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Welcome, fellow flexy aspirers!

 

If you are working on flexibility, whether as part of a challenge goal or not, you are in the right place. Post what you're working on and your starting benchmarks, and let's support each other. (If you need benchmarks to start you off, try these.) Increases in flexibility can be frustratingly slow, so celebrate your wins even if they seem small. :)

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I am primarily working on my straight leg flexibility. My pancake is terrible (perhaps 10cm past the centre line with feet flexed), and I can just touch my fingertips to the floor when doing a toe touch. I feel like this is holding me back in other movements, so I'd love to see some improvement, but it's been slow coming.

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I'm in!

 

I am working on flexibility in 3 areas, with a 4th thrown in because it overlaps.  

 

1. Pike.  I have really bad pike compression and cannot comfortably sit on the floor with my legs extended unless I use my hands to prop myself up.  My long term goal is to be able to get my toes to my hands when hanging from a bar because it will help with kips and and more advanced gymnastics moves

2. Straddle.  I can only get my legs to about 90 degrees right now, which is causing me to lose a progression step on a lot of the calisthenics moves I am working on.  Right now I should be working on straddle levers but because I can't get my legs wide enough the progression is far too difficult and leaves me with a big gap between where I am and the next progression step

3. Tuck.  Lack of tuck compression is causing me problems both on flips and squats.  I want to be able to do pistol squats but I don't have the ankle mobility for them.  I also struggle to get into a really tight tuck which slows me down when trying to do flips.  

4. Pancake.  I don't really need to have a better pancake and I don't yet see how I would really benefit from a better pancake, but it is really a combination of both straddle and pike so I am including it because it has so much overlap.

 

My strategy for improving these is 3-fold

 

1 - Using the MyFlex methodology of increasing active range of motion by strengthening the stabilizer muscles opposite to the ones I am trying to stretch, which should allow my CNS to assist in getting a better stretch

2 - Using the GMB methodology of dynamic movement combined with passive stretches to get my body more comfortable being in those end ROMs 

3 - Consistency.  This is going to be a long road so I need to constantly remind myself that this is not something I am going to be seeing significant progress on over a few months.  This is a years long journey and so I need to pace myself accordingly.

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4 hours ago, WhiteGhost said:

Pike.  I have really bad pike compression and cannot comfortably sit on the floor with my legs extended unless I use my hands to prop myself up.  My long term goal is to be able to get my toes to my hands when hanging from a bar because it will help with kips and and more advanced gymnastics moves

This is one of the moves that my straight leg inflexibility is hindering too. I compensate with good tuck compression to do things like get feet to bar, but it's not ideal.

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Working on lower-half mobility/flexibility (I know my shoulders are tight, too, but that's a goal for another day). Since quitting circus a couple years ago, I've felt my hips and hamstrings revert to a pretty low level of function (at least comparatively).

 

Currently with WFH, I'm in my chair at my desk for a good chunk of the day which is not helping anything. Especially since I then migrate to the couch for video games and Netflix on the regular.

 

I'm using (or will attempt to use) the GMB hip mobility routine (https://gmb.io/hip-mobility/) as a start. It says daily, but that's not happening, currently, so I'm aiming for 2-ish times/week as a start and hopefully will get it to the point where I remember to do it daily or almost daily. More flexy stuff later, probably, once I get back in the habit of doing anything about it.

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Yaaaas, count me in! :D 

 

I have been working on my flexibility "for real" since March 2020, before that I did stretching classes here and there from time to time for 6 years. 

My main goal is a middlesplit touchdown this year, but I'm stretching "everything". Current plan is: two days frontsplits (slowly starting to stretch oversplits), two days middlesplits, two days back and shoulders, one day rest or mobility. I'm using the videos of sisers stretching (german website), mostly so I don't have to think about what I'm doing. xD I like to do my stretches first thing in the morning if possible, so less thinking = more success. Most of the videos are 20 to 80 minutes long. 

And since I already uploaded it for the current challenge: here is where I'm at right now (with splits at least, don't have any cool back/shoulder comparison pictures yet since I just now started adding these into my routine). It's a lot better than it was back in March. :D 

 

First it was hard, the daily stretching, but now I'm loving it and really miss it if I skip a day or two. I almost need it by now. Though I have to luxury of being able to structurize my days mostly as I want, that helps a lot with daily stretching. Back when I used to work 8:30 to 5pm with commuting and stuff I don't think I would have been able to pull this off. 

