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Improving Turnout - Fire Log Pose

Do you suffer from restriction in the sides of the hips when trying to turnout, or do you hitch the hip of your working leg when performing tendus or adage? Many dancers overuse Gluteus Medius on the supporting side resulting in chronically tight hips. The ‘Fire Log Pose’ can help to gently stretch out the Gluteus Medius when it has been overworked. 

How to do it:

  • Sit on a yoga mat with the legs out in front, as if to sit cross-legged
  • Bring the heel of your right foot to sit on top of your left knee
  • Make sure your shin bones are parallel with each other
  • Flex both feet to avoid sickling the ankles
  • Lean back on your hands and allow the knees to drop out to the sides
  • Place a small ball or pillow under each knee for support
  • Relax the front of the hips then slowly lean forward, keeping the spine straight
  • Breathe into any feelings of restriction, and focus on consciously relaxing on the exhale
  • Perform 3 to 4 breaths in each position aiming to internally let go of the tension 
  • Avoid pushing into the stretch as this will cause reflex muscle contraction 
  • Alternate legs repeating 3 to 4 times each side 

Notes:

  • If this area is constantly tight make sure to also work on isolating your deep turnout muscles.
  • Many dancers overuse Gluteus Medius in an attempt to hold turnout.
  • Try this exercise with students from the age of four to safely maintain range of motion in the hips.
  • You should only do this exercise if it is felt in the outer hip

 Modifications:

  • If the hips are very tight in this position, use pillows under your knees initially to allow the hips to relax in a supported position.
  • Alternatively perform one leg at a time whilst sitting on a chair.
  • If holding for longer periods of time, use a chair and pillows to support you just on the edge of any tension
  • There should be no discomfort in the knees or front of the hips.

Training Turnout Resources

If you are looking to delve deeper into this topic, check out the following programs:

  • Tips for Turnout: This ‘Tips for Turnout Guide’ is a great starting point for anyone wanting to learn more about how to maximise turnout safely, and is the first resource in our Training Turnout Series. It gives you tips on improving your range, developing control of your standing leg and specific ways to increase the height of your développé devant.
  • Training Turnout: Deepen your exploration of the anatomy of the dancers’ hip with this unique Training Turnout eBook. As the second resource in our Training Turnout series this program is a great follow on from our Tips for Turnout Program. Learn how to assess and understand the structure of your own hips, strengthen standing leg turnout and turnout en fondu as well as develop extraordinary control in your adage.
  • Training Turnout in Tiny Dancers: If you are dance teacher, this is the perfect continued education course for you. In this systematic and comprehensive approach to training turnout in tiny dancers, Lisa and Beverly provide dance teachers with direct techniques to use in class to safely develop optimal range and control of motion in all dance students. This program begins by establishing strength and control in parallel, before adding on the control of rotation, which is hugely important in the long term health of dancers’ hips. Using elements of fun and creative play to bring scientific and detailed training programs into dance schools is a unique and effective way to help thousands of young students worldwide.
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