Being a flexible female – It’s a serious flex!
From being able to move with more mobility…to being able to display impressive athletic movements…to having an improved level of training performance, being a flexible female can have a tonne of benefits!
If you’re looking to dive into the essence of flexibility and explore ways to develop your own abilities, then you’re at the right place!
What Exactly Is Flexibility?
A lot of us may simply see the term “flexible” as representing those who are able to bend their bodies to a significant degree. Though this is true, there’s a lot more to flexibility than just being able to touch your toes with absolute ease.
To put it into simple terms, flexibility is the ability to move muscles and joints through their complete range of motion. Interestingly, Dr Thomas Green described flexibility as an ability that we’re born with, but that most of us lose. The more flexible a person is, the more able they’ll be to move through unrestricted and pain-free ranges of motion.
So, if we were all “born flexible”, how did we lose our abilities?
As we grow and our bones, joints and muscles become both larger and stronger, we begin to lose the flexibility abilities that we were born with. But…how are some adults flexible whilst others aren’t? Well, flexibility is an ability which can be both developed and learned! The most common barrier to having a flexible body is an activeness-lacking sedentary lifestyle.
There are 2 components to flexibility- static and dynamic, a person’s flexibility can be displayed through stretching-based movements. Static stretches involve holding a challenging yet comfortable position for a period of time, such as a hamstring stretch or a side bend.
Whereas a dynamic stretch involves moving muscles and joints through their full range of during an active movement, such as squat jumps or lunges.
The Flex Of Being Flexible
Being flexible goes beyond physical movement abilities, being flexible actually brings a wide range of health benefits:
- Increased Mobility
Mobility makes everything operate more smoothly…from reaching up to get an object to participating in a fitness class. Through being more mobile and flexible, exercise can become more fun as those with more mobility are less inclined to feeling tightness, pains and aches during or after an activity.
- Increased Strength
It’s been proven that through achieving a greater range of motion through a joint or muscle, a greater muscle contraction can be achieved. Additionally, flexibility can also facilitate better technique when exercising! Collectively, these factors indicate that flexibility supports an increased quality of training and results!
- Decreased Risk of Injury
Through developing your level of flexibility and body strength, you can become more able to withstand physical pressure, both during training and also within day-to-day activities. Flexibility + Strength = Protection from injury!
How To Improve Flexibility - And Even Do The Splits!
Firstly, it’s important to consider that we’re all different and we all possess varying flexibility abilities! Comparing ourselves to others can sometimes lead us down a downward spiral…so, don’t do it…focus on yourself!
Rome wasn’t built in a day…and the same goes for your future flexibility powers!
Developing flexibility involves practicing stretches on a regular basis until a level of consistency is achieved! Remember to listen to your body (don’t push too hard!) and trust the process!
Some great examples of static stretches include shoulder stretch, side bends, calf stretch, abductor stretch, hamstring stretch and the quadricep stretch!
Dynamic stretching can be done through movements such as a lunge with a twist, high knees, squat jumps, leg swings and arm circles.
Why not try Yoga or Pilates?
Yoga and Pilates are fantastic low-impact exercising methods based on stretches-these exercises can do absolute wonders for your flexibility! For more on the world of Pilates, go check out our “A Beginner’s Guide to Pilates” blog! These exercises can be done both individually or through joining a fitness class.
“Basically, I just want to be able to do the splits!”
The silhouette of a person doing the splits has for become a sign of flexibility glory. Once a certain degree of flexibility has been (you actually don’t have to be super flexible to do the splits!), the splits movement, though it may look impossible, can actually be very much attainable!
The splits require the activation of the hip flexors, abductors, glutes and hamstrings…with this in mind, splits training needs to target stretches which target those areas!
The Best Stretches For The Splits
We now present to you our top stretches and exercises to have you on your way to become a super stretchy split busting superwoman!
- Hip thrusts using a Smith Machine- strengthens hip flexors
- Toe touches- stretches the hamstrings and calves
- Kickback exercises – strengthens the glutes
- Butterfly stretch- targets the hips and inner thighs
- Downward Dog- a common Yoga and Pilates movement targeting the hamstrings and calves
- Hip abductor machine- a brilliant gym machine that supports an increased range of motion within the adductors
Become The Fittest & Most Flexible Version of Yourself Possible
As we now know, flexibility is something that can truly benefit our whole lifestyle. From being more mobile and less to prone to injury to be being a better executor of exercising techniques, the potential positives are truly limitless.
No matter your age, shape, experience or background, developing our flexibility is something that we can all pursue! So, ladies…let’s do this!