Flexibility exercises are very helpful for an individual as it helps in preventing injury and assists in recovery of the muscles. It also aids in improving exercise performance by increasing the range of motion. Fitness experts at one time recommended stretching before or after working out so that the benefits of flexibility can be reaped by the individual. However, this theory has undergone changes. Exercise professionals now often recommend stretching to individuals before workout for warming up of the muscles and static stretching for increasing the flexibility of the body. Individuals therefore should have an in-depth knowledge about the exercises that they can do for increasing the flexibility of their body.
Dynamic stretching helps in increasing the blood flow and reduces the tightness of the muscles. This helps in stepping side by side, heels digs or ham curls. When an individual tries dynamic stretching, he should always opt for the sport specific moves. An example is, if the individual is planning to run, high knee marches and walking lunges are very helpful in loosening the hips, calves and the thighs. This helps in increasing the flexibility of the body and helps in preventing injuries.
This exercise is the most common kind of flexible exercise. It involves lengthening of a group of muscles or a particular muscle. The position should be held for ten seconds or more and released only when the person feels a tension in the muscles. The feeling of tension will decrease as one will hold on to the pose. The individual should shorten the involved muscle or the group of muscles slightly. One of the common static stretches is calf stretch. This exercise involves pressing the heel towards the floor with the knee fully extended. The shoulder stretch is another exercise which involves pulling one arm at a time across the chest of the individual.
These are quite similar to the dynamic stretches. This exercise involves moving through a specific range of motion continuously. The difference lies in the fact that the ballistic stretches involve bouncy and quick movement instead of the slow and steady movement. For example ballistic hamstring stretch will involve sitting with the legs extended in front of the person and reaching for the toes repeatedly for sometime before releasing from the pose.
PNF stretching is one of the most effective techniques that an individual can use for increasing the flexibility of the body. Since the process is a bit complicated, it is always better to have a trainer who understands the process well and can guide you through the process. For working on the hamstring using this technique, an individual should lie on the floor. The leg should be extended towards the ceiling. The trainer should move the leg to such a position where you feel discomfort. Hold on to that position for ten seconds. When the trainer instructs you, contract the hamstrings and the leg should be brought down. The trainer will resist to this movement and will try to hold the leg still. After doing this for about ten seconds, the person should relax himself. This contraction will help in moving the leg a bit further when you work out the next time.
Downward facing dog position in yoga (adho mukha svanasana)
This yoga position is extremely beneficial for increasing the flexibility, stamina and strength of the body. This yoga posture has been found to provide maximum stretching to the calves, hamstrings and the shoulders of an individual. For doing this exercise, the person should be on all fours. The hands and feet should be shoulder width apart from one another. The toes must be curled under and the legs should be straightened while pushing them up with the hands. The person should try to straighten the legs, but one should not over exert himself. The pose must be held for some time. The focus of the individual should be on the lengthening of the spine and evenly distributing the weight between the legs and the arms. Once the individual has mastered the art of doing this position, he should try this in a rocking motion. He should exhale as he comes up with the pose and inhale as he lowers down.
Pelvic tilt exercise
Pelvic tilt exercise is very helpful in increasing the flexibility in the body. It helps to make the core muscles of the abdomen strong and also helps to loosen the muscles around the pelvis region. The person should lie down on the floor or on a mat first. The back should be flat against the floor and the knees must be bent. The feet should be flat on the floor and the arms must be by the sides. The muscles of the abdomen should be tightened and the pelvis should be rotated up on the floor. The position should be held for ten seconds before relaxing. The individual should continue this unless he becomes fatigued.
Big toe pose or padangusthasana
For doing this yoga pose, the individual must stand on the mat. The hand should be on the hips and the feet must be hip distance apart from one another. The shoulders should be pulled back and the chest should be broadened as one fold at the creases of the hips. The spine must be kept straight and the chest must be kept broad as the upper body is brought down to the legs. The person should stop before the spine begins to curve. The hands should be released and the big toes must be taken hold of. The thumbs must be wrapped around the outside of the toes for a good grip. The spine should be straightened and a little arm strength must be used to pull the torso closer to the thighs. After holding for five breaths, the individual should release himself.
Self myofascial release
The self-myofascial is the process with the help of which tissue bonds are removed and points are triggered from the muscles and joints of the body of the individual that cause pain and stiffness later. This helps in increasing the flexibility in an individual. For doing this, an individual can use a massage stick, a foam roller and even his own thumbs and fingers for removing or reducing the bonds. When using a foam roller, an individual can roll the roller across the length of the back by sleeping on it and placing the feet on the ground. The arms must be crossed over the chest and slowly the person should walk along the ground forward as the roller rolls up to the neck. The person should breathe deeply as the back is massaged. The person should continue to do this until the tenderness is reduced.
This helps in tightening the hamstrings. This not only increases the flexibility but also helps in straightening the leg muscles at the same time. For doing a walking lunge, an individual must stand with his feet at a hip width apart. The person should stand straight, bend the knees and hang his arms by the side of his body. The left foot should be brought in front of the body and the knee should be directly above the ankle. The toes of the right foot should be lifted. Slowly the right knee should be dropped to the ground and stopped just before it makes any contact with the ground. The heel of the right foot must be pushed through and the left foot should be brought together and the person should return to the standing position. Repeat the process on the other leg.
Abduction exercise is a great way to increase the flexibility of the hips and also the flexibility of the hips. The individual, before doing this exercise, must lie down on the ground on his back and the legs must be fully extended. The individual must place both his hands by the side of his body. The right leg must be moved out as far as possible to the right side without bending the leg. This pose must be held for sometime before releasing the position. Repeat the exercise on the other leg. This exercise must be done on both legs for five times each for better flexibility.
Hip and ankle stretch
The hip and ankle stretch helps in opening the hips and for enhancing the ankle mobility. The individual must lie on his back with both the knees bent and the right ankle must be brought across the left knee. The left foot should be lifted off the ground and the knees should be brought towards the chest of the individual. The fingers of the hands should be interlaced around the left leg of the person. The position should be held while rolling the right ankle of the person. The position should be released after holding on for some time and repeated on the other side of the body.