3 Stretches Adult Ballet Students Should Do Every Morning
Mornings can be rough, but there are simple stretches you can do to start the day off right. If your first inclination is to reach for the coffee, try these 3 exercises instead to get your mojo going.
Cambré is the perfect morning stretch. Start by placing your hand on your dresser, bathroom counter, or the back of a chair. Taking a nice, deep breath in, stretch your opposite arm up and over, reaching as far as you can. Repeat to the other side. This exercise opens your ribcage, giving your sides and hips a good stretch and kickstarting your circulation. Next, carefully stretch to the front by bending forward from the waist. Leading with your chest, let your arm follow your upper body as it makes its way to the floor. Finally, drop your head and arm, letting your neck and shoulders relax. Cambré is a great exercise to relieve stiffness, and helps your body wake up gradually and safely.
2. Hamstring stretch
Our legs tend to get twisted and cramped while we sleep. Practicing a mild hamstring stretch in the morning can help improve flexibility. You can even do this exercise without getting out of bed – sitting up as straight as possible, take a deep breath in, bringing your arms up above your head. Then, slowly reach forward, giving your hamstrings a good stretch. Watch that you don’t round your back, essentially missing the whole point of giving your hamstrings a stretch. Also, be careful not to bounce or jerk as this is not healthy for your muscles. Gently hold this position for at least 30 seconds and release. Ultimately, the most effective way to give your hamstrings a thorough stretch is to include dynamic stretching in conjunction with your seated stretch. After rising to a standing position, swing your legs back and forth, simultaneously warming up the muscle and increasing flexibility.
3. Quad stretch
Your thighs can take a beating from climbing stairs, lifting heavy equipment, and doing a ton of pliés. After a series of cambré and hamstring stretches, give your quads a pep talk with a quick stretch. Steadying your hand against a wall or the back of a chair, grab your foot behind you and and gently pull it in. If you experience any pain in your knees, stop and shake out your leg. If not, try to pull your foot as closely into your body as possible without causing a cramp. This helps stretch the entire front of your leg, including your hip flexors which can become stiff from sitting all day at a computer or from excessive turnout.
These are some exercises adult students can add to their morning routine for a jolt of energy and to help their overall mobility. Of course, they can also be incorporated into their warm-up before class or even used as cool down. If you experience any sharp pain or discomfort, stop and reassess what’s going on with your body. Modify a stretch if you need to. Everyone is different and you should go at a pace that’s best for you.