Stretch Pitfall “Lack of Variety” and the Solution To It
A pitfall is a hidden or unexpected challenge! And here’s the thing…we all run into them from time to time. But when you find yourself falling into stretch pitfalls, you need to identify and address them. Otherwise, they will negatively affect your stretch programs and efforts. This will directly affect your dancer’s flexibility, mobility, technique and performance by causing “gaps” to form in their technique. And no one wants gaps….
One common and sneaky pitfall comes in the form of “Lack of Variety”. In my 20+ years of working in the dance world I have seen it creep in many times.
Here’s what I mean…
In the dance world, most stretches and stretch sequences tend to lack variety, in that they are very hamstrings and inner hip and thigh dominant. This leads to under stretching certain parts of the body while overstretching others.
Let’s discuss the consequences of both, overstretching and under stretching, and what can be done to correct this. So that dancers can reach their full potential while creating healthy stretch habits NOW and for years to come!
First off, overstretching…it’s a thing. A really big thing right now in the dance world! The definitions of overstretching include:
Essentially, over stretching refers to taking a joint past its natural physiological range. The key point here is natural! When you move beyond your natural joint range, you often stretch ligaments. Ligaments are designed to stabilize your joints and define their range of motion. Therefore, we do not recommend you stretch them.
Once a ligament is stretched or overstretched, it has a hard time coming back. And the once neutral joint range, can be lost. This results in a loss of joint stability and risks damaging the surrounding tissues and bones, especially in young students as their bones are not fully developed. Overstretching can lead to damaging the shape of sockets, such as the hip socket. It can even lead to injuries such as spinal stress fractures. This is NOT a good thing.
And second, under stretching….it’s a thing too.
When I refer to under stretching in the dance world I’m not talking about NOT stretching enough. I’m talking about NOT stretching ALL muscle groups sufficiently! For example, warm ups and stretch sequences tend to be very hamstring and inner hip dominant in dance.
This leaves a LOT of other major muscles out. Leaving them out is not going to sufficiently stretch your students. I commonly see the outer hip and thigh, side body, shoulders, mid-back and deep 6 external hip rotators left out. These are highly used groups of muscles in dancers and areas where dancers NEED to have a lot of flexibility and mobility!
So…what’s the SOLUTION to stretch pitfall “lack of variety”, to ensure you avoid both overstretching and under stretching?
Following a comprehensive, easy to implement weekly stretch curriculum. Designed to add variety to your weekly stretch sequences. And stretch all muscle groups that dancers need to stretch. Not just hamstrings and inner hips!
Our comprehensive weekly stretch curriculum targets the following areas:
And your’s should too!!
For the love of dance education!
Click here, to find out how you can get your hands on our comprehensive stretch curriculum.