Sinking into positions when you're not aligned isn't doing you any favors. Photo by Getty Images
When it comes to flexibility, more isn't always better. Donna Flagg says that many of the dancers who show up at her Lastics Stretch Technique classes at studios like Broadway Dance Center and Steps on Broadway are already hypermobile.
"They're so loose," she says, "they just yank their legs as far as they can." That's not to say that hypermobile dancers shouldn't stretch—they just need to take extra care to keep their joints safe. Flagg recommends a few guidelines:
Stretching for 30-second intervals throughout the day is an effective way to improve flexibility. Getty Images
It's been three months since I pulled my hamstring while working extra hard on my flexibility in hot yoga. I've done physical therapy every week. But even though it's now healed, I feel pain as soon as I try to dance. Why can't I get over this?
Open up the small muscles before you move on to the bigger ones during a stretching session. Photo by Justyn Warner/Unsplash
Dancers are always trying to find more flexibility in their bodies. But what's the best way to do it?
We asked former dancers Ann and Chris Frederick, creators of Fascial Stretch Therapy, which targets connective tissue rather than isolating individual muscles. They recommend following these five principles to find the greatest range of motion within your body:
When you spend as much time on the road as The Royal Ballet's Steven McRae, getting access to a proper gym can be a hassle. To stay fit, the Australian-born principal turns to calisthenics—the old-school art of developing aerobic ability and strength with little to no equipment.
"It's basically just using your own body weight," McRae explains. "In terms of partnering, I'm not going to dance with a ballerina who is bigger than me, so if I can sustain my own body weight, then in my head I should be fine."