DANCERS STRETCH OFTEN TO STAY SUPPLE – HERE ARE CHARLES AMES’ GO-TO MOVES
KNEELING HIP FLEXOR STRETCH
“This stretch is hugely important for anyone who either spends a lot of time in a seated position or who suffers from mild back pain,”
says Ames. • Lower down to a kneeling position with your right knee on the floor or a mat, and your left foot on the floor. • Make sure your left knee is at a right angle and directly over your left heel. • On an exhale, lean forwards until you can feel the stretch in your upper thigh and hip flexor. • Think about drawing your abdominals in to support your spine and upper body. • Hold the stretch for 30 secs before repeating on the other side.
“Although it targets the hamstrings, this move also stretches the calves, glutes and lower back,” says Ames.
• Stand with your feet hip-distance apart and feet facing forward. • Hinge at your hips and reach down towards your toes. • If you can’t reach the floor, soften your knees so you can reach a little further. • Hold for 30 secs before rolling slowly up the spine and repeat if desired.
STANDING SIDE STRETCH
“This stretch targets the serratus muscles, which help you to both breathe better and improve posture,” says Ames.
• Stand with your feet hip-distance apart, reach your right hand over your head and keep your left hand by your side. • Draw your abdominals in (think belly button to spine) and bend at the waist towards your left side, while continuing to reach your right hand overhead. • Hold for a couple of breaths, then recover back to standing. • Complete 5-10 reps each side.
“This is great for anyone who works at a desk for long periods. It stretches the pecs, as well as the anterior deltoids.”
• Stand tall and lift your arms so they’re parallel to the floor. • Lift through your chest for a tall spine, then externally rotate your shoulders by facing your palms up and keeping your thumbs pointing behind you. • Hold for 3-5 secs and repeat 5-10 times.