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How to Get Flexible Fast
Flexibility is based on the range of motion in your joint and is influenced by the surrounding muscles, ligaments, tendons, and particular anatomy of the joint itself. Being more flexible can help prevent injury and loss of mobility, improve your postureand help relieve back pain.Many people focus only on muscle strength and size without realizing that you must be flexible enough to perform full range of motion exercises to get the best results, such as doing squats or deadliftsYou can get flexible fast by performing dynamic and static stretches regularly, being active and making other lifestyle changes.
Make sure you are doing the movements correctly.Always be sure that you follow research-supported recommendations, such as the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), when performing stretches. You can also consult a qualified professional like a doctor, sports medicine practitioner, certified trainer or physical therapist, to help establish a stretching program that’s right for you. He or she should be able to show you the proper way to stretch and ensure that you are doing the right movements to become more flexible in the shortest amount of time.
Listen to your body.Pay attention to your body’s signals, such as pain and stiffness. The amount of flexibility that is best for you will also be specific to you. Having tight muscles and a limited range of motion indicates that you need to integrate stretching exercises. Loose, weak muscles with joint instability and dislocation is a sign that you may need to focus more on muscle and joint strengthening.
- The movements that you need to do regularly in your daily life or sport will help determine your optimum flexibility level. Baseball pitchers need more shoulder flexibility while martial artists need more leg flexibility. Even doing daily chores like putting groceries away or pushing a lawn mower require some flexibility.
- While you must stretch a muscle beyond its normal length to increase flexibility, the stretch should not cause pain. Pain tells you that you are stretching too much or pushing yourself beyond what is safe for you to do. You do not want to tear a muscle, sprain a ligament or dislocate a joint, so pay attention to what your body is telling you and stop when you feel pain. Injuries take time to heal and will slow down your progress.
Create a routine.The ACSM recommends that you stretch at least 2-3 days a week after properly warming up with an activity, such as walking. Multiple stretches should be done for each major muscle group, including the shoulders, chest, back, arms, abs, butt, thighs and calves. Remember that your abilities, goals and flexibility level will be different than everyone else, so try not to compare yourself to others.
- Include dynamic activities as well as static and isometric stretches into a regular exercise routine to become flexible more quickly.
- You can modify stretches to suit your needs by including more or less joints in the stretch, doing or avoiding stretches that require balance and increasing or decreasing the length of time you hold the stretch.
Warm up.Performing low-intensity, dynamic movements that are similar to the activity that you will be performing for exercise or sport is the best way to warm up your muscles. This activity will gradually raise your heart rate, increase blood flow to the muscles and raise your body temperature so that you will get the most out of your stretches.You should work up a light sweat to maximize your flexibility training and become flexible faster.
- Do some body-weight movements before your weightlifting, cardio workout or stretching session, such as squats, lunges, push-ups, side lunges, or jumping jacks. Do 3 sets of each movement and 20-30 reps per set.
- For bench presses, you might lift weights that are 30-50 percent lighter than what you will lift afterwards to build muscle. Do 1-3 sets of these at the lighter weight with 10-15 repetitions per set.
- If you are going to run or jog, you might warm up by slowly walking for 5 minutes and increasing the speed of your walk during that time period.
Practice dynamic stretches.Dynamic stretching uses momentum to stretch muscles without holding the end stretch position. These type of movements can increase power, make you more flexible and increase your range of motion.Additionally, dynamic stretching before your workout will help you get better results with your static stretching exercises so that you see results faster.
- To do leg stretches, you might first do some high knee marches or walking lunges to warm up the muscles you intend to stretch. To do a toy soldier exercise, lift your left arm and kick your right leg toward your left arm. Let the leg return to the ground, and repeat with your right arm and left leg. Perform 10 kicks on each side.
- To stretch your calves, do toe raises by standing with your feet about the distance of a fist apart. Raise your heels off the ground as high up as you can on the balls of your feet. Now, slowly lower your heels back down.
