscles.

    And activated muscles crave movement, so then I'm back to pulsing.

    Yah, I don't think static stretches are very safe, effective, or pleasurable. Wouldn't recommend them. Seem to be in the minority here on that account.
  8. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    well sam just b/c you disagree doesn't mean your experience is wrong that is for certain...the fitness organization through which I recieved my certification, certainly has alot of cautions about static stretches prior to being very very truth they are best at the end of a workout...and the reason for this relatively new emphasis is that so many athletes have injured themselves using static stretches as a way to warm-up...which, bounce or no bounce, shouldn't happen
  9. emily13

    emily13 New Member

    :D I love this topic hehe.
    I started contortion about a year ago, and I wasn't flexible AT ALL. I couldn't even get down into the splits! But now, I can do 1 foot oversplits with almost no pain at all.

    But it takes time. It takes a LOT of time. I do 4 hours of stretching EVERY day, no matter how I'm feeling. I have to do that just to KEEP my flexibility! I'm sure you're aware that you can lose flexibility quicker than you can gain it :)

    My suggestion is to enroll in yoga and pilates. Also, and this may sound weird, but maybe learn vto conquer pain. That's what I was thought to do, and that's how I became a contortionist. I have a very high pain threshold.

    Now, once you do start stretching, you have to make sure you stretch EVERY day, especially the day after you start stretching (trust me, it hurts a LOTTTT!)

    Good luck!
  10. samina

    samina Well-Known Member

    so em, tell us a bit more about how you stretch. am very interested. i know i could've taken your path & become a contortionist when i was younger, but now i'm working to reclaim a level of flexibility that i had when i was very young -- i'd be ecstatic now just to achieve that.

    what is your stretching routine to maintain what you have, and beyond? i'm all ears... :)
  11. and123

    and123 Well-Known Member

    Me too.... I swear I was made of rubber when I was younger (which to me means I'm physically capable of doing these things), but now I'm just "stuck" :(
  12. samina

    samina Well-Known Member

    and that gets me back to the meridian stretching/resistance flexibility training. am becoming rapidly unstuck, week by week... it is remarkable, truly.

    the trainer was saying how she's going to start bringing in one of those gaiam handstand supports to start doing assisted inverted back very cool
  13. and123

    and123 Well-Known Member

    I am seriously thinking about trying to find someone around here who does this kind of stuff *fires up Google*
  14. Angelo

    Angelo Member

    The "inventor" of the system, Bob Cooley, is (or at least was) based around here
  15. samina

    samina Well-Known Member

    back when i took flexibility for granted, i used to think of it in terms of just doing splits, how close one could get one's chest onto one's legs, the arch in one's back...

    as i'm endeavoring to recover much that was lost, i'm seeing how profound it is... the flexibility of rotation in all my joints, in every direction. wow, that's a big thing. and how when things certain muscles get stuck & start holding, there's a massive chain reaction.

    so frustrating to experience & try to puzzle out how to undo... so exciting when it actually starts to adjust & reveal the freedom of movement underneath.
  16. emily13

    emily13 New Member

    I start off with warming my muscles off. I run up and down the stairs, jog outside, jumping jacks, whatever. It's a true pain to start stretching if your muscles are cold. I don't do this for long, only a few minutes.

    After that, I do a forward stretch. Knees straight, try to touch the floor. Well, I actually grab my ankles and pull my head through my leg, but that's just me. I found that it may help to "pulse" to a 20 count.

    I follow with stretches to warm up my hips. The frog stretch and the butterfly stretch are great! Then, second splits (sit down, and extend your legs as far to the side as possible. Stretch forward if you can.)

    Split stretches next. Start with lunges. First, hipflexors, then go back on your behind leg and extend your front leg and stretch forward. Go as far as you can into the splits. Repeat on both sides.

    Those are stretches for hamstrings. I see you also want a flexible spine? There are many stretches for the spine.

    First, a bridge. (I'm sure you're aware of what that is?)
    Another one - Lay on the floor, legs extend to the back of you. Push yourself up as far

    You can also look up "contortion stretches" or "contortion warmups" on YouTube and get some GREAT videos of how contortionists warm up/stretch. Don't be afraid to google contortion stretches/warm ups as well! Contortion all starts with simple stretches like so. The extreme bending comes after you warm up.

    Also, you have to be REALLY careful when working your back. It's probably the most dangerous thing to bend. I -highly- recommend finding a stretching coach. Also maybe talk with a yoga instructor. Most of them are aware of contortion training :)

    Hope I was of help! Feel free to PM me if you have more stretching questions.
  17. samina

    samina Well-Known Member

    thanks, em. these bring back memories. :)

    you're inspiring me. will definitely PM. found some cool youtube vids.

    gonna go put some tunes on and stretch now, lol.
  18. vices

    vices New Member

    Awww, don't PM. Keep it public if it's not too personal, this stuff is really interesting for other people as well!
  19. emily13

    emily13 New Member

    I'm glad I could help! :D
  20. samina

    samina Well-Known Member

    sure. :)

    i did indeed hit the mat last night. tried out a few variants of frog pose... had forgotten how i used that to get a good stretch in my back & hips.

    have always been a big fan of the original hurdler's stretch, as well... just keep extending out, out, out right into the split. that's nice. i'm decent with straddle & splits stretches -- can fall over quite easily to put my tum on the floor in straddle -- but i've been avoiding working too much on spinal flexibility, and i feel released enuf now to take that on again.

    lying on my back and going up over my head with my legs into a pike, and gradually working my bent knees to the floor next to my ears was always a good one for me in the past to release my spine. knees aren't making it to the floor as yet but... they will am sure with some practice.

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