No matter the space one is currently in, there is always a way to maintain conditioning. No excuses. We may not be able to execute a million pirouettes and have to curtail leaps and elevation for safety reasons because of space and surface confines, but developing strength and flexibility in all parts of the body is attainable. Below are three of my favorite go-to exercises that multi-task and multi-target different areas, so you are getting the most bang for your buck. As always, aim to hold stretches for a minimum of thirty seconds and build repetition as your master each exercise.
See you in the dance studio, soon!
- Sit with legs extended in front of you. Arms in second. Open the right leg into a wide second, then close with the left as you travel around in a circle like a clock. Hold the stretch when you hit the open second position. When you rotate back to the beginning position, facing front, change arms to high fifth and reverse by going left and repeating the exercise, opening the left leg and closing with the right all the way around. Make sure you are pulled up, engaging the core and back muscles and opening the legs in a wide enough second position that you are safely getting a stretch as you travel slowly in each direction. Be sure to add a pause between each closing of the positions.
- Lay on your back in a bridge position. Hips high in the air. Developpé the right leg in the air. Slowly flex, plié the leg three times. On the last extension, begin three slow battements. After the last battement, hold the leg (behind the ankle, calf or hamstring) into a long-extended stretch. Progression: flex foot and add ten pulses after battements or maintain in isometric hold for two counts of eight. Modification: Lower hips to ground, laying on back and remove bridge pose.
- Start in a table top position on floor. Repeat four, slow, “cat-cow” stretches incorporating deep inhale/exhales. Bump the hips slowly right and left. Start to make small circles with the hips clockwise, then counter clockwise; circles getting progressively bigger. Alternate by shifting weight forward and back as well. Slow down and find your way back to stillness in table top. Slowly lift the knees off the floor a couple of inches and hover. Hold the isometric stretch for three long inhale/exhales, engaging and lifting the core and ensuring wrists are aligned under shoulders. Gently bring the knees to the ground. Start by repeating three times. End with big toes turning in to face each other and stretch back into a turned-out child pose position.
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