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 Post subject: "Muscles should be engaged, not gripped."
PostPosted: Sat Jun 07, 2003 11:58 pm 
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Joined: Wed Nov 22, 2000 12:01 am
Posts: 15
Location: Canada
Hello Again! :)

Can someone please explain this ("muscles should be engaged, not gripped") concept to me! Whenever I tendu to the back, my teacher always comes up behind me and points her finger to the back (sort of side) of my buttocks and tells me to "ENGAGE this muscle!" By engage does she mean squeeze my bottom?!?! Since I'm so clueless :( , any insight would be fantastic!!

Also, does anyone know of any great (ballet) exercises to LIFT UP my (lazy!) buttocks? This is where I usually gain weight, and since I've been eating one too many desserts lately, I thought I'd do some exercises, specifically for the gluts, to get back into shape!

Thanks kindly,

Dee

<small>[ 08 June 2003, 01:59 AM: Message edited by: Dee ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: "Muscles should be engaged, not gripped."
PostPosted: Sun Jun 08, 2003 1:49 am 
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Joined: Wed Mar 20, 2002 12:01 am
Posts: 3173
Location: San Francisco
To me, engaging but not gripping means contracting a muscle only as much as is needed to accomplish a task. For example, in a developpe a la seconde, straightening the leg is achieved by contracting the quadriceps. Once the leg is straight, you don't need to try to contract the quads even more. That would be gripping.

Another type of gripping is not letting a muscle release when it's no longer needed. When you do a rond de jambe en l'air, you gradually release your quads to allow the leg to bend. But it's possible to keep quite a bit of contraction in the quads while you bend your leg, as long as the hamstrings are contracting more. However, that would be a waste of energy, and your thigh would tire quickly.

From the way you describe it, I'd say your teacher is telling you to fully use your turnout. In a battement tendu to the back, if you don't let your hips tilt (i.e., if you keep the front of your standing hip flat), and if you maintain the turnout in your standing leg and keep trying to lead back with the toe of your working leg, you will engage the muscle your teacher was pointing to.

I think the best way to firm up the old buttocks is just to keep taking ballet classes. But you can't spot reduce fat.

<small>[ 08 June 2003, 03:50 AM: Message edited by: djb ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: "Muscles should be engaged, not gripped."
PostPosted: Sun Jun 08, 2003 12:53 pm 
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Joined: Wed Sep 18, 2002 11:01 pm
Posts: 30
I agree with DJB. And asking your teacher what she means would help too, but to me, it seems that all she is trying to say is to pull up, meaning to tighten.


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 Post subject: Re: "Muscles should be engaged, not gripped."
PostPosted: Sun Jun 08, 2003 2:23 pm 
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Joined: Tue Sep 05, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 3602
Location: Guildford, Surrey, UK
I always think of engaging as meaning to use the muscle to the best effect to perform a move or create a certain line. One of the best examples I can think of is sometimes when students are standing in 5th or 3rd their front knee doesn't look straight and I ask them to engage their quad muscles and immediately their knee looks straighter. Now if they are doing this properly they are not gripping the muscles but lifting them or "pulling up"

Muscles are there to make movement in the most efficient way possible and ballet should be no different.


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