Get ready to stretch it out with part 3 of our ballet fit series. This time we’re talking all about stretching and flexibility!
I’m pretty sure that most of you out there wish you were more flexible. But good news! You can be! All it takes is a little discipline, patience, and time. If you commit to practicing the exercises I’m about to show you every day, I PROMISE you will see results!
So let’s dive in, shall we?
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1. Pigeon into Split
Doing the splits is not something that happens overnight. But, there are a few stretches that can help you get there. Pigeon is one of them. Your front leg will be bent at the knee and your back leg will be extended straight behind you. If you can’t get your back leg completely straight, don’t worry. Just do the best you can and try to straighten it a little more each day.
How much your front leg is bent is determined by how flexible you are. If you aren’t very flexible, it will be bent enough that your foot is tucked in. If you’re more flexible, your foot will be further away from you. The idea is that over time, your foot will be further and further away from you to where you can eventually do a full split!
Hold the position for at least 30 seconds, working up to a minute on each side. Work every day to straight both legs a little more. You’ll have a full split in no time!
2. Leg on the Barre
Most people don’t have a ballet barre in their house. 🙂 But you can use a counter, table, chair, anything that’s high enough off the ground to give you a good stretch if you rest your heel on it. There are three stretches you can do in this position: front, side, and back.
For the front stretch, put your right foot on the barre/chair counter. square your hips off so that your toe is in front of your sternum. Reach up with the same hand as foot that’s on the barre/chair/counter and bend forward. Feel as though your chest is reaching outward, not down. Go as far as you can and hold for 30 seconds, working up to a minute. Reverse the bend and reach backward as far as you can. Repeat 2 times.
To stretch to the side, shift your body so your hips are facing the barre/chair/counter. Keep your hip down as much as possible and reach toward your foot. Hold for 30 seconds, up to a minute. Reach to the other side and hold the same amount of time. Keep your hip down as much as possible.
Now the fun one! Turn so that your foot is still on the barre/chair/counter but is behind you. This is going to get your back, but in a good way. Reach up as high as you can and bend forward, leading with your chest like you did in the front stretch. You’re going to feel this in your hamstrings and the back of your leg in general. Hold for 30 seconds, up to a minute. Reach up and back, aiming to get your back parallel to the leg that’s up. Don’t worry if you can’t get this one right away – it takes time! Hold for 30 seconds up to a minute, or as long as your back will let you.
Now that you did all 3 of those on the right side, it’s time to do the left! Repeat everything with your left foot on the barre/chair/counter.
3. Foot in Hand Stretch
This is that stretch that everyone sees and is like “WOAH!” You can do it too! Hold on to something sturdy with your left hand. Reach under your right foot from the inside and grab your heel. You can bend your left leg if you need to in order to get a good grip. Hang on to your heel and slowly straighten your right leg as much as you can, keeping your back as straight as possible. Try to straighten your left leg also. Hold for 30 seconds, up to a minute.
Don’t let go yet! Extend your leg to the side as far as you can and hold again. At first, you probably won’t get your leg very high. But I promise, if you keep at it every day, it will get there!
Repeat on the left side. You don’t want to be uneven!
I won’t lie…these are not going to be easy at first. But you CAN do it! Just keep at it and don’t give up. Anything worth having is worth working for!
If you missed parts 1 and 2 of the ballet fit series, you can find them here:
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