As a trainer, one of my most frequent requests is: how to increase flexibility. Now, gaining flexibility doesn’t mean you need to be a human pretzel or a contortionist in Cirque de Soleil. Flexibility isn’t even about doing the splits both ways or a perfect back bend. Doing all of those things are the results. Results are great and doing impressive splits and bends is great. But, I want you to think about flexibility in a different way: flexibility is your range of motion. your body’s range of motion can increase or decrease depending on what you do in your life. Do you stretch and move around? Do you sit for hours at a time? Your body has a physical need for movement, just like it needs food and water for fuel.
The Flexibility Equation: Weight + Time
So here is my answer to my clients and anyone else who is looking to increase flexibility: Use weight plus time. The weight can be your body’s weight or added weight like a dumbbell. Use your body’s weight to increase your range of motion. Here is an example: To increase your range in a split, sit close to a wall, facing the wall. Lay down and put your legs up to a 90-degree angle. Let your legs fall to the side, using the wall as support, into a split. You may spread to a full split, halfway or somewhere in between—but wherever you are—use your body’s weight to increase the range of motion. That is how you use weight to increase your flexibility—now the second part of the equation is time. It’s going to take time to improve flexibility. Do a little every day and in time you will see results.