One of the resolutions I made for 2012 was to stretch, and I put up five such stretches last week from my friend Renee Griffin, who works as a Physical Therapist Assistant up in Pennsylvania. Today I conclude the stretches she suggested for contra dancers to do. Truthfully, I should have been better about doing more of these before I went and danced to Perpetual e-Motion three weekends in a row before dancing to Frog Hammer's contra dance debut last night....
As a reminder: if it hurts, don't do it, and keep good posture through all of these stretches. That means keep your shoulders back!
Onward to the stretches!
6. Leg Stretch
Brace your hands against a wall with your hands at shoulder height, facing straight ahead. Lunge against the wall with your knee over your ankle, and keep your lead foot flat on the floor. Step back with your other foot until it has its heel flat on the floor.
7. Hip Stretch
Assume position similar to the previous stretch, but do not touch the wall. (See picture, below.) This can be done with a straight back leg or a bent knee on your back leg.
The stretch should be felt in the front of the hip, in the area where you transition from your pelvis to the top of your leg (Renee is indicating this spot in the picture at left). It is important that you keep your back straight and abs tensed. Once you assume the position, stand up as straight as you can so you're pulling up.
8. Plantar Fascia (Foot) Stretch
Sit at the front edge of a chair with your back straight. Keep one leg as you would normally sit, but take the one to be stretched and straighten your leg. putting heel on floor and toes straight up. Put your hands on your bent knee and lean forward. You can change stretch by rotating toes so they point inward or outward, rotating at the hip.
9. Hip/Thigh Stretch
On a soft cushion or with a coat or blanket wadded underneath your knee, kneel on the edge of a chair/couch, and put one foot on the floor for balance. Renee prefers this one because it isolates the muscle more and takes any weak ankles or balance issues out of the equation.
Step out with your balance leg, with your knee over your ankle like in a lunge, but keep your back straight and do not arch your back; Renee is pointing at the thigh muscle that gets stretched in this exercise.
Alternatively, face sideways to stretch the hip adductor muscle:
10. Upper and Middle Back Stretch
We're calling this the "angry cat pose." Get on your hands and knees and arch your back toward the ceiling. This can be done on fists or with your hands flat.
Renee Griffin currently holds a position as a Physical Therapist Assistant working in long-term skilled care in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. She holds an additional certification as a NCBTMB certified massage therapist. Thanks to her for sharing her expertise with Contra Syncretist!
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This project has concluded as of mid-2013 (with an epilogue posted mid-2016) but we hope to see you soon on a contra dance floor! Meanwhile, head over to our Facebook page for upcoming techno contra events and other items of interest.
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I dance with abandon. I play with glowsticks. I look for music that is conducive to one or both. I play behind cameras. I write about all of the above. I'm based in Glen Echo's contra dance community outside of Washington, D.C., but I'm happy to go dance afield when I can. Lather, rinse, repeat. Always repeat.
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