 

I really really encourage you to take pictures, it really helps to see progress since stretching progress is so slow, it feels like nothing happens at all. :D 

 

Let' stretch!! :D 

 

giphy.gif

 

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Previous challenges: 1,2,3,4,5,6,7

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7 hours ago, Epsilonte said:

My main goal is a middlesplit touchdown this year

Is working on a middle split significantly different from the kind of stretching you'd need to improve a straddle?

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2 minutes ago, Xena said:

I think this link might be work (takes me back here). Could you check it?

It might be how your browser is set up - it links to a PDF that will download if you can't read it in-browser.

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3 hours ago, Xena said:

Yep...I just noticed that I had downloaded it 5 times 🙂

No excuses not to read it then! :D

 

What kind of flexy are you working on?

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Hi squad! I've been using the benchmarks you posted, Julie :)

 

During the last challenge I altered the shoulder stretches a bit, mainly because the back scratch did weird things to my wrists that they're not ready for :D Even when I only did those once a week. And I could not get over the type of muscle ache the "reach up and push down YMCA" stretches left me with. The best work-out is the one you actually do, right?  (Or does it sound like I was not doing them well?)

 

I've also been doing general mobility training videos + specific for my wrists  and ankles but not very consistently... Well, I'm trying to change that this challenge.

 

My ankle physio exercises  (for my weird tendon-toe connection that started making my slightly flat feet hurt in 2018) are: 

  • You stand on a stair or so, you stand on your forefeet, then slowly put your heels down (in 4 counts) a bit below your forefoot. Repeat for 3 sets of 15 reps, more sets if you feel up to it. I haven't felt up to it so far :D Maybe once.
  • All sorts of exercises that get me to balance on one foot to strengthen the ankles.

To have something fun to work towards, I set a goal to be able to do front splits by the end of this year. (And I'm thinking of also working towards being able to put my leg up while standing. That will probably require some strength building, since I noticed I can lift my leg less high than I am flexible...) Don't know if I'll ever reach those goals, but it'll be fun thinking of it while I'm scrunching my face up doing the split stretches :D 

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9 hours ago, juliebarkley said:

Is working on a middle split significantly different from the kind of stretching you'd need to improve a straddle?

 

They are very similar and closely linked together, it's just the end position that looks a bit different (a middlesplit is basically a 180° straddle, flipped so that you don't sit on the sitbones anymore, but rest on the inner thighs, so knees facing forward instead of up. More or less). And also with straddles come pancakes. But yeah, they aren't that different and a lot of my middle split stretching is sitting in a straddle, pancakeing. :D 

I like to do a lot of active flexibility, so basically strength training for the legs, in this case the glutes and adductors. Both straddle and middlesplits need these. ^^ 

 

1 hour ago, Athena said:

That will probably require some strength building, since I noticed I can lift my leg less high than I am flexible...

 

That's rather normal. It's the difference between active and passive flexibility. Passive is against the floor (or holding the leg...), active is well, held active. :D It's good to train both, because all the passive flexibility doesn't help much if you can't control it actively (it's also much better for the muscles and helps to prevent injuries if you do a lot of active stretches, strengthening the muscles). So yaaaay strength building! :D 

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Previous challenges: 1,2,3,4,5,6,7

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Really excited to see this group! I've started doing ballet this year, and I'm realising I need more flexibility. I've been doing stretches from a youtube video (ballet-oriented) after my workouts, but I'm thinking that my next 5 week challenge will have specific flexibility aims. 

I'd LOVE to get a splits this year, I always thought only a select few can do it. But apparently anybody can with some training. 

I think I'll use the benchmark to base my goals on and just try to get better at everything with daily stretching. One thing the ballet dancer I follow (Kathryn Morgan) says is not to do deep stretches unless you've properly warmed up. What do y'all use for warmups?  I really don't want to injure myself! I already noticed that my left hip, hamstring, ankle have something funky going on so know I need to take care.


Also...
 

On 1/7/2021 at 9:20 AM, sylph said:

Since quitting circus a couple years ago,

 
Uhhh, that sounds the coolest. I'd love one day to take some circus workshops/classes.

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On 1/7/2021 at 11:56 AM, Epsilonte said:

here is where I'm at right now (with splits at least, don't have any cool back/shoulder comparison pictures yet since I just now started adding these into my routine). It's a lot better than it was back in March. :D 

 Also, forgive the double post. But this is amazing progress! Very inspiring.

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Jumping in late! Flexibility is always a goal but something I always forget to work on after about two days.

 

Currently my two targets are

1) to be able to comfortably sit on the ground with my legs and back straight.  I have a very bendy lower back that masks my completely inflexible hamstring/calf.  With curving my back I can easily put my hands on the floor, without I'm about 6" above my knee.

