Let’s face it:
Being more flexible is fantastic. Aside from having the ability to do various things, your injury risk is lower, your posture is better, and you feel light on your feet.
To that end, we’ve put together this post outlining six simple tips and tricks for better flexibility.
Let’s take a look.
- Static Stretch After Training
Static stretching is beneficial for everyone, and it will improve your flexibility, no matter when you do it. But, we recommend stretching your muscles after training.
The reason for our recommendation is that stretching before exercise can reduce power output temporarily. As such, your performance might take a hit, leading to less effective workouts.
- Do Dynamic Stretches Before Exercise
Dynamic stretches are those you perform repeatedly, holding each repetition for no longer than one to two seconds. For example, leg swings are a type of dynamic stretch that repeatedly lengthens numerous muscles in your lower body.
Doing dynamic stretches before exercise is beneficial because:
a)They warm you up well, allowing you to stay safe and improve your athletic performance
b) They stretch your muscles without leading to a decrease in power output
- Don’t Forget to Strengthen
A tip related to better flexibility is to strengthen your muscles aside from stretching them. Doing so is vital because flexibility alone isn’t enough to truly feel nimble on your feet, improve your athleticism, and stay safe.
Strong muscles allow you to move more effectively, control your body, and maintain your balance during various activities. When combined with good flexibility, strength makes you mobile and much less likely to get injured.
- Hold Stretches For a Long Time
Many people make the mistake of focusing on intensity with their stretches. In other words, rather than hold a long stretch, folks often lengthen a muscle as much as possible and to the point of severe discomfort. The problem is that doing so increases the risk of pulling a muscle and prevents you from holding a stretch for longer, which genuinely makes a difference.
A much better way to go about your stretching practices is to hold each position to the point of mild to moderate discomfort and remain in place for at least 30 seconds. Doing so allows you to lengthen your muscles more gently and improve flexibility without risking an injury.
- Stretch More Frequently
Another excellent tip for better flexibility is to stretch your muscles more frequently––as often as two to three times per day. Each session doesn’t have to be demanding, as just a few minutes can make a huge difference.
For example, you can have a quick stretching session in the morning and repeat the process before going to bed at night.
Stretching can be uncomfortable, and the natural body reaction to discomfort is to tense up, which is the opposite of what we want. A good way to counter that, become more relaxed, and make stretching more pleasant is to focus on your breathing.
As you perform a stretch, don’t obsess over the discomfort you feel in your muscles. Instead, breathe deeply and consistently. Doing so will take your mind off the unpleasant sensation, allowing you to hold longer stretches and continually improve your flexibility.