Dance Warm-Up Stretches
When preparing to dance, you must stretch your whole body. This relaxes the tension in your muscles so you will be less likely to injure yourself during your dance session. Here are five essential stretching exercises to warm yourself up for a fun and safe dancing session.
This classic and common stretch is not to be overlooked. The legs are one of the most important parts of the body for dance, especially when you are practicing a fast-paced dance with plenty of floor movements. Kicks, the splits, and jumps all require strong legs. You can upgrade your lunge by reaching one hand toward the floor and the other toward the ceiling while lunging. This gives your arms and shoulders a good stretch as well.
- Basic Arm Stretch
Speaking of arms, an arm-specific stretch is crucial. This simple but effective stretch involves reaching one arm across your chest and using your other forearm to press the arm closer to your chest. You should aim to do this stretch for at least 30 seconds per side because the longer you hold the stretch, the more effective it is in loosening your arm muscle tension and improving flexibility.
- 360 Degree Head and Neck Rolls
One may not think of the head or neck immediately when they think of dance, but they are important body parts for performing subtle details of a dance move. Looking up abruptly, side to side, and moving the head to follow an arm movement are all common dance moves. Since it’s easy to accidentally strain a neck, doing a neck stretch is a must. To do this stretch, you start looking to one side. Then you touch your chin to your collarbone area and move your head toward the other side. Then you tilt your head back and draw a semi-circle, and end up looking toward the side you started on. It’s a 360 degree rotation to prepare the neck for dance.
- Full Body Roll-Downs
This is a stretch meant to relax the body and promote flexibility. To start, you touch your chin to your collarbone area and slowly roll down, letting your arms droop and back curve inward. Once your fingers touch the ground, stay there for several seconds and slowly roll back up until you are standing upright again. The key to effectiveness is doing it all slowly. A slow speed allows each muscle to loosen.
- Ankle Rolls
Ankle injuries are common in all types of physical activity and this includes dance. Since the legs are often required to move constantly in a dance, it is easy to trip over yourself and sprain your ankle. This is why you should stretch the ankles during your warm-up. To do this stretch, raise your foot and draw circles with your toes. The ankle should be moving in a circle as you do this.