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Beginners Stretch Routine

By Salome

As a primer, I suggest reading "Warm Up!" an interview with exercise and sports science expert Erik Whitney.

Step 1 Cardiovascular
Record or select a CD with slow pace music that gradually increases in speed. Progress the intensity of activity (dance movements OR calisthenics) over a ten minute period.

Step 2 Ballistic Stretches
Ballistic and static stretches are the same, the difference comes in execution. Perform the beginners stretch routine twice - do not hold the stretch - instead LIGHTLY bounce in it 10 times, going a little further in each bounce.

Step 3 Dance
You have prepared your body for "real life" movement and are ready for dance practice!

Step 4 Static Stretches
Static stretches increase flexibility and are optimally done after dance practice. Perform the beginners stretch routine three times. Hold each stretch for 30 seconds, going a little further in the stretch each time.

Prone Abdominal Stretch Prone Abdominal Stretch (Abdomen)
Lie face down on the floor, palms down directly under shoulders and toes pointed. Exhale as you extend arms straight, keeping head in line with the spine.
Supine Stretch Supine Stretch (Low back)
Lie flat on the floor face up, with feet flat on the floor and both knees bent. Keeping feet and knees together, lift feet off the floor, reaching behind knees with hands, hug knees into chest. Keep back flat to the floor.

Trunk and Hip Stretch Trunk and Hip Stretch (Torso and hip)
Lie flat on the floor face up, bring one knee up then let it lie across the other leg; try to touch the floor with your knee. Keep shoulders on the floor and let the weight of your leg determine the depth of the stretch.

Lying Outer Hip Stretch (Hips and buttocks)
Lie flat on the floor face up, with knees bent, right ankle on left thigh just below left knee. Reach around left leg with both hands and gently pull the left knee up and towards the body.
Lying Outer Hip Stretch

Side Lying Quad Stretch (Front of thigh)
Lie on the floor on your left side. Left arm extended straight out, head resting on left arm. Keep left leg straight. Bend right knee, and reach back with right hand grasping right ankle, pressing heel towards buttocks. Hold 30 seconds, and repeat on other side.
Side Lying Quad Stretch

Supine Hamstring Supine Hamstring
(Back of upper legs)
Lie flat on the floor face up, with knees bent, feet flat on floor. Lift left leg, with leg straight and knee slightly bent. With both hands reach around left leg, keep hips to the floor and gently pull left leg toward body. Hold 30 seconds, and repeat on other side.
Seated Inner Thigh Seated Inner Thigh (Inner thigh)
Sit tall on the floor with knees bent, bottoms of feet together, and feet close to body. With hands on knees, lean chest forward slightly as you push knees down.

Gastroc Stretch Gastroc Stretch (Calves)
Stand approximately 12 inches away from wall. Place forearms against wall and lean forward. Step back with the left leg, keeping the left leg straight and press the left heel down.