Stretching Exercises for the Actor (simple)

"Stretching Should Be the First Thing You Do!"

IMPORTANT: Be careful with these stretches! Move smoothly, don't bounce, and if it hurts, STOP! 
Stretch out your facial muscles. Yawn as widely as you can. Skrunch your face tightly. Expand to the biggest surprise yawn you can. Skrunch. Expand.
Roll your neck from side to side. Roll your chin down to your chest. Lift your chin straight up into the air. Turn your head to look over either shoulder. Roll your head in a gentle circle.
Starting at your head and tipping each vertebra as independantly as possible, nod your chin to your chest and then roll forwards down the spine, arms loose, until you reach the hips and drop into a toe touch. Hang for a moment and then reverse the motion, pulling each vertebra back into place as if they were threaded like beads on a string.
Forward and back bends.
Ankle Alphabets
Point your toe and "write" out each letter of the alphabet in the air with your big toe. This will make you rotate your ankle in all directions. Do once on each foot, gradually build up reps.
Toe lifts
Rest your heel on the ground. With your heel still on the floor, lift your toes up towards your shin. If you have weak ankles, you may not be able to lift the ball of your foot very much off the floor. Lift as high as you can, 10 reps. Repeat with other foot. This exercise also helps prevent shin splints.
Point your toe as sharply as you can, rest your big toe lightly on the floor. You heel should not touch the floor. _Gently_ rock your heel from the left to right, extending as far as possible with your toe still pointed foward. Rock back from right to left, again extending as far as possible. This is a *very slow*, gentle movement. Don't bounce, and don't force it. Do 5 reps on each foot.
Stand normally, toes pointed slightly out. Slowly lift up to the balls of your feet, then _slowly_ lower back down. This works both the calf muscles and the muscles immediately around the ankle. Try 10 reps to start. If you have a barre or your balance is good, do this exercise one-footed. You'll see why it's an ankle exercise.
IMPORTANT: You can gradually build up reps on all of these exercises, but it will cause you great pain if you overwork the toe lifts, laterals, and lifts. The normal stretching out exercises for the calf and arch will probably also help. End with those.
Hurdlers stretch. Groin stretch.

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