If you want to elevate your workouts, there’s one secret tip that can help you get ahead: flexibility. By improving your flexibility, you can improve your range of motion and help keep your muscles moving smoothly which can help prevent injuries. Jacquelyn Umof, A.K.A. Action Jacquelyn, is a certified Yoga and Pilates trainer and has just launched her Get Stretchy program, so we thought we’d ask for her favorite tips for getting bendy!
Focus on your breath. Imagine oxygen gently drifting its way through your blood stream to tight muscles. As you exhale, allow your muscles to relax. If you find blocks in your body, take another deep breath and imagine clean air powerfully unlocking your muscles.
We tend to favor one side of the other. Make sure that you work both sides equally. Being flexible and healthy means being balanced.
Begin and end each stretch slowly and mindfully. It is important to handle your body gently so as to not tear any muscle fibers when you release an intense stretch. Breathe deeply, and as you come out of the stretch, place your hands on the ground to help move yourself in and out of the stretch.
Bouncing can cause micro-trauma to the muscles, which makes scar tissue build up, and increases tightness… the exact opposite of our goal! Static stretching, on the other hand, is more effective at increasing your flexibility. Find stillness, and focus on your breath.
ABS, ABS, ABS!
Pull the lower abdominal muscles in towards your spine while stretching. Engaging your lower abdominals protects the lower back from stretching beyond its limits. It also allows the upper back to remain active and open. The technique of breathing deeply and engaging the core simultaneously takes practice, so stick with it!
MIND OVER BODY
It is normal if the muscles initially resist the stretch. The discomfort you feel can be misinterpreted as emotional stress and can be confusing. This is normal, but don’t give in. Let yourself surrender to your stretch and breath.