Wanna get more flexi? Check out these 7 tips and tricks!
How many of you have looked at a child gymnast and thought ‘Damn you for being so flexible!’ I know I have! And as much as we can complain to our parents for never pushing us to be the next Simone Biles, it’s not going to make us more flexible!
The good news is, we can still become flexible! And that doesn’t necessarily mean aiming for ‘Amy Hazel’ flexible, it could just mean ‘touch your toes’ flexible. Increasing your range of motion so that your body can achieve more.
So how do we do this? Where do we begin? Well, actually going to a stretch class would help for one! But here are our top tips on how to improve your flexibility and stay safe whilst doing it.
1. Be Consistent! Flexibility takes time and training a little bit everyday can make a huge difference! Don’t go hard for one week and then take 3 weeks off, you need to train flexibility regularly. Not only will this help with your progress, but it also means your body won’t feel tight all the time from training - bonus! ‘Stretch It’ is a great app for at home stretch workouts, some being as little as 15 minutes!
2. Be Patient! This is one thing you do not want to rush. Pushing yourself too quickly or too much can lead to injury. Be realistic with your goals, take progress photos and remember, the journey is just as important as the end goal - enjoy it!
3. Listen to your body! A good massage can go a long way. Massages help release tight muscles which will not only leave you feeling great, it will also help improve your flexibility. If you’re training a lot, make sure a regular massage is part of your routine. And if your body’s not feeling it, don’t do it! There is a difference between a good stretch and pushing past your limits. Listen to the signals your body is giving you, ignoring them can lead to serious injury.
4. All muscles need stretching! In order to keep your body balanced, you need to be training all areas - back, shoulders and legs. Don’t just focus on one area because you “really want your front splits!”, focus on all areas so you can improve your flexibility all over! And that means, training both sides! Just like strength training, sticking to just one side can lead to injury so always train both!
5. Understand your exercises. When training flexibility, there are ‘passive’ and ‘active’ stretches. A mix of both is really great but it’s good to know when to do which! Passive stretching is when you sit in a position, using your body weight / gravity to increase the stretch. Active stretching is where you actively engage the muscle in a stretch. Active stretching is great for warming up the muscles (start of a workout), whereas passive stretching is better for when the muscles are already warmed up (end of a workout). Check out this great article to find out more!
6. Train strength AND flexibility! Train strength as well as flexibility to ensure your muscles can support the developing range of motion. Plus, training both is going to turn you into a MACHINE!
7. Be safe! If you’re unsure on which exercises to do or how to do the exercises properly, then have a chat with your instructor! And always make sure you warm up and cool down before and after a stretch session!