Tips for the hopelessly Inflexible
Break Through Flexibility Training Plateaus
Tips for the hopelessly Inflexible
You have been working on your flexibility so damn HARD, but it seems like you hit the plateau?
Thought you are going to be flat in your splits by now, but you are still a few inches off the floor, almost exactly where you were 3 months ago? This is what you need to know!
Take a look at your stretching routine and technique… and be really honest with yourself.
Are you relaxing in your stretches? Breathing and holding them for long enough? Do you keep your hips square, back straight? Or maybe you are a bit impatient sometimes, skipping a few stretches you don’t like, or stopping as soon as you feel a bit uncomfortable? Neglecting one side?
There is no cheating in flexibility training. Maybe it’s time to reassure your technique is correct and get those hips square even if it seems like you are even further away off the ground. It will pay off long term!
Is your flexibility routine based mainly on static stretches? We've all heard: "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results." Yes, you have to be consistent with your stretching, but maybe it's time to take a slightly different approach. How about PNF stretching? Call in the big guns! PNF stretching is probably one of the most effective ways of stretching. Ohh yes, it's not as pleasant and relaxing as a child pose, but it could be the time to get out of your comfort zone. So have you tried different stretching techniques, if yes, for long enough to see if they work for you?
Or maybe quite the opposite; you are jumping from one thing to another, trying too many things without committing to anything? Both not enough variety and too much of a variety can slow down your progress. Whenever trying something new, give yourself some time!
You are so close to getting your front splits but still not there for the last few months? Training oversplits could help. Yoga blocks should be your best friends!
Is it time to visit a good Physio?
It doesn’t have to be the tight hip flexor that is stopping you from being flat on the floor. Everything in your body is connected; it could be something else slowing down your progress. IT band, glutes, muscles imbalances… Seek professional help if needed, a specialist will make sure you are concentrating on the cause of the problem which doesn’t have to be so obvious.
Have you been pushing too far? Everyone is different. Stretching too far or too often may not work for you.
When you stop seeing progress or feel as though you have regressed, its time to either take a break (from whatever it is your doing). Taking SOME time off does not mean you will lose everything; it may be just what your body is asking you to do.
Look at the progress you’ve made so far! Are you not being too harsh with yourself?
Or unrealistic goals?
You look at all these amazing Instagram pole dancing stars on social media and never feel good enough about yourself? You have to remember, they have been training for years, and some of them have previous dancing/ballet/gymnastics experience. If you are only starting your stretching as an adult, it's unlikely you will be able to gain the flexibility of a rhythmic gymnast or a ballet dancer who was stretching since they were born (well, almost ;)). That's just the way it is. It's great to have goals, but maybe you need more time than others. Stop comparing yourself, make sure your technique is correct. Just keep calm and… stretch.
Flexibility work can take a LONG time, but it’s also important to work at your own pace. You’re not going to make progress faster by rushing things.
The progress won’t be linear (it rarely is). The key is to keep working on it anyway.