Stretch, Bend And Improve Your Flexibility

As much as we all love to avoid flexibility training, it is super important to keep on top of, or start including into your workouts. Not only will you be better off as you age, but you will find yourself with less strain, quicker recovery times and the ability to do more.

We don't want any "bend and snap" Legally Blonde moments here, so remember to be careful and although it is good to push past your barriers through using your breath, listen to your body and ease off gently and slowly if the stretch becomes too much. Slow and steady wins the race with flexibility training.

 
  1. Windmills: Standing with the feet wide, toes pointing slightly out from the body reach your arms above the head and then reach your right arm to your left foot. Return to the stop twisting at the torso and repeat on the other side, building momentum. Maintain a strong core by inhaling at the top and exhaling at the bottom, squeezing the side abs as you rotate. You can place your spare hand on your lower back for support as your reach for your opposite foot with the opposite hand.

  2. Stiff legged deadlifts: These can be completed with or without a barbell or 2 x dumbbells. If you do choose to use weights, ensure you can complete 3 rounds of 10 repetitions at that weight. With almost straight legs, slight bend in the knees, fold at the hips and create a flat back. Grab onto your weights or have long straight arms, shoulders back and rotated away from your ears. Shoot your weights or fingers down towards the floor then slowly roll up to standing, activating the hamstrings. On your way down go slow enough to feel a pull in the hamstrings, they need to be active. Repeat

  3. Full body roll ups: Seated with your legs straight out in front of you, activate the feet and legs by flexing the quads, calves and keeping the toes shooting towards the roof. With your arms reaching out, shoulders back and down, use your core as you allow your upper body to lower to the floor. Flatten your back on the floor then use your core again, and your arms out in front for assistance, to bring yourself back up to sitting. This is great for the legs, hips, core and back muscles, elongating and extending the spine.

  4. Toe taps: Lying flat on your back, extend your legs straight into the air, if you cannot get them straight that is ok, keep them slightly bent. Inhale, then exhale as you lift your upper body, to the ribs, off the floor and reach your hands towards your toes, aiming to tap them. You may only reach your knees or thighs the first few times and that is completely fine! These things take time. Repeat and feel your core burn and your legs straighten over time.

  5. Lizard pose: This is great to start or finish your workout with. Begin on all fours, chest facing the floor. Step forward and as wide as the mat with one foot. Let your back leg slide down and away from you. In this wide lunge position, try to let your front foot fall open, knee away from the body, so it is resting on the outside of your mat. Once here, breathe deeply and keeping your hands on the floor in front of you, gently open the front hip and fold deeper into the back hip. If this allows you to get down onto your forearms or further, do so. If not, stay up on the hands and breathe for at least 5 breaths. Repeat on the other side. Remember to come out of this pose slowly and end up back on all fours to rest.