Hey there, dancers! Today we are talking all about how to improve your turnout! Turnout is a huge part of being a stage dancer. Whether it’s in ballet, jazz, or contemporary, turnout is the key to opening a whole new range of motion when it comes to flexibility. Good turnout helps achieve better leaps, higher kicks and the oh so coveted, middle split! But how do you make your turn out better? What can you do to improve it? We’re going to dive into that today with a few exercise and stretches to help ya out! Now, always keep in mind that everyone is not blessed with a 180 degree turnout (I am one of the people who are NOT) but that’s okay! Even if you don’t achieve a complete 180, that doesn’t mean you don’t have a great turn out! So, always be accepting of the way your hips work, okay? Let’s get started!!
“Change The Way You Turnout”
This is probably the most important tip of all, which is why it is the perfect way to start out this post! A lot of the time, dancers make the mistake of turnout with their toes or their feet when in reality; the proper way of turning out is from your hips! This can come off as a little confusing but it’s actually easier to execute than you would think. All you have to do is stand with your feet parallel and part your feet by leading with your HEELS instead of using your toes. Also, another thing I do is to mentally focus on my hips when turning out. I will literally say quietly to myself, “hips, hips, hips” and that puts my focus in the correct area of my body thus making my brain communicate to my lower body. Very Bill Nigh the Science Guy, don’t you think?
“Strengthen Your Hip Flexors”
Good turnout, like most things in ballet, isn’t just based on flexibility alone. It’s also based on strength. Seeing as though you properly turnout from your hips, it is your hip flexor that require the strength and flexibility to be able to open up your hips as far as they can go. Great exercises to improve the strength in your hip flexors are squats and the lily pad, all which you can find a full description of in our post titled, “Exercises To Improve Developpes”. All you have to do is search the title in the search bar and you’ll find all of the information there! Check it out!
Let’s start with a classic: The butterfly! This is a stretch that has been around for what seems like forever! This stretch has stood the test of time because it has always proven that it helps so much in improving hip flexibility! Start by sitting down on the floor, bring the soles of your feet together and hold this stretch for 16 counts. From there, with the soles of your feet still connected, slowly inch your feet out in front of you a little more and hold this stretch for another 16 counts. If you want to add a little more intensity to this stretch, take your hands and press down on both knees to give your hip flexors a little extra stretch!
After you’ve done the “Lily Pad” hip flexor exercise, why not follow it up with its respective counterpart, the frog stretch! Start by lying on your stomach and with your knees bent and the soles of your feet pressed together, slowly bring your legs up into a frog position. Once you’re there, see if you can touch your feet to the ground or at least close to. Hold this stretch for 10 seconds and slowly release your legs back down.
“The ‘Number 4’ Stretch”
There I go making up names again. Start by sitting down, with your legs straight out in front of you. Next, with your right leg turned out, bring your foot up and place it on your opposite knee to where your lower body is in the shape of a 4. From there, take your hand and press your knee farther down. Hold this stretch for 8 counts and repeat on the other side.
“The Sumo Squat”
Believe it or not, I did NOT make this title up! This is legitimately the name of this stretch! Start by standing up with your legs placed hip width apart. From there, turnout out your feet and slowly squat down as far you can, resting your hands either on the floor or on your knees, whichever is more comfortable. Hold this stretch for 10 seconds. Feel free to repeat this sequence again a few times if you’d like!
And there you have it! Do these exercises and stretches throughout the week or add them into your existing stretch/workout routine, sit back and watch your progress grow! I hope you enjoyed this post and found these tips helpful! If you liked what you read here, come join the From the Top Family by following us on Instagram @fromthetopdb! Also, turn on our Instagram post notifications to be alerted when a new From the Top blog post goes LIVE! Have a great weekend, dancers! See you all next Friday!