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FLEXIBILITY | PART 1: Mobility vs Flexibility, Dynamic and Static Stretching

Updated: 21 hours ago



PART 1: Mobility vs Flexibility, Dynamic and Static Stretching


Mobility vs Flexibility

Mobility is crucial to unlocking your flexibility. When we discuss mobility, we’re talking about the range of motion (ROM) that is available in a given joint. Each joint has a unique anatomical structure that provides stability and movement in that joint. Safely improving the ROM of a certain joint can directly impact your Irish dance performance. For example, increasing the ROM in your hips will improve turnout, increasing the ROM in your ankles will help with your point, toe height, and rotation in your ankles, etc.


Flexibility

Flexibility is the ability to lengthen soft tissue structures (muscles) within the available ROM. Flexibility directly impacts your Irish dance performance and how far you can stretch a certain muscle while performing Irish dance movements (like a click).


Types of Stretching

There are several different techniques for stretching with two we will focus on, Static and Dynamic stretching. Understanding how and when to perform these two types of stretches will greatly impact your flexibility, ROM and preparation for dance.

DYNAMIC STRETCHING

What is it? Controlled movements that prepare your body for dance class through a series of activity-specific movements designed to increase your ROM.


When should I perform dynamic stretching? Dynamic stretches should be performed after your warm up and before dance class. Gradually increase intensity and ROM throughout your dynamic stretching routine.

How long do you perform your dynamic stretching routine? Perform your dynamic stretching routine for about 10-15 minutes or until your body feels prepared for class/competition/performance.

STATIC STRETCHING

What is it? Static stretching consists of taking a muscle to the point where tightness is felt and then holding that position.

When should I perform static stretching? Static Stretching is most beneficial after dance class when the goal is to increase flexibility.


How long do you perform each static stretch? Positions should be held for 30 seconds and repeated 3-4 times. Studies show that dancers should take part in a static stretching routine three to five times a week to increase their flexibility.


It is important to keep in mind that every dancer’s flexibility and mobility needs will be different. For example, to develop the necessary flexibility for a skill like a click, some dancers will need to focus on hamstring length, others hip flexor flexibility, some both, etc. And flexibility isn’t the only answer when working on kicking your legs higher. Other key factors like strength and nerve tension should also be addressed and included in a dancers training as well.


FLEXIBILITY FOR IRISH DANCE SERIES


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Resources

1. Baechle T, Earle R. Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning (3rd ed). Champaign, Illinois, USA: Human Kinetics: 2008, pp. 296-324.

2. Magnusson S Petal . Mechanical and physiological responses to stretching with and without preisometric contraction in human skeletal muscle. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 1996;77:373-8.

3. Bandy W, Irion J, Briggler M. The effect of time and frequency of static stretching on the flexibility of the hamstring muscles. Phys Ther. 1997;77(10):1090-6


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