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.