Welcome to the second part of getting strong and graceful feet (like a dancer, maybe). (Want to read part one?)
We’re going to look at great stretches to release the built-up pressure and stiffness that settles in your feet.
A lot of dancers have seemingly ‘graceful feet’ because their feet have a wider range of motion and are more flexible.
Stretching your feet helps a lot with pains and soreness too, especially for pianists who pedal a lot.
You can do these stretches anytime and anywhere, and I would recommend stretching after you warm up.
- Sitting down, cross one leg over the other and write the alphabet (lower-case cursive) with your toe, rotating your ankle.
- Repeat on the other side.
Writing the alphabet gives your ankles a wider range of motion than just rotating your foot in circles. It’s super easy and you can do it anytime you’re sitting down.
Intertwining Toes & Fingers
- Sit with one leg over the other, and slip your fingers between your toes. Push back and forth and rotate your hand slightly. Repeat with the other leg.
- For a good stretch, you can also do this on the ground with both feet straight out in front of you.
This stretch relieves the pressure built up between your toes, especially if you have bunions (like me) and your toes are crooked.
Diamond Toe Stretch
- Bend your legs slightly with your feet pointing outwards, in a mini plié, making sure your knees are over your toes. You don’t need much turnout at all– your toes just need to be spread apart.
- Take one leg in front of the other as shown, stretching the top side of the foot on the ground. Apply gentle pressure but focus on elongating your toe. Hold for 15 – 30 seconds.
This takes balance and actually tones your legs too. An easier variation that I learned recently works to stretch your toes just as well.
- Standing with feet parallel, cross one foot in front of the other, and stretch the top of the foot against the ground as shown. (Your supporting foot can be straight.)
Taking a couple minutes a day to stretch and relax is great for your mind and body.