3 Essential Stretches to Improve Your Turnout

Whether you’re trying to improve your flexibility, warm up for class, or just relieve some muscle soreness, stretching can be extremely beneficial. For this tutorial, we’ve picked our favorite basic hip-opening stretches inspired by our favorite yoga poses and in-class exercises.

Each of these poses can be modified to be either more or less intense, so choose the best variation for you. As always, listen to your body and keep in mind these tips for safe stretching:

  • Repeat the stretch on both sides. Don’t give up on one side when it can’t quite do what the other can. Symmetry makes for good alignment!
  • Breathe. It seems obvious, but it’s a natural tendency to hold your breath during a deep stretch. Taking deep breaths sends oxygen through your blood and to your muscles, which both feels great and helps your stretch.
  • Move slowly in and out of stretches, and never force yourself past the point of pain. Protect your instrument!

Drop-Second Plié

Stand in a wide second position, turning out only as much as your hips will allow. Hold onto a barre, table, chair, etc. for support as you bend into a deep grand plié. This stretch will be wider and lower than a proper grand plié, and you’ll want the weight of your pelvis to drop between your heels. Be careful of over-rotation — always keep the arches lifted, with all five toes rooted into the floor.

If you feel stable enough to balance in this position, try lifting your hands off the barre and placing them at your chest, palms together. Place your elbows at the insides of your knees and push your hands downward to push the knees back and open. Remember to breathe! To recover, gently take your elbows away from your knees, place your hands back on the barre, and use your glutes to rise and straighten your knees.

DROP 2nd

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What exercises do you do for flexibility?

I’m always struggling to fit stretching and flexibility training into my schedule, although it’s always something I’m trying to get better at. Here are two of my favorite videos for stretching (which are for splits specifically, but they’re good for general hamstring flexibility):

The longer version:

The shorter version:

What are your favorite stretching routines? How do you find time to stretch?

How Yoga is Useful for Dancers (and Runners): My Yoga Works Review

Disclosure: I received a free six-month trial of MyYogaWorks in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Use code “Blogger14” to get your first month for $5, or sign-up for a free trial at My Yoga Works.

I’ve always known that I should be doing more yoga to help with my flexibility and injury recovery. The truth is–however–that I just don’t ever seem to find time between ballet, running, work, blogging and learning web development. What I love about My Yoga Works is the same reason I love Code Academy (which offers super quick coding lessons)–there are a lot of quick and easy short yoga videos for you to pick from, no matter what your skill level is.

I love all the different options you can search by--especially the time option--perfect if you only have 5-10 minutes!

I love all the different options you can search by–especially the time option–perfect if you only have 5-10 minutes!

The first video I picked was Lift With Your Legs by Alexandria Crow, a video I found via My Yoga Works pain-relief section. It turned out to be exactly what I needed, with lower leg stretches and strengthening moves for my sore calves and shins from running. I’ll definitely be incorporating this video into my routine a few times a week to keep my calves happier.

The next video I tried out was 5 Minute Hips with Vytas Baskauskas. I know my hips need a lot of work, but I don’t often have a lot of time, so I wanted to try this video out. While this gave a great explanation of some hip stretches (and how to do them correctly)–there wasn’t enough time for you to even test them out on each side. Happy Healthy Hips was just what I needed, on the other hand. It was a quick 14 minute sequence of hip openers that made my hips pretty happy.

I’m looking forward to using My Yoga Works in the future for short workouts to help keep me injury-free and more flexible.

Use code “Blogger14” to get your first month for $5, or sign-up for a free trial at My Yoga Works.

Do you use yoga as part of your ballet or running training?

Thank you for Taking My Reader Survey! + Poll

Nearly 50 people took my reader survey that I put out a few weeks ago–thank you everyone! You’re answers and information will help me put together a better blog! I’ll be putting a summary of what I found out from it up on the blog (and in my media kit) once I get a chance to go through it and digest all of the things you guys wrote.

I have a pretty busy week ahead of me (with Easter Weekend coming up next weekend) and although I’m going to try to get as many good posts up as I can!

Time for a poll:

Personally, I think I’d choose flexibility, just because I’ve always wanted to be flexible and stretch my legs higher in class. Being able

Share your thoughts in the comments!

Splits and Increasing Flexibility

There’s been a lot of talk about splits and flexibility in general on this blog, including a post on is there a such thing as too much flexibility as well as a stretching series with its first post on increasing back flexibility (and hopefully we’ll have more posts in this series soon by Caysie!).

Ballet stretch

Personally, I’ve kind of put stretching specifically for splits on the backburner, and I’ve recently adapted more of an injury prevention and working towards generally increasing my flexibility instead of stressing my splits, because things like my back tend to get ignored when I’m focused on splits. So I’ll be working on more general stretching for awhile until I get my way back to the splits.

But for when I do, I’m researching different methods to stretching. There’s a lot of different tips out there (many of which contradict others) such as stretch everyday, stretch every other day, stretch in short bursts throughout the day, etc. I even found this fairly lengthy split stretching guide–that I’m thinking about trying out.There’s just so much information out there that kind of makes my head spin.

What have you found works best for you to increase your flexibility?


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