The Best Stretches You're Not Doing

If your idea of stretching is sitting in a split for five minutes while you watch TV, it’s time to revamp your routine. “Dancers tend to focus on static stretches,” says Brynn Jinnett, a former dancer with New York City Ballet and the founder and creator of Refine Method in NYC. “Many dancers don’t do enough to improve the mobility of their joints.”

The next time you’re stretching, try these dynamic exercises. “They target areas that counteract what you do when you dance,” Brynn says. “Think turn in, not turnout.”

Move gently through each stretch for one minute, and then reverse and repeat on the opposite side.

Ankle Joint Stretch

Brynn says: “This move will strengthen and stretch your ankle joints, lowering your risk of ankle sprains or strains. Don’t expect to feel a strong stretch. You’re creating a range of motion, not tugging on a muscle.”

 

Leaning forward with your hands on a chair or stool, stand on your left leg with your knee straight. Extend your right leg behind you, with your knee bent.

 

 

 

Bend your standing leg, pointing your knee inward. Be sure to keep your heel and pinky

toe on the ground.

Return to the starting position.

 

 

 

 

 

Bend your standing leg again, driving the knee over the middle of the foot. Return to the starting position.

 

 

 

 

 

Bend your standing leg again, this time pointing your knee outward, keeping your big toe on the ground.

Return to the starting position.

 

 

Hip Flexor Stretch

Brynn says: “As you press forward, don’t arch your lower back.”

Kneel on your right knee and extend your left leg in front of you, with your foot flat on the ground and your left knee bent at 90 degrees.

 

 

 

 

With your right arm raised,   push forward gently into your left leg, keeping your left arm by your side. Squeeze your glute muscles and press forward with your hips. Don’t allow any movement in your lower back.

 

Return to the starting position.

 

 

Chest Stretch

 

Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet together, flat on the floor. Open your arms to your sides, bending your elbows to 90 degrees, palms facing up.

 

 

 

 

 

Slowly slide your arms up toward your head. Stop when any part of your upper body loses contact with the floor.

 

 

 

 

Glute Stretch

Get onto all fours. Cross your right foot behind your left leg, resting it slightly above the calf.

 

 

 

Maintain a neutral spine and keep your hands on the floor as you sit backward into your right hip.

Return to starting position.

 

 

 

Internal Rotation/Hip Stretch

Brynn says: “Stop as soon as you feel resistance.”

Lie facedown on the ground with

your forehead resting on your hands

and your legs extended behind you. Bend your knees to 90 degrees, lifting your

feet toward the ceiling.

 

 

 

 

Keeping your knees together, slowly drop your feet outward. Return to starting position.

Photography by Nathan Sayers. Hair and makeup by Tonya Noland for Mark Edward Inc.; modeled by Lydia Haug, a professional dancer in NYC and an instructor at Refine Method.

Latest Posts


Because you know you've always wondered... (Getty Images)

Sounding Off: Here's What Your Favorite Musicians Think of Dance Routines Set to Their Songs

In the competition world, a small group of musicians has attained almost cultlike status, with choreographers turning to their tracks over and over. We know how we feel about these bangers—there's a reason we can't stop dancing to them—but how do the musicians feel about us? We caught up with three contemporary artists whose music has dominated the competition scene recently, and gauged their reactions to the dances set to their life's work.

Keep Reading SHOW LESS
Including this incredibly powerful piece by Travis Wall for "So You Think You Can Dance" (Adam Rose/FOX)

Here Are the 2020 Emmy Nominations for Outstanding Choreography

Our favorite season? Awards season, of course! Congratulations to the six choreographers who received Emmy nominations for their fabulous television work. This year, the Emmys thought outside the usual "So You Think You Can Dance" and "World of Dance" box, and we're delighted to see some of our fave choreographers getting recognition.

Here are all the works up for Emmys this year:

Keep Reading SHOW LESS
Project 21 dancers (from left) Selena Hamilton, Gracyn French, and Dyllan Blackburn (Photo by Quinn Wharton; hair and makeup throughout by Angela Huff for Mark Edward Inc.)

How Project 21 Is Shaping the Next Generation of Competition-Dance Standouts

"I wish I had a better story about the name," says Molly Long, founder of the Orange County, CA–based dance studio Project 21. In truth, it's a play on the fact that she was born on the twenty-first of August, and 21 is her favorite number. "I was away on a teaching tour, the audition announcement was going live on Instagram the next day, and I desperately needed a name. Project 21 was just the least cheesy of the options I thought of!"

The fact that fans might expect the name to have some profound meaning speaks to the near-mythic status Project 21 has achieved on the competition and convention scene since its founding in 2014. Long's dancers are all wholly individual, yet jell seamlessly as a group, and are consistently snagging top prizes everywhere on the circuit. Each season brings a slew of new accolades, high-caliber faculty, and legions of devoted followers.

The industry has taken notice of the studio's unique ethos. "Molly gets through to her dancers in a special way, and they have this incomparable level of commitment to their craft as a result," says dancer and choreographer Billy Bell, who's worked closely with Long and her dancers. "That's what sets them apart—it's like a little dose of magic."

Keep Reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks

contest
Enter the Cover Model Search