The Elusive Turn Out
What is it? How do I get it? Can I improve it?
As a young dancer, I was guilty of forcing my turn out despite great teachers because as dancers, when do we ever feel we’ve perfected something?!
I was always striving for more, better, further and higher. However, when it comes to “turn out” there really is a right and a wrong way to increase it. And don’t worry, it’s hard and will make you work!
Meet your Quadratus Femoris. QF.
This little muscle attaches onto the ischial tuberosity (sitting bones) and the head of femur (thigh bone).
He externally rotates the thigh, assists in adduction and helps to stabilise the femoral head in the socket. Basically he’s a dancers best friend!
If you’ve ever felt like your turnout disappears as soon as you’re en pointe, you can see your toes bending backwards on the ground while your feet are planted in first, or you lose your turnout once lifting en l’air… your QF may be MIA.
Our Physiotherapist and Myotherapists can assess your hips to see what is limiting your turnout. It can be one or a combination of the following;
- Hip structure
- Muscle weakness
- Muscle length or “tightness”
- Poor control
Most commonly we find an over-activation of the front of the hip combined with a lack of strength in the deep posterior hip muscles, which can be countered by strengthening and retraining. While I’ll always advocate for correct assessment and diagnosis, you can try some of these exercises at home and see your strength improve!
- Squat backwards as if you were going to sit on a chair, soften the front of hips
- Shins perpendicular to the floor
- Shift your whole body to one side, without lifting out of the squat
- You should feel this in your butt (low and on the side)
- Shift to the other side, return to the middle, stand up.
Start with a light theraband around one ankle
Sweep the foot across and soften hip flexors and adductors
Hold here, think ‘attitude devant’
You should feel a warm burning in the low outside butt
30sec to start, repeat!
- Lie on your side with top leg on roller. Be sure to keep hips square
- Rotate the bottom thigh, lifting the foot of the ground
- Smooth controlled lifts and lowers
- Hold at the topAim for soft hips, soft adductors
So restful you may also fall asleep You too could be this happy!
-Dance Physiotherapist Maddie Hicks