How to Stretch Before Ballet: 11 Steps

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How to Stretch Before Ballet: 11 Steps
How to Stretch Before Ballet: 11 Steps

Dancing ballet is not a cakewalk. It takes time and practice to master a dancer's long, balanced movements. Proper stretching is essential before and after training. Also, stretch on break days as well, to keep your flexibility up to date.


Method 1 of 2: Preparing and Stretching Your Muscles

Stretch for Ballet Step 1

Step 1. Organize the room and get ready to start

It is advisable to have a specific place to train and suitable clothing.

  • A proper place should be clean and free of clutter. If you don't have a room like this, move away from expensive or fragile objects.
  • Wear comfortable gym clothes. A pair of shorts, shorts or sweatpants and a T-shirt; legging pants will do as well.
  • To avoid getting distracted by your hair, tie it into a ponytail or bun.
  • Use a mat if the floor is too rough or slippery.

Step 2. Lengthen the hamstring

Sit on the floor with your legs straight and reach for your toes. Bend your knees a little if you feel pain. Hold this position for 20 seconds, relax and repeat twice.

  • It is also possible to stretch this tendon while standing; cross your feet and try to touch the floor without bending your knees (or bending just a little bit). Do not spread your feet. Hold for 20 seconds and repeat, crossing your feet to the other side.
  • A variation on this stretch is to squat down and place your hands on the floor. Get up slowly without taking your hands off the ground and go as far as you can.

Step 3. Stretch your feet

Sit with your legs crossed and your feet on your thighs. Point your foot and push your heel lightly with your hand. At the same time, use your other hand to stretch your toes until your foot arches.

  • Letting someone else stretch your feet is unsafe and can cause injury.
  • Using a door as a weight to arch your feet further can cause serious injury, as can standing on your toes curled down.
  • Use a stretcher only if you are experienced or under the supervision of your instructor.

Step 4. Stretch on the bar

Start from the first position, with your left hand on the bar. Raise your right leg and rest your foot on the bar, making a point. Raise your right hand to fifth position and lean on your right leg. Continue for 30 seconds, stop and do the same with the other leg.

  • The back should be straight.
  • Feet should point outwards.

Step 5. Get on your knees and sit on your feet

Extend one leg out in front of you and pointe (without going off the other foot). Reach your toes in front of you with both hands. Hold for 20 seconds, relax and repeat with the other leg.

Method 2 of 2: Splitting, Sinking and Pirouting

Step 1. Open a jazz splitter and lean forward until your face touches your leg

Start with your left leg at the front and your right leg at the back. Lean forward as far as you can. Slightly unfold the back leg (right). Hold for 30 seconds. Release and repeat with right leg forward and left leg back.

Train until you can split with both legs fully extended

Stretch for Ballet Step 7

Step 2. Practice with the right, left and front

When your feet are in position and stretching, do the pointe. Hold each split for 20 seconds.

  • To open with the right, you must leave it in front.
  • Likewise, to open with the left, leave it in front and the right behind.
  • The front split is open with both legs extended laterally.

Step 3. Use wall to open front split

Sit with your legs open in a V facing the wall and press the inside of your ankles against it. Hold for 10 to 15 seconds.

  • Don't stretch too much and stop if you feel a lot of pain.

Step 4. Open split flat on your back on the floor

Lie down and keep your feet in the air. Cross your ankles and open the split in the air. Repeat this exercise 10 times, alternating legs.

Step 5. Make "lunges" (sinks)

There are several types of sinks for stretching, but the most popular are the side and front. Repeat between 10 and 12 times with each leg.

  • For front sinking, align your feet to your hips and stand upright. Step forward with one leg and lower your body until your front thigh is parallel to the floor and your back knee is almost touching it. Do the same with the other leg.
  • For lateral dip, align your feet to your hips and stand upright. Take a wide step to the side, bending your right knee and lowering your body until your right thigh is parallel to the floor. The left leg should be straight and the foot touching the floor. Do the same with the other leg.

Step 6. Do a pirouette to calibrate balance

Do a complete turn on one foot. Imagine that you are connected to the ceiling through a cord that extends from the top of your head.

Do pirouettes at the tip


  • Do not sway the limb you are stretching, this can cause muscle strain.
  • Enjoy! Dancing is more than work or hobby, it is an artistic form of expression.
  • Try facing a mirror when stretching to see if you're doing the positions correctly.
  • Have a schedule. For example, when opening splits, start by holding for just 10 seconds and do only half a split for five sessions, always trying to lower it further until you can open it fully.
  • Warm up with aerobic exercise before stretching.
  • Ask your instructor which stretches are best for you.
  • Automatically stop if you feel pain, discomfort or nausea. Stretching incorrectly can cause serious injury.
  • If you have problems with joints, tendons, etc. ask the doctor what to do and what to avoid so you don't get hurt.
  • For ballerinas who are already on pointe dancing, using a tennis ball to massage the soles of the feet is great for removing knots and alleviating pain.
  • A stretch should be held for up to 30 seconds so that the muscles have time to relax and stretch naturally.


  • Don't exceed yourself!

    Some stretches can cause serious injury if done wrongly or with too much intensity. Be aware of your limits.

  • Be even more careful if you are already suffering from an injury. You may need to change the stretches you can do.
  • Follow your dance instructor's recommendations.
  • Before you start exercising, go to your doctor for a checkup.

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