Did you play sports as a kid? Remember the warm-up stretching that you did at the beginning of every practice or game? The great Kelly Starrett (the founder of Mobility WOD, author of Becoming a Supple Leopard, and famed CrossFit coach) has a quote in Becoming a Supple Leopard that describes the way that we normally approach stretching, something that we do while we stand in a circle before practice “while watching the geese fly by for the winter”. If you’re like most people, this is the extent of your flexibility work.
But wait. If we don’t have flexibility, we are at higher risk for injury. We also are not as strong as we could be because our muscles are not as supple. Lack of flexibility also means that we are also performing movements inefficiently; certain muscles are not engaging the way they are supposed to because they simply don’t have the range of motion to perform the expected movement. We wouldn’t pay so little attention to the push-ups, reps, or agility drills that we do, so why would we place so little importance in a major aspect of our fitness?
“Just stretching more” doesn’t solve the issue of flexibility because you are not devoting enough time or effort to your flexibility practice. Just like when you lift weights or perform bodyweight exercises, you need to be completely absorbed in the exercise, doing your best to improve, pushing beyond your old limits, and getting uncomfortable. Without pushing your body, you are maintaining, or worse, stagnating.
Set aside 20 minutes for some flexibility work. Take this hip flexibility workout for a test ride. Treat it just like you would a strength workout. (But remember: Don’t push TOO hard. Discomfort is okay, but outright pain is a no-no! Be smart and listen to your body.)
Want a little more? Try out this 35-minute workout that focuses on developing flexibility AND strength.
For a full body program focused on improving flexibility through mobility work, please click here to opt in for the VIP list for access for The Mobility Project, which releases on April 15 at 9:00 AM CST, and we’ll show you a FREE workout from the upcoming mobility project and give you 20% savings on The Mobility Project.