Lateral Bend with the Flexistretcher

Try this upper body stretch with the Flexistretcher to gain mobility before barre, rehearsal, or performance. 

SETUP:   Sitting cross-legged, hold the Flexistretcher in front of you rbody in both hands a little wider than shoulder-width apart.  Pull the band to a tension, and slowly raise your arms up overhead and slightly your head.

ACTION:

  • With the strap overhead, slowly bend sideways at the waist, making sure that the top arm does not collapse toward your head, keeping the shoulders drawn down your back.  
  • Actively pull down the bottom arm, feeling a stretch throughout the side of your torso.  Make sure to ground the sit bones as you bend sideways.  
  • Repeat on the other side.

CUES

  • Keep gaze outward and lift chin from chest.  
  • Keep shoulders drawn down your back for the entire exercise.  
  • Keep hip firmly planted.


VARIATION: Try this exercises standing with feet hip width apart.

4 Key Ways to Gain Advanced Flexibility & Strength Required for Dance or Sport

“Good dancers or athletes focus on their strengths, maximizing potential benefits while ignoring covering up and compensating for weakness. Elite dancers or athletes confront their weaknesses and focus on them in their daily class and conditioning routine.” - Rachel Hamrick, FLX Founder
Ronit Shamuilov for FLX, Renata Pavam Photography

Ronit Shamuilov for FLX, Renata Pavam Photography

1.) How can the Flexistretcher help me master these extreme movements? 

Utilizing elastic resistance training, combined with unparalleled durability makes the Flexistretcher the professional’s choice to incorporate into your daily routine.  Allowing one to simulate functional dance or sport specific movements, such as the Scorpion, improves execution and mobility. Adjusting the level of resistance, varying the number of repetitions, and changing the pace of the exercise, a strengthening program can be created to improve the necessary skills required to effectively show improvements.

2.) How does it work? 

Ronit Shamuilov for FLX, Renata Pavam Photography

Ronit Shamuilov for FLX, Renata Pavam Photography

When stretching with the Flexistretcher you are actively engaging the muscles throughout the entire range of motion.  The key to effective stretching with the Flexistretcher is engaging an active stretch based on Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF). The PNF stretching techniques employ the concept that the muscle relaxation part of the stretch is fundamental to effectively enhancing flexibility and deepening the stretch. A popular PNF technique is the contract-relax, where the muscle is stretched, contracted, relaxed and then stretched further.

3.) What is strength or resistance training? 

Any exercise that uses the force of a muscle against some form of resistance to build muscle strength, endurance, and size.  Resistance training with your Flexistretcher will increase strength by targeting particular muscle groups past normal load. When performing exercises, execute movement with maximum contraction throughout the entire range of motion. This type of training uses more resistance resulting in fewer repetitions, which will work your muscles to fatigue.

4.) Why should you focus on weak areas in your conditioning routine? 

Most sports and dance are based on repetitive movements and this can lead to a muscular imbalance and injury can result. Working with elastic resistance helps to strengthen the opposing muscle. When creating a training routine it is suggested to combine base exercise with sport or dance specific exercise for maximum results.

Stretches for Gymnasts: Extreme Flexibility Focus

Got a meet coming up? Improve your Penché, Scorpion, Biellmann spin, Dancer’s pose and over splits to secure that perfect score!

Flexibility paired with strength is imperative for functional movements required in ballet or any particular sport.  In most sports, extreme mobility and strength are mandatory to accomplish even the most introductory movements and necessary to advance to the top of your field.

Rather than using static or flimsy exercise straps that force you into position or may break in usage, the Flexistretcher combines stretch with durability. Originally designed for professional ballet dancers, the Flexistretcher’s custom designed parts and adjustable straps are built to withstand daily extreme use. Utilizing elastic training methods when working with the Flexistretcher allows one to find a safe level of extension while increasing strength in the muscles to hold the position. Using the Flexistretcher to free your arms, find correct form, or deepen a stretch, challenges the muscles within the position and effectively increases flexibility along with strength.

Try these stretches and target all the moves that require maximum strength & flexibility: 

1.) Penché

SETUP:  Hold on to a stable surface. Standing on your left leg, place both loops around the center of the right foot.  Bend your right leg behind you as you thread your left arm through the center and placing the foam pad on your left shoulder.

ACTION: Lift the right knee up and, pushing into the resistance, extend the leg behind you.  Slowly lower your torso towards the floor, lifting the working leg into a standing split.  To return, lift the torso upright. Then bend the knee and turn it in, remove the pad from around your shoulder, and step out of the loops.  Repeat with the other leg.

