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Turnout—a combination of rotational flexibility and the strength to properly hold that rotation—is fundamental to barre. Before you get frustrated that your feet do not turn out as much as the person next to you, remember that not everyone (actually, hardly anyone) is born with 180-degree rotation ! That doesn’t mean that there isn’t always room for a little bit of improvement though! Keep reading for the dos and don’ts of improving your turnout.
Do focus on core strength
Turnout requires a rotation that starts at the head of your femur and continues down the chain all the way to your feet. It starts at your hips, but requires a lot more than just hip flexibility.
Turning out correctly requires a great deal of core strength. Both the muscles in the front and the back of the midsection need to be strong in order to lift your body weight out of your hips. Think about how much lighter on your feet you feel when you engage your core… go ahead, try it! Now think about how much less pressure is being put on your hip joints with the core engaged and how much easier is it for you to externally rotate from the tops of your femurs.
But wait…. There’s more!
Do turn in
Turning out properly also requires strength and balance in the adductors and abductors. Focus on strengthening the muscles of both your inner and outer thighs and your glutes to create a well rounded foundation.
Once again, it comes down to moderation and balance. If all of your movement involves turning out, the rotational muscles that are responsible for that action will get over-trained and tight. In addition to practicing yoga to stretch these muscles, it’s just as important to exercise the muscles that turn in every now and then. Pilates or Gyrotonics are good exercise choices to encourage turn in without much impact on the joints
Written by Karli Taylor