When you think about flexibility I bet the first thing that pops up in your mind are images of ballerinas and maybe some YouTube videos you saw where people perform like they don’t have any bones. Such flexibility is most commonly thought of as something genetic or a result of some medical procedure which makes us think we can’t get it.
Also you’ll rarely see a bodybuilding or fitness program that puts focus on improving flexibility, most of it is only about how to get bigger but as a side effect of neglecting flexibility you get stiff limited range of motion. Luckily for us flexibility is something you can get by training just as easy like muscles and physical endurance. How do you work on your flexibility? I’ll show you 5 ways.
Performing static stretching
You can do stretching at any given time during the day but if you do weight lifting like me the best time is after you finished your workout. I usually do stretching for 10 minutes after workout following with 5 minutes flexing. First I stretch my target muscle group that day and then the group I’ve worked the day before. One other time I personally do a light stretching session is 15-20 min before bed, this helps me Fall asleep better. Overall since incorporating this in my schedule I’ve noticed an increase in flexibility, better mind-muscle connection and Muscle soreness feels a lot easier. That’s a lot for just 20 min a day.
Sign-up for yoga or Pilates class
Only reason I haven’t put this in the first place is that it takes much more time than stretching. Yoga and Pilates are very powerful tools to build flexibility and Improve strength, this trains your body in a totally different way promoting better circulation, body awareness, mind-body connection, improved posture and many more reasons to add this to your schedule.
Personally I’m doing Yoga as a recovery method on my off-days and it took only a couple of workouts until I started noticing the changes. My breathing improved and some of the postures that seemed impossible in the beginning now feel comfortable. I really encourage all my clients who have spare time to participate at least 1h a week in yoga or Pilates, once you try it you won’t turn back.
Take dancing lessons
“Omg, what is this guy saying? I don’t wanna dance, I just want to get big and lean.” Sure I understand that but dancing is really a fun way to increase your flexibility and if you are a self-development junkie like me you’ll look at this like an opportunity to accomplish two things at the same time. Dancing requires tremendous amount of strength, I 100% sure you will be surprised how difficult it is to perform even the simplest dance moves. Even the great Arnold Schwarzenegger had to take ballet lessons to improve his posing for Mr. Olympia!
Our body isn’t designed to sit all day and stare at a monitor display, we are made to move. Cardio exercise does exactly that. I’m not going to write another article about how it improves heart conditioning, metabolism, weight loss etc… but from a simple point of view of flexibility and overall having functional muscles while being fit cardio is a great way to get there. I know tons of people who prefer cardio over weight lifting and they have amazing physiques, it might not be muscular body but it’s certainly healthy and aesthetically pleasing.
Eat healthy food and drink enough water
You might think that flexibility has nothing to do with your diet but as everything else in our body is linked together so is this. Eating healthy food like Watery vegetables helps to flush toxins out of the body and the nutrient rich content will add to flexibility and not only that it will improve every other health aspect.
Similar to healthy food choice I believe that water intake is ever more valuable. Without enough water you’re risking injury and numerous other health issues. Drink up, I personally drink more than 4liters of water each day and it feels great.
Share with us what you think about flexibility in the comments below. Peace!