Really concentrate on actively contracting your muscles while performing this stretch. Pull up on the thighs and co-contract the hamstrings, hold for 5 seconds and then relax. Repeat this 5-10 times.

2.) Dancer’s Pose

Melanie Hamrick (American Ballet Theatre) demonstrating Dancer's Pose.

Melanie Hamrick (American Ballet Theatre) demonstrating Dancer's Pose.

SETUP:  Fold the Flexistretcher in half. Stand on your left leg and bend the right leg behind you.  With a flexed foot, hook the center foam pad of the Flexistretcher around the top of the foot.

ACTION:  Take the loops in your hands. With control begin to raise your arms up toward the sky as you lift your right leg straight up behind you.

To add a challenge you can walk your hands closer to the center of the Flexistretcher to tighten the resistance. Begin to straighten the leg behind you and concentrate on the standing leg, making sure that it is strong and stable.

 

How to Improve Your Scorpion for Cheerleading

Adrienne Canterna Scorpion

Like most stunts in Cheerleading, the scorpion requires adequate strength and flexibility from the flyer to accomplish this amazing feat.

Whether flying at daring heights or on the ground, it is necessary to have sufficient spinal extension and hip flexor flexibility, as well as balance and stability to maintain the pose.

Utilizing elastic resistance training, combined with unparalleled durability makes the Flexistretcher the professional’s choice to incorporate into your daily routine.  Allowing one to simulate functional dance or sport specific movements, such as the Scorpion, improves execution and mobility. Adjusting the level of resistance, varying the number of repetitions, and changing the pace of the exercise, a strengthening program can be created to improve the necessary skills required to get you flying high with ease!         

Step 1) Make sure the Flexistretcher is adjusted properly and that you are holding on to a wall or something stable for balance.

Step 2) Place both loops around the center of your right foot.

Step 3) Bend the right leg behind you. Thread your left arm through the foam center and secure it around your left shoulder.

Step 4) Holding onto the wall or something stable, press your right leg into the strap lifting it up above the head. Slide your arms up the wall to stretch the front of the body in opposition to the leg. Hold for 10 seconds. Repeat.

Step 5) As you progress with flexibility and strength try to hold onto the right foot while pressing into the strap. Make sure your weight is securely over the ball of the standing foot, and stretch up into the strap with equal effort on both hands and feet.

Step 6) Remove the Flexistretcher and fly free! With step 6, we send you on your way to accomplishing the scorpion of your dreams. 

Cheer Focus: Stretches for Toe Touches

Try this ballerina inspired stretch to improve your toe touch!

Middle Split

SET-UP: Begin by adjusting the loops of the Flexistretcher to make the straps shorter. In a seated position with your legs bent in close to you, place the foam pad around your upper back with the straps coming forward under your shoulders. Take each loop and place it on the corresponding foot.

ACTION:

  • Slowly extend your legs out to the side into a seated middle split.
  • Bend each side and fold your body forward to deepen the stretch.

REPETITIONS: Hold for 60 seconds.

SETS: 3-5 sets

MODIFICATIONS:

  • Slightly bend the knees if the hamstrings are tight
  • Loosen the straps
  • Sit on a rolled up towel or block if you are rounding too much in the lumbar spine.

CUES:

  • Press the legs long out into the straps.
  • Fully activate the legs by pulling up on the knees and finding a co-contraction of the quadriceps and hamstrings.
  • Activate the core.
  • Maintain a neutral pelvis.

 

Sport Stretching Guidelines to Follow for Maximum Results

Looking for the best results from your flexibility routine?  Make sure to apply the same diligence, dedication, and patience you would towards anything when looking for success. 

Runners Flexistretcher Stretch

Here are some guidelines consistent with the American College of Sports Medicine(ACSM) that are important to follow and will help you attain optimal results.

Frequency: at least 3 times per week

Intensity: slowly stretching to a point of mild discomfort

Duration: Hold the stretch for at least 10 seconds and work up to 30 seconds.

Repetition: perform each stretch 3-5 times.

Safety tips:

  • Stretch slowly and smoothly
  • Avoid bouncing
  • Maintain normal breathing throughout the stretch
  • Focus your attention on the muscles being stretched and try to limit movement in other body parts

Classical Ballet: A Physical Activity Akin to An Olympic Sport

Dancers must train like professional athletes to develop and maintain the muscular strength, flexibility, and endurance required of ballet in order to achieve longevity in their careers.

