How Stretching Affects Dancers’ Flexibility

 

Stretching  pic
Stretching
Image: livestrong.com

The Linda Jamieson School of Dance offers dance training as well as performance and competition opportunities for students at a variety of levels. All students at the Linda Jamieson School of Dance receive training in technique and conditioning, including flexibility training, from skilled and experienced instructors.

When you stretch, you work to extend the range of motion in a particular joint by lengthening the muscle attached. The exact process by which this occurs is uncertain, though studies indicate that the effect is largely neurological.

Data suggests that stretching can temporarily increase the elasticity of a muscle, in that the muscle displays lower resistance after a stretching session. However, studies have found this effect to be transient, in that repeated stretching is necessary to retain the effects for more than 24 hours.

Changes in pain threshold and stretch tolerance appear to be significantly more lasting. This is because instead of physically extending the muscle fiber on a long-term basis, the process of stretching allows for more motion in the joint before the dancer feels pain in the muscle itself.

Experts recommend that an athlete take advantage of this process by extending the muscle from the center of the muscle belly out to its most distal points. This typically requires the holding of a static stretch for 60 seconds or more. Because this can also have a relaxing effect on body and mind, such flexibility-focused stretches may be most effective at the end of the dancer’s day.

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