Frontbends

 

Exercise 1

Have your feet apart, wrists on something, for example back of chair or barre, straight arms, and flat or slightly backward bent back. Force shoulders and chest down to ground with little bouncing movements. If necessary change to a lower object to hold on  and move your feet to the front so that they are closer to the object to increase the stretch. 

When you are close enough grab your ancles with one hand and then the second. Do 20 repeats. 

If you have advanced to do the pointe exercises always do this exercise and other frontbend exercises where possible en pointe.

Assisted: Have the assistant to push you firmly down as shown above. 

 

Exercise 2

Have your feet comfortably apart and bend forward. Grasp the legs with the hands near the ankles and pull in with a 1-2-3-4-5 action as close as you can get, but only just as close as you can. Relax for a 1-2-3-4-5 count. Repeat the exercise 15 times.

This exercise can be assisted: Sit on the floor as above, grasp the legs near the ankles and have the assistant push you forward into the position (this can be variated in many ways as can seen above). When done the assistant should massage the back in the position back and forth since this releaves and stretches the vertebrae.

If you feel that the frontbend is difficult try the position above in the beginning. 15 repeats for each leg.

 

Variation 1

Lie on your back. Bring both legs up and use the hands to help push the legs flat to the floor. To a 1-2-3-4-5 count push the legs away from the body to a nearer splits position. Your back should be flat on the floor.

Assisted: Sit as shown above and let the assitant push your legs firmly backwards as far back as possible and hold for 30 seconds when reached as far back as possible. Do 15 repeats never going out of the frontbend.

If you want to increase the frontbend even more you continue to the assisted stretch shown above.

 

Variation 2

Have your feet comfortably apart and bend forward until the face is at the shins. Have the fingers lightly clasped behind the back and bring the hands with a 1-2-3-4-5 action to the position above. Relax for a 5 count. Repeat 10 times. Try to get the hands to the floor.

Assisted: Let the assistant pull the arms down to increase the stretch and hold the position there.

Now grasp the ankles and to the 1-2-3-4-5 pull in even stronger to get the head between the legs. Relax for a 5 count. Repeat 10 times.

Assisted: The assistant helps you to by pushing you closer.

Now reach through the legs and to the 1-2-3-4-5 push the hands as far back from the heels as you are able. Relax for a 5 count. Repeat 10 times.

Assisted: The assistant can put one hand on the back of your thighs and pull your hands as far back from the heels as possible. When done the assistant should massage the back in the position back and forth as in the first variation of the exercise.

 

Exercise 3

Sit down and reach forward and move legs to a straddle position. Sitting with feet a little apart reach along the legs to a 1-2-3 and get the head down towards the legs as you are able to. Use the arms to push the feet as wide apart as possible to a 1-2-3-4-5 count while keeping the head down. The head will come down as you spread the legs.

Then put the hands to the front and push yourself erect. Bring the legs together. Do 10 repeats of the exercise. A little improvement with each exercise will get you there and you may be some way from the positions in the beginning.

 

Exercise 4

This exercise is called a front flex. Lie on the floor on your back. Bring one leg up and using the arm press it down so that it is in a splits position.

Assisted: The assistant can press the leg down to the splits position and beyond.

Bring the other leg up to the same position and capture it with the other arm. Raise the head assisting the movement by use of the arms. Your arms are above the knee so the legs should not be bent. Use a 1-2-3-4-5 action and try to get the head further away from the floor towards your seat. Relax for a five count and repeat 10 times with each leg. Itís possible to fold the back forward the same way as in a backbend meaning that your face will reach your crotch in time. Locking your arms around your seat in the position and pulling in does it.

Assisted: The assistant can pull you up and towards your seat.

 

Exercise 5

Stand with your feet apart and bend forward with hands rearwards through your legs. Reach back to a 1-2-3-4-5 push trying to get as far back as you can. Relax for a 5 count then repeat 15 times.

