The most frequently overlooked part of many workout programmes is flexibility training. It is a proven truth that flexibility training can help athletes perform better and recover more quickly from strenuous workouts.
Any workout programme that aims to reach actual fitness must contain these three key elements: flexibility training, stamina and endurance training, and strength training. The first element—flexibility training—is the one that is most frequently overlooked, if not entirely ignored. What is flexibility training, and how does it impact an athlete’s performance?
The static stretches that gymnasts or martial artists do before their actual workouts always come to mind when we talk about flexibility training. However, flexibility training encompasses more than just those stretches.
The human body is comprised of joints, including those in the neck, spine, shoulders, elbows, hips, knees, and feet, as well as other joints in the elbow, hip, and spine. To become a more mobile or flexible athlete, these joints must be loose and not tight. Although static stretching exercises help to a certain extent to loosen up these joints, their major focus is on “stretching” the different individual muscle groups to make them more “stretchable” and less prone to injury. From this, we may infer that there are two types of flexibility training: static stretching exercises and activities that help to loosen up the joints.
The Secret to Pain-Free Joints and Muscles at Any Age is Flexibility Training
In our medical practices, we frequently treat patients for a variety of aches and pains caused by arthritis, joint stiffness, tight muscles, and combinations of these. They can be 20-year-olds who suffer from excruciating low back pain or retirees in their 60s who have trouble with their shoulders, hips, or knees and have restricted range of motion in these joints.
More flexibility training is what the majority of these people require to reduce or eliminate their aches and stiffness. Aches, pains, and stiffness can be avoided or delayed when your joints and muscles remain supple and flexible. The greatest technique to prevent joint and muscle pain is to regularly perform flexibility exercises.
Stretching exercises are used to increase flexibility in the muscles, tendons, ligaments, and other soft tissues used in the movement. Your every movement becomes easier and more comfortable as it limbers up joints. It enables you to get the most out of both strength- and cardiovascular-training routines. Everyday tasks become more enjoyable as a result.
It may surprise you to learn that your body is naturally programmed to perform flexibility exercises.
When was the last time you rose from a long period of sitting? After reading a book or watching a movie, how about leaning to the side or back? When you yawn loudly and forcefully out of boredom or exhaustion, your diaphragm, a large muscle in your chest, is stretched. You get an energy boost as a result.
These are all illustrations of flexibility training through nature.
Making Your Stretching Pleasure Selection
There are at least four systems for increasing flexibility that you might want to take into account:
Individual stretch sets: The majority of us practise individual stretch sets as children. They include upper body stretches for the back, shoulders, arms, and neck as well as leg stretches for the hamstrings, thighs, calves, and groin.
Yoga: Practicing yoga is a fantastic technique to maintain flexibility. Numerous yoga positions encourage flexibility. Start with the softer stretches and postures if you’re a novice. There are more challenging variations of yoga that can be used for cardiovascular and/or strength training.
Joseph Pilates created a type of physical treatment in the early 20th century that combines mat work and machine exercises. Pilates uses six principles—breath, attention, control, centring, accuracy, and flow—to lengthen and stretch muscles and improve postures. Even though it has a modest impact, it has the potential to be so intense that it counts as strength training.
Tai chi: Early in the morning, you can observe people doing tai chi in parks in China or Taiwan. Tai chi was initially created in China as a martial art that combines deliberate, methodical motion with quick, forceful movements for self-defence. Tai chi, which has various different styles and is currently practised all over the world, is mostly done for health reasons. It enhances equilibrium, calms the mind, and eases arthritis pain. We can all benefit from beginning with the gentle movements and working our way up to the more challenging ones if we so want.
Use at least one of the above-mentioned flexibility training techniques. They can be learned through classes, videos, or literature. Stretch at least three times per week, and every day if you can.
Starting Your Flexibility Training with a Few Simple Stretches
Here are five simple stretches that you can perform virtually anywhere, including at work. Perform the stretches for 10 to 12 minutes at least three times each week. Stretching should be done as often as possible, especially after doing moderate to vigorous physical activity.
Up to five times, stretch for 10 to 30 seconds. Never run into positions; instead, go deliberately. Pay attention to how various muscles move—some are stretching, and some are relaxing. Hold the position with minimal force while sensing the tension in the stretched muscle. Even while it could be uncomfortable, you shouldn’t ever experience agony.
After your physical activity, try stretching while your tissues are still warm. You can also stretch while taking a shower or right after when the circulation to your muscles is at its best. Do the first few stretches of the same set even slower than usual if you wish to stretch without first engaging in any physical activity, such as after spending some time sitting at a computer.
Flexibility Training for Upper Body
- Head tilted back arched
- Upright body turn
- Stretch and roll the shoulders
- (Prayer) Wrist Stretch
- Lower Body Extensions
Flexibility Training for Lower Body
- Hamstring stretch
- Groin stretch
- Thigh elongation
- Calf stretch
If you have osteoporosis or any musculoskeletal condition, always consult your doctor before stretching.
Working with a Fitness Designs Personal Trainer in Leeds will help you get results faster whether you are new to personal training or have been working out with a trainer for a while. Through my flexibility training, diet and weight management, advanced cardiovascular training, and core-stability training programmes, I assist regular people in becoming healthier and happier.