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5 Dance Warm Ups and Stretches

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Use dance warm ups and stretches to get ready for your dance class or other forms of exercise. Adequately warming up your muscles and taking a few minutes to stretch will help you to have a more enjoyable, injury-free dance class or other workout.

1. Neck Isolations

Isolations is a term used to describe a series of warm ups in dance class that help your body to feel more agile. This warm up is usually performed with the feet shoulder-distance apart and the toes facing the front of the room. Bend your knees slightly and make sure that your spine is upright.

The point of isolations is to focus on one body part at a time. With your hands placed on your hips and the rest of your body perfectly still, begin looking to the right for a beat and then left. This warms up the muscles of the neck. You can also slowly circle the head by dropping the head down, to the right, back and left. Repeat this circling motion to the opposite side.

2. Hip Swings

The hips are another part of the body that you can warm up during isolations. Holding the same stance as in the neck isolations, move your hips to the right and then left. Be sure to keep the rest of your body as still as possible. You can also circle the hips by pushing them to the right, to the back of the room, to the left and then front. Reverse this motion to the opposite side.

3. Heel Raises

To warm up the calves and hamstrings, place your feet together with the toes facing the front of the room. You can also do this warm up with the heels together and the toes turned out, which is more commonly done in ballet. With a perfectly straight spine, raise your heels off of the floor, balancing yourself on your toes. Then lower your heels to the floor. Repeat this movement until your calves feel warm.

4. Leg Swings

To warm the entire leg, stand on one leg with the toes facing the front of the room. Lift the other leg off of the floor and bend it slightly as you swing the leg toward the front of the room and then toward the back of the room. Repeat this for a dozen repetitions on each leg. If you find that you have trouble keeping your balance, hold on to a chair or a wall.

5. Lunge Stretch

Lunge stretches are commonly done in jazz, modern and hip-hop classes and are useful for stretching the muscles of your lower body. Start with your feet together and push one leg back behind you. Your front knee will be bent. Your back leg will be as straight as possible. As you deepen this stretch, place your hands on the floor. To prevent injuries, always be sure that your front knee is in line with your foot and not too far forward.

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