It’s the worst right? Your season is starting, everyone is healthy and young (don’t we all feel younger at the beginning of our season?) your dancers are throwing their kicks, things are snappy, things are sharp and before you know it, things are not ok.
With most dancers, there’s typically two ways they manage to get their kicks where coaches want them.
1. The naturally flexible and mobile dancers simply snap their leg up toward their face just because they can. They grip in the hip and lift.
2. The not so flexible dancers 👋snap their legs up with sheer force and momentum until their leg gets near-ish their face. Usually gripping in the quad and sinking in the back.
Neither is a good option and both will lead to injury.
The goal is to get both types of dancers to:
1. Understand which muscles MOVE the leg and strengthen those muscles.
2. Continue to use those muscles even when tired.
3. Avoid injuries in the hips and back because the leg can move freely but with control
The main muscles responsible for lifting your leg front and side are:
– Outer hips
These muscles work best when we stabilize the hip with the:
– Hip rotators
– Inner thigh muscles (adductors)
– Deep abdominal muscles
If the glutes, hamstrings and low back have to act as stabilizers, it leads to gripping and they can’t move freely.
Below you’ll find 5 of my favorite exercises to help your dancers do just that!
These exercises will reduce gripping in the hips, lengthen the hip flexors, strengthen the glutes and overall create more power in their kicks with correct activation and alignment.
Keep your dancer’s hips and backs healthy this season by using these exercises in your dynamic warm up or create a small circuit after you stretch.
Do each exercise 15 – 20 times 2 – 4 times through:
Hover Fire Hydrants With Band On Ankles
• With a band around your ankles, start with your hands below your shoulders and knees below your hips. Push your hands in to the floor until your knees are 2 inches above the ground.
• Slowly lift one leg out to the side while keeping your hips faced toward the ground. Repeat other side
• Starting high on your knees, extend one leg out from your hip.
• Using a towel or slider, slide the extended leg away from your body.
• Slowly draw your hips back over your knee.
•Begin laying on your back with hands gently pressing rib cage down and knees tucked in toward chest.
•Leaving rib cage down and low back glued to the floor, extend one leg out about 3 inches from the floor
•Extend the opposite arm above your head toward the back wall
•With the other hand, press against the thigh of the bent leg.
•Hold for a breath.
•Switch legs and hands.
Lying on your back, lift one leg 4-6 inches off the ground.
Hinging at the hip, draw your knee up towards your chest creating a 90 degree bend in your knee.
Straighten your leg, still hovering 4-6 inches off the ground.
Hip Flexor Stretch
• Starting on your knees, step one foot forward into a lunge
• Raise your opposite arm above your head and rotate your hips sitting deeper into the lunge.
• Hold for 30 seconds and repeat on the opposite side
Once you’re kicking with ease, try turning with consistency. Grab your FREE CONSISTENT TURNS training plan here: https://forms.aweber.com/form/42/573432342.htm