Andy Howse has put together a simple flexibility program to help stretch the calves, hamstrings, hip flexors, groin, back, lower back and glutes. Improve your flexibility and mobility or use as a cool down. This program can be done anywhere and uses a foam roller too.
What is Flexibility?
So what is flexibility? NOT JUST STRETCHING!.. Is it important? Why is it easier for some and not others? Simple definition - Flexibility is:
The ability to move muscles and joints through their complete range.
So what does this mean?... Muscles and joints have a natural end point, they won't move any further and you'll feel the familiar muscle burn or a bony 'stop' (like in your elbow). The ligaments hold bone to bone and stop you damaging the joint. The ligaments are longer or shorter depending on the joint, genetics and past injury. So your ankle will sometimes move a little bit more past a natural stop than say your finger joint. The ability to control this movement and expand the range is flexibility.
Is it important?
Flexibility is a very individual trait, it depends on gender, height, genetics, training and sports you participate in. For a gymnast, flexibility is very important to complete all the movements required and to prevent injury. In rugby..not so much! Daily activities can also require a degree of flexibility... say, brushing your hair - it takes good shoulder mobility and strength at the end of range. Take home message: it's good for some sports, injury prevention and putting your socks & shoes on!
Why am I struggling or super bendy?
Flexibility is a multifaceted quality. The other end of the scale is where the joints are hypermobile (extend past a 'normal' range) and this can lead to muscle fatigue, dislocation or injury. It is then important to strengthen the muscles and maintain good joint health by doing specific exercises. Flexibility is influenced by:
How can I improve it or get stronger at the end of range?
Click here for the pdf to see the flexibility program.