My 10-year-old daughter has a dance teacher who has the students stay in the frog position for a few minutes each class. My daughter finds it very uncomfortable. Does this position actually serve a purpose?


Sometimes it is hard to know if uncomfortable is a good or bad sensation. Sometimes when you try something new, you may feel discomfort. However, this sounds like one of those times when the feeling of discomfort is a signal from her body that it does not like the stress being put on it.

Generally, dancers do the frog position (lying on your stomach with your feet touching in a diamond shape) as a way to increase turnout. However, it's a myth that the position can improve turnout, and it can actually injure your knees.

When you are lying on your stomach and draw your feet into that diamond shape, a couple of things happen. If your hip flexors are tight, you are going to arch your back and lift your hips slightly off the floor. This puts additional pressure on your knees, which are already vulnerable and torqued from trying to put your feet together.

Doing the frog position lying on your back and opening up your thighs into the diamond shape is much less dangerous for your knees. If you are just resting in that position, you will feel some gentle stretching happening to the inner-thigh area. Never allow anyone to even gently push the knees open in this position. I have had dancers who tore their inner-thigh muscles when a well-meaning person pushed their knees down.

As far as your daughter goes, I would inform her teacher that it was advised that, when it comes time to do the frog position, your daughter should be allowed to do it on her back. Remind your daughter to keep her lower back lengthened, so it doesn't arch.

Kudos to your daughter for recognizing that it didn't feel right and for you for researching it further!

To your success,

Deborah Vogel

Director, The Body Series

Got a question for Deb? E-mail askdeb@dancemedia.com, and she may answer it in an upcoming web exclusive.

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