When it comes to flexibility, not everyone is lucky enough to be naturally bendy. When I was younger I used to look at other dancers in my ballet classes and wish I could get my leg as high as they did in Grand Battements and look on in awe at how effortlessly they could just slide into the splits on both legs. I’m not one of those dancers who is naturally flexible and like many others, I have one side that’s far more limber than the other so flexibility is something I’ve had to work on really consistently.
The funny thing is that when I started stretching regularly (and purposefully with the right exercises), I saw so many changes and improvements in not only my extensions, but in so many other areas, which is why I’m so passionate about helping empower and motivate other dancers to stretch as often as they can! This is one of the reasons I created the Claudia Dean App, which has hundreds of exercises and stretches on it that will help you see and feel a difference. Here are 3 reasons stretching is important for dancers.
It reduces the risk of injury
This is probably one of the most important reasons all dancers need to stretch at least 3-4 times a week (if not more). Stretching and warming up your muscles before you launch into any kind of physical activity (especially ballet) helps to stimulate the production of synovial fluid in the joints, which is what helps aid shock absorption and reduces friction in the joints and cartilage from things like Allegro and Grand Allegro. It also helps loosen and warm up your muscles so you don’t sustain any tears through sudden jolts of extensive movement like Grand Battements!
There are so many incredible Warm Up exercises for every part of the body available on the Claudia Dean App that can be done in just a few minutes!
It releases tension and calms your mind
We all carry stress in our muscles, whether it’s from a busy day at school or work or a particularly strenuous and physically demanding ballet class. As dancers, it’s important that we provide relief and release to our muscles after every single class, so you’re able to fully rest and recover. In addition to physical relief, certain stretches can also provide emotional relief, particularly when opening up your hips, shoulders and chest!
The Froggie Flexibility series on the Claudia Dean App is perfect for opening up tight hips, which is important for anyone who sits at a desk all day.
It helps prevent muscle soreness
How many times have you woken up after a long day of rehearsal or a week packed full of holiday classes with muscles that are so sore it hurts to even sit down to go to the toilet 🤣? I’ve definitely been there many times before, which is why I found that incorporating daily stretching into my routine was something that really helped speed up my recovery. Trust me I promise it’s not as time consuming as it sounds, and I used to actually look forward to it! Every night after dinner when my family and I would relax after dinner and watch some TV, I would do 20-minutes of stretching, which always made my body feel amazing, particularly after a long day of dancing. Stretching releases nutrients and blood supply to the muscles, which speeds up your recovery by helping to shift the lactic acid build up, which helps reduce the feeling of soreness!
Any stretches from our Back Flexibility series on the Claudia Dean App are perfect to do in front of the TV (you won’t miss a second of Emily in Paris).
So if you don’t already, why not challenge yourself to stretch for 20-minutes a day and see the difference it makes to your technique, your headspace and your recovery! We also have a whole host of Flexibility Courses that are exclusively available on the Claudia Dean App - so why not give them a go?
Love always CD xx