Supplemental stretch and strength training is crucial for the development of healthy, strong, and supple muscles required to sustain the daily demands of such rigorous activity as training to become and maintaining the life of a classical ballerina. The Flexistretcher intensifies the traditional stretch and strength routines used by ballet dancers of the past by utilizing elastic resistance training.  This is a commonly used training program among professional athletes because it enables specific movement patterns without the limitations of gravity.  In applying the training fundamentals employed by both dancers and athletes, the Flexistretcher becomes a beneficial apparatus in any fitness regimen.  

Originally designed by a professional dancer for use in some of the world's top ballet companies, the Flexistretcher is an indispensable component of any athlete’s fitness arsenal.  Harnessing the power of elastic resistance, the Flexistretcher safely improves flexibility, while simultaneously strengthening the muscles as they stretch.

Jose Sebastian

Utilizing the elastic resistance allows variable resistance throughout out an exercise. As the band is stretched the resistance increases, and working against this resistance forces the muscle to respond with increased effort, which promotes muscle growth, strength, and power.  Performing a stretch or exercise with a variable resistance requires muscle activation throughout the entire range of motion eliminating the possibility of using momentum and 'cheat' your way through the movement.   

Using the Flexistretcher to simulate dance-specific or sport-specific movement patterns, isolates the necessary muscles needed, concentrating on improving power, execution, and mobility that will facilitate an athletes performance.  Actively working the muscles throughout the movement increases muscle strength in a safe, productive manner.  By changing the level of resistance by adjusting the loops, the number of repetitions, and the pace of the exercise, working with the Flexistretcher allows for a tailored strengthening program targeted towards general strength and conditioning, or improving the skills necessary for a enhanced sports or dance performance.

Penche, Biellmann spin, Scorpion, Dancer's Pose and Over splits

Improve your Penche, Scorpion, Biellmann spin, Dancer’s pose and over splits required in gymnastics and rhythmic gymnasts.

Flexibility paired with strength is imperative for functional movements required in ballet or a particular sport.  In ballet and most sports, extreme mobility and strength are mandatory to accomplish even the most introductory movements and necessary to advance to the top of your field.

Rather than using static or flimsy exercise straps that force you into position or may break in usage, the Flexistretcher combines stretch with durability. Originally designed for professional ballet dancers, the Flexistretcher’s custom designed parts and adjustable straps are built to withstand daily extreme use. Utilizing elastic training methods when working with the Flexistretcher allows one to find a safe level of extension while increasing strength in the muscles to hold the position. Using the Flexistretcher to free your arms, find correct form, or deepen a stretch, challenges the muscles within the position and effectively increases flexibility along with strength.

Melanie Hamrick, ABT  

Melanie Hamrick, ABT  

Penche:

SETUP:  Hold on to a stable surface.

Standing on your left leg, place both loops around the center of the right foot.

Bend your right leg behind you as you thread your left arm through the center and placing the foam pad on your left shoulder.

ACTION: Lift the right knee up and, pushing into the resistance, extend the leg behind you.

Slowly lower your torso towards the floor, lifting the working leg into a standing split.

To return, lift the torso upright. Then bend the knee and turn it in, remove the pad from around your shoulder, and step out of the loops.  Repeat with the other leg.

**Really concentrate on actively contracting your muscles while performing this stretch. Pull up on the thighs and co-contract the hamstrings, hold for 5 seconds and then relax. Repeat this 5-10 times.

Utilizing elastic resistance training, combined with unparalleled durability makes the Flexistretcher the professional’s choice to incorporate into your daily routine.  Allowing one to simulate functional dance or sport specific movements, such as the Scorpion, improves execution and mobility. Adjusting the level of resistance, varying the number of repetitions, and changing the pace of the exercise, a strengthening program can be created to improve the necessary skills required to effectively show improvements.

Dancer’s Pose

SETUP:  Fold the Flexistretcher in half. Stand on your left leg and bend the right leg behind you.

With a flexed foot, hook the center foam pad of the Flexistretcher around the top of the foot.

ACTION:  Take the loops in your hands. With control begin to raise your arms up toward the sky as you lift your right leg straight up behind you.

To add a challenge you can walk your hands closer to the center of the Flexistretcher to tighten the resistance. Begin to straighten the leg behind you and concentrate on the standing leg, making sure that it is strong and stable.


When stretching with the Flexistretcher you are actively engaging the muscles throughout the entire range of motion.  The key to effective stretching with the Flexistretcher is engaging an active stretch based on Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF). The PNF stretching techniques employ the concept that the muscle relaxation part of the stretch is fundamental to effectively enhancing flexibility and deepening the stretch. A popular PNF technique is the contract-relax, where the muscle is stretched, contracted, relaxed and then stretched further.

