By Christian Craig, Founder UNBOWED
You eat right and exercise regularly. You’re strong and healthy. But there's just may be on thing you're not, flexible.
But there’s good news!
You don’t have to stay inflexible your entire life. With the right steps, you can improve your flexibility, which will make life that much better because you will feel better.
Ready to get started building a more flexible you?
For many years, it was common practice to stretch before working out. In recent years, I've coached my clients to ditched that advice for something better: lightly perform whatever you plan to do. Going on a run? Walk and then jog before getting into a full run.
For those who want to take their routines to the stretch limit, it’s time to use a foam roller.
With a foam roller, you work to gently stretch your muscles before working them out, and better yet, you stretch them out safely. Essentially a massage for your muscles, foam rolling helps your muscles relax and stretch. This, in turn, allows your entire muscle to be worked out in the gym afterward and prevents an already tight muscle from growing tighter through your exercise routine. Once you knock out a little foam rolling, the time is right for a round of body-weight exercises or light activity before going full force.
As you exercise, you can help your flexibility by working throughout your entire range of motion, let's use the squat as an example. Initially, you may have a harder time squatting your full range of motion, but sticking with it will allow your muscles to work all the way and will lead to them being more flexible.
To get to where you can squat or perform other exercises as deep as your body allows, you will probably want to reduce the amount of weight you use so that you can practice on your form and really feel into the muscle you are stretching.
As your body grows accustomed to going through a fuller range of motion, you can increase the weight and enjoy improved flexibility.
When your exercise routine winds down, your muscles feel tight and will stay that way unless you do something about it.
We've had several clients who often enjoy the feeling. It lets them know their body has worked hard, and so they allow the tightness to remain as they leave the gym and return to their daily routines.
Until we stop them.
This is when your stretches become most important. By taking 10 minutes to slowly stretch, you can take a huge step toward your overall flexibility. A good post-workout stretch will focus on the areas worked during your routine, but will provide a little stretching for the entire body. You can also finish your stretching with more foam rolling if you have time, as this will help further your flexibility goals.
And if you want to help eliminate that soreness even more ...
We recommend our clients replenish with a glutamine supplement to reduce the accumulation of blood ammonia during any prolonged, strenuous exercise.
When stretching for increased flexibility, you may be tempted to push it as far as you can.
But don’t give in.
Instead, you should relax and take the slow and easy path to flexibility. Going too far too fast will actually have the opposite result that you want, as your body will have to repair itself from small injuries that occur from stretching and won’t want to stretch further in the future.
Take your time and allow your body to ease into stretches.
Feel an uncomfortable burning sensation that actually hurts? That is not your body’s way of thanking you. Back off and stretch to the point of slight discomfort.
Accept that you can’t increase your flexibility overnight, and you will make better headway than beating your muscles into flexible submission.
Our dedicated team of certified coaches are here to help you out. Feel free to reach out to us anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Let’s do this!