Unlock Flexibility Now With These 3 Simple Movements
When you align your body, you unlock function, which increases flexibility. These three simple movements can be done anywhere, anytime in under five minutes.
It’s not new news that dynamic stretching is the best way to warm the body for exercises and increase flexibility. Regardless, flexibility can often seem an elusive, complicated thing. It’s easy to stretch too harshly and injure a muscle or develop a pinch from not enough stretching. And for runners? The hamstrings are always an issue.
“Honestly, I don’t even like the words flexibility or stretching,” says Brian Bradley, Fitness Director of Elev8d. “because it usually means stretching a tight muscle versus going after the cause of why it’s tight. Which is usually imbalance and lack of hip drive.”
Flexibility is based entirely on range of motion and alignment. When the eight load bearing joints (shoulders, hips, knees, ankles) are out of alignment, your hips are limited and your range of motion is reduced. “People think that to increase their range of motion they need to be more ‘flexible’. But you can’t just stretch it out. You have to functionalize it out,” explains Bradley. “Get your pelvis to be the driver, then your spine gets the message, and then your shoulders reposition. It all comes from the hips.” If you can’t bend to touch your toes, for example, your hamstrings aren’t the issue—they are tight simply because they are compensating for imbalances in the hips and shoulders. But re-establish pelvic movement with just ten Cats and Dogs and you’ll see a difference immediately.
*Note: Pay attention to your foot position in the Standing Arm Circles. Your feet should be only a fist-width apart and pointed straight ahead—even a slight pigeon toe is fine.
Standing Arm Circles | 40x
- 1. Hand Position: Put your thumbs up and fold your fingers forward so that your fingertips are on the top pads of your palms.
- 2. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and pointed straight ahead. Extend your arms directly sideways, straight, point your thumbs forward, hands palms down, and pinch your shoulder blades back.
- 3. Move your arms up and forward in a circular motion forty times.
Next, flip your hands palms up, thumbs pointed backward, and move your arms up and backwards in circles forty times.
Cats and Dogs | 10x
- 1. Lower onto your hands and knees.
- 2. Beginning the movement at the hip, roll your back slowly upwards so that it finishes in a rounded position like a mad cat, your head down, chin tucked.
- 3. Again, beginning the movement with the hip, lower your back into an inverse arch. your head should be up, your shoulder blades pinching toward each other.
Finish Line Abs | 30 Seconds Each Side
- 1. Start in standing position, then squat and move right leg back, heel up, as if frozen in sprint position.
- 2. Keeping lower half of your body idle, sprint, moving just your arms back and forth as you would while sprinting for the allotted amount of time.
- 3. Switch so that your left leg is in back, heel up, and sprint with just your arms for allotted amount of time.