Communicating and teaching turnout for beginner physie girls can be tricky! Finding a way to have them connect how it feels to the way you describe turnout is important. Here are a few simple exercises and suggestions for how you can communicate turnout and practice along with your beginner physie girl to ensure she can understand and apply correct technique.
Turnout is the outward rotation of the feet and legs from the hips which causes the knee and foot to turn outward, away from the centre of the body.
Instead of asking your students to turn out their feet to achieve turnout, communicate that you want them to turn out the leg. It is important that your students understand that the knees and feet will follow if the whole leg rotates from the hip.
Try the following exercises in class or at home to engage the correct muscles for turnout.
1) Lie down with legs extended towards the ceiling in a 90 degree angle. Flex your feet with your feet in a parallel position. Your knees will also be side by side because of the position of your feet. While keeping your legs strong and straight rotate your legs out from the hips so that your knees turn out to face the away from one another and your flexed feet also turn out so that, while your heels remain together, your feet open apart. Be sure your legs remain together. Close the feet and return your legs to the starting parallel position. Repeat slowly 8-12 times. Once you have mastered this move try it with pointed toes.
If your beginner struggles to keep their legs straight, you can lean the legs against a wall to begin with but aim to develop leg strength to hold them up without relying on a wall.
2) Place your body weight by resting on your elbows and hands behind your body. Your fingertips should be pointing to the front and in line with your elbows. Extend one leg at a time to a 45 degree angle or lower and practice rotating your leg out and back to parallel for 8-12 repetitions. Change legs. You can attempt this with flexed feet and then progress to pointed toes. Take note of where you feel the leg muscles working. Remember to turn out from the hip! You should feel the thigh turn out which will automatically turn out the knee, ankle and foot.
3) Sit tall with your feet parallel as you were when you were lying down. Remember to keep your spine straight and not place any weight on your hands. By placing your hands gently on your legs you will bring your awareness to turning out from the hip and thighs first. Press your knees into the floor and maintain strength through your legs throughout the exercises. Repeat 8-12 times with flexed feet. You can also do this exercise with pointed toes.
4) Stand with your leg in a crossing step or high crossing step with your knee and foot turned straight ahead.
Rotate out from the hip to turn the thigh and knee out while keeping your foot in the same place. Notice the muscles you are engaging to turn out the leg. Repeat 8-12 times on each leg.
Remember to take your time to do these exercises. It is not about speed but about engaging the correct muscles to develop your turnout. Short regular practice of these exercises will benefit you the most. Happy practicing!