Dancer Health

3 Joint Stabilization Exercises Your Dancers Will Thank You for Teaching

Photo by Thinkstock

Recommended by Anneliese Burns Wilson, these exercises help students understand how their joints function while strengthening surrounding muscles.


SHOULDERS

1) Seated or lying on your back, work on isolations of the shoulder, exploring protraction and retraction, elevation and depression, and upward and downward rotation.

2) Once explored, use slow arm circles and feel the range of movement where the muscles are working. Concentrate on the ribs staying connected and controlled to maintain the abdominal connection.

KNEES

1) Sit with the right leg bent into retiré and the left (working) leg stretched in parallel. Flex the left ankle and foot and think of extending the back of the leg as long as possible without pushing into a hyperextended position.

2) Maintain the length through the leg and point the foot and ankle without releasing the front and back of the leg. The goal is to build up to repeating this 10 times while maintaining proper musculature.

HIPS

1) Lie on your back with both knees bent and feet flat on the floor, hip-width apart.

2) Lift the right leg to a tabletop position (a 90-degree bend at knee and hip). Use a heavy-strength Thera-Band and place it under the thigh of the right leg, holding one tail of the band in each hand.

3) Keeping the left knee bent and the right leg steady, draw small circles by pressing the thigh outward and directly to the side, up toward you and inward, ending in the original 90-degree tabletop. Only circle to a degree that your hips will allow the left leg to maintain its parallel position.


4) Reverse direction after five circles. Repeat on the other leg. The leg is working on muscle-firing timing with the band by bringing emphasis to the hamstring. This will help release the tendon that commonly pops in the front of the hip. The supporting leg maintains stability against the movement of the gesture leg. The abdominal, pelvic and back muscles are holding the torso and pelvis.

Photos by Emily Giacalone

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