• Ethne Tierney

Foot exercises for the perfect Releve

Want a higher Releve and lovely pointed toes? Say no more, because we have a list of exercises that you can do with no equipment at home or at the gym. We extremely recommend doing foot exercises at home while you watch Netflix or hang around because of two reasons.

First of all, it's so easy. It doesn't require a big amount of energy or lots of stretching, you can do them quickly anywhere, you can make it part of your daily routine and it will make such a big difference.

Second, feet are one of the most important parts of your body in rhythmic gymnastics and so many other disciplines. You need strong and flexible feet for any basic skill, it's the foundation of your whole body. Balances and spins become magically so much easier with strong feet. And a nice and high releve is a must-have for this sport.

These exercises we propose are suitable for rhythmic gymnasts as well as ballet dancers, and other types of gymnasts too. Artistic gymnasts would be benefited from these exercises, but since they don't stand on their toes as often, they can do some exercises not as regularly. Some of these exercises are very popular and many gymnasts would know them if they practice the sport often, but some others may be less usual, perfect for some inspiration.

1. Roll them feet!

Before rocking your releve first you need to roll it. Grab a tennis ball and roll every single tendon and muscle in your foot for 30 seconds. Roll the outer corner, the inner corner, heel, toes, etc... Repeat this with your other foot and you are ready to go.

2. The water bottle

To get more awareness of your pointed toes, you can try to roll your feet on a small bottle or can. Aim to have every part of your foot in contact with the bottle or whatever you are using at all times. It will give you a guideline when it comes to where your feet should look and feel like.

3. Stretch time

To warm up your feet, start with your feet together (6th position) by very slowly and gently, feeling every muscle in your foot into releve, go straight to over-toes. You can use a bar (maybe a chair or a table if you are around the house) to stay in balance. Do this about 10 times alternating feet. Keep the stretching nice and gentle!

4. Scrunch it, girl!

This exercise will help you strengthen your toes. Go ahead and grab a small towel or cloth. Scrunch the towel with your toes towards you. You can also do this with your toe shoes. Simply scrunch them towards you, pick them up with your toes and drop them on the floor. Whatever option you choose, do it for twenty to twenty-five seconds with each foot and you will notice a big improvement really soon.

5. Ankle circles.

Our ankles need to be warm and strong too. Do circles inwards with your toes pointed five times, then do circles outwards with your foot flexed. Repeat with your other foot and you'll be done.

6. Releve mobility miraculous exercise.

This exercise is the best way to push your arch forward and have an amazingly high demi-pointe or relevee. You will only need a wall for this one and ideally, something to hold on to. You are going to get on relevee as close to the wall as you can go, and but your heels against the wall. Get into that position with your legs bent, and hols on to a bar or whatever you have in hand. Now that you are in balance, you are going to stretch as legs as much as you can. The wall is going to support your heel and force you into the perfect releve, and it will help your feet flexibility tremendously.

7. Toe crunches.

You can do this exercise sitting on an L shape, or you can do it standing with one foot at a time. You will need to keep your foot flexed and scrunch your toes, squeezing every muscle in them really hard and then stretching them back to a full flex position. Three sets of 15 is a good number to start up with these. Toe crunches will give you amazing strength on your toes, which you need to balance on your toes during body difficulties or skills.

You can do these exercises twice a week or so, depending at what level of strength and flexibility you are at. Make sure you make it a regular thing if you want to see any improvement.

Don't over exhaust yourself either. If something hurts, stop immediately. Talk to coaches, physios and so on about any change in your exercise routine. Better be safe than sorry!


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