Riddle me this…  Is it possible, that no matter how much I stretch, I will never have anything more than average (at best) flexibility?  One would think, with the Muay Thai, BJJ, and years of skiing, that I would have some  sort of bendy and stretchyness to me.  But alas, I am as flexible as a piece of solid steel.  I can’t kick anyone in the head that’s any taller than me.  I can’t even attempt anything that resembles a rubber guard.  When I launch over a gap there’s no way I can do a “Truck Driver” (google it).

Could it be that I’m doing the wrong stretches?  Believe me, I’ve asked myself that time and time again.  I have googled stretching routines until the cows came home.  But it just seems that nothing works.

People have told me that if I want to be really flexible, I have stretch very deeply and hold those positions to the point of pain.  Tried it… Nada…  I am going to try some yoga see if that gets me get bendy.  I just downloaded an app on my iPhone/iPad, so hopefully it will be worth it.  I wonder if it will just be one more thing I check off the list as “failed”?

15 thoughts on “Flexibility?”

  1. Yoga has helped my flexibility and range of motion a great deal,,,,,,i usually do a yoga session (hour long) once a week…..then I hit the weights immediately aftewards…….definitely a plus!!…..one thing…..BE PATIENT!!……it took me three sessions before I felt it was making a difference…..do not expect an immediate improvement…..but can happen if you are patient enough….do not judge it after one session…..the newness of doing yoga can be frustrating which why went back a few times before deciding to make it a part of my routine!!…..good luck!

    1. What you’re experiencing could also be excessive muscle tension, not necessarily an inflexible property in the muscles themselves, but a tense combination of mind-body interaction. Sometimes thoughts, or primal reactions can cause muscle tension that then becomes difficult to change with stretching.

  2. No! Don’t hold stretches for a long time. You will do much better with active flexibility, especially since you will be using your flexibility as you move. Get really, really warm, and then move (gently) through your stretches. Try moving from front split to middle to side (it’s OK if you don’t actually get into your splits) use a chair to support you. Point and flex your toes, clench and unclench your ass muscles. Try doing kick ups, or try holding your feet as high into the air as you can. I’m not sure what kind of flexibility your working on, but resistance training flexibility is also really helpful. Be careful not to push too hard and hurt yourself though.

    1. this was what I was going to say…stretching shouldn’t be to the point of pain and holding stretches for a long time is not helpful. Dynamic or active stretching will help. as someone else also saif, it could be to do with extremely tight muscles, if they are too tight and knotty stretching alone them won’t loosen them. you need to work on what is causing them to be tight.
      Yoga should help, or Pilates, I