How can I improve my feet for ballet?

How can I improve my feet for ballet?

improve my feet for ballet

I often hear this question as a ballet teacher “How can I improve my feet for  ballet?” It is often also a lament of many students~ young and old!

I received the article below from one of my dear ballet parents. I have taught her inquisitive and hard working daughter for several years. Let me share my thoughts with you too!

Pointe Magazine’s ideas for  strengthening your feet

An unexpected thought in the quote below~good tip!

Tight upper thighs can also create an obstacle to getting up over your pointe shoes. “If dancers are back in their hips because their hip flexors or quads are tight,” Mitchell warns, “then the ankle joint has to do all of the work.” Stretch out your hips and quads often and make sure to use your glutes when rising onto pointe.

Flex and point theraband exercise
Flex and point

Basic theraband exercise:

  • Flex and point through the full range of motion slowly with a theraband.
  • Keep your knee-caps pulled up, visualize a straight line from the center of your tibia to your middle toe.
  • Make sure there is no clicking or pain on the back of your ankle.  I use the grey band as it has the most resistance for dancers.
  • Do not curl your toes, keep them pointing strong and straight. This will also help you with your en pointe position if you can keep your toes extended!

pastel bouquet

Second great theraband exercise:

  • Wrap just the four toes as shown in the photo above. This is the equivalent of the “toe Swap” exercise but with an added resistance.
  • You can also do it just over the big toe. It really aids with toe strength needed to push off for jumps and top push for relevé!

Third excellent theraband excercise:

This one is very good for stability. Most dancers roll in or out on your arch (pronate or supinate). This exercise will strengthen the muscles needed balanced support on your standing leg.

  • Wrap the theraband 1.5 times around your right instep and pull the two ends of the band to the right.
  • Hold with your right hand.
  • Flex your foot and “window wash” your foot to the left, towards inner line of your body. This will strengthen the outside support muscles of your ankle. This is inverting your ankle– rotating inward.
  • Modification: hold theraband in left hand an repeat the motion the right. This will strengthen the inner ankle lateral side of your ankle. This is everting your ankle– rotating outward.

Golden Rules:

  • Always do an equal amount of each side even if you want to strengthen one side more than another. Always do the evert and invert, never just one!
  • Do not go quickly. Slowly is better for the full range of motion. If you wish to challenge yourself, add a pause and hold at the end of each direction.
  • Repeat 8 times and work up to three repetitions of 8.

There are many more exercises that I do to strengthen my feet. I will share more next time! Please comment below, share and don’t hesitate to ask questions.

Want more exercises and videos? You can download a free sample by becoming an Accidental Artist Member– here! Or if you know it would benefit you, here is the direct link to purchase my 5 Star Amazon book “Guide to Strong & Beautiful Ballet Feet”.  

Free sample chapter!
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One of the greatest strengtheners is to point your foot as hard as you can in every exercise. Ask yourself “Is my foot fully pointed?” Often we think it is, but it is not fully stretched!

Remember-don't scrunch your toes when you doing your ballet foot exercises!Click To Tweet

Series #2 Ballet Conditioning for Feet

pointed foot
Keep pointing!

For clear and concise definitions of ballet terms, see this site:

American Ballet Theatre’s Ballet Dictionary

Dancers demonstrate the movements as well.

 

 

Tight upper thighs can also create an obstacle to getting up over your pointe shoes. “If dancers are back in their hips because their hip flexors or quads are tight,” Mitchell warns, “then the ankle joint has to do all of the work.” Stretch out your hips and quads often and make sure to use your glutes when rising onto pointe.

About Sarah Arnold

Ballet blogger, ballet teacher and adult ballerina. Creator of TutusChic and Sans Souci Printables.

5 thoughts on “How can I improve my feet for ballet?

  1. If I only have the green, black, red, and blue exercise bands rather than grey, which should I use?

  2. HI Amira~ there are so many elements in play for a relevé on one foot. I would incorporate foot exercises, core and clamshells to start 🙂

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