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How to use massage and stretching as part of your warm up

There currently seems to be a lot of confusion about how and when to stretch as part of a warmup routine. Some people are of the opinion that stretching should be avoided. This is mainly due to the confusion about the actual purpose of stretching as part of the warm and what it should accomplish. However, stretching is a critical part of the warmup alongside other elements and following them in the right order is important.

The key components that should be included in your warmup procedure are:

  1. Cardiovascular – this should last between 5-15 minutes and consist of gentle physical activity in order to raise the heart rate and increase blood flow & muscle temperature as well as increasing respiration rate to bring more oxygen into the body and tissues. This activity could be light jogging on the spot or some basic cha cha or chasse steps.


  1. Static Stretching – this next phase should take up the next 5-10 minutes and incorporate some gentle, controlled stretches to lengthen the muscles and major muscle groups.


  1. Sports specific – the next 10-15 minutes should include drills and exercises specific to the sport for example a full dance routine around the room or jive exercises like those practised in team class or mastermind classes.


  1. Dynamic stretching – this component involves a controlled bounce or swinging movement of a particular body part to the limit of its range of motion. The force of the movement is gradually increased in order to increase the natural range and lengthen the muscles. For example, swinging the leg backwards and forwards.


  1. Pre-event massage – adding a massage to your routine before a dance event can have the added benefits of: -

  • stimulating the circulation, increasing blood flow and enhancing performance, muscle function and flexibility.

  • reducing muscle tension, helping to alleviate muscle tightness and promoting readiness for physical activity.

  • improved range of motion, by loosening the muscles and joints and enhancing flexibility dancers can move more freely and perform with greater ease.

  • enhanced mental focus, massage calms the mind and reduces pre-competition anxiety and nerves and promotes mental clarity and focus.

  • Injury prevention, by preparing the body for strenuous activity and addressing any areas of tension and imbalance that could cause a potential problem or injury during the activity.


NB: –

  1. dynamic stretching carries with it an increased risk of injury if performed incorrectly so only complete this part of the warmup if you are confident in what you are doing.

  2. pre-event massage should be carried more than 48 hours before the event to allow time for lactic acid build up to dissipate.

My Top leg stretches for a 5 min warmup.png
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