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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Beginner Ballet Tips: Improving Your Turnout

First position of the feet, turned out; intend...

 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In my ballet class, we’ve recently been working on improving our turnout, and I’m always looking for new stretches and exercises to help improve my turnout (in addition to working on stretching out my splits). Turnout in ballet refers to the outward rotation of the feet and hips.  One of my favorites is the frog stretch. Even though it looks a bit ridiculous, it stretches really well. NextDance.com describes the frog stretch as

 This is the popular stretch where you lay on your stomach with your knees bent, legs turned out, and feet pressed together. This stretches your inner thighs, which will help enable better turnout, especially in pliè.

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