Stretching can feel like your worst enemy when you first start to dance. It hurts and it’s easy to feel like everyone else around you has more flexibility than you. Especially when flexibility is one of the key elements of dance. But fear not! 

Flexibility is a learned skill, despite the odd person here or there who seems to have come out of the womb as bendy as a pretzel.

Easy Ballet Stretches for Beginners

Ballet stretches don’t have to be completely painful! Also note: the key to stretching is holding it at least 20-30 seconds per stretch. You can do this! Stretching can become your best friend with these easy exercises:

Stretch your back

Ballet class can really take a toll on your back, so it’s important you stretch it out! Not to mention your back is part of your core and is key to helping you keep your center. To work out your back, get on the floor on all fours and stretch and curve your back a couple times through. 

Work your hips

Stretching out your hips will help you move with ease at the barre and help improve your turnout! Lie on your back with your feet underneath your knees, bringing one leg bent towards the chest. You can either extend or keep the other leg bent depending on how deep a stretch you can handle. Take it slow and listen to your body, if a stretch feels too painful, then alter it! There’s no rush. Flexibility takes time.

Then, rock the leg around in a circular motion. Extend it however far you can and hold the leg in place wherever feels the most comfy! Be sure that both hips are down and the back is straight. Very gently bring the leg across, move back to center, and move the leg away to the other side. Now switch! 

Finally, move your ankle to your knee, placing your hands either under or over. Hold it there! Over time this stretch can be a great tension reliever before or after ballet class. It’s even a great stretch to do when you wake up in the morning!

Wall Straddle

Straddles are a great exercise to do in front of the TV. Find a wall and straddle against it, or even in the center of your living room. This is a satisfying stretch because the more you do it, the more progress you’ll see and the deeper your straddle will get. This is also a great stretch to do after your warm from ballet class!

Now that you’ve had some help from gravity, use your hands to guide your legs back together and rock to a sitting position. Shake out the legs and straddle sitting upright, crawling forward with your hands to as far as you’re comfortable with.

Stretch to help your Split!

This stretch is a perfect way to prep your split. Get on all fours, then start with one of your legs front, either staying up tall or coming forward on your knee, leaning into your hip flexor with the hips square. Now hold! If you want more of a stretch, lift the foot off the floor and grab with the opposite hand. This will stretch your quad even further, but if it’s too much, pace yourself! Release, straighten the front leg, flexing the foot to stretch out your hamstring. Keep the back flat. Then either stay or stretch out into your split. You know the drill. Flip to the other side!

Wind Down

Use your hands to push your weight back into the child’s pose with your toes up! Then come into a crouched position to stretch your achilles and hold it there. Then straighten up to stretch out your legs, finally, walking them back to the downward dog, holding them there and then bending each leg on and off at your own pace. Walk the feet into the hands, and literally hang there. 

Final Thoughts: Ballet Stretches for Beginners

It definitely gets easier the more you practice. Even if a stretch seems daunting at first, the more you do it, the more of an expert you become. Not only is stretching great for you, but seeing how you improve over time makes you more confident and helps you reach new goals as a dancer! Remember, everyone has to start somewhere, even the most flexible of ballerina’s didn’t have a flat split overnight. As long as you keep pushing yourself and stretch as much as you can, you’ll see progress in real time! 

If you want to keep building your repertoire of ballet exercises and stretches visit, here!

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