Flexibility is about way more than backflips and being able to touch your toes. Did you know that improved flexibility increases range of motion and your ability to smash that star performance? If you’re someone who neglects flexibility training, it’s now time to work on your stiffness. Here’s a few dynamic and static movements you can try out.
Isn’t flexibility all down to genetics?
Of course there are many factors that contribute to how flexible you are. You can discover these on in this article. However, if flexibility isn’t your core strength, don’t worry. It can be worked on. Flexibility can be increased by exercising regularly and practicing various dynamic or static stretching movements. Here’s how we do them:
World’s greatest stretch
For mobility in the hips, legs and spine.
- Lunge forward and try to touch your ankle with your elbow while keeping your shin fairly vertical. The other hand rests on the ground in line with the foot.
- Rotate your upper body, trying to point your chest upwards. Switch between both positions for about five repetitions. When going up, try to straighten both legs with your hands still touching the ground and your back straight. Pull the front toes towards you.
Step Back Squat
Opens the hips and activates the legs. Ideal prior to a leg workout. Also good for balance.
- Raise your knee, swing leg outward and take a step back. Try to have one leg fully extended while you go into a full squat with the other leg. Use your arms to maintain balance, trying to have both heels on the ground.
Knee to chest/Butt kick
Ideal for runners if you’ve been sitting all day. Activates both the hip flexors and the hip extensors prior to a running workout.
- Pull your knee firmly to your chest.
- Swing the leg through, grab your ankle and pull the ankle towards your butt.
- Extend the other arm to lengthen your upper body. Maintain a straight body line throughout the full movement.
Good to stretch the whole posterior chain and mobilize your spine. Ideal for workouts that include jumps and lifts.
- With your legs spread wide and straight, reach forward as far as possible and touch the ground.
- Roll back onto your shoulders with some momentum and try to touch the ground with your feet together and your legs straight. Tightening your core helps you to further push up your butt.
Opens hips, relaxes spine, activates legs. Always recommended.
- go down into a deep squat with your heels on the ground. Use a low object to rest your heels on if you don’t have the flexibility for the full squat, such as a mat or some wooden board.
- Try to keep your back upright.
- Place your elbows inside your knees with the hands together in the middle.
- Carefully push the knees outward to increase tension in your hips.
Stretches upper legs/thighs/quads, the abs and opens the chest. Also stretches the hip flexors. Recommended after workouts that stress these regions.
- Kneel down, reach for your heels.
- Point the chest upward and push your hips forward until you feel a tension in the upper legs and the hip flexors. You can vary the height of your heels by the positioning of your feet. But always push your hips forward.
Good to stretch the back side of your legs and your lower back muscles.
- With your legs fully straight, reach for your toes.
- When you can reach your toes, try to put the palms
of your hands on the ground, pulling your forehead towards your shins.
Good to stretch muscles in your lower back and the hip extendors. Recommended to do when you’re lifting a lot. Maybe not directly after a lifting session, because the muscles are already under a lot of tension.
- Spread your legs as wide as you can and keep them straight.
- Pull your upper body forward, reaching for the ground between your legs (and beyond).
- Try to roll your hips forward to reach even further.
Open the hips, stretch the inside of your upper leg, good after every leg workout.
- With your feet together, pull the heels firmly towards you.
- Maintain an upright position with a straight spine and push the knees down towards the ground.
You might be wondering “why so many movements for the hips”. We all sit too much. This causes our hips to lose flexibility over time. If you gain more flexibility in your hips, you will become a better runner, be able to perform burpees, squats, jumps and so many more exercises a lot easier and faster.
Dedicate 10 minutes of every workout to flexibility and with every workout your flexibility will improve. Better posture. Better form. Better movements. Better performance.