Got Tight Hips? 5 Exercises to Find Relief
When a muscle is tight, most dancers' natural response is to stretch it. But when it comes to your hip flexors, stretching won't provide a long-term cure, and it could even make the problem worse if the muscle is inflamed.
Often, a more effective fix is building strength in the stabilizing muscles. As a Pilates instructor who specializes in working with dancers, here are five of my favorite exercises to relieve hip tightness—and increase mobility.
Toe Taps on a Foam Roller
1. Lie on a foam roller in the center of your head and spine. Start with your legs in tabletop position, your pelvis neutral and your fingertips resting on the floor.
2. Keeping your torso still and abdominals flat, lower one leg toward the floor. Go only as far as torso position can be maintained.
3. Return to tabletop, then repeat with opposite leg. Aim for 6–8 taps on each leg, alternating each time.
Single Leg Extension
1. Lie face down with your fingertips resting on your forehead. Your leg are turned out, but can be together or hip distance apart.
2. Maintaining a stable pelvis, reach one leg long and off the mat. Be careful to only extend the leg as far as a neutral pelvis can be maintained. Your low back should remain relaxed.
3. Return to start, then repeat with opposite leg. Aim for 6–8 reps with each leg, alternating each time.
Shoulder Bridge Prep
1. Stabilize your pelvis and spine in a neutral position, then extend your hips to lift the pelvis off the mat, creating a diagonal line from shoulders to knees. Be careful to not extend the spine.
2. Lift one foot off mat, making sure that there is no dropping or movement of the pelvis.
3. Return to start, then repeat with opposite leg. Aim for 3–6 reps with each leg, alternating each time.
Heel Squeeze Prone
1. Lie on your stomach with spine and pelvis in neutral, fingertips resting on forehead. With your knees slightly wider than hip-distance, bend them at a 90-degree angle.
2. Squeeze heels together and lightly lift your thighs off the mat as far as a neutral pelvis and spine can be maintained.
3. Hold for a second, then return to starting position and repeat for 8–10 repetitions.
1. Lie on your side with spine and pelvis in neutral, knees bent and together and your bottom heel lifted slightly.
2. Keeping your pelvis neutral and your heels together, lift the top knee.
3. Hold for a second, then return to start. Aim for 8–10 repetitions.
4. Repeat on opposite side.
For a Broadway dancer, few opportunities are more exciting than being part of the creation of an original show. But if that show goes on to become wildly successful, who reaps the benefits? Thanks to a new deal between Actors' Equity Association and The Broadway League, performers involved in a production's development will now receive their own cut of the earnings.
Jellicle obsessives, rejoice: There's a new video out that offers a (surprisingly substantive) look at the dancing that went down on the set of the new CATS movie.
When Dr. Mae Jemison was growing up, she was obsessed with space. But she didn't see any astronauts who looked like her.
"I said, Wait a minute. Why are all the astronauts white males?" she recounts in a CNN video. "What if the aliens saw them and said, Are these the only people on Earth?"
It's no surprise that dancers make some of the best TED Talk presenters. Not only are they great performers, but they've got unique knowledge to share. And they can dance!
If you're in need of a midweek boost, look no further than these eight presentations from some incredibly inspiring dance artists.