Improve Flexibility With These Simple Steps

Flexibility is not really given much importance when it comes to fitness and unfortunately that isn't how it was supposed to be. Many believe that flexibility is only needed for gymnasts and dancers and is something that a fit person can avoid. Let me tell you a common scenario, few years back, many of you were able to scratch your middle back without any problem however, now you need a wall for the same. It isn't because you have gained muscle or body mass, it is only because you've lost flexibility.

You must be wondering why am I stressing so much on flexibility when it comes to fitness? Honestly, flexibility involves stretching and stretching increases muscle growth, yes you read that right, stretching does increase your muscle growth and so flexibility is a very crucial part of your fitness too. When you train your body's flexibility, your fascia expands and your muscles have more room to grow.

I am sure you've noticed bodybuilders who walk like robots with their arms almost stuck to their sides? These are the ones who do not stretch or stretch really less. It does look ridiculous looking at someone walk like that however there is much more to it, working out to that extent without stretching can cause some serious injuries because your body is not meant to be worked upon in such a manner, and lifting heavy weights without proper stretching can result in muscle cramps, pulls, or tears.

Also, a big advantage of improving flexibility is better posture. Bodybuilders and Fitness Freaks strive to make their bodies look as good and as presentable as possible. No one would like a poor posture to spoil their years of hard-work.

In this routine, we will provide you with the best and easiest flexibility stretches for your entire body. This can be easily performed by everyone and should always be performed after or hours before doing any exercise for those body parts or before playing any sport but never immediately before.

The best routine to follow is

Day 1 – Upper Body
Day 2 – Back & Lower Body
Day 3 – Rest
Day 4 – Full Body
Day 5 – Upper Body
Day 6 – Back & Lower Body
Day 7 – Rest

For these stretching exercises, please note that 'more is not better'. You don't have to stretch yourself to absolute pain that your body won't be ready for. A decent stretch is a constant hold in the desired position for 30 seconds with no bouncing. You should only feel a slight pull in your muscles, a very slight and a relieving one.

So let's get started

UPPER BODY

Chest
Take a pair of dumbbells with the amount of weight you would use for about 12 reps of flies. Lie flat on a bench and lift them in a contracted position. Then slowly lower them where your pecs will be stretched to the maximum possible. Hold this position. 

Abdominal
Sit upright on the ground. Flex your knees and bring your heels together. Gently pull your feet towards your bottom. Place your elbows on the inside of your knees. Gently push your legs to the floor. Hold this position. 

Shoulders
Find a stationary bar; a smith machine works just fine. Turn facing away from it and grasp it with your palms down. Walk forward slowly until your delts are maximally stretched. Hold this position. 

Load a moderate amount of weight on a low pulley. Grab the low cable pulley, stand up and allow the pull from the weight stack to stretch your side delt. If you don't have a low pulley handy, you are also able to use a wall by simply leaning into the wall for resistance in the stretched position. 

Grab the elbow of one arm with the hand of the other arm; pull your elbow across your chest. Hold this position and repeat for the other side. 

Traps
Load up the smith machine with a moderate amount of weight. Shrug the weight up and lower it down as much as possible to get the maximal stretch in your traps. Hold this position. 

Biceps
Position a bench with a 60 degree incline like you did for triceps. Grab a pair of dumbbells and sit on the bench. Curl the dumbbells up and lower slowly until a maximum stretch has been reached in the biceps. Hold this position. 

Triceps
Position a bench with about a 60 degree incline. Grasp a pair of dumbbells, sit and lean back on the bench. Extend both arms straight upward and then lower the dumbbells slowly to either side of your head. Hold until stretch is complete. 

Forearms
Set up a flat bench, grasp a barbell with an underhand grip for the forearm flexors and an overhand for the extensors. Rest your arms the bench so your wrists can hang off the edge. Slowly lower the weight until a maximum stretch has been achieved. Hold this position. 

Back
Lie on your back with knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Place your hands on the back of your thighs and pull your legs toward your chest. Pull until a gentle stretch is felt. Hold this position. 

Kneel down on the floor in an all four position on your hands and knees. Curl your back up toward the ceiling. Hold this position. Return to starting position. Pull your stomach down to the floor hollowing out your back. Hold this position. 

Hang from a bar with your palms facing away from you in a pullup position. Lift your body up then back down. Once in the down position, hang from the bar for 30 seconds. Note if you don't have access to a pullup bar or unable to perform this exercise, simply stretching and holding your arms as high as possible is also a great lat stretching exercise. 


LOWER BODY

Quadriceps
An easy one for you. Kneel down and separate your feet enough so that you can sit between them. Put your hands on the floor behind you and lean back as far as possible, feeling the stretch in the quadriceps. Hold this position. 

Glutes

Lie on the ground with your body extended. Bend one leg and slide your heel towards your bottom. Grasp your ankle with one hand and your knee with the other hand. Gently pull your foot to the opposite shoulder. Hold this position. 

Hamstrings

Prop your leg on any raised surface, a chair or bench works fine. Keeping your leg straight in front of you, bend your torso without curling your back forward and try to touch your toes. Hold this position. 

Calves

Another easy one for you. Simply stand under a smith machine and hold on to the bar. Get a peak contraction and then lower the bar until a maximum stretch has been reached. Hold this position. 

Stretching doesn't seem that bad isn't it? Imagine a little time for stretching and give you improved flexibility and in turn more muscle growth and a better posture. Do take flexibility seriously and make it a part of your workout and it will certainly help you in the long run. 

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May 15, 2019

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