Whether you want to be flexible or not, stretching is essential for everyone of all ages. I obviously learned this when studying to become a personal trainer, but, I admit, I didn’t implement stretching in my routines as much as I was supposed to. However, after eight years of bodybuilding and limited to no focus on stretching, my body eventually screamed for me to become flexible. I had picked up a nagging tight hip flexor, tight shoulders, tight hamstrings — everything was tight. And not in a sexy way, but in an injuriously tight muscles sort of way.
Overlooking flexibility didn’t make me very fit. The only stretches I was good at were basic stretches personal trainers test their clients on: the forward fold, touching my toes, and the runners lunge. When I began gymnastic strength workouts in 2016, I found my flexibility to be utterly pathetic. To gain more flexibility, I’ve incorporated dedicated stretching blocks to each of my routines, each fifteen to twenty minutes long. I also have two full stretch workouts per week, each roughly thirty minutes long.
I use yoga to stave off the boredom that is inherent in stretching (at least in my opinion). Yoga plays a helpful role in my flexibility journey. What’s great about yoga is it keeps the body warm throughout stretching, as opposed to slowly cooling down during an extended stretching session. yoga also builds strength. Many yoga stances would challenge powerlifters, cross-fitters, and bodybuilders. This is because yoga focuses on muscle synergy (small and large muscles working together) at a slow, controlled speed. Even to an experienced strength athlete, a change in the speed of a movement and a switch from weighted exercises to pure bodyweight (moving away from a focus on prime movers to small muscles) can pose new challenges.
In addition to staving off boredom from stretching, new muscle stimulation, increased flexibility creates longer more elegant-looking muscles. I must admit, what keeps me on my flexibility schedule is what it has done to my legs and arms. I had no idea how much my body could change with a little more stretching.
Flexibility rocks. And the good thing is it can be done anywhere. All you need is a floor and a mat. This is where great on-demand services like Yoga Vibes come in handy.
Unless you’re already a yogi, you probably can’t create your own yoga routine. Yoga routines require extensive knowledge of breathing, transitioning through specific stretches, and other things I don’t know because I’m not a yogi. The best thing to do if you want to get started on yoga or gain more flexibility is to follow an expert. Yoga Vibes is that handy expert available with a few clicks or remote taps.
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MEET SYLVIA PETRO — THE BROKE, FIT SINGLE MOM: As an athlete of over 15 years, and a broke single mom for most of that time, I created this site to aid not only broke single parents to a life of fitness, but anyone who believes the road to fitness requires a lot of cash or time. In reality, the road to fitness is paved with knowledge and firm principles; informing readers about mastering both of those building blocks is my goal.