A good penché is something that every dancer strives for.
So far we’ve worked on both flexibility and strength for the penché… how is it coming along?
The flexibility of the legs and the strength of the back and supporting leg are often the most targeted areas when developing your penché. But what about your back flexibility? This could be the missing link for you.
Having a flexible back most often means that you need to open the front side of the body. Think about it- in order to bend, or fold, backwards, you have to decrease the back angle while widening the opposite side. This means you actually need to stretch your hip flexors and abdominal muscles. Stretching the anterior side body for your penché will help to keep your torso more lifted as you lift your leg, instead of collapsing toward the floor.
Our Kinesiological Stretching technique called ~Perception~ is a great way to open the rectus abdominus and psoas muscles located on the front side of the body.
Make sure that your hips and back are properly warmed up. Read below for instructions on how to perform this exercise.
- Lie on your belly and begin to lift into a cobra position- the hands will be stretched out in front of you in line with your shoulders and feet stay glued to the mat behind you.
- Twist deeply to one side, look as far back over your shoulder as you. Try to twist from as low in the back as possible; otherwise you will not target the psoas effectively. This is the Leverage position.
- Moving back into the Target position, unwind back to the front and lift the chest higher, increasing your range of motion. You should feel a deeper stretch in the abdomen.
- Repeat to the other side. Do both sides 4 times, and then take Child’s Pose to rest.
~Perception~ is a great exercise because it also works to strengthen the back muscles as well. In addition to stretching the abdomen, it helps to broaden the shoulder girdle so that your chest stays lifted when you perform your penché.
It is important to remember, however, that you must keep working on your splits on the ground in order to be able to get that 6 o’clock leg in your penché. You can find more tips for achieving your best split with these articles here. (insert link) Once you have your full split on the ground, mastering the penché will require fine tuning such as through the exercises we have presented here.
Whether you are a ballet dancer practicing on flat shoes, or a seasoned ballerina en pointe, having an amazing penché is something that always catches eyes. It seems the leg simply defies gravity when it lifts so high and the back is able to remain lifted, as well. Now you have the tools to try and get there yourself! Let us know how your penché journey goes!
Start with our Penché and Ballet Training Program today!
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- Tags: abdominal stretch, ballet, cobra, dance, easyflexibility, hip flexors, kinesiological stretching, penche, pointe, strength