Stretching feels like a chore. “Flexibility Training”, however, feels like something I can sink my teeth into.
Competitive Yoga anyone?
I kid. But if you’re like me, you’re a fairly competitive sort, and you like to push your boundaries. That’s why I’ve been saying for years that we need to drop “stretching for stretching’s sake,” and practice Flexibility Training instead. In this video I’ll show you exactly how to stretch everything in eight minutes, to get the best flexibility gains.
With post-workout flexibility training, you’re not doing something because it’s probably good for you (like eating kale, or taking vitamins) even though you can’t actually observe a benefit. Instead, you get to work on a nice, juicy, tangible goal: improved flexibility!
(By the way, you should also read up on Why Your Stretching Routine is Bogus. And if you’re looking for a pre-practice mobility routine, check out my On-Skate and Off-Skate dynamic warm-ups. I’ve got all your bases covered for how to warm up, and how to stretch out!)
The perfect time to maximize your flexibility gains is when your muscles are nice and warm, like right after you’ve finished working your butt off through a workout or practice. I recently posted my Quick and Dirty Post-Derby Stretch routine, but today’s video is for flexibility training after your off-skate sweat sessions instead!
Here’s the drill:
How to Stretch Everything in Eight Minutes:
Here are some quick tips and reminders to help you get the most out of this routine:
- Always be warm before trying flexibility training. Stretching a cold muscle is like taking a rubber band out of the freezer and trying to stretch it: not good for the rubber band, yo.
- Breathing deeply while stretching may provide some physical benefit and can definitely be calming.
- Be aware of tension in your jaw. Aim to keep space between your teeth (don’t clench) to maximize your ability to relax your other muscles.
And here are the stretches demonstrated, with notes:
- Chest opener: Keep elbow at shoulder height or above
- Standing Quadriceps: Point knee straight down, tilt pelvis under.
- Lunge: Tilt pelvis under.
- Hamstring: Keep hips square.
- Pigeon (glute/piriformis): Keep front foot flexed, experiment with angles to suit your hips and knees.
- Taco Stand (groin/adductors): experiment to find a position that gives you the best stretch.
- Seated Twist: sit up very straight before twisting.
- Windshield-wiper twist: Take deep breaths. Try to keep both shoulders on the floor.
- Seated forward fold: Take deep breaths.
Follow this cool down routine after all your off-skate workouts to maximize your flexibility, potentially reduce future injuries, and feel noticeably less sore the day after.
Did I skip over your favourite stretch? What’s one move you would add to this routine? Tell me about it in the comments!