Saturday, February 2, 2013

Neck Tension Release And Whole Body Stretches

Neck pain can be decreased every day. Especially if you know some good whole body stretches.If you have severe neck, shoulder, or back pain, a physical therapist or a chiropractor will help correct your posture, stretch you some, and help you reverse your habits of chronically straining your neck.

If your work station, for example is poorly set up, your your neck muscles are tense all day, unnecessarily. You may need a lumbar support on your chair, and you may need to lower or raise your computer monitor.

Your muscles don't work in isolation. Poor use of the neck muscles will involve the shoulder, upper back, low back, chest, and arm muscles too. It is just that you may feel the pain in your neck first. I hate to say it, but you will most likely feel upper back pain, low back pain and shoulder pain too, at some later time.

Do you know any myofascial release massage techniques? For yourself, I mean. Fascia is a wrap, connecting all of your soft tissues. It would look like plastic wrap, enveloping your muscles and other soft tissues.

There is one section that goes from head to toe. When your wrap turns to Shrink Wrap - you'll feel it! Your fascia can wrinkle, shrink, get tense and less flexible.

Yet you can learn to change that, so easily. Through the following link, there is an article about this, and down a little ways, there's a short video clip of a neck tension release. Short and easy.

Farther down in that article you'll read about one of the myofascial massage techniques, done with a Pinkie Ball.

A great piece of Equipment for your dance bag! One of the easiest self myofascial release tools to have.

But developing chronic neck and back pain can be prevented, by changing your lifestyle a little bit, and including a routine from the best stretching exercise DVD I've found yet, Effective Stretching The Ultimate Guide.

Once you have learned a few of the whole body stretches, you will feel like something is wrong when you don't do them.

You can use The Pinky Ball, the easiest of the self myofascial release tools to increase the effects of:

  • hip flexibility exercises
  • leg flexibility exercises
  • shoulder flexibility exercises
Your overall flexibility will increase with neck tension release, and you can achieve this yourself!

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Flexible Ballet Dancers And Higher Leg Extensions

Many dancers who are adult ballet beginners or otherwise late starters in ballet, envy and pine for the higher leg extensions that all flexible ballet dancers have.

They go to adults ballet class, once or twice a week, and work so hard. In the ballet barre stretches, they huff and puff, and push those joints and muscles till they hurt. No pain no gain, right?

But they don't see their ballet arabesque position improving!

Here's the thing about stretching, in general. Doing stretches, or ballet stretches, more often, with less pressure, does you more good. More often than those one or two adults ballet class a week.

Every day at home, with a little warm up, you can do a series of stretches. They don't look like ballet at all. Never mind. There is a secret here.

You've probably heard that attitudes, in an organization, comes from the top down. Meaning the leader, whoever that is perceived to be, largely controls the policy, or philosophy of a company, or group.

Strangely, your body works in the same way. If you have been sitting at a desk all day, school, office or otherwise, or standing at a cash register or other type of post, you are tense in the muscles. The muscles starting at the top of your skull.

So, if you were to go home and perform a series of stretches of exercises that you don't see flexible ballet dancers do, but exercises that get you really flexible, relaxed and feeling accomplished...I bet you'd do that a few times a week.

You mean, if I want higher leg extensions and a beautiful arabesque position I have to relax the top of my head? YES!!

And you can learn the best stretching exercise for:
  • shoulder flexibility exercises
  • hip flexibility exercises
  • all upper body stretching exercises
And you can also learn myofascial release massage techniques that you do with A Pinkie Ball! With the Effective Stretching The Ultimate Guide DVD.

All for your ballet arabesque position! 

These are not the only benefits if you learn this. Other benefits are:
  • stretching to increase ballet turnout
  • learning neck tension release
  • losing back muscle tension
  • learning stretches for your hip flexors
The ballet arabesque position is just not about high legs. The arm positions, relaxed shoulders, relaxed neck, and head angle all polish the beautiful ballet line.

Learning to balance this technical requirement with the Effective Stretching Ultimate Guide whole body stretches DVD will give you the result you want. What look like un-ballet stretches, will give you your ballet arabesque position.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Hip Flexibility Exercises - Prepare Children For Doing The Splits

Younger dancers who want to do everything they see ballerinas do, want to learn how to do splits fast.

One exercise from the leg flexibility exercises, and one exercise from the hip flexibility exercises will help you work toward doing a front split.

These two exercises are not about getting into a split type of position and pushing or pulling on your muscles. They are easy to learn, easy to teach, and it helps if you have a step stool - maybe about a foot or so high, to use.

