As a dancer with short legs, I am looking for ways to improve my leg extensions.
Yes, there are some hip-strengthening exercises you can do that may help, but the best advice I have gotten is to simply practice.
From what I have read on the web, most people agree.
Extend your leg (front, side, or back) and hold it there as long as you can.
*Make sure your hip is down (although tilts are very common), your supporting leg is turned out, and your leg is in front of you (obviously when practicing front and side).
At first, your leg probably won’t be very high, but that’s okay!
It takes time to develop the muscles needed to hold your leg up high.
Practice this exercise for at least 5 minutes, 4-6 times a week, and you will definitely notice a difference!
My favorite exercise for hip-strengthening is to sit in a straddle stretch position (common during jazz warm-ups). Lift your right leg about 6 inches off of the floor 10 times. Repeat this on the left leg and with both legs. Repeat the entire sequence 2-3 times about 4-6 times per week.
For a detailed description of what a leg extension is, click the link below.