Flexibility is regarded as an integral component of fitness and has many positive effects on the body , however so many of us, athlete, and non-athlete, tend to neglect flexibility training completely!
Flexibility is dependent on a few factors:
- Age- the older you are the less flexible you become
- Bone size & structure- the larger the bone diameter the less flexible you are
- Connective tissue- the degree of elasticity in your tendons and ligaments
- Body size/bulk- the bigger the body the harder it is to get into flexible positions
Types of stretching:
- Static- involves holding the muscle in elongated (stretched) position for a period of time usually 20-30 seconds. This type of stretching is suitable post workout when the muscle is already warm.
- Dynamic- involves active movements i.e moving in and out of the posture. This type of stretching is good for warming up and also improving flexibility.
Studies have shown that you can improve your flexibility in as little as two weeks with daily practise and regular exercise!
For best results practice every day performing each pose for 1-2 minutes or until you feel looser!
Lunge forward straightening the back leg and lifting the knee off the floor.
Bring elbow of the inside arm down as close to ankle as possible then lift arm up to the sky to open up chest.
If you are a beginner with this exercise or extremely tight leave back knee on the ground until more comfortable.
Begin on your knees.
Sit bum down in between shins and slowly lower back down towards the floor (hand, hand, elbow, elbow) until you’ve gone as far as you can.
Feel free to use a cushion or block underneath your back until ready to go fully to the floor.
Begin feet slightly wider that shoulder width.
Squat down as far as you can (ideally bum should be below knees) and use elbows to push knees outward bringing hands to heart.
Lower hands down to touch the ground (or as far as possible)
Bring head to knee.
With constant practise you should aim to get lower and hold for longer each time
Begin in high plank position. Hook one leg under your body and lower down onto the ground stretching right up into the glute.
Then (and only if ready or comfortable) lift chest up off floor and try to grab the ankle of opposite leg to bring the stretch into the quad and hip flexor.
This is an advance stretch so don’t worry if you don’t grasp first time- grabbing the ankle is something to work towards!
On all fours lower head and chest down to ground in between shoulders.
Roll the fingers forward for a deep stretch on lats and lower back.
Dedicate 10 minutes of every workout to flexibility and with every workout you will improve