This article will help you gain flexibility actively. With these sequences you’ll be conditioning your central nervous system to move in new ways, strengthening the muscles that connect and move your hips, and improving the way you articulate different positions everyday!
In other words, you’ll become stronger and more flexible without being bored to shit.
There are two sequences each made up of three movements. Do the first sequence once and the second sequence three times. Got it? No? That’s ok, there is a summary at the end!
Let’s get started –
This sequence is for moderately active individuals: cardio, strength-training, or climbing 2-4 times a week with light stretching before or after workouts. Have I made myself abundantly vague? Good!
If you are exercising for the first time in months or years then this sequence is not for you. If you are active and ready to start please listen to your body…feeling anything more than mild discomfort anywhere (or any discomfort at the knee) is a good reason to STOP.
This doesn’t have to hurt or suck. Be consistent (3-4 times a week) and you will see results!
Warm up –
At risk of being redundant, the idea here is to literally warm the body up. Get your heart pumping and blood flowing with running, jumping jacks, ice skating – don’t matta! Just move your body until the muscles don’t feel tight and cold. Heavy breathing and a light sweat are great indicators of doneness.
Sequence 1 –
Toes Elevated Toe Touches
With your toes elevated on a surface a few inches off the ground (you can use a 2×4, mats, a human arm) feet a few inches apart squeeze a yoga block or bolster pillow between your thighs. Reach high above your head and slowly lower until you’ve reached your toes before returning to the starting position. If you cannot reach your toes then bend your knees until you can. Repeat 10 times.
Heels Elevated Toe Touches
Now standing with your heels on the same surface you used in the exercise before squeeze your cubic or cylindrical object of choice and repeat the steps abovet: reaching, bending at the hips and touching your toes (bending the knees if necessary). Repeat 10 times.
Toe Grab Knee Extensions –
Do a forward fold and place your fingers underneath your toes. If you need to spread your feet apart a little for better balance that should be fine. Now bringing your hips to the ceiling and try to straighten your knees. If you can’t completely straighten your knees it’s ok! Just go up as far as you can. This is a slow movement (slower than the gif). Repeat 10 times.
Sequence 2 –
Assume a deep lunge, with your front foot in line with your back (hands on the ground are a must here). Without ever letting your back knee touch the ground slowly lower the front shin until it is perpendicular with the back leg. If you can easily get your front knee down, lower further trying to get the front leg’s buttcheek to the ground. Instead of folding over the front leg, try to stay straight up and feel the stretch on hip flexor of the back leg as well as the gluteus maximus of the front leg. Repeat 10 times and hold the lowest point for 10 seconds of the last rep.
Loaded Hamstring Stretch
Grab a broomstick. Stagger your feet about shoulder width apart from side to side, and shoulder distance front to back. Put the broom stick on your shoulders and with a flat back lean over the front leg. Keep the front knee locked and feel the stretch in your hamstring as you lower. If at anytime your back loses the straight position, stop at that point and return to the top. Repeat for 10 reps each side and hold the last rep for 10 seconds in the stretched position. Use a mirror in the beginning to make sure you don’t lose a straight back.
Five-Step Horse Stance
Getting into position
Starting with feet together, move your heels out first. This is the step one. Now move your toes out. This is step two. Then move the heels followed by the toes for steps 3 and 4. At this point sink down into the stretch. Now move your heels out again bringing you to the fifth step. Make sure to “sit back” and make that booty pop – it’s ok for your lower back to arch here. Try your best to keep your chest up and use your glutes to pull your knees out. This should stretch the inside of you thighs (but until you get stronger this stretch might just feel like your ass is on fire). Squat up and down 10 times. Hold the bottom stretched position for 30 seconds.
Sequence 1 – Complete once
- Toes elevated toe touches – 8 reps
- Heels elevated toe touches – 8 reps
- Toe grab extensions – 10 reps
Sequence 2 – Complete three times
- Active Pigeon – 10 reps hold last rep for 10 seconds (ten each side)
- Loaded Hamstring Stretch – 10 reps hold last rep for 10 seconds (ten each side)
- Five-Step Horse Stance – 10 reps hold the last rep for 30 seconds
For sequence 1
For sequence 2
Loaded Hamstring Stretch