Assisted: The assistant can put one hand on the back of your thighs and pull your hands through your legs as far as possible.

Reach up and grasp the thighs and pull into the bend as tight as you can. Relax for a 5 count then repeat 15 times. On the final repeat try to get the shoulders through the thighs to grasp the legs and tighten to a 1-2-3-4-5.
After this exercise doing splits exercise 1 is advised.

If you can't reach thru the legs as above try to use any furniture as shown above to pull yourself in.

Assisted: Have the assistant push you thru your legs and upwards.

Assisted 2: Sit on a chair. Bend into a frontbend as much as you can. Let the assistant pull your legs backwards as much as possible and keep them there for at least a 1-2-3-4-5 count and then pull them further repeating until it's not possible to go further. This sequence should be repeated 20 times. For newbeginners this assisted stretch can be painfull the first week. Don't give up! The legs can be pulled down to the floor from the position on a chair shown above.

Assisted 3: A very good variation of the assisted stretches for frontbends to do after "assisted 2" above is to have your assistant to sit on your lower back (or at least push it downwards in one of the ways shown above) and pull your legs firmly backwards as much as possible and hold them as far back as possible for at least a 1-2-3-4-5 count and them pull them further repeating until it's not possible to go further. Repeat this sequence 20 times. 

Other assisted variations worth doing are the shown above.

As you see in the picture above your frontbends will improve very much.

 

Exercise 6

Get 3 chairs (as you can see you can always use other furniture too). Sit on one of the chairs and put the feet up on the other two other chairs. Have your legs comfortably wide apart (because you're going to get well between them) and lean forward as far as you can with the help of your natural weight and to 1-2-3-4-5 tighten the bend. When or if you can grasp the rear legs of the chair this will allow you to pull in strongly. Relax for a 5 count. The chairs should be quite stable. Use the count of 1-2-3-4-5 to get a bit further between the legs each time and then rest for the 5 count and then repeat. Do a reasonable number of repeats if you can as the hip joint can take a lot more than you think! Repeat this exercise at least 15 times.

Assisted: Have the assistant to pull you in more between the legs.

 

Exercise 7

In this exercise you will try to tighten your frontbend and stretch your spine as much as it's possible to a frontfold! This will improve both the backbends and frontbends and you will be amazed over how much the spine can be stretched. In the beginning the exercise probably will feel a bit uncomfortable, but the discomfort disappears very soon and you will find it to be one of those you enjoy most. Always do this exercise after doing frontbends exercise 4.

On the floor as shown above with your feet parallell with your shoulders, the hands and elbows on the floor and the knees bent. Try to get your chest down towards the floor as much as possible to increase the stretch counting 1-2-3-4-5. If difficult grasp your feet and pull downwards as shown above.

Assisted: The assistant can push you downwards til you reach the floor.

Straighten the knees and try to get your legs behind your shoulders. Your upper back and back of the head should rest on the floor. Again bend the knees into a "sitting down" action increasing the bend. Do this as much as possible to a count of 1-2-3-4-5. When feeling comfortable increase the stretch with a count of 1-2-3-4-5 til you can't go further.

Assisted: The assistant can push you downwards by pushing your thighs downwards.

Now exhale as much as possible, pull in your stomach and grab yourself by your upper thighs trying to reach your hands and interlock if possible. Pull in firmly counting 1-2-3-4-5 to get the frontbend even tighter towards a frontfold. Repeat the exercise as many times as you need or at least 25 times. In the last repeat hold for as long as possible. In time your hip will rest hard on your chest and your crotch on your face in a frontfold. Locking your arms around your back and thighs will help you pull in and stay in the position.

Assisted: The assistant should firmly push you into the position til the fold is reached and hold hard in it you for as long as possible. In the beginning this might feel a bit uncomfortable, but the discomfort disappears very soon. 

After the exercise straighten your knees and stand in the frontbend as shown above for as long as necessary.