- To stretch your hamstrings and back, do the inchworm. Bend over until your hands touch the ground.Walk your hands forward until you are in a plank position with your body weight resting horizontally on your hands and feet. Now walk your feet up to meet your hands. Rise up slowly from the stretch, and repeat 5 times.
- To stretch your arms, do arm swings by swinging both arms continuously overhead, forward, down and then backwards 6-10 times. Now, swing both arms out to your sides, crossing them in front of your chest 6-10 times.
Incorporate static stretching.After your warm-up and workout, practice static stretching, which involves slowly stretching a muscle to its end position and holding the stretch for 10-30 seconds. This type of stretching helps to lengthen tightened muscles, increase flexibility and circulation as well as heal tears and reduce soreness.When you perform the stretches, you should feel a slight burning sensation in the target area.
- Dedicate at least 10-20 minutes to perform stretches, doing 2-3 repetitions per muscle group and holding static stretches for 10-30 seconds per rep. Stretch every day to see results more quickly.
- Remember to breathe deeply during a stretch. Exhale as you stretch the muscle to help relax you and get the best stretch possible.
- Some common static stretching exercises include the hip flexor stretch, which is performed by kneeling in the lunge position. Relax your buttocks, lean forward so your hips are square. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds and repeat with the opposite leg.
Do isometric stretching.This type of static stretching uses muscle resistance and isometric contractions (tensing) of the stretched muscles to stretch more muscle fibers further. For this reason, isometric stretching is one of the fastest ways to become more flexible and also helps build strength and reduce stretching discomfort. You can apply resistance yourself, have a partner do it or use a wall or the floor.
- To do an isometric stretch, you will need to do a traditional static stretch, then tense the stretched muscle for 7-15 seconds while using some form of resistance that will not move. Relax for 20 seconds.
- To apply resistance to a calf stretch yourself, for example, you might hold onto the ball of your foot while trying to point your toes. Your partner could provide resistance by holding your leg up while you try to push your leg back down to the ground. You could use the wall as resistance by pushing your feet against the wall.
- Do not perform isometric stretching on the same group of muscles more than once per day.
Sign up for yoga classes or practice yoga on your own.Yoga uses a combination of dynamic and static posturesto improve flexibility, balance, strength, and promote relaxation. Yoga is especially useful if you don’t have time for a full workout that includes dynamic movement and static stretching because yoga burns calories and increases flexibility at the same time. Try 2-3 classes per week to see your flexibility improve quickly.
Take a dance class.Dancing uses steady movements that require both dynamic movements and static stretches. You might choose to stretch on a barre in ballet, groove in a salsa session, get active with Zumba, or some other dance form that repeatedly moves your major muscle groups through a wide range of motion. Not only is dancing regularly fun but it will ensure that you become more flexible in a short period of time too.
Use a foam roller.Foam rollers can usually be found at sporting goods stores for 20-40 dollars. Choose one with a PVC core to get the best results. Using these can help relax contracted muscles, reduce inflammation and improve blood circulation as well as flexibility.As with all stretching exercises, focus on your main muscles groups and those that feel stiff.
- You will select a muscle group to exercise, then roll slowly back and forth from the start of the muscle to the bottom for 20-30 seconds. Remember to breathe deeply and avoid rolling the roller into your joints.
- For example, you can sit on the foam roller and extend your arms. Starting at the top of your gluteal muscles (butt), slowly roll back and forth until the roller reaches the end of the muscle.
- If you feel a tender spot, stop rolling then apply pressure for 30 seconds or until the pain diminishes.
- To begin incorporating foam roller exercises, start by using it every other day for 2-3 weeks before doing it once or twice daily after warm-ups or work outs.
Enhancing Your Flexibility
Get a deep tissue massage.Stiff, sore muscles can limit your range of motion. You can actually become more flexible the same day that you get an effective massage. This is especially true if your masseuse is able to release tension points and knots in your muscles and help you to move around better.Get a massage a few times a month or more.
