Exercises to Improve Flexibility

Flexibility training or practising exercises to improve flexibility is an important factor in your fitness journey which is often neglected, even among those who regularly workout.

What is Flexibility?

Flexibility is the ability of one joint, or multiple joints, to move through an unrestricted and pain-free range of motion. Rage of motion is different with overtone, but it is influenced by the mobility of the soft tissues that surround the joints. These soft tissues include muscles, ligaments, tendons, joint capsules and skin.

Why is Flexibility Important?

Being flexible is an important component of physical fitness as it has a number of positive effects on the body, including improved mobility, improved posture, muscle coordination and it can reduce the risk if injuries and muscle soreness. Flexibility is also important for day to day activities such as bending, reaching, squatting etc.

Exercises to Improve Flexibility For Beginners

Improving flexibility is not as daunting as you may think, and you can easily work towards your goal of becoming more flexible by doing some simple exercises, some of which we have listed below!

Standing Hip Flexor Stretch

This nice little stretch works on the psoas muscle which is located in the lower lumbar region of the spine and extends through the pelvis to the femur. This muscle can become tight from extended sitting or from repetitive aerobic exercises such as running.

How To:

  1. Take a split stance by bringing one foot forward and the other foot back.
  2. Drop your back knee and tail bone an inch closer to the ground while slightly tucking your pelvis forward.
  3. Keep your spine neutral by avoiding rounding or arching your back.
  4. Hold.
  5. Repeat on the other side.

Seated Head Towards Knee Stretch

This is a great way to focus on those hamstrings and relieve some tension that you might be holding in your back.

How To:

  1. Sit with your right leg stretched out in front of you with your left leg bent and relaxing away from your body.
  2. Lengthen your spine and slightly rotate your torso towards the stretched out leg.
  3. Gently fold forward.
  4. Hold.
  5. Repeat on the other side.

Reclining Figure 4 Stretch

This stretch puts focus on the outer hip and gluteal muscles helping to relieve tension in the lower back region.

How To:

  1. Start by lying on your back with both of your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
  2. Cross your right foot over your left thigh and bring your legs towards your torso.
  3. To avoid training, allow the gravity to bring the legs closer to the body to deepen your stretch.
  4. Hold.
  5. Repeat on the other side.

Cat-Cow Stretch

It wouldn’t be a stretching blog without mentioning my favourite cat-cow pose! This is such a simple yet effective stretch that will increase circulation and gives a nice stretch in your back.

How To:

  1. Start on all fours, while keeping your feet flat.
  2. Keep your knees directly under your hips and your hands directly under your shoulders.
  3. As you take a breath in, drop your stomach, let your back arch and look slightly up.
  4. As you exhale, push your hands into the ground and round your back up (like a cat).
  5. Continue arching with inhales and rounding with exhales.

Butterfly Groin Stretch

Also known as ‘seated butterfly’, is a great way to stretch out your inner thighs and improve posture. This is one of the most common ways to build flexibility and loosen up the legs.

How To:

  1. Sit on the floor with the palms of your feet together. Straighten your back.
  2. Lay your hands on top of your feet.
  3. Lean forward from your hips. Gently push your elbows against your thighs.
  4. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds.
  5. Repeat 2 to 4 times.