Channel Your Inner Ballerina with These Four Stretches

Lengthen & strengthen.

By Marnie Duncan

Stretching is an important part of our daily routine to help lengthen the muscles, improve performance, and prevent injury. At MOD Fitness we follow each strengthening exercise with targeted stretches to help elongate and tone the muscles, and increase flexibility. The following stretches can be done with a chair, on the floor, or at a ballet barre, and they feel oh so good.

image via free people

Standing Inner Thigh Stretch

1. Stand in a profile position next to a high stool or ballet barre. Externally rotate both feet to a slightly turned out position, and place your inside foot on the stool or barre.

2. Gracefully and intentionally reach your outside arm up and lean towards the stool or barre to stretch your inner thigh.

3. For an added stretch you can point and flex your foot on the stool or barre.

*Additionally, you can plie or bend your standing leg to deepen the inner thigh stretch.

Standing Hamstring Stretch

1. Stand facing a high stool or ballet barre. Place your right foot on the stool and extend your leg straight.

2. Reach both arms straight overhead. With a flat back slowly hinge forward towards the stool or ballet barre to 45 degrees, or until you feel the hamstring engage in the back of your working leg.

3. Point and flex your foot for an additional stretch. Hold this position and breath into the stretch for at least 60 seconds and switch sides.

Standing Quadricep Stretch

1. Start by bending your right leg and grabbing hold of your foot with your right hand. While maintaining balance, pull your right heel towards your right glute. A helpful tip, stand close by your stool or ballet bar to help regain balance when needed.

2. Hinge forward with your upper body and begin to raise your right leg behind you. Actively press the top of your foot into the palm of your hand to maximize the quadricep stretch.

3. To balance this position, reach your left arm out in front of your body and send your gaze forward.

Low Lunge with Quadricep Stretch

1. Start on your mat and begin in a low lunge position on the floor by placing your right foot forward and your left leg behind. Line your right knee directly up over your right ankle to protect your joint in this position and to maintain proper alignment.

2. Bend your left leg towards your left glute. Slowly and gently reach your right arm back and grab ahold of the top of your foot to find a deep stretch in your quadricep.

3. Place your left hand on the ground to support your body weight. Externally rotate your right shoulder open and send your gaze upwards for an added quadricep stretch and pectoral stretch.