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Low-back exercises help ease ballet related discomfort.
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Ballet students are taught proper spinal alignment, which is to not tip the tailbone back or tuck it under. Yet, ballerinas still tip and tuck, and pain ensues. Ballet positions that twist the lower back, or lumbar spine, such as arabesques, can strain muscles and cause wear and tear on spinal discs. Injury and discomfort can be reduced, though, with body conditioning. Speak with your doctor or physical therapist before beginning a new exercise routine.
Reverse Bridge on One Leg
The reverse bridge on one leg strengthens your lumbar spine, inner thighs and glutes. Lie on your stomach with your hands folded in front and elbows out. Lift your chest and extend your legs. Tighten your abs and lay your feet soles up. Bend your left knee and lift the leg, raising it as high you can. Keep your knee at a 90-degree angle throughout the exercise. Lower the leg and repeat for four sets of eight repetitions, or until you feel a stretch in your lower back and glutes. Switch legs and repeat the exercise.
Work your core muscles for a stronger lower back -- and this includes strengthening the abs. Pelvic tilts are another floor exercise to tone the core muscles -- the muscular girdle hugging your lower body. Lie on the floor with your arms flat and at your sides. Bend your knees and press your feet into the floor. Tighten your abs and press your back into the floor. Keep your back flat and lift your pelvis 1 to 2 inches, but not high enough to cause low-back discomfort. Keep lifting for five to 10 seconds. Do 10 repetitions, or enough to feel a stretch in the pelvis.
Side Stretch and Swirl
Stand with your feet hip-width apart for a back core stretching side stretch and swirl move. Raise your arms and slowly bend to the right. Stop when you feel a stretch in your obliques. Loosen your hips, and in one fluid motion, hinge at the hips and swing your upper torso and upper body down, to center and up on the left side. Repeat, but bend to the left and swing to the right. Do five side stretches and swirls on each side, or enough to loosen your back and obliques.
Classic Ballet Beautiful Bridge
Lie flat, arms at your sides and knees bent. Place your feet in demi-pointe, or heels up and toes down, and lift your glutes. Tighten your abs and pull your glutes up, raising your hips and torso with them. Use controlled movements to lower your torso to complete each repetition. Do not touch the floor with your glutes. Do four sets of eight, or enough to feel a stretch in your glutes and core. Stay in the lifting phase with your glutes squeezed and stomach tight for five seconds before releasing.