Monday, December 6, 2010

Movement Specific Drill for stretching and strengthening

With any kind of movement, muscles in the feet need some sort of stretching. Especially in ballet with all the different types of movement involved take a toll on your feet.  They become tight with what ballet dancers have to endure with training. This exercise/drill not only stretches all of the muscles in the feet, but it helps build up strength and range of movement within the arch in your foot.

Stance: You can do this exercise standing or laying down. But be sure to get into a comfortable position.
Preparation: Be prepared to point and flex your toe for about 10 reps each foot.
Follow Through: It is important to keep your feet strictly in line with your ankle and hip joints. You are going to point the foot away from you.  Then flex your foot back (keeping it in line with your ankle and hip joints) this time, letting the toe end of the foot come toward you.
Repeat slowly (speed of movement should be slow, as indicated in the video) as much as needed.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Movement Specific Drill for strength

This movement drill is specifically for a mechanical advantage. Even though this exercise is ballet related, it is designed to strengthen the muscles you need in the lower portion of the body to execute a perfect plie jump. It is mechanically equivalent to performing a plie jump, because it is the first half of the movement (the preparation phase) except without the take off.  This drill is used to work each leg independently to increase specifity for that one leg, to make a 2 leg plie jump that much stronger.

Stance: Start grounded on 1 leg, with the other hip externally rotated, and behind you.  Your main focus is the standing leg.
Preparation: Plie (flexion) of the knees slightly.
Follow through: Rise up onto relevee (ball of your foot). Stay lifted throughout the standing leg to ensure balance.
Landing: Roll down onto the ball of your feet and then onto the heel. Be sure to plie as you come back down.

Repeat as necessary, do not go too fast.

Movement Specific Drill for technique

This drill is to help a combination of things; technique, coordination and strength. It is for a mechanical advantage being that it is the beginning of the first phase of the follow through and the landing phase of the jump. It helps strengthen the gastrocnemius muscle and the muscles in the ankle. However, it also a drill for neurological purposes because it helps engrave the coordination of the jump so that it is improved with this repetitive exercise.

Stance: Stand in "first position" (meaning, with your hips externally rotated and your arms in first position (rounded at the bottom).
Preparation: Flexion of the knees about 45 degrees. Do not use too much force, because you are not jumping, but get used to feeling your feet push through the floor.
Follow Through: Rise up onto releve (balls of your feet). All toes should be touching the floor. Be sure to pull the abdominals in to help balance you.
Landing: Press down through balls of the feet into your heels.

Repeat as many times as desired.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Phase 1 - Stance/starting position

Stance/starting position
Externally rotate your hip joint so your feet are turned out, heels together. Keep your arms nice and graceful, close to your body, like your holding a beach ball.

Shoulder Girdle: To start with good posture: Scapulathoracic retraction (adduction) by the rhomboids and the middle and lower fibers of the traps.
Maintain scapulathoracic retraction (adduction) by the rhomboids and the middle and lower fibers of the traps throughout the whole movement.
Shoulder Joint: External Rotation; Adducters hold you there isometrically in a retraction action.
Isometrically contract your rhomboids and your trapezius to maintain good posture throughout movement.
The Elbow and Radioulnar Joints: Flexion of the biceps brachii, brachialis and, brachioradialis muscles.  90 degrees of pronation of the brachioadialis, pronator teres, and the pronator quadratus muscles . Maintain this position isometrically through out the entire movement.
Hip Joint: External rotation of the pectineus, biceps femoris, gluetus maximus, and the 6 deep lateral rotator muscles.  Maintain this position isometrically through out movement.
Knee Joint: External rotation of the bicep femoris. Isometrically contract through out movement.

Phase 2- Preparation

Bend your legs at a 45 degree angle keeping your knees in line with your feet.  While keeping your arms where they are, you are going to push through your feet and the ball of your feet in order to jump into the air.

Hip Joint: Flexion of the iliacus, psoas major and minor, rectus femoris and sartorius muscles concentrically.
Knee Joint : Flexion of the sartorius, biceps femoris, semitendinosus, semimembranosus, and gracilis concentrically.

Phase 3 -Follow through & Phase 4- Landing

(Phase 3) Follow through
 During this split second in the air, point your toes and keep your body as still as possible. (you want to get some good height between your feet and the air).

Hip Joint: Flexion of the iliacus, psoas major and minor, rectus femoris, sartorius, pectineus muscles isometrically isometriclaly. jumping in the air.
Knee Joint: Extension of the rectus femoris, vastus intermedius, vastus lateralis and vastus medalis muscles isometrically while jumping in the air.

(Phase 4) Landing
The balls of your feet should be the first thing that touches the ground, and gently roll down from the balls of your feet onto your heels. Make sure there is a slight flexion in the knees to ensure a soft landing. Weight should be distributed evenly in the feet so you are not falling forward or backward, and to also prevent injury.

Hip Joint: Flexion of the iliacus, psoas major and minor, rectus femoris, and sartorius muscles eccentrically.
Knee Joint: Flexion of the sartorius, biceps femoris, semitendinosus, semimembranosus, and gracilis eccentrically.

Phase 4- Return

Return Phase
Gently roll down from your ball of your foot to your heels. (  Bend your legs to 45 degrees to catch your jump and land as softly as possible. (should not sound like an elephant). You should not have moved from the spot that you initiated the jump. You should look weightless and effortless.