Today's blogpost will be all about EXTENSIONS! I get tons and tons and tons of requests about this specific subject, on a weekly basis. So here we go:
Hi moa ❣ I just want to say that i fanatically read your blog whenever I find time , or while I stretch. I love it and you inspire me so much! Although those past weeks I am training a lot (at home, trying to strengthen and stretch) I feel like I dont progress… Do you have any tips, exercises to get those amazing extensions of yours? I would appreciate it so much if you reply when you have time ! Lots of love❣ 🌸💟
Hi! I've been following you for so long and I love your blog! I was wondering if you have any tips on extensions and hip flexibility/strength? Or if you could write a blog post on it 🙂
Hi Moa!❤️ I have a question for you… What is your secret for high extension?
Hey Moa!! I've been following you for so long but I've always wanted to ask, what are your best tips for extensions? Thanks in advance xo
Hello, how do you increase the range of your extensions? Btw, love you 😊
(Thank you for all your sweet messages, it makes me truly happy to read)
Getting high(er) extensions is a matter of the balance between stretching and strengthening. You don't want to stretch too much as it can damage surrounding tissues or ligaments, or simply make you weaker. At the same time, if you work a lot with your muscles you need to combine it with stretching, to not end up getting stiffer as your muscles are increasing let alone decreasing the height of your extensions.
What mainly indicates your extensions is, for obvious reasons, the hip: moreover the iliopsoas. (Wikipedia=)
The iliopsoas (ilio-so-as) refers to the joined psoas and the iliacus muscles. The two muscles are separate in the abdomen, but usually merge in the thigh.
A typical iliopsoas stretch is in the lunge position, as I'm sure you're all familiar with. A good exercise to strengthen the muscles around your hips is to sit on the floor with both legs stretched in front of you, keep your back straight and core tight at all times. Don't let movements in the legs affect your back, your back stays strong. Always. What you should do is to lift each leg off the ground, as high as possible- remember to straighten the knees.- up, hold for a second, and down, up, hold, and down. You should do it not only turned out but also parallel, try to do between 10-20 per leg in sets of three. To increase this exercise and make it even harder: put weights on your ankles. The more you do it, the easier it will be and you'll be able to lift your leg even higher.
Other stretches are the famous splits; front and middle. When in front split, try to bend your back leg and grab your foot, press it down towards the thigh and you'll feel how it stretches along the front side of the leg. You can also do the front split but with the front leg in a 90 degree angle, then bend forward.
When in middle split, bend from side to side and try to aim to reach toes with the opposite arm. To get a better split you can lay on your back and open the legs towards the sides, to the floor. Add weights or ask a friend to gently press your legs down to the floor for an even better stretch.
Another great tip is to wear weights and do grand battements, front, side and even (more careful though) to the back. On the floor and standing up. I always do battements when warming up. It is a great way to warm up your hips, to stretch and to get your muscles and legs nicely warmed up and ready to do class. Do between 8-10 each leg and side, in sets of two or three.
My last tip for higher extensions is to do the well-known 'leg-in-the-hand' stretch. Simply, grab your foot with your hand and stretch your leg, try to bring it straight up and then let go, keep your leg for a little while and then slowly go down.
I hope this blogpost helped in some way or at least gave you tips or inspiration for future work. Remember: hard work beats talent if talent doesn't work hard! Although it is more than easy to get stuck with the one and only focus to achieve extensions higher than Svetlana's, keep in mind that, by all means, quality over quantity. Always. It's just as important that you know the exact correct posture and position for adagio & extensions in general as for how flexible you are. Think about HOW you do it.
Lastly, hard work will eventually give results. You won't see the difference in a day or two, it will come over time. In the meantime, be patient, always work hard, eat well, sleep well and enjoy what you're doing!
Eat, sleep, dance – repeat!