Whilst I sit hear feeling a little down about the fact that I have to rest for at least a week, maybe two, due to a back injury, I thought I’d share some tips for flexibility and stretching.
I get asked all the time if anyone can touch their toes or do a back bend and the answer is “yes, most people”…. BUT flexibility doesn’t come over night and it needs to be given a lot of time and attention to make sure you avoid injury.
Here are four little tips to get your started…
- Dynamic warm up
Before your workout, rather than completing a few standard stretches, opt for a more dynamic warm up like squats and lunges. By doing this you’ll be warming your muscles up, rather than straining them, giving yourself a larger range of movement when completing your workouts.
- Dedicate time for stretching
So many of us think that stretching means holding a couple of leg stretches for 8 seconds each, but this isn’t enough to progress your flexibility. Every workout should end with 30-second holds of each stretch, but then once a week you should spend at least 20mins repeating those 30 second stretches at least three times each. By doing a session like this each week, you’ll begin to notice your flexibility getting better.
Massaging the muscles is a great way to warm muscles up, but also help relax them. Foam rolling pre-workout can help to prepare the body for movement whereas a post-workout roll out can flush away waste products from exercise and help you recover quicker for your next session, minimising the likelihood of DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness).
It might not be obvious at first, but if you want more flexibility, focus more on your breathing than on your muscles. This will put your mind at ease, and create the right conditions for your muscles to release tension. A lot of people think that by bouncing their way through a stretch they’ll end up more flexible, but breathing is actually the key to this. You should feel that with every breath the stretch feels deeper.
So there you have it, a few little tips to get you thinking differently about the ways you improve your flexibility. Remember, take it slow and in time you’ll be bendy like a pretzel all over the place! 😉
Love, Cat x