Updated: Apr 13, 2020
Flexibility is a critical component to an Irish dancer’s performance. However, In order to maximize your flexibility potentiall, it is important to understand the different types of stretches, when and how often to stretch, and which muscles to stretch.
This section of Stretching for Irish Dancers focuses on understanding the difference between dynamic and static stretching and when to perform both to maximize your flexibility potential.
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. 1
Photo Example: static hamstring stretch
What is it?
Controlled movements that prepare your body for dance class through a series of activity-specific movements.
When should I perform dynamic stretching?
Dynamic stretches should be performed after your warm up and before dance class. Gradually increase intensity and range of motion throughout your dynamic stretching routine.
How long do you perform your dynamic stretching routine?
Perform your dynamic stretching routine for about 5 minutes or until your body feels prepared for class/competition/performance.
Video Example: dynamic calf stretch
How to Increase Flexibility - Dynamic or Static Stretching?
Static stretching is a great way to increase flexibility and muscle length. But in order to see an increase, you must maintain a consistent, long-term static stretching routine. Studies show that dancers should take part in a static stretching routine three to five times a week to increase their flexibility. 2
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1 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.
2 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