Want to improve your flexibility but not getting your desired results? You’re not alone! You mightn’t stretch as often as you know you should, but you feel it adds nothing to your workouts. Sound familiar? To be completely honest, when I see what most people do when they stretch, I can understand why they don’t get results either!
There’s an art to stretching and it’s one of the reasons that I created my stretching DVD – to deliver the results that people desire from when they stretch.
I’ve created a list of 5 things I see people do when they stretch which completely works against the results you’re striving for. Next time you decide it stretch it out on the mat, ensure that you apply these and notice your results skyrocket!
1. Bounce your stretches
When we bounce our stretches we contract the muscle and release it very quickly. Imagine doing a bicep curl and then stretching your arm super quickly and then back to a curl. You’d expect an injury right? You’re correct! There are different kinds of stretches which work by contracting and releasing a muscle but for the most part you just want to relax into them.
2. Compare yourself to others
It can be daunting entering a fitness class for the first time especially when there are people that would have the flexibility comparable to a prima ballerina. Some people are naturally flexible and there are others that require a little more work. That’s okay! It’s important when you start stretching to not compare yourself to others. Just focus on bettering yourself every session.
3. Stretch whilst dehydrated
When we’re dehydrated our nerves don’t glide as smoothly. Imagine brushing your hair when its freshly blow-dried compared to when it hasn’t been brushed in a week. It would be hard to get a brush through and feel painful. We need to be hydrated to be flexible. It lubricates our joints and make our nerves glide smoother meaning better downward dogs and splits!
4. Push past the level of discomfort
When we push a stretch our ‘stretch reflex’ kicks on. It’s our bodies way of protecting us but unfortunately works in reverse. It causes the muscles to contract (or shorten) so imagine trying to stretch that out. It’s how we get injuries. Aim for light discomfort that alleviates every time you exhale. The discomfort out of 10 should be about a 2-3.
5. Allow your mind to wander
It’s important to focus on what you’re feeling, your breath and really relax into it. This means get off your phone and stop thinking about what you need to do when you get home. When you’re focussing on what you’re doing and not letting your mind wander – expect to feel more relaxed, be less stressed and get better results too!