2) to get my left big toe to 90 degrees. It's pretty stiff, whereas my right one is flexible. It leads to imbalance in my running stride and is an injury risk.

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For accountability: I have stopped with the benchmark stretches for a week so far to get used to my new fysio exercises. I think I might need to pick just 2-3 things from the 10 benchmarks and focus them by incorporating them into a general mobility practice (to still be developed).

 

When I miss 1,2,3 days of stretching, too much time is spent not stretching one area or another...

 

The new fysio exercises are (I'll elaborate further another day):

- "Beach stretch", stretching my upper back mainly 

- Stretching wrists down: arms forward, palm towards my body, fingers slightly outwards so I get a certain part of my lower arm

- Stretching wrists "up": hands on desk, fingers pointing to me,  and slightly outwards so I get a certain part of my lower arm and wrist

- 2 part stretch: holding the seat of my chair, ear towards the ceiling, then looking towards my knee

- Pressing each finger against so I gain some strength in the fingers

 

Old fysio exercises (that I still need to keep doing just to be safe, I think):

* standing on a step, lowering my heels slowly, then up again and repeat, certain amount of reps and sets (jjust like the above exercises, but I did not write this down)
*Balancing exercises on one leg, different variations

*If needed, massaging feet with tennis ball or cold pack

 

I will re-evaluate in about 2 weeks, when this challenge ends & report back. I think the most fun for me will be to get in a front split, to be able to spread all of my toes... And to move forward towards lotus pose... 

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Current challenge: Athena focuses on the physical | 
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Most of you have had about two weeks in this challenge. How is it going for you?

Current Challenge: The Cliffs of Insanity  Previous Challenges: #1#2, #3#4#5#6, #7#8#9#10#11#12#13#14#15#16#17#18#19#20#21#22, #23, #24, #25, #26#27#28#29#30#31#32#33#34#35

Battle Log: Operation Fly-By-Night

“Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.”

― Neil Gaiman

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22 hours ago, Kestrel Grey said:

Most of you have had about two weeks in this challenge. How is it going for you?

I have done nothing except ditch the mobility routine that I didn't like and didn't feel was effective for my needs.

I'll probably not have the focus/time/effort to circle back around to this until next challenge at the earliest, but will keep on lurking about for inspiration and to give support.

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23 hours ago, Kestrel Grey said:

 

2) to get my left big toe to 90 degrees. It's pretty stiff, whereas my right one is flexible. It leads to imbalance in my running stride and is an injury risk.

90 degrees in which direction? Up from your foot? My initial thought was sideways, which obviously makes no sense. :D

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Hello there! I'm just lurking because I can't help it, but I got really curious about this

 

23 hours ago, Kestrel Grey said:

2) to get my left big toe to 90 degrees. It's pretty stiff, whereas my right one is flexible. It leads to imbalance in my running stride and is an injury risk.

Do you have specific exercises for the toe or do you just like push it against the floor? I'm imagining little toe curls with teeny tiny dumbbells hanging off of the toe... :D 

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7 hours ago, sylph said:

90 degrees in which direction? Up from your foot? My initial thought was sideways, which obviously makes no sense. :D

Yes up! Though the sideways thing isn't as unlikely as it sounds. I can bend my outer two fingers at 90 degrees sideways, flat against the base of my other fingers. Freaked out quite a few people by making it look like I snapped off my pinkie, and can make some cool looking finger knots. 🤣

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Current Challenge: The Cliffs of Insanity  Previous Challenges: #1#2, #3#4#5#6, #7#8#9#10#11#12#13#14#15#16#17#18#19#20#21#22, #23, #24, #25, #26#27#28#29#30#31#32#33#34#35

Battle Log: Operation Fly-By-Night

“Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.”

― Neil Gaiman

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7 hours ago, Mad Hatter said:

Hello there! I'm just lurking because I can't help it, but I got really curious about this

 

Do you have specific exercises for the toe or do you just like push it against the floor? I'm imagining little toe curls with teeny tiny dumbbells hanging off of the toe... :D 

The running sites suggested manually pulling up on it to loosen, then moving in and out of plank position to press on your toes. 

 

If that doesn't help, I can ask my osteopath to loosen it up when we are allowed to restart sessions. 

Current Challenge: The Cliffs of Insanity  Previous Challenges: #1#2, #3#4#5#6, #7#8#9#10#11#12#13#14#15#16#17#18#19#20#21#22, #23, #24, #25, #26#27#28#29#30#31#32#33#34#35

Battle Log: Operation Fly-By-Night

“Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.”

― Neil Gaiman

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