The muscles of the human body have the natural property of elasticity, which allows you to work them in favor of mobility. In this sense, the main objective is to obtain a wide range of movement to achieve better performance in sports, daily and leisure activities.
Lack of physical activity often makes our muscles less elastic, especially in the lower back, but also in other joints. In this sense, it is important to mention that flexibility is part of the 5 fundamental physical qualities of a person. The other 4 are strength, speed, endurance and coordination. Therefore, if you are wondering what flexibility is, you should know that it is a basic skill and essential to enjoy a healthy and functional musculoskeletal system.
Why is flexibility training important?
It is true that stretching exercises can help you improve in a sport, but they are also capable of facilitating many of the movements that you do in your daily life. In this way, this type of training helps reduce discomfort caused by movements that are too sudden, including back pain when bending down to lift something very heavy. Also, active flexibility can be beneficial to maintaining optimal mobility as you approach old age, especially if you accompany your daily routine with gymnastic exercises that allow you to maintain a healthy lifestyle and improve your physical condition.
Also, training flexibility can avoid bad postures caused by muscular imbalances, which is adequate to feel more fluid when performing any type of movement. Similarly, for many athletes, flexibility exercises are essential for training, as they can promote better performance.
What are the effects of flexibility training?
It is normal to hear that among the effects produced by flexibility exercises is the reduction of muscles. However, it is completely wrong information, since the muscles do not shorten or lengthen with these exercises. On the contrary, the main function of flexibility training is to regulate and balance the stimuli caused by daily efforts, as well as the stress caused by strength training.
In this sense, it is important to mention that during strength training the body tenses and increases the number of titin filaments, which are responsible for the tension in the muscles, while during flexibility training the relaxation capacity is improved, Tension is reduced and it helps maintain muscle elasticity.
Flexibility and bodybuilding
Many exercises require good flexibility in order to be performed correctly, which helps improve the athlete’s strength and performance. However, depending on the sporting activity, it is very important not to perform elasticity training in isolation, as dynamic flexibility can make the joints unstable, thus increasing the risk of injury. In most cases, it is not enough to be flexible. For example, when performing an overhead squat you need to have flexible shoulders, but you also need to have enough strength to stabilize them and support the weight.
How to gain flexibility?
There are flexibility exercises for men and women that help them gain elasticity through regular training. In this case, it is possible to participate in stretching classes, yoga or activities that require mobility, such as Zumba or aerobics. In general, before and after practicing any sport, it is necessary to perform basic stretching exercises.
In this sense, the most appropriate thing is to spend 30 to 40 seconds in each position to warm up and minimize the risk of injury. This is one of the flexibility training methods that can be very helpful after a short workout or light jogging. Similarly, it can be an excuse to get up from your desk chair and rest for 5 minutes.
3 flexibility exercises
A warm muscle can be stretched better than a cold one, so one of the most appropriate times to train muscle flexibility is at the end of a workout, when body temperature and blood flow have increased. However, there are some flexibility stretches that can be done anywhere and anytime. To get started, you only need a few minutes a day and enough space for you to stretch your body without bumping into anything around you. If you have yoga mats, you can also place them on the floor for a softer, more slip-resistant surface.
1. Reverse lunge with thoracic rotation
To do this exercise you must place your hands on the ground in a flexed position. Next, you have to bend one leg until the foot is as close to the hands as possible, and then you just have to twist your torso and bring one of your arms up until your shoulders are in a straight line. Now, you can go back to the starting position and do the same with the other leg and the other arm. It is necessary to do 5 repetitions on each side to guarantee its effectiveness. This movement serves to work the mobility of the hamstrings , as well as improve flexibility in the back, spine and shoulders.
2. Arm circulation
To do this flexibility exercise, you just have to make 5 circles simultaneously with both arms, raising them above the head and down to the sides of the body. Then, you must make 5 turns with your arms in the other direction and repeat 3 times. It is important to mention that this movement can be beneficial for the mobility of the arms and shoulders, as well as for the opening of the rib cage.
3. Neck mobility
This exercise serves to relax and work on the mobility of the muscles around the neck. In principle, you just have to stand up, close your eyes and turn your head until you make 5 circles in one direction. Then, you must do the same in the other direction and repeat the movement a minimum of 3 times.
In conclusion, being flexible can give your body the possibility of making more precise movements, without imbalances or muscular tensions . At the same time, it increases the range of mobility allowed by the bone structure for the joints. However, the level of flexibility depends on the type of body and the individual abilities of each person.