Relax.Stress can really make your muscles tense and stiff. Working out, doing heavy lifting or other physical activities can also cause your body to tighten up. For this reason, finding the time to do some relaxing activity is important to improve your flexibility and keep stress from limiting your range of movement. Some examples of relaxing activities are, walking, meditation, swimming or anything that helps you unwind.
Learn to breathe properly.Most people take shallow breaths from the chest instead of deeper breaths from the belly. During exercise, it is especially important to engage the diaphragm for optimal breathing. Spend 5 minutes each day focusing on slow, deep breaths so that your belly button moves in and out with each breath. This will help relax you and improve your posture, which in turn will improve your range of motion more quickly.
Drink a lot of fluids.Muscles are largely made of water, and for muscles to work properly, you must stay hydrated. A decline in performance or flexibility can be due to dehydration because dehydrated muscles cannot stretch to their full range of motion. Drink more water, particularly during and after workouts to improve your flexibility level.
- The 8 glasses of water a day recommendation is a starting point, but your body may need more or less fluid than this. For example, you may need to modify your fluid intake if you are more active, live in a dry climate or are sick.
- Check your urine to see if you are drinking enough fluids—it should be light yellow or colorless. You should also rarely feel thirsty.
QuestionI am 12 and I want to be flexible and be a contortionist, but everybody keeps on telling me that my bones are too strong for that. Is it possible for someone to become flexible or become a contortionist at any age?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYes. You just need to practice enough and you can be flexible enough.Thanks!
QuestionI had a back surgery approximately two years ago, and I can finally work toward doing ballet again. What are some tips I can use to increase my flexibility?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerKeep doing low-impact and small stretches for small amounts of time.Thanks!
QuestionWhat should I wear while doing this?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerAnything soft that is easy to move around in like a t-shirt or tank top with sweatpants, leggings, yoga pants, etc.Thanks!
QuestionHow long would it take to become flexible?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIt may take long, but if you stretch a lot you can be flexible.Thanks!
QuestionDoes this work for kids?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYes. Stretching regularly as a kid will make it much easier to stay flexible throughout adulthood. Kids generally will see faster results.Thanks!
QuestionHow can I become more flexible In a week?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerWell, you can't really become flexible in just a week. It takes a little longer. Just keep stretching and follow a routine.Thanks!
QuestionWill doing certain stretches and yoga make me flexible enough to be a cheerleader?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYoga and a stretching regimen will be very helpful.Thanks!
QuestionWhat stretches should I do if I am learning Taekwondo and trying to do high kicks?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerLearn the splits and practice them a lot and maybe even learn the middle splits. That is the quickest way to flexibiility.Thanks!
QuestionHow long does this take?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerEveryone is different. It can take a week or a year. Use a routine and the tips here, and you will see progress.Thanks!
QuestionMuch of my flexibility comes from me being very thin. If I gain weight, will I lose flexibility?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerGaining healthy weight and becoming flabby are two different things. You can gain weight and still be flexible.Thanks!
You can get flexible fast by creating a stretching routine that incorporates dynamic, static, and isometric stretches and performing the routine 2-3 days per week. You can also supplement your routine with yoga or dance classes to ensure you're working on your full range of motion. Lifestyle changes like being more active, performing deep breathing exercises, and reducing your stress levels can help you achieve your flexibility goals even faster! Don't forget to warm up properly and avoid pushing yourself beyond your limits to prevent injuries.
- Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing and supportive shoes.
- Choose a space with room for you to move around. Hard surfaces are easier to balance on than exercise mats.
- Wear trainers or sneakers, as they help your grip.
- Certain stretches, such as isometric stretching, should not be performed by children and teens whose bones are still growing because of the higher risk of damage to tendons and connective tissue.
- Don’t do ballistic stretching, which involves jerking your muscles in and out of a static stretching position.
Things You'll Need
Supportive gym shoes
Sources and Citations
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