Being flexible is a definite asset when working out, bodybuilding, playing sports or in life in general. But its often something that is taken for granted as unimportant while we focus most of our effort on our main fitness goals of bulking up in the arms or losing fat from our waist area.
But the reality is that being flexible is the foundation for any ease of movement and as such, can be hugely beneficial when improved. Flexibility indeed is not only required for gymnasts, people who go to pilates or yoga classes but also for people who are dedicated to bodybuilding and the typical athlete. In fact, flexibility is vital for everyone as even walking requires some level of flexibility and stability.
Incorporating a flexibility workout plan into your bodybuilding routine. Will not only maximize your physical performance. But also it will limit your injuries which will protect you from long periods away from the gym.
The primary point of flexibility is so that we can move our bodies in a wide range of motion without injury. It allows us to maintain better coordination, improved mobility and stability. So neglecting flexibility can reduce the range of motion of our muscles and the movements that are available to our bodies.
When you can find the motivation to include workout routines which incorporate flexibility. You will see that you naturally avoid injuries which come from tight muscles. If you notice that when working out that you often get small injuries it could be that your flexibility is very restricted.
Many people don’t think about flexibility as necessary at all until they become injured and want to find a way to avoid it next time.
Tight muscles in the back can create on going back pains which can limit your ability to walk let alone to lift a dumbbell or other weights. Since lifting weights is a crucial part of muscle growth for a bodybuilder. It is advised by many trainers to incorporate cardio and other flexibility workout routines such as yoga or pilates into their work out routine.
This is because added flexibility allows us to practice exercises which we would not have been able to do otherwise. This is why a flexibility test is crucial as it gives us the barometer to know which activities we can successfully attempt without injury and which we should not try until we have improved our flexibility level.
Trying new things will challenge your muscles. Photo Source: Unsplash
While you could search via everyone’s best friend the big ‘G’ search engine for information on exercises for improving your flexibility and how to test yourself. It can also be beneficial to have an objective and professional person who can help you assess yourself and build a training program which will support your goals.
Having a professional to design a workout program can be rather hardcore especially with everything that is already going on in your life. But if you want to build muscle, there are many aspects to your successful training which may not be immediately apparent to you.
While meeting with a sport professional or trainer, they will give you a flexibility test which mostly consists of stretching, so there is nothing to worry. The nice thing about this test is that they will record your ability in the session and if you have another test some months down the line you will actually be able to see your progress.
This is incredibly motivating, and it also opens you up to the ability to use the new machines and delve into an exercise that has a more complex range of motion.
To complete a flexibility test, you should be aware that
Remember to take a break from your bodybuilding exercise to allow the muscle to recover. Photo Source: Unsplash
Many exercises that you can work on to improve your flexibility can be found in yoga and pilates. Most if not all are focused on stretching the body, limbs, muscles, ligaments and tendons. To be stronger and of course more flexible. So while your focus is on the flexibility benefits, you can also get strength training for the ligaments and tendons even.
If you stand up straight with your legs hip-width apart and raise your hands up over your head and then slowly lean to one side as far as you can without discomfort. You will gain a satisfying side stretch which mainly works on
Who knew so many muscles were involved in such a simple side bend? While these are not the typical bodybuilding exercises, they will work wonders.
Make sure you warm up before your bodybuilding session. Photo Source: Unsplash
While you get into your flexibility training, you should know that there are also benefits to your heart and lungs, your digestion and elimination systems, your immunity via the lymphatic system.
Additionally, it is important not to forget the dietary side of flexibility. Hydrating your body with water and electrolytes help your muscles to stretch. Some foods to incorporate into your diet to stay hydrated are.
No matter what you are doing with your day, working on muscle gains, lifting, or fat burning. No matter what your lifestyle is like active or sedentary. No matter what you look like, whether you have a skinny, athletic, muscular, fat or lean body. No matter what your experience novice or trainer. Absolutely everyone should make flexibility training a priority and include it as a crucial part of your full body workout.
These workouts don’t have to take place in the gym, you can flex those tendons anywhere, and workout routines are easily carried out at home. It doesn’t take too long either even 15 minutes a day can be highly beneficial.
Sometimes our genetics and body composition can make us believe that we could not improve our flexibility. My whole family is relatively inflexible, so I indeed used to think that about myself too. But when I focused on how to build flexibility workouts into my life and dedicated myself to train regularly. Everything changed, and I realised that the issue was not with my genetics but with me not believing in myself and understanding what I was capable of.
With just a bit of a focus on diet and exercise, we all have the opportunity to be the healthiest and strongest versions of ourselves.