Train your flexibility in a safe, smart and more effective way. Flexibility training can be a frustrating process for many people, more so when you compare yourself to others that seem to get it relatively easily. Many of us can feel too stiff to even begin to stretch and find it difficult to make any lasting progress.
When looking for programs and resources to train your own flexibility it can add to the frustration to find that all of these programs are by very limber and flexible people demonstrating the exercises. The starting position for many of the movements alone could be more than you are currently capable of. The level of tightness that you experience does not mean that you can not benefit from stretching. Our inability to be flexible is something that has accumulated over our lifetime and it is something that we can absolutely improve upon. Most people have to work for their flexibility and it can be a long and bumpy road.
Flexibility is our ability to go into the various ranges of motion that we need to take part in the activities we choose to. In addition to this, we want enough flexibility and strength to account for actions that may inherently increase our risk of injury. We can do this by creating a large circle of influence beyond what is required of our intended activities.
No matter how stiff you are, you can improve your flexibility and in most situations, it is just a matter of being aware of your body, understanding the ways it makes compensations, finding the proper adjustments for you and practicing them on a consistent basis. There are a number of principles that you can follow with regards to your body positioning and making the appropriate modifications that allow you to work within your own capabilities.
Focus on keeping one side of the targeted muscle in place and anchored. For example, when stretching the hamstrings you will likely try to maintain an anterior pelvic tilt (sticking the butt out) or aim to tilt the hips in that direction in addition to extending the knee (straightening the leg). Many times people are not getting the best stretch possible because the muscle is not actually lengthening and we are adjusting our body position (compensating) to make it appear that we are stretching.
We want to be in control. To feel instability and insecurity in your body will naturally cause the body to restrict movement. It will only make the stretches and various flexibility exercises more difficult when we are not in control and use too much external forces on our bodies. We should only use external forces in a matter that helps facilitate a deeper stretch but that is still within our control. Forcing your body into a position that it can not get into by applying an excessive amount of external force will only lead to injury. That’s why it’s important to adjust your exercises so that the positioning feels safe and secure to you and your body. Don’t worry about mimicking what the model is demonstrating. Rather, follow the positioning for the spine and pelvis, and adjust yourself so that you feel stable.
Flexibility Training Tips
Your starting position is your own and you will need to make the adjustments needed for yourself to find a starting position that accommodates your needs. There are many ways to adjust for stretches using a variety of external objects that will help support and facilitate a better stretch. You want to make sure that you support yourself properly and not make big shifts in movement in relatively deep stretches without something to stabilize yourself with.
Your arms and legs will do the majority of the bending, flexing and extending. Focusing on keeping the spine and hips stable and adjusting the arms and legs to accommodate the movement. The tightest areas of our bodies will need the most consistency and a bit more work. The floor, gravity and our own body are tools to be used in the proper way. They can all be used to increase or lessen the difficulty of any stretch. In addition to stretching and training flexibility, we want to continue to use our new found flexibility in our daily lives and chosen activities.
Follow us at @Nirvanastrength to learn more about stretching and flexibility training to help you get to where you want to and need to be.