Focus on strengthening the hip extensors to increase mobility in leg movements to the back. Increasing strength in the hip extensors and learning to "use the back of the leg" is very important when correctly executing many ballet positions, such as an attitude or arabesque.
Lying supine with your legs bent feet flat on the floor, hip distance apart. Place the Flexistretcher center pad around your right shin and grab nylon straps in each hand. Arms are long close by your sides and pulling the elastic center to a slight tension.
- With control, curl your hips off the ground, feeling your knees move towards your toes.
- Hold the position and slowly articulate the spine to the floor, returning to your starting position.
- Hip lifts 5 reps.
- Heel lifts 5 reps.
- Hip lifts with heel lifted 5 reps.
SETS: Repeat single leg series 3-5 times on each leg.
- Keep leg parallel and engage back of the leg to lift.
- Keep feet parallel [Dancers watch out for the external rotation to take over!]
- Knees line up over toes
- Arms stay hugged in by your sides.
- Head stays in line. [Do not turn head side to side]
When adding this exercise to your routine remember the principal of overload. Jacqui Green Haas supports the idea of keeping in mind this principal in order to increase strength. Greene Haas asserts:
“If you want to increase strength, you must continue to work the targeted muscle group past your normal load. The exercises are executed at maximal contraction throughout the entire range of motion.”
These exercises require less repetitions since the muscle is targeted and experiences more resistance-working the muscles to a fatigue.
In addition, it is important to remember that all exercises require control through the full range of movement. Initiating movement with momentum does not allow for experiencing the full physical benefits of the exercise. Allowing gravity or loss of awareness to finish the movement can also bring negative results. Begin each exercise with a slow, precise control and maintain that control throughout the movement.