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 Post subject: A Christmas List!
PostPosted: Sun Dec 10, 2000 12:57 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jun 16, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 81
Location: Thorpe Bay, Essex, UK
The following is a list of exercises I have used with my higher grade and major students to maintain and improve the strength in their core stability muscle groups and which I have put together for them to practice over the holidays. The idea is to help them develop a sense of isolating and feeling the use of these muscle groups and then projecting these sensations into their class work. In this way the exercises are not a separate course but an adjunct to their balletic training. They are what I like to describe as "thinking exercises", that can not and should not just be knocked off, but require as much technical precision as any other part of class work.<P>I hope that they may prove useful to other members. Please feel free to copy and paste them to a new document and adjust them to the needs of your own students.<P>None are particularly unique, in fact most derive from my having had the opportunity to work with various teachers and body conditioning specialists, including Alan Herdman and Shirley Hancock, to whom I am very grateful.<P>Tuk<P>1. ABDOMINAL EXERCISE 1<BR>Starting position - lying on back with knees bent at 90 degrees and feet flat on the floor, legs parallel, holding a small cushion between thighs, hands by ears (not pulling on back of head).<BR>a. Engage the abdominal muscles by drawing the naval back to the spine allowing the pelvis to start to tilt under.<BR>b. Curl the upper back off the floor maintaining the squeeze in the abdominals.<BR>c. Extend the arms just past the knees and squeeze deeply into the abdominals for a count of two.<BR>d. Lower to the starting position.<BR>Whole exercise should be done slowly and clearly, maintaining the squeeze on the cushion throughout. The movements are quite small, but should be strong and clearly felt. This can be done up to 10 times in succession.<P>2. ABDOMINAL EXERCISE 2<BR>Starting position - lying on back with knees bent at 90 degrees and feet flat on the floor, legs parallel, holding a small cushion between thighs, left hand by left ear (not pulling on back of head), right arm by side.<BR>a. Engage the abdominal muscles by drawing the naval back to the spine allowing the pelvis to start to tilt under.<BR>b. Curl the left side of the upper back off the floor maintaining the squeeze in the abdominals.<BR>c. Extend the left arm to meet the right just past the right knee and squeeze deeply into the abdominals on the right side for a count of two.<BR>d. Lower to the starting position.<BR>Whole exercise should be done slowly and clearly, maintaining the squeeze on the cushion throughout. The movements are quite small, but should be strong and clearly felt. This can be done up to 5 times in succession on right side and then repeat on left.<P>3. ABDOMINAL EXERCISE 3<BR>Starting position - lying on back with knees bent at 90 degrees and feet flat on the floor, legs parallel, holding a small cushion between thighs, arms by sides.<BR>a. Engage the abdominal muscles by drawing the naval back to the spine allowing the pelvis to start to tilt under.<BR>b. Increase the tilt by squeezing lower glutial muscles and draw the body up peeling the back off the floor one vertebra at a time until body and upper thighs are in line, still maintaining the squeeze in the inner thighs on the cushion.<BR>c. Bring both arms forward and upwards over the head.<BR>d. Lower the body, rolling down through the spine one vertebrae at a time, stopping at the point where the pelvis is still just tilted and the navel still drawn back to the spine.<BR>e. Bring the hands to the side of the head and curl the upper back off the floor maintaining the squeeze in the abdominals.<BR>f. Extend the arms just past the knees and squeeze deeply into the abdominals for a count of two.<BR>g. Rotate the body lifting the left shoulder slightly further off the floor and reaching both arms slightly to the right of the right knee, holding for a count of two.<BR>h. Bring the body back to the centre and repeat the rotation to the left.<BR>i. Finally having brought the body back to centre lower to the starting position.<BR>Whole exercise should be done slowly and clearly, maintaining the squeeze on the cushion throughout. The movements are quite small, but should be strong and clearly felt. This can be done up to 10 times in succession.<P>4. HAMSTRING EXERCISE 1<BR>Starting position - lie face down on the floor, forehead resting on the back of hands, legs parallel.<BR>a. Breathe out and try to draw naval to spine and feel the lower glutial muscles engaging. (Do keep breathing though.)<BR>b. Lift the straight leg just off the floor, still parallel, being careful not to lift the hip (Both sides of the front of the pelvis should stay in contact with the floor or mat.)<BR>c. Keeping the upper leg held in this position bend at the knee as far as possible, bringing the foot (which should be relaxed, not pointed) towards the buttocks. This action should be strong and controlled. Try to imagine squeezing the juice out of an orange between the upper and lower leg.<BR>d. Straighten the leg and relax it down.<BR>Repeat slowly up to 10 times with each leg. <P>5. HAMSTRING EXERCISE 2<BR>Starting position - lying on back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor quite close to bottom, legs parallel, holding a small cushion between thighs, arms by sides.