We’ve all heard the suggestion from Port Orange dance teachers to stretch at home to improve flexibility, but how often does anyone really stick to that suggestion? It can be difficult to start a routine and stick to it, especially if you are trying to figure out the structure and the content alone.
To create an at-home stretch routine that you can stick to, you need to ask for advice, create a dedicated time and place to stretch, acquire the right tools, and be open to making adjustments to your routine.
Port Orange dance classes certainly include stretching, but unless you are truly at the dance studio every single day, you may need some more time devoted to stretching to achieve your flexibility goals. Read on for the best ways to achieve those goals!
Ask For Advice
When thinking about creating an at-home stretch routine, you might feel overwhelmed by everything you want to accomplish. From splits to scorpions, flexibility is necessary to achieve many skills that dancers are excited about.
Asking your teacher for advice is the first place you should start. They know you and your current abilities the best, so they will be able to guide you in the right direction for your goals.
Here are some things you should ask yourself – and your teacher – when creating an at-home stretch routine:
- What are my goals? Do I want to just generally gain flexibility or do I want to work towards a specific goal, like a flat split, or a needle?
- How many days a week should I be stretching? Should every day be the same stretches, or should I change it up?
- How long will I give myself to reach my goal? When I reach my goal, what comes next?
- Is there anything I should avoid when stretching at home?
- How do I know when I should stop a stretch?
Create a Dedicated Time and Place To Stretch
One of the most important things to do when starting a new routine of any kind is to make sure you dedicate a specific time and place to the routine. Trying to fit in a stretch here and there will not lead to success!
You don’t have to have a huge Port Orange dance studio to create a space to stretch at home. A small space works just fine.
For example, I live in a small NYC apartment with no extra room for much of anything! When I do yoga or Pilates from home, I clear out my ottomans from the center of my living room and move them under the kitchen table. That gives me just enough space between my tv and my couch to lay out my yoga mat.
Making sure to schedule your stretch sessions is also incredibly important. And by “schedule”, I mean put it in your calendar! Don’t rely on your memory alone to remember to stretch every day. Try setting an alarm as well if you are still having trouble.
By dedicating a specific time and place to stretch, you’ll eliminate two hurdles towards reaching your goal!
Acquire the Right Tools
Having the right tools in your stretching toolbox will help you achieve your flexibility goals faster. But, by no means do you HAVE to have these items. You can even substitute with items around the house.
Yoga Mat (or towel)
If you’re stretching on a hardwood floor, you might want to put down a yoga mat or a towel to prevent slipping. These items will also help protect the floor from your sweat if you’re also incorporating any cardio or strength training.
Therabands are great for stretching and strengthening the feet, but you can also use them to help with stretching other parts of the body. Dance Teacher Magazine highlights a great use of a theraband for help with turn out in the article Three Basic Theraband Exercises To Increase Turnout and Strengthen Feet.
Yoga Blocks (or books covered in a towel)
Yoga blocks are foam blocks that are used to assist in certain stretches and poses. People use them for support in positions that they haven’t quite mastered yet. You can use sturdy pillows, or books covered in a towel to help support you as you work towards a full split. See some examples of how yoga blocks can help support your body here in this video!
Be Open To Making Adjustments
So you’ve got your plan, your space, and your supplies. But something’s not working out. Maybe the time of day you chose isn’t feeling right. Perhaps you keep getting distracted in the space you chose.
These are easily fixable things if you’re willing to adjust your stretching routine. Not everything has to stay fixed, especially with activities like stretching to gain flexibility. In fact, we must REMAIN flexible to GAIN flexibility!
Space and time in this scenario are easy things to fix. If you’re noticing that the stretching itself isn’t helping you achieve your goals, then it might be time to investigate the kinds of stretching you’re doing.
Take a look at this article Three Ways To Improve Your Dance Technique TODAY for more info on proper stretching.
Stuck at Home? How Dancers Can Stay in Shape at Home