Increase Your Dancer’s Flexibility With These 4 Stretches


Flexibility is a fundamental skill for dancers and athletes. The ability to move your body freely will make the execution of skills and exercise much easier. Many dancers struggle with flexibility in their hamstrings and hips, but what they don’t know is that tightness in their hamstrings is directly related to a tight back and tight glutes (buttock region).

These four moves are going to pay special attention to hips, back, glutes, and hamstrings. Put all four moves together to increase your dance flexibility for a lower split, longer extensions, and more open hips.

Increase Your Dancers’ Flexibility with These 4 Moves!


When doing the below stretches, avoid sharp movements and “bouncing.” All stretches are performed with deep breaths and smooth transitions between sides. If you need more activation, ask a teacher or friend to gently press on the working leg. Always stop if you feel pinching or popping in your muscles or joints!


Figure 4 Stretch

increase flexibility for dancers with these stretches

To increase flexibility in your hamstrings you need to allow the muscles in your glutes to relax. A Figure 4 stretch is the best way to relax important muscles like the piriformis, which can become strained and lead to sciatic pain. A common complaint of dancers is a pinching, numbness, or pain down the back of their legs.  If you’ve ever experienced this you could be experiencing sciatic pain.

  • Lie on your back with both knees bent and head on the floor.
  • Cross your left leg over your right knee, centering your ankle bone on the right knee.
  • Wrap your arms around your right thigh and gently pull your thigh toward your chest.
  • Gently press your left knee away from your body with your elbows.
  • Hold for 30 – 60 seconds and repeat on the other side.


Runner Lunge 

increase flexibility for dancers with these stretches

A simple runners lunge is the most effective way to increase flexibility in the hips and hamstrings. This stretch can also relieve any tightness in the back or pain you could be experiencing.

  • Come to your hands and knees.
  • Extend your right foot between your hands and then slide it slightly in front of your hands.
  • Shift your body forward until your right leg is in a 90-degree angle.
  • Be sure your right knee does not go past your right ankle or toes.
  • Keep hands flat on the floor or make them into fists if your wrists get tired.
  • Hold for 30 – 60 seconds and repeat on the other side.


Spinal Twist

increase flexibility for dancers with these stretches

Increasing flexibility in your lower back is going to decrease pain, increase hamstring flexibility, and allow your hips to move freely. A spinal twist increases back flexibility and is also great for relaxation. Feel free to take this stretch to the floor when you need a relaxing cool-down.

  • Sit with your legs extended forward.
  • Fold your left leg, and then cross your right foot over your left thigh.
  • Wrap your arms around the bent right knee.
  • When you exhale, twist your torso to the right and place your right hand next to your right hip to hold the stretch.
  • Allow your head to follow your body to the right.
  • Hold for 30 – 60 seconds and repeat on the other side.


Laying Hamstring Stretch

increase flexibility for dancers with these stretches

Tight hips are a common dancer complaint, and can interfere with hamstring flexibility. Laying hamstring stretches will allow the hips to relax and help increase flexibility in the hamstring. As a bonus, add this stretch to the end of rehearsal for a cool-down to decrease soreness.

  • Lie on your back with legs straight.
  • Bring your right knee to your chest.
  • Make 5 large circles with your knee to the right and then to the left.
  • Extend your right leg toward the ceiling and try to straighten it as much as possible.
  • Hold your right leg at the ankle, calf, or thigh (wherever you can reach, avoiding the knee area).
  • Gently pull your leg toward your nose, leaving your head relaxed on the floor.
  • Hold for 30 – 60 seconds and repeat on the other side.

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