<BR>a. Engage the abdominal muscles by drawing the naval back to the spine allowing the pelvis to start to tilt under.<BR>b. Increase the tilt by squeezing lower glutial muscles and draw the body up peeling the back off the floor one vertebra at a time until body and upper thighs are in line, still maintaining the squeeze in the inner thighs on the cushion.<BR>c. Rise on to high demi-pointe and hold for a slow count up to 10<BR>d. Lower heels<BR>e. Lower to the starting position.<BR>Whole exercise should be done slowly and clearly, maintaining the squeeze on the cushion throughout up to 10 times in succession.<P>6. BACK EXERCISE 1<BR>Starting position - lie face down on the floor, forehead resting on the back of hands, legs parallel, holding a small cushion between thighs.<BR>a. Breathe out and try to draw naval to spine.<BR>b. Engage the lower glutial muscles squeezing cushion.<BR>c. Keeping the head in line with the spine lift the upper back and arms off the floor, being careful not to release the squeeze in the abdominals and glutials.<BR>d. Hold for a slow count up to 10.<BR>e. Relax down.<BR>Repeat slowly up to 10 times.<P>7. BACK EXERCISE 2<BR>Starting position - lie face down on the floor, forehead resting on the back of hands, legs parallel, holding a small cushion between thighs.<BR>a. Breathe out and try to draw naval to spine.<BR>b. Engage the lower glutial muscles squeezing cushion.<BR>c. Keeping the head in line with the spine lift the upper back and arms off the floor, being careful not to release the squeeze in the abdominals and glutials.<BR>d. Hold for a slow count of 4.<BR>e. Extend arms to 5th position<BR>f. Hold for a slow count of 4<BR>g. Open arms through 2nd down and back lifting upper back higher off floor, being careful not to release the squeeze in the abdominals and glutials.<BR>h. Hold for a slow count of 4<BR>i. Relax down.<BR>Repeat slowly up to 10 times.<P>8. INNER THIGH EXERCISE 1<BR>Starting position - lie on side with pelvis vertical and underneath arm stretching out with head resting on it, foot or knee of top leg on floor in front for support.<BR>a. Engage abdominal muscles on lower side to try and hold spine straight.<BR>b. Lift the lower leg off the floor, turning it out and flex the foot<BR>c. Lift and lower the leg up to 10 times, maintaining the turnout<BR>d. Lower the leg.<BR>The movement should be slow, controlled and as large as possible, using the inside thigh muscles to maintain the lift off the floor. Repeat the whole exercise with the other leg. <P>9. INNER THIGH EXERCISE 2<BR>Starting position - lie on side with pelvis vertical and underneath arm stretching out with head resting on it, foot or knee of top leg on floor in front for support.<BR>a. Engage abdominal muscles on lower side to try and hold spine straight.<BR>b. Lift the lower leg off the floor, turning it out and pointing the foot<BR>c. Circle the leg en dehors up to 10 times, maintaining the turnout.<BR>d. Repeat en dedans<BR>e. Lower the leg.<BR>The movement should be slow, controlled and as large as possible, using the inside thigh muscles to maintain the lift off the floor. Repeat the whole exercise with the other leg. <P>10. PORT DE BRAS EXERCISE<BR>Starting position - lying on back with knees bent at 90 degrees and feet flat on the floor, legs parallel, arms in 1st position.<BR>a. Lift right arm to 5th and lower left arm to bras bas<BR>b. Open arms side ways to 2nd position<BR>c. Continue movement to bring right arm to bras bas and left arm to 5th<BR>d. Close arms to 1st<BR>e. Repeat in reverse<BR>Whole exercise should be done slowly and clearly, keeping the shoulders down, the shoulder blades open and the upper back flat on the floor. The arms should maintain a good rounded position from shoulders to the tips of the fingers and the elbows should not touch the floor. This can be done up to 10 times in succession.<P>11. FOOT EXERCISE<BR>Starting position - sitting on the floor with the knees bent and the body leaning slightly back supported by the arms, a folded towel placed so that the toes can press down flat on top of it.<BR>a. Gather the arch of the foot thinking of using both the inside and outside of the arch.<BR>b. Lift the heels off the floor as the arch is progressively raised to its maximum and hold for a slow count of 10<BR>c. Relax to the floor.<BR>Whole exercise should be done slowly and clearly up to 10 times in succession. As with all these exercises quality is more important than quantity<P>12. LOWER LEG EXERCISE<BR>Starting position - facing barre with feet parallel, far enough away to be able to go into a forward stretch whilst resting the hands of outstretched arms on the barre.<BR>a. Forward stretch resting the hands of outstretched arms on the barre<BR>b. Lift right leg up so it is at the same level as the body.<BR>c. Find balance and release the barre and open the arms to a flat second position. (The eye line should be held straight down at the floor.)<BR>d. Hold the body and legs still, making all the fine adjustments of balance around the ankle with the muscles of the lower leg. (The foot itself should be correctly held on the floor and not used to grip with the arch and toes.)<BR>e. Lower leg to floor and return to standing position.<BR>f. Repeat with left leg raised.<BR>After a few seconds balance becomes progressively harder so this exercise takes time to master. However, once the position is correctly achieved it can be held up to 30 or more seconds. It is primarily aimed at the muscle groups on the inner or outer sides of the lower leg.<BR>