Just sitting on a low stool, or step stool, with one leg relaxed toward your front, and the other relaxed behind you, stretches your hip flexors.

  • stretch your front leg out, as far as you can with the foot flat on the floor
  • stretch the back leg out as far as you can, feeling the stretch
The stretch will pull from the front of the thigh, over the front of the hip, and into your abdominal area.

This muscle goes from your thigh up into the front of your spine. If it is stretched regularly, you will gradually get really flexible!

Always be warmed up! This is best done half way through class, or after class. Or maybe after exercise at home, if you practise at home.

There is no need to push to the point of pain. This isn't safe, and it really doesn't help you do splits fast.

Keep your stomach pulled up and your upper back straight, without straining.

You are stretching your psoas, or iliopsoas muscle. Here's a description of a standing lunge which (click the link) stretches hip flexors.

A simple stretch for the hamstring is to stand in front of the stool, and place one foot on it, leg straight, foot flexed. Simply tip forward from the hip joint, keep your back straight, and you'll feel the stretch. Hold it without pushing or bouncing for about 15 seconds.

Repeat, and change sides. If you discover that you have one leg that is less flexible, you can stretch that one more.

You don't need to push, pull, bounce your muscles, or hurt them in order to get really flexible. It takes patience and constant repetition (when you're warmed up)!

Visit another page here to see some pictures of how to do these hip flexibility exercises and leg flexibility exercises. Also you'll find lots more advice on that site on how to get really flexible!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Upper Body Stretching Exercises For The Adult Ballet Beginner

An adult ballet beginner has a lot to work toward. Either developing, or recovering previously attained ballet achievements may feel overwhelming at times.

In every ballet class, the adult ballet beginner must contend with:

***improve ballet turnout

***higher leg extensions

***whole body stretches

***good ballet foot positions

During the ballet barre work, each muscle group is well warmed up and challenged. Plies warms and strengthens the back muscles, the thighs, or the quadriceps, mostly.

The upper body is simply to remain relaxed, with the neck and arms moving with ease. Ideally neck tension release is achieved just by going through ballet arm positions – but can that really happen?

To get really flexible, and have this flexibility on most days in your adult beginner ballet classes, you need to add some upper body stretching exercises. In fact, whole body stretches should always include good upper body stretches.

If you're a ballet adult beginner, here's a stretch you can do during and after the ballet barre, once you're warmed up somewhat. You don't want to do it at the beginning of the barre when you're still cold.

But this is an easy stretch that will help you get your back more flexible.

Start with your back to the barre, standing in first position or a small second position.

Reach back and clasp the barre, just like you're in your second position of the arms, but moved backwards.

Take hold of the ballet barre – then lean away from the barre, keeping your arms straight.

You will feel a great stretch along your arms, and across your chest and the front of your shoulders. This should be a comfortable stretch, no strain. Just relax into it for about 10-20 seconds, no pulsing or bouncing.

Then pull yourself upright. Repeat throughout the class when you can.

This is one of the best rounded shoulders exercises! The stretch across the front of your body will loosen up tight shoulders and help with neck tension release.

This will improve your ballet posture and help you get really flexible. When the front of the body is stretched out, the back of the body gets less resistance in all your ballet arabesque positions and will help you get your back more flexible.
Here's a way to check if you need more upper body stretching exercises:

Lie down on the floor, with your legs stretched straight, but relaxed.

Are the back of your knees easily laying on the floor?

If so, do you have a tiny curve in your low back, yet not a strained arch off the floor?

If so, are your shoulders relaxed on the floor, or are they rounded at all?

If your back muscle tension is minimal, your shoulders should lie back on the floor.

Yet, maybe they will not, if you need some good upper body stretches.

Be sure to try the one described above in your next class! Do it gently, it feels delicious.

And get yourself a wonderful and expert DVD, so you can practice the best upper body stretching exercises on a regular basis.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Back Flexibility Exercises - Get Really Flexible!

Why do dancers, and especially those in adults ballet class, want back flexibility exercises?

*** improve your arabesque – higher leg extension to the back, or en arriere

*** to be able to do more flexible side bends which also:

*** enables the dancer to hold the spine straight and get a better leg extension to the side

*** higher leg extensions! Wherever!!

You want to stretch your back muscles and get higher leg extensions. Which muscles exactly?

If you are in an adults ballet class – whether you took ballet as a child, or are an adult ballet beginner – you just want to get really flexible!! Right?

