Tips To Improve Your Turnout

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Reader Question:  How can I improve my turnout?  My hips crackle and pop painfully anytime I try to make my hips turnout more when I plie.

It is great to hear that you want to improve your turn out. I feel that only advanced, serious, intelligent dancers really understand the importance of turn out and how much better it makes a dancer look!


1.  Lay down on your back and put your legs in butterfly position! Have a partner press down on the inner thighs, close to your hips, until you feel the pressure is enough. Remember- too much is a bad thing, so take your body seriously and understand that you should be enough pressure, but not enough to feel serious pain. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds!

2.  Lay down on your back in straddle position with your legs and have your partner push again on the inner thighs, near the hips!

3.  Push yourself into a straddle up against a wall. If needed, have a partner push your bottom from behind to get closer.

4.  While working at the barre in ballet, always be aware of the direction of your tendue/degage/battements/developpes to the side. If you feel you can pull your leg further side away from that front corner, your turn out will improve! Just don’t let the hip come up and don’t allow the leg/knee to turn forward!

5.  Stretching in a low second position grande plie is perfect! Sit in the plie with your elbows/forearms pressing on your inner thighs. Hold the stretch.

Note: Please remember that while you can surely improve your turn out, PERFECT turn out cannot usually be achieved unless you were born with hips that have that ability. Do not force it or you will feel pain and possibly get injured. Slowly but steadily just work to improve it.

Regarding Pain:

If your hips pop painfully, you are overdoing the stretches, going too deep in plie, or pushing your turn out way too much. Anytime a pop is painful, you need to reevaluate what you are doing. Ease off those particular stretches that cause it, and ask your teacher if there is something you can do in place of it for a while.

This is something so many dancers want!  There are many different exercises you can do to improve your turnout.


1.  Lay on your back doing the middle splits against the wall keeping your buttocks on the floor against the wall. Make sure to keep your back on the floor (no arching). Tighten your core for support. Stay there as long as you can. This is great for loosening your hips and helping hip rotation.

2.  Do butterflies stretched sitting and laying down. Make sure to not push too hard because you can really injure yourself.

3.  One thing to remember regarding improving turnout are when doing plies make sure your knees are going over your toes.  This helps open up the hips.

4.  Another is, when in first position, do not let your feet roll in.

5.  Ronde jambes in the air are also another great exercise.

As always, remember not to push it because you can cause serious injury.

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