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 Post subject: Re: A Christmas List!
PostPosted: Sun Dec 10, 2000 2:43 pm 
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Joined: Mon Oct 02, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 13071
Location: San Diego, California, USA
Wow - TUK - thanks. I am sure many will find this useful.......thanks again.


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 Post subject: Re: A Christmas List!
PostPosted: Mon Dec 11, 2000 3:42 pm 
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Joined: Mon Feb 21, 2000 12:01 am
Posts: 4725
Location: Australia
tuk - with my concert this sunday, i am super-pressed, and don't have time to read this, now. but i'm very appreciative. its like a christnmas present to get one of your posts, and save it up to enjoy later! Image<P>i will also be telling my senior students to read it. and i'll respond properly when i have time to give it due attention. thank you very much Image

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 Post subject: Re: A Christmas List!
PostPosted: Sun Dec 17, 2000 11:56 am 
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Joined: Fri Jun 16, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 81
Location: Thorpe Bay, Essex, UK
In addition to the body conditioning exercises listed above I try to finish a session of classes with a series of yoga exercises to help the students cool down and relax. I hope these may also prove of use.<P>Best wishes<P>Tuk<P>YOGA STRETCHING EXERCISES FOR BALLET GROUPS<BR>1. ADHO MUKHA SVANASANA (DOWNWARD DOG)<BR>Starting position - on hands and knees feet close to wall.<BR>a. Tuck the toes under<BR>b. Keeping the arms straight stretch the legs rising in to a high demi-pointe<BR>c. Press the body through the arms<BR>d. Stretch the heels to the floor, backs of heels against wall<BR>e. Hold up to one minute<BR>f. Slowly lower to floor<BR>Keep the legs and arms strong and the hips high in the raised position<P>2. BHUJANGASANA (COBRA STRETCH)<BR>Starting position - lying face down on floor, hands in press up position under shoulders<BR>a. Gradually straightening the arms curve the body one part at a time off the floor, keeping the legs lengthened<BR>b. Hold for up to 30 seconds<BR>c. Gently lower to floor<BR>Try to feel the back bend in all the vertebrae of the spine rather than in just one part.<P>3. VIRASANA FORWARD BEND<BR>Starting position - kneeling sitting back on heels<BR>a. Bend forward resting body on thighs and forehead down to floor in front of knees<BR>b. Hold for up to 30 seconds<BR>Try to feel the stretch from the top to the bottom of the spine<P>4. LYING ROTATION<BR>Starting position - lying on back, legs together arms out to sides at shoulder level<BR>a. Bend right knee pointing upwards<BR>b. Reach across to outside of right knee with left hand<BR>c. Allow right knee to fall to left side, keeping both shoulders on floor and lifting pelvis and adjust to keep spine straight from top to bottom in twist<BR>d. Turn head to look at right hand<BR>e. Hold up to two minutes<BR>f. Slowly return to flat position and relax for a few seconds feeling the difference between one side of the back and the other<BR>g. Repeat second side<BR>Allow the weight of the leg to very gently increase the rotation, NEVER forcing it<P>THE IMPORTANCE OF RELAXATION<BR>5. RELAXATION<BR>Starting position - lying on back, legs and arms relaxed<BR>a. Spread weight out over floor trying to release all tension from the body<BR>b. Close eyes and allow all the parts of the body to relax and be held by the floor as if floating<BR>c. Stay for two minutes or longer<P>Three things are necessary for the dancers body to achieve its maximum potential. These are correct exercise (both in class and in any supporting activity), good nutrition and rest. This latter, rest, is often ignored but it is vital to allow time for recovery and growth and the stress of the day to drain from the dancer. This means not only sleeping or sitting watching television, but also giving time to really relax and free the tensions that have built up in the body.<P>If possible the dancer should find a quite place, make sure he or she is going to be warm and comfortable and lie on the floor face up with the arm resting slightly away from the body. Then try to release the tensions out of the body, starting with the head, feet and hands and working towards the centre. Imagine being a block of ice that laying in the sun progressively melts into the floor.<P>


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 Post subject: Re: A Christmas List!
PostPosted: Sun Dec 17, 2000 12:29 pm 
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Joined: Tue Nov 28, 2000 12:01 am
Posts: 16
Tuk,<BR>A "warm THANK YOU" for your postings !<BR>There was a misunderstanding in the appointments I had to make with my daughter's<BR>Pilates teacher. <BR>Thanks to your exercices she can work at something positive during her holidays. <BR>


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