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Best Dance Stretches to Do Before a Dance Workout or Routine

written by: Rochelle Connery • edited by: Cheryl Gabbert • updated: 7/25/2010

Step up your dancing by doing some stretches first. Take 10-15 minutes to warm up before hitting the dance floor and busting a move... or busting a muscle. Try some of these best dance stretches before your next dance routine, and notice the difference in your performance and agility.

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    Shoulder Exercises

    Give your shoulders some extra rotations before putting them to work. Start with one that works your shoulders, wrists, and elbows. Stand with your feet flat on the floor and spread your arms parallel with the floor. Fold one elbow behind your neck, reach up with the other hand, and grab that elbow. Your arms should be making two triangles. Hold this pose for five seconds and release. Repeat with the other arm.

    Shrugging your shoulders works your neck muscles as well as your shoulder muscles. So do a few shoulder shrugs in all directions - one at a time, both at the same time, and one-up, one-down simultaneously. Do a combination of these for one to three minutes.

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    Back Exercises

    Back exercises are some of the best dance stretches because they prepare your spine, which your body relies heavily upon for stability and balance.

    As you're standing, stretch one arm over your head in a rainbow shape. Bend your sides slightly to match the curve. You should feel this stretch in your back and side muscles. Hold, release, and repeat with the other side.

    Yoga poses are also a good choice for dance stretches. Do the cobra pose by lying flat on the floor, stomach down, and curving your upper body toward the ceiling, propping yourself on your hands.

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    Wrist Exercises

    Depending on the type of dance you perform, your wrists might be in jeopardy for injury. Flexing them with dance stretches will prepare them for impact and movability.

    Begin standing up with your arms out in front of you. Raise one palm with fingers pointing upward. Take your free hand and gently pull the fingers back toward you. Do not bend the fingers back. Repeat with the other hand.

    Roll your wrists around on the floor with varying weight. Kneel on the ground and place your hands, palms up, in front of you. Fingers should point toward your knees. Gently lean on your hands, but do not support your weight with your wrists. You should feel a stretch, but no pain.

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    Leg Exercises

    Don't forget about some of the best dance stretches for legs, as they can take a beating just as much as the rest of your body.

    Begin standing up with feet more than shoulder width apart. Descend down to one side and grab one ankle. Hold this position for five seconds and grab the other ankle. You should feel a stretch in the back of your legs. Walk both hands to the front of you, as if you were making an "A" with your legs. Hold this pose, walk your hands back toward you, and roll upwards from the hips.

    Splits are a great dance stretch as well, but you don't have to spread them 180 degrees apart like you see in ballet pictures if your body can't handle it. Spread your legs out in front of you and place them as wide as possible. Reach to your toes to grab your ankles and feel the stretch working behind your knees.

    Finish out the stretch by doing the butterfly with both legs, as this will cool your legs down and give you a relaxing stretch.