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Diana Remaley, LMT
Diana@RemaleyMassage.com
(203)292-5362
19 Compo Road South
Westport, CT

Ballet Envy: The Tendu

The hips are a complicated area. There's simply no denying that. In researching this entry, I wanted to post a simple illustration of the musculature of the hip – I'm now pretty sure there is no simple, complete illustration. (Google image search “Hip Musculature” to see.) This is because our hip joint is huge; it's the largest in the body, carrying the most weight. But since our legs can also move in all directions, it's also incredibly flexible. Many large and small muscles are required to allow this mixture of strength and flexibility. Those small (and large) muscles are used constantly, and therefore are subject to pain and decreased mobility. My absolute favorite method for training hip muscles is ballet.

I've recommended another ballet stretch before (Rond de Jamb:  remaleymassage.com/blog/2015/01/06/1420555080000.html) in order to increase range of motion and control of hip muscles. I recommended the below technique to a client complaining of IT band/TFL pain. This is the area along side side of our thigh, running from the hip joint to below the knee. The IT band is, in fact, not a muscle, but a band of fascial connective tissue. This can make it even tighter and more difficult to train. Not impossible, though, and the below exercise is my go-to when my thighs feel tight.

The Tendu

Begin standing with your legs straight, toes pointed out gently to a narrow “V.”

You may softly bend the knees a few times to warm up the joints. You can perform these movements while holding on to a chair, or with your arms stretched out at shoulder height, for balance.

Reach one leg, with pointed toes, out to the front of your body, as far as they can comfortably reach while still grazing the floor. Return to center. Point the toes to the side of the body; return to center. Point the toes back; return to center. And lastly point to the side again; return to center. This is one repetition of a ballet “Tendu.” Repeat 4-8 times on both legs, until you begin to feel the muscles release and the movement become easier.

 

The beautiful simplicity of this movement lies in the fact that it uses almost all of the muscles of the hip. Mastering it, therefore, is going to make you more aware of body patterns, while simultaneously releasing tension you may not have been aware of. It's easy to do any where, any time, when you feel your thighs and knees could use a little attention. Combined with the ROND DE JAMB, it's a wonderful complete hip workout!

As always, I'm happy to demonstrate any of these techniques in my office. And should you find that stretching and strengthening leave you still in need of care, schedule an appointment for a massage therapy session. I'll see you in my Westport office!

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Diana Remaley, LMT
Diana@RemaleyMassage.com
(203)292-5362
19 Compo Road South
Westport, CT