How To Get A Flexible Back For Dance

Dec 6 / Stacey Nemour Flexibility Master/Martial Artist © protected material not for reuse without direct written permission

Stacey's client pre-pro ballet dancer Ashley using Stacey Stretch Straps

Since there is too much misinformation about how to get flexible back for dance it brings me great pleasure to share the solution. My proven Flexibility System includes a step by step guide to safely increase back flexibility and improve overall mobility.

Rest assured this information comes from over three decades experience as a Flexibility Coach to top athletes, Olympians, professional dancers, Cirque Du Soleil performers, elite gymnasts,  established actors, UFC Champion Vitor Belfort & Carlson Gracie Team and too many to list here, all to maximize their potential.

Common mistakes that limit increasing back flexibility

One of the counterproductive things that limits increasing back flexibility is to to only practice arching back, holding backbends repeatedly and not practicing full body flexibility training. Avoid throwing the body out of balance by only arching back. This may lead to becoming even more locked up and tighter all over.
Since everything is connected the body needs to be treated as one unit. The biggest mistake is when locked areas are ignored. Because of the counter productive notion of only training one area of the body to increase back flexibility.  I always stress the importance of doing stretches in the right sequence to prepare the body for the deeper stretches.
Ballerina in layout position one leg up to the sky & arched all the way back grabbing ankle on supporting leg

"I've been doing your program and look what I got! I'm so grateful for you"

Farrah Hirsch Pro Ballet Dancer Stuttgart Ballet, TDA Top 10, Beijing IBCC, YAGP #2 X 3 Photo Credit: Heather Elizabeth Lehman Ballet Dancer. Farrah sent this after training with link below

Gymnast showing increased back flexibility in backbend

 Sequence to Increase Back Flexibility:

: Speak to a professional for all your health needs and seek their counsel. Children need to be under adult supervision at all times. We disclaim all liability for any physical harm resulting from the information on this website. 

Watch video:  To open chest, shoulders & release tight back & hips to increase back flexibility

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  • Shoulders and chest must be opened 
  • Quad stretches (click for free quad stretch video below)
  • Waist – deep waist stretches are needed to open the sides of the back.
  • Outer hips – When hip stretches are performed correctly you will feel your low back getting releasing and lengthening.
  • Stretching the opposite way -will increase back arch flexibility by round over forward such as butterfly wings and stretching forward This will balance the body.
  • Hamstrings – forward bends plus reaching forward and touching toes. 
  • Straddle Stretch – legs open in pancake and stretch forward.

To improve back flexibility open chest/heart, shoulders stretch to release quad, grion & hip flexors

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Lay on your side using Stacey Stretch Strap by putting one of the loops on your foot grab the strap and make a triangle with hands. Bend bottom leg for balance. Inhale deeply & as  you exhale be sure to relax the low back so the quad can release. Allow  heart /chest to open and start bringing foot towards head.

Must see solution to common hold up to increasing back flexibility

During my flexibility master class with figure skaters. This is a common misalignment issue from compensating that can lead to severe hip, back & knee pain. Here's how to remedy to this common critical issue. Make sure the line from the foot, knee and hip are all pointing in the same direction.
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Ballerina on pointe back-bend  on elbows extending 1 leg extremely high

During my private with ballet dancer Hannah

Important Backbend Practice Tips:

  • When practicing be aware to not allow feet to turn-out in backbends. It is a common issue of compensating because of tightness in hips and quads. It is always best to practice with clean alignment to engage the correct muscles to improve with good form and avoid injuries.
  • Keep the heels down on the floor with feet pointing straight ahead. In most cases popping up on balls of feet / toes is from tight quads, feet, Achilles, and calf muscles.
  • These issues will be remedied by stretching more and training with correct form.
  • Keep the back out of it by internally sending a message to your back to relax every time you exhale

How to Stretch the Quads & Open Chest, Shoulders & Hip Flexors

Here are pictures from my privates with clients doing deep quad stretches.

girl on stomach arching back pushing on 2 yoga blocks in King Cobra Pose
 To stretch the quads, the right way is to do so with clean alignment. This is the gateway to improving back arch, splits and much more.  A common example of compensating is a pattern where the back leg/foot is rolled out when practicing: the splits, half splits, back kick, scorpion, backbends, and all quad stretches.  When practicing the splits, you want to feel the knee and the top of the foot of the leg in back turned under and making contact the floor. If not corrected this may lead to knee and ankle issues. 
Young dancer on stomach using stretch band  to bring foot to the head in deep back archDuring my flexibility training via Skype with elite gymnast Isa advanced back flexibility stretch

During my flexibility training via Skype with elite gymnast Isa

 Advanced Back Flexibility Training:

During my flexibility training via Skype with elite gymnast Isa in backbend

During my flexibility training via Skype with elite gymnast Isa

When I introduce a new move, I do not hold the position for long. You want to introduce it take a break and then gently go back in. This will create new muscle memory and the body will start to process this new move in between trainings.
 Here are some exercises to improve balance, flexibility, and core strength.

* Safety warning -  this is only for those who you can already do a backbend, comfortably feel ready for more 
As you push up into backbend slowly straighten both legs with feet together and pointing straight ahead keep going until you feel your chest pushing into the wall. This is a very intense exercise only for those who are at an advanced level of overall flexibility.
 Get into a full backbend when centered slowly start to walk hands in as close to feet as possible keeping feet pointing straight ahead and without going up on tippy toes. If this feels good continue to grab one ankle with one hand, then take a break if you need to.  Come back up when ready and try this with the other hand now. If that feel comfortable with this the next step is to walk both hands in together and grab each ankle at same time.

Get into backbend and slowly come down on your elbows one at a time

From backbend position lift one knee up as high as you can first then if feeling stable (keep knee lifted high) slowly extend leg up in the air. Come down break if needed and repeat to the other side.
Back arching core strength exercises – I love this one for developing the correct muscles to be able to go back into a backbend and come back up without assistance. It helps to use the wall and slowly walk hands down to the floor until in a backbend then push hands into wall to walk all the way up while adjusting feet as needed.

Finish with some rounding exercises to stretch back the opposite way. 

3 photos of back arcg progress after using Stacey's flexibility course

Dancer Elektra after training with "Cheerleaders Complete Flexibility System

Dancer backbend with 1 leg extended straight up

Testimonial photo sent in from dancer Noemi in Italy after training with "Dance! Flexibility Master Class Series"

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