The muscles you need to get really flexible, for arabesque, are your hip flexors. They don't sound like back muscles, but these muscles run from the top of the thigh, up over the hip joint, to attach at the front of your spine. If they are tight, you will not be able to raise your leg into arabesque easily. The more flexible these muscles are, the easier it is to lift your leg and keep your upper back lifted.

In addition, the more flexible your hip flexors are, the easier it is to hold your standing leg turned out, with your body weight placed correctly over your standing foot. In this case, you can easily lift your hand off the barre, showing that you are on balance.

This means that in the center work part of your class, you will be on balance as well. Your neck and shoulders will be more relaxed, and your arms will be in a gracefully held position.

All from doing a hips flexor stretch as one of your back flexibility exercises.

Myofascial Release Physical Therapy

Myo (muscle) fascial (of the fascia) release, is not exactly the same as stretching, but it benefits your efforts to get really flexible. You can learn a myofascial release physical therapy technique that you can do after ballet class, or at home when you do stretching exercises at home! And it is very easy to do.

Learning how to do a full body stretching, combined with myofascial release physical therapy, will benefit your efforts to get really flexible. Let me explain.

Back muscle tension is related to neck tension release. If your scalp and neck muscles are relaxed, back muscle tension will be affected for the better. If your upper back and shoulders are relaxed, then your lower back muscles will be more relaxed. From the top down...

That's why I recommend learning back flexibility exercises that include neck, shoulder, and upper back stretching exercises.

(With myofascial muscle release therapy tips included)!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Shoulder Flexibility Exercises

This topic comes up most often in relation to adults ballet classes, and people looking for the best golf stretches.

Whether you're a dancer in adults ballet classes, or a golfer wanting to improve your swing, how do you release shoulder tension?

This may seem complicated, but in actuality it's easy to learn shoulder tension exercises.

O.K., so the shoulder's connected to...skull, neck (cervical) bones, collar (clavicle) ... and these bones, your skeleton is connected by your fascia.

"A fascia (pron.: /ˈfæʃiə/; plural fasciae /ˈfæʃɨ./; adjective fascial; from Latin: "band") is a layer of fibrous tissue.[1] A fascia is a structure of connective tissue that surrounds muscles, groups of muscles, blood vessels, and nerves, binding some structures together, while permitting others to slide smoothly over each other.

Fascia, or myofascia, muscle fascia. Picture plastic wrap wrapping and connecting your soft tissues from head to toe. From the top of your head to the bottom of your feet.

But, unlike plastic wrap, this tissue is flexible...unless, it is subjected to strains or impacts. Like an auto accident, or falling down the stairs. Ouch! Then it is less flexible. And can be rehabilitated, like muscles.

Working from the top down: if you experience shoulder tension pain, you need not only shoulder flexibility exercises, but also some understanding of myofascial release.

Working with a sports ball, a Pinkie Ball,  you can use it as one of the self myofascial release tools.

The DVD pictured above provides you with shoulder flexibility exercises,  and myofascial release massage techniques.

I hope you'll take a look at this incredible DVD that relates shoulder flexibility exercises with your success  in golf, or adults ballet classes.


Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Hip Flexibility Exercises - How They Work

Hip flexibility is important. Hip flexibility exercises will help balance the tension in the hips, and prevent strength training from resulting in spasms or soreness. Muscle relaxation increases muscle tone, as tense muscles cannot function with the same strength as relaxed, stretched muscles.

A stretching routine that includes the whole body is the best, starting with the neck muscles and working down. For chronic muscle pain in any area, a full body approach to stretching exercises will serve you best.

To become more flexible at the front of the hip you will stretch:
***the quadriceps muscles at the front of the thighs
***the psoas muscle that runs from the top of the front of the thigh over the hip bone and up into the front of your spine.

To become more flexible at the side and back of the hips you will stretch:
***the ballet turnout muscles. Your lateral rotator muscles are your prime turnout muscles, specifically: Piriformis;Obturator Internus;Obturator Externus;Quadratus Femoris; Gemellus Superior; Gemellus Inferior. These muscles lie underneath your gluts, or "butt muscles' which can retain much tension from weakness and overuse.

Understanding myofascial release and how that helps your hip flexibility exercises is something you can benefit greatly from.

If you are not particularly athletic, the sooner you learn about hip stretches the better. As you age, you can preserve hip strength and balance, preventing falls and hip fractures.

Get your DVD that includes the details of hip flexibility exercises, all the important body stretches, as well as myofascial release instruction, EFFECTIVE STRETCHING THE ULTIMATE GUIDE.