How To Get A Flexible Back For Dance

Dec 6 / Stacey Nemour Flexibility Master/Martial Artist

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


Since there is a lack of solid information 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. 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, Actors, UFC Champion Vitor Belfort & Carlson Gracie Team and too many to list here, all to maximize their potential.


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 misinformed notion about only training one area of the body that is directly connected to the specific goal.  I always stress the importance of doing stretches in the right sequence to prepare the body for the deeper stretches.

Ballet Dancer Farrah sent this after training with link below

During my private with ballet dancer Hannah

 Sequence to Increase Back Flexibility:

  • Shoulders and chest must be opened (click button above for upper stretch video clip)
  • 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 pulled down 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 and reaching forward and touching toes. Note: if it hurts and feels too locked up having both legs out stretch one leg at a time with a flexed foot (I will add photo here).
  • Straddle Stretch – legs open in pancake and stretch forward.

Important Backbend Practice Tips:

  • When practicing be aware as 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 Properly:

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

 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. 

 Advanced Back Flexibility Training:

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. 

Dancer Elektra after training with "Cheerleaders Complete Flexibility System

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

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