Do your hips sometimes feel tight after dance class? If so, you’re not alone.
Intensive dance training can cause tiny tears within your muscle fibers, which can produce that tight feeling you are all too familiar with.
This is what we call 'muscle damage' and it is actually a good thing. That’s because when you rest, your body will repair and strengthen those muscle fibers, so that you’ll be fitter and better prepared for your next workout.
That doesn't mean that we cant work on the tightness during the recovery however. In-fact there is lots that we can do, and so today I am going to show you 5 top stretches to perform after dance class to get rid of those tight hips!
1. Kneeling Flexor Stretch
Stretches: hip flexors
Your hip flexors, which lie at the front of your hip bone, are highly active while you dance. You contract this muscle every time you lift your leg, which is why this muscle may feel tight after class.
This stretch is also great after a day at school or at work. That’s because prolonged sitting can shorten the hip flexors, something you can avoid by doing this exercise regularly.
2. Figure Four Stretch
While you dance, your glutes often contract to catch your body. An example of this is when you absorb the force during a side step.
It is such absorbing contractions that tighten your muscles the most. That’s why it’s helpful to stretch your glutes after a workout.(1)
3. Reclining Angle Bound Pose
Stretches: Inner thighs
While everyone can experience tight inner thighs after exercising, it’s particularly common in women. That’s because they have wider hips, which often causes their knees to be pointed more inwards, leading to more tension on the inner thigh muscles.
4. Child's Pose
Stretches: Spinal muscles, latissimus dorsi
Tightness in the lower back can be particularly uncomfortable. The following stretch can help you reduce this tightness. It’s also a good movement to relax the muscles of the spine if you suffer from lower-back pain.
5. Lower Back Rotational Stretch
Stretches: Abdominals, lower back
Just like the Child’s Pose, this stretch also reduces tightness in the core. That’s why this is a particularly good exercise if you suffer from lower-back pain.
Aside from doing this stretch after dance class, you can also perform it if you experience lower-back tightness or pain during the day. Doing so can offer relief, especially when combined with the Child’s Pose.
The Bottom Line
While it might be tempting to skip the stretches after dance class, it's a good idea to do them. Not only does stretching support your flexibility, but it also reduces soreness after your dance session.
To get the most out of the stretches, do each of them for at least thirty seconds. Also, don’t force the exercise. While you should feel the stretch in the target muscles, it shouldn’t feel uncomfortable.
It’s not ideal to stretch with a lot of intensity because doing so causes the target muscles to contract, which leads to a less effective stretch. That’s why it’s best to keep your body relaxed during the stretches.
Now, put the stretches above into action after your next dance class and notice the difference. Your hips will feel less tight both immediately after your session and the day after.