Updated Class Warm Up

Hi everybody!  Today is my updated ballet class warm up where I take you through everything I do to be prepared for class and dance my best.

It will be different than my previous warm up blog post because here I will be going in-detail with explanations and my warm up has slightly changed since then.

Note: You can look up all of the stretches for a more detailed explanation in my Flexibility Guide.


Massage

Before anything else, I start off with a nice massage and rolling out to get my blood flowing and muscles loosened.  Getting the knots out is also very helpful for injury prevention, notably Achilles tendinitis.

  1. Calves with golf ball – I spend about 4 minutes per leg working out the knots in my calf muscles to help prevent Achilles tendinitis and other injuries.  This also helps with flexibility.
  2. Arches with golf ball – A quick time period is spent focusing on the backs of my arches where the base of my Achilles tendon is.
  3. Shins with golf ball – This is also great to help prevent chronic pains and aches towards the front of your ankle.  The big muscle on the outside of your shins is often ignored but must be paid attention to.
  4. Hips with golf ball – I dig into the sides of my hips to loosen up my turnout after my shins.
  5. IT bands and quadriceps with foam roller – I spend a good amount of time getting specific and going deep-tissue with my foam roller on my IT bands and quads.  This helps prevent gripping and bulkiness.

Strengthening

I like to do strengthening before class to wake up my muscles and get my blood flowing.  It also warms me up to stretch and helps improve muscle capacity.  I start off with my core with the following routine:

  1. 16 Pilates single leg lowers: Lying on your back in the Pilates imprint position, slowly lower one leg down the the ground at the time keeping your knee bent and the other leg in the basic table top position.
  2. 16 abdominal extensors: Starting at the same tabletop position as before, do the same motion but straighten out the working leg as it extends before bringing it back into the bent starting position.
  3. 16 leg lifts: Now it’s time to flip over to our belly and work on our back muscles a little bit.  Alternate lifting each leg until you’ve reached a total of 16.  Keep all of your pelvic bones grounded and stable.
  4. 20 Crunches: After that, I like to flip back over to my backside and do 10 crunches with my legs in the basic position and 10 with them in tabletop.
  5. 15 Slow bicycles: Now, from the crunched table top position, I extend one leg out as I twist my elbows to meet the leg that stayed put.  I then return to the starting position and switch legs.
  6. 10 Back ups: Now for our final back series – I do 10 back ups to warm up that arabesque position.

After my core is engaged and I’m feeling more centered, I move onto my feet.  Here’s my routine:

  1. 25 calf rises with tennis ball: With a tennis ball, lacrosse ball, or field hockey ball (or really any tennis-ball-sized-ball for that matter) held between your ankles, do slow elevés in sixth position.
  2. 30 thera band full points: With a thera band around the ball of my foot, I do 30 full roll-throughs, making sure to go slow and be specific.
  3. 25 thera band half points: Now with my ankle in the plantar flexion position, I quickly point and flex just my toes 25 times.
  4. 25 thera band push downs:  From the ending position, I flex my foot again and bend my knee so that the thera band makes an arch shape.  Then, keeping my toes flexed, I push the ball of my foot down to the ground and then release it back upwards 25 times.

Finally, I end with some exercises for my hips and legs:

  1. 10 Attitude adductor warm ups:  Lying on my back, I swing my leg in attitude up to a fully extended position with the working knee bent and then back down again.  We did this in my leg workout.
  2. 100 Inner thigh pulses: The basic inner thigh exercise everybody knows – lying on your side with the top leg corssed over and the bottom leg lifted off the floor, pulsing upwards.  I 50 with my upper body mostly on the ground and 50 with it mostly off.
  3. 25 clamshells: I skip the thera band before class to save my energy and prevent fatigue.  I keep my shins elevated for the complete set of repetitions.
  4. Half bridge pose: For however long I can stand it usually, I head up on my back with my back pressed in the ground before lifting my hips off the ground.  Again, we did this in my leg workout.

Stretching

I like to do some light, never extreme, stretching before class to help loosen up my joints and improve extension height and flexibility.  Here’s my routine:

I start off by stretching my legs and feet:

  1. Hand in heel: Sitting down with a straight back, I extend one leg up into the air while cupping my hand around it so my fingers are holding the tops of my toes and the palm of my hand my heel.
  2. High lunge: To stretch out my calves, I hold the high lunge with my back heel on the floor for a very, very long time.  Ouch.
  3. Basic quad stretch: I use the lower barre to press the tops of my feet into the rod.  I then bend that knee all the way and keep my pelvis straight up, standing.  This stretches out my quads.
  4. Pike: Sitting on the ground, I extend both legs out in front of me.  I hinge forward at the hips and hold the position with both pointed and then flexed feet.

Next, I move into my hip area to activate and stretch out my turnout:

  1. Basic gluteus stretch: Lying on my back, I bend both knees and press the side of my ankle of one leg on top of the upper knee of the other.  I then pull my legs inward.
  2. Crossover: Sitting down, I cross my knees over eachother with my feet facing opposite directions.  Then, trying to keep a straight spine, I bend forward over my legs.
  3. Butterfly: Put the soles of your feet together and bend your knees at 90 degrees.  Let your knees fall downwards as you hinge forward at the hips.
  4. Frog: Lying on your belly, bend both knees at 90 degrees and try to let your hips and feet both fall towards the ground.  Your knees should be further outwards than your hips.

Next, I do my split series (minus the splits).

  1. Half pigeon: Lying on my belly, I bring one leg bent at 45 degrees underneath my chest and the other leg is extended straight behind me.  My upper body is lying on the bent leg.
  2. Hip flexor stretch low lunge: A low lunge with the back knee on the ground.
  3. Double lunge: From the hip flexor stretch, bend the back knee and pull it in towards your pelvis with the opposite hand.

Finally for the stretching, I do some barre stretches:

  1. Attitude devant: I rest the side of my shin on the barre horizontally and hinge at the hips while keeping them square.  It looks like a front attiude with barre assistance and a bit more bent than usual.
  2. Barre pike: I rest my Achilles tendon on the barre with my leg extended straight, perpendicular to the barre.  I then hinge at the hips with my barre foot flexed and turned in.
  3. Alisicon: With my hips facing square as in a combination with one hand on the barre, flex your barre foot and bend over towards that leg.

Final prep

I do a few extra things with my remaining time, usually about 5 minutes:

  1. Prances
  2. Attitude swings
  3. Pilates ab exercises
  4. Fouettés…haha

Thanks for reading!  See you on Friday.

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