Keep up with your strength training routine!

“Good dancers or athletes focus on their strengths, maximizing potential benefits while ignoring covering up and compensating for weakness. Elite dancers or athletes confront their weaknesses and focus on them in their daily class and conditioning routine.”

10 Stretches for Cyclists: Flexibility & Injury Prevention

The most common injuries for both dancers and bikers, other than physical ailments from falling, are due to overuse from movements repetitive in nature.  

CyclingStretcher.jpg

Practicing these movements while misaligned can be detrimental to the body, inhibiting one’s ability to reach their personal performance potential.  Proper alignment is crucial while on the saddle.  

Misalignment issues for bikers tend to start at the bottom, developing most commonly in the foot, knee and hip as a starting point. These areas may experience tightness and/or pain, leading to “biomechanical inefficiency” that contributes to loss of power and speed.  

What’s the best thing you can do to prevent injury caused by misalignment and repetitive motions? Stretching.

Stretching regularly and improving flexibility is the key to riding faster and further on the bike.  The American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine states:

“Tight hamstrings and/or hip flexor muscles can lead to rounding or arching your back, causing your neck to hyperextend. Stretching these muscles on a regular basis will create flexibility and make it easier to maintain proper form.”

By employing a routine stretch and flexibility routine utilizing active stretching techniques into your warm up and cool down, riders may prevent pending injury and strengthen the body while practicing proper alignment.  Here are 10 stretches & exercises for bikers that aid in prevention and care:

*Hold each stretch for 15-30 seconds and repeat 3 times on each side. 

1.) LATERAL BEND  

ballet stretches for cyclists

With the strap overhead, slowly bend sideways at the waist, making sure that the top arm does not collapse toward your head, keeping the shoulders drawn down your back.  Actively pull down the bottom arm, feeling a stretch throughout the side of your torso.  Make sure to ground the sit bones as you bend sideways.  

2.) TRICEPS STRETCH 

stretchesforcyclists

Extend the top elbow until your arm is fully extended, and bend the elbow back down.

3.) ADDUCTOR/ABDUCTOR STRETCH

 

Draw your right knee into your chest and place the arch of your right foot on the center of the foam pad.  Extend your right leg up towards the ceiling, straightening the right leg.

ballet stretches for cyclists

Adductor: Open the right leg towards the right shoulder, keeping the left hip firmly grounded, with the left leg actively pressing into the floor.  Modify: Bend your supporting leg and place the foot flat on the ground.

stretchesforcyclists

Abductor: Pull the right leg across the body towards the left shoulder, making sure that both hips remain in place on the ground. Modify: Bend your supporting leg and place the foot flat on the ground.

4.) CALF STRETCH

Flex the right foot and gently pull down on the loops.  Contract your right quadriceps to deepen the stretch.  

Need to modify? Bend your supporting leg and place the foot flat on the ground.

5.) LUNGE (PSOAS STRETCH WITH ONE LOOP)

Position yourself in a lunge and take one loop and place it on the right foot.  Lean forward into the lunge and pull the other end of the strap over your left shoulder with your left hand.  Keep your right hand on the floor for support.  Shift more weight into your front foot to feel a stretch in front of the leg and hip.   

To deepen the stretch:

  • Pull your right hip forward to align your pelvis parallel with your shoulders.
  • Gently press the right foot back into the loop.
  • Try this variation of the stretch: http://bit.ly/14iQwWN

6.) SUPINE HAMSTRING STRETCH

Flex the right foot, and gently pull down on the loops, and contract your right thigh.

7.) SEATED ONE-LEGGED HAMSTRING STRETCH

Forward fold over the lengthened leg while pressing into the Flexistretcher to deepen the stretch.

8.) SEATED LEG RAISE

Without hinging back, pull your hands in toward you to lift the your leg up off of the ground, making sure that the foot is flexed and pressed long into the resistance

9.) SEATED FORWARD FOLD

Forward fold, with your chest toward your thighs, as you pull on the straps to intensify the stretch. Hold for 30-60 sec.

10.) STANDING QUAD STRETCH (FLAMINGO)

Standing on the left leg, bend the right behind you and place the top of your right foot on the center of the foam pad with loops in your hands.  Pull the straps away from you in front of your body, while slowly pulling back your knee.  

Push forward with your right hip, keeping the front of your pelvis parallel with your shoulders. This helps bring the stretch through the full length of your quadriceps up to the hip flexors.