Some days I wake up and I can flatten my hands on the floor. Other days my hamstrings are so tight I can barely get my finger tips to touch my toes!
Have you ever tried routine stretching and never got anywhere and thought what’s the point, I’m so inflexible?!
Gaining flexibility isn’t easy. Especially with todays sedentary lifestyle. And if you’re anything like me – sitting for long periods at a time, doing explosive exercise like circuit training then sitting for hours again, it’s tough.
I’ve got some tips that might just help you out though
Our muscles take time to respond, usually about 40 seconds. A muscle under load sends a signal to that brain, it take about 40 seconds for the brain to assess if the muscle (and tendons) are safe before it releases to the full range. I suggest holding a pose for 60 seconds or about 8 rounds of breath to really experience a deep juicy stretch.
2. Stretch warm
You may have noticed the difference in your flexibility from the beginning of a yoga class versus the end. That’s because the entire body gets warm and muscles have time to activate, respond and stretch into positions. If you want to stretch first thing in the morning I suggest a few rounds of cat and cow to help warm the spine and some gentle down dogs peddling out through the back of the legs. Otherwise, immediately following your cardio or resistance workout is perfect.
3. Be patient and practice
We aren’t all born bendy ballerinas. Flexibility takes time and practice. Our bodies are different each and every day. And what works for us one day may not work the next. Be honest with where you are each day. The key is to practice consistently without attachment to the results. Just enjoy the stretch and be grateful for the time you’ve taken to nourish your body.
4. Create a routine that you can stick to
Having a little routine you can whip out without thinking and can complete in 5-10mins – whatever time you can spare for stretching – is key. Target key muscles groups you want to work on (or have just worked). My favrourites at the moment are;
- Chest opener to stretch the Pec minor and Pec Major – this deep stretch can be done lying down or up against a wall. Brilliant if you’ve been doing loads of push-ups or vinyasa.
- Lizard lunge or yogic squat – to target tight adductors and groin muscles. This is the problem area that I’m working on for flexibility.
- Grabbing a strap to help with a hamstring stretch with one leg raised the other stretched out in front, then crossing it over our body just a little to target the ITB followed by full supine twist where the leg comes to rest on the floor. So lush.
If you want some tips designing something right for you, then get in touch or grab me if you see me at the gym.