One of the things I’ve neglected over the years is the stretching. As a result, I’ve noticed I’m not as flexible as I once was and I’m often sore in places I shouldn’t be, like my hamstrings and lower back. I’ve recently changed that and have been dedicating about 10 minutes each day to some specific stretches.
I’m going to share 3 stretching exercises that I’ve started doing to improve flexibility. Of course there are many more stretches you can do. But these are the one’s I’m focused on.
Standing Forward Bend
This is probably the most basic stretches you can do to improve flexibility. Standing forward bends really stretch your hamstrings and lower back. We called these toe-touches back in my childhood.
My short-term goal with these is to be able to put my hands flat on the ground. I can touch my fists to the ground now. I also grab the back of my calves to pull myself further in.
Seated Forward Bend
The seated forward bend is similar to the standing forward bend. But in my opinion, this is more difficult (which is why I start with the standing version; it’s a warm up for the seated). I keep my legs as straight as possible and reach out towards my toes.
I’m currently at the point where I’m putting my hands out past my toes. I hope to be able hold this pose for 30 seconds. Ultimately, I would like to be able to get my torso closer to my legs, in a folded position. You really feel your hamstrings stretching with seated forward bends.
Butterfly Groin Stretch
The butterfly groin stretch is sort of like you’re going to sit Indian-style. Instead of crossing your legs, you put your feet together with the bottoms facing one another. I hold this for about 30 seconds or more, pushing on my knees to get a deeper stretch.
* There’s actually another stretch that I do. Seated, like with the butterfly groin stretch, I have my legs straight out, apart as much I as can. From this position, I reach out in front of my towards the floor. This gives you an even deeper stretch in your groin and also stretches your hamstrings and lower back.
Why I Want to Improve Flexibility
I’ve had a fascination with martial arts since I was a kid. It’s always been in the back of my mind but I’ve never pursued. About 2 weeks ago, I got this itch to start. I’m specifically looking into Shoulin Do Kung Fu.
So I looked at a few YouTube videos and started practicing different types of kicks everyday. At first, I noticed that my kick-range completely sucked! So I immediately added these stretching exercises to improve my flexibility. With the combination of stretching and consistent practice, my kicks are getting higher and more controlled.
Another reason I’m doing these stretches to improve flexibility is because is I don’t want to be one of the many weightlifters and bodybuilders that can barely move. And over the past couple of years, I’ve felt more stiff. My new daily stretching routine along with practicing martial arts kicks has quickly reversed that; I’m feeling less pains and better overall.
Train with Passion,
**If you’re looking for a full routine to eliminate joint pain and increase flexibility, check this out