Flexibility before skill or skill before flexibility?
One of the questions that come up often is: Should one master full flexibility prior to practicing a skill.
The downside of working on flexibility first is that fun is far away. For example let’s take a Side Tilt in ballet or Side Kick in Martial Arts. It may take you a while to develop full range of motion for those techniques.
Does that mean you should not practice them? After all you jointed a ballet class or MA class to dance and kick. So you want that fun. You don’t want just stretching, do you?
That’s how I approach some of my skills and athletes' skills. However, if you are a student paying to learn Ballet, Karate or TKD, would you not run out of a school that makes you stretch and perhaps condition before showing you a single step, or kick?
The compromise is to do the skills at lower level. Low kicks for example. Or partial plies or partial horse stance, etc.
The only exception I would make is for a skill where specific flexibility is a must and there is no way around it. For example a handstand. If you don’t have full range of motion in your shoulders and your wrists you should not do a handstand.
You can work on inversions, core strength, and other things, but not the actual skill. A plie can be higher for a beginner, a front stance can be higher too. But a handstand with poor shoulder and wrist flexibility, becomes totally something else.
If you are not sure if the skill requires flexibility first or can be practiced at beginner level, please post it below and we’ll help you.
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