As a dancer, I have to be as flexible as possible. I am however aware that I can’t twist myself into the same kind of positions I used to when I was six and able to bend over backward without a second thought. So it’s important that I stretch at least twice a week outside of dance class. It’s also important for anyone who does a sport of any kind to properly cool down and stretch to avoid injuries, so today I’m going to walk you all through my stretching routine!
I work from the top to the bottom of my body and stretch everything and then I use a foam roller to work out any knots in muscles. You sit or lay on top of it and the rock backwards and forwards, increasing how far you’ll over it the more comfortable you get. It’s painful but definitely worth it, and has saved me many trips to the physio.

Standing Stretches
Neck:

-Tilt head to left, right, front and back. Hold each for 8 counts.
-Roll head to right 4 times and repeat to left.

Arms:

-Tuck right arm into left elbow and pull over chest. Hold for 8 counts and repeat on other side.
-Try to link hands behind back and hold for 8 counts. Try both ways.

Shoulders:

-Roll shoulders forwards and backwards 8 times each.
-Swing arms around 4 times to the front and 4 times to the back.

Back:

-Left hand on hip, right hand curved above head, legs shoulder width apart, lean to the left for 8 counts. Bend at waist and stay with flat back for 8 counts. Lean over and try to touch ankles for 8 counts. Move to center and hold for 8 counts. Move to right ankle and hold for 8 counts. Flat back to opposite side for 8 counts. Side stretch for 8 counts. Repeat and reverse process.

Legs:

Stand with legs shoulder width apart. Squat down, grab ankles and slowly straighten legs as far as you can. Hold for 8 counts. Repeat 4 times, stepping legs in until heels touch.

Floor Stretches
Legs:

-Lunge on the right leg. Hold for 8 counts.
-Staying in lunge position, place elbows on the floor. Hold for 8 counts.
-Bend the back leg and push forward to stretch hip flexer. Hold for 8 counts.
-Straighten front leg and try to hold ankle. Hold for 8 counts.
Repeat process on left leg.
-Sit in a butterfly position – with both heels together – and push each knee down in turn.
-Push the right leg out and place the left foot against it’s knee. Flex the foot and try to grab it. Hold for 8 counts.
-Relax over the leg, pointing the toe, and try to inch your hands towards the toes. See if you can get your head on your knee.
Repeat the process on the other leg.
-Sit in second position (legs apart) and lean to the right, extending the opposite arm above the head and trying to touch the right foot. This should also stretch your side. Hold for 8 counts.
Repeat on opposite leg.
-With legs still in second position, slowly crawl your hands forward to the center until your chest is on the floor or as close to it as possible. Hold for 8 counts.

Back
Lay on your stomach with your legs slightly apart and place your hands shoulder width apart before pushing up on them. Hold for 8 counts.
-Bend backwards, until your legs are bent under your body and stretch your arms forward. Hold for 8 counts.

And that’s it! If you keep this up nearly every day or at least after every workout you’ll gain flexibility and definitely improve recovery time.

(This post was written before changes to my blog, when all posts where categorized by “sparks”. Any and all references to Katy/Everyday/Travelling/Life Sparks or Sparkszine are as a result of this)

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