Flexibility and coordination are essential when training as a dancer, as these skills increase a dancer’s ability to perform more advanced routines and learn alternative dance styles. While many believe that both flexibility and coordination can only be achieved by training at a young age or by being born with natural talent, there are many stretches that can be done to improve your skills. With patience and a little bit of effort, flexibility and coordination can be increased at any age with a few simple exercises. Like any other skill, it just takes practice.
Stand On One Leg
While it sounds silly, standing on one leg for an extended period of time strengthens core muscles used for balance and coordination. Place one leg on your knee at a right angle, tighten your abs and focus on maintaining your balance. When steady balance can be achieved for several minutes, slowly bring your leg down to several inches above the floor and back again. By repeating this action, you’ll be exercising your muscle control, which will help to improve your dance coordination.
Sit on a Yoga Ball
Instead of lounging on the couch, take an hour or so out of your afternoon to watch television while sitting on a yoga ball. Or if you find yourself sitting for long periods in front of the computer, replace your desk chair with one. Sitting on a yoga ball not only strengthens core muscles but also encourages your body to keep perfect posture. You’ll get rock hard abs and improve your balance and coordination in no time if you complete one hour of this exercise a day.
When done properly, lunges are a great way to strengthen muscles and increase flexibility. By striding forward with one leg, you work out that legs quadriceps while the other leg’s calf muscles and glutes are stretched by extension. If you find that one of your legs allows less flexibility than the other, doing extra lunges on that side will even it out.
Gravity can be a great tool when used to increase flexibility. Instead of stretching in a split sitting on the floor, try lying on your back with your legs against the wall in a ninety-degree angle. By then opening your legs into a split, gravity will act as a weight, stretching your legs and increasing flexibility.
Using a medicine ball or dumbbell, bend forward touching the floor before bringing the weight back up over your head. This exercise can also be done by bending to either side with a dumbbell in hand until it reaches just above your knee. Weight bending is great for a full body stretch, offering strength and flexibility to all of your core muscles.
Simple stretches and strength training on a regular basis will not only increase flexibility and coordination but also better your dancing abilities. Any of these exercises can be done at home while watching television.