Having a limber back in ballet is almost mandatory. It allows you to raise your arabesques, attitudes and makes for a lovelier porte bras. The back, however, is a difficult thing to stretch out. Here are three exercises that I've found to be very helpful. Some of these stretches may require assistance from another person at first but remember, when stretching out your back you have to be VERY careful. Don't push it too hard.
- Lie on the floor with your forehead on the ground. Use your hands to push only your upper body upwards so your hips are still planted firmly on the floor. You should feel a stretch in the middle of your back. We call this the "seal".
- Here is a stretch sequence that I found at this website: http://www.angelfire.com/me4/tutus_n_toes/Stretches.html "Lie on your stomach straight as a pencil. Then push your back up (with your arms) and back so that it's curved. Try to go back as far as you can without hurting yourself and see if you can get it to where you are able to look at your legs. Be sure that your muscles are warmed up before doing this stretch! When you feel that your back is warm and stretched out to the max, stay lying on your stomach and lift push your torso up so that you are in a right angle position, then try to lift your legs one at a time slowly and turned out. Do any other back stretches you like while you are still stretched out. Then you must be sure to end with this stretch: Lie on your stomach and pull your knees in under your chest keeping your arms stretched out in front of your head. Then slowly curve your back inwards until you finally are sitting up."
(I've found the above stretch to work well)
- The bridge is a pretty self-explanatory stretch. Lay on your back with your knees bent and your feet planted firmly into the ground. Put your hands beside your head and lift your torso off the ground until it looks like this: But once again, please remember to NOT push yourself too hard.
Thank you for the request, Missy. I hope this helps! :)
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