To dance at your best and avoid injury it is essential to do a thorough, specific warm before every class or performance. Many people stretch before class, however If you hold a static stretch for more than 20 seconds you can actually lose power and strength in that muscle which obviously not ideal before dancing! When we dance we use all parts of our body so it is essential to get everything moving in your warm up, not just your legs and feet.

Often dancers tend to focus on stretching out their hips and hamstrings but these are not necessarily the areas that are causing you restriction. Sometimes you could have restriction in your neck, upper or lower back that could be causing tightness and tension down in through the hamstring. This is why we look at your fascial mobility instead.


This warmup is more dynamic and focuses on mobilising your muscles, joints and most importantly your fascia. Fascial mobilising exercises aim at loosening the connections between layers of muscles and are often far more effective than normal stretches. Start by gently moving into the stretch and then releasing the tension with control.

Repeat each exercise 8 times on each side.

To download this warm up as a printable PDF please CLICK HERE

What is the best way to warm up?

A good warm up should include mobilisations of your:

    • Neck
    • Upper back
    • Lower back
    • Hips (glutes, hip flexors, inner thighs)
    • Hamstrings
    • Calves
    • Feet

Neck – Take care to go slowly with your neck stretches and never push into pain. Focus on lengthening the neck on the open side, rather than compressing the shortened side.


Upper Back and Shoulders – Loosening the upper back can have a huge influence on the flexibility of the whole body. Make sure to make all of the movements fluid and continuous, rather than stopping in each position.


Lower Back and Hips – Many people try to simply push their knees out, or crack their hips to get more turnout range. However this can damage the joints. Far better results can be achieved by mobilising the hips as shown here.



Hamstrings – These mobilisers are great to get your mobility back to full capacity after a few days off, or to increase your range if you are struggling. Try doing a roll down before and after the set to see how it affect you.


Calf – Many dancers feel tension in the back of the calf that does not resolve with normal stretching. These mobilisers help improve both your pointe range and plie range as well as releasing tension in between all of the muscles in your calves.

Roll Downs –  It is important to get each vertebrae moving in relation to those on either side of it to get full mobility in your spine. Make sure that you do your spinal roll downs slowly and deliberately. Feel for any points of tension and then use other exercises to release these spots. It is great to do this after class as well.

Cardio Warm Up – Jumping Jacks are a great way to get your heart pumping and blood flowing to all of the muscles that you will be using in your dance class or performance. Mix it up with variations to challenge your coordination and involve your whole body. Make sure to use supportive running shoes is you have any issues with your feet, as the repeated jumping can aggravate some tendon issues. Also try to jump as quietly as you can to really warm up your feet! For other Cardio Training ideas, CLICK HERE.

Moving into the Splits – When you have warmed up the rest of your body you can start to move into the splits if this amount of flexibility is required in your routine or class. Remember not to hold the stretch for more than 20 seconds as this can stop the muscle from being able to work at its full strength when you are dancing, and may increase your risk of injury.

Sun Salutations – These Sun Salutations are great to include into both your warm up and warm down as they are dynamic stretches. They help loosen up your body in all directions as well as activate stabilising muscles before your class, and can also help you center your mind. After dancing they are a wonderful way to wind down and release any tension that has been built up during your class.

Cool Down – An effective cool down is just as important as a warm up. When you move into your cooling down phase you want to release any tension that has built up in the class so that you are not too tight the next day. After you have finished dancing for the day you do some sun Salutations and then move into more static stretches to increase your flexibility. Remember to stretch all parts of the body including your neck, shoulders, back, hips and legs.

To download this warm up as a printable PDF please CLICK HERE