Unless you were born with a natural ability to turn out your legs 180 degrees, you are probably constantly working to improve your natural turnout. Here are some exercises and stretches for you to try!
Remember to always do deep stretches after you are warmed up. Also, if any of these stretches are new to you, consult your dance teacher or a doctor before trying them. Getting an inch closer to a 180 degree turnout is NOT worth an injury!
- Find your natural turnout. Rock back on your heels, open your toes, and put them down where they naturally reach. This is your turnout, and where you should be working from.
- Windshield wipers. Now, repeat that turning in and turning out motion about 16 times. By doing this, you are strengthening the muscles that control your turnout. So make sure the movement is coming from your hips and upper thigh – not your knees. Turnout does NOT come from the knees!
- Supine butterfly. After 10 – 15 minutes of a warm-up, lay on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Open up your knees and let them naturally fall out to the sides. Hold this position for about a minute, focusing on your breathing. Then, lightly add some pressure from your hands pushing your knees towards the ground. You are now past your natural turnout. Hold this for a minute, and then relax.
- Turn in and out tendu. Starting in first position, tendu front (1), turn in and out (2 – 7), close first on 8. Repeat this exercise en qua on both legs, twice if you’re up for it! Strengthening the muscles that allow you to turn your legs out will benefit you more than stretching those muscles.
- Crossed butterfly stretch. After all this strengthening, you deserve a nice stretch! Start sitting on your bottom in butterfly. Place one leg over the other so they are stacked. Keep your spine straight, and drape your upper body over your legs. Your hips and glutes will thank you!
What exercises do you do to improve your turnout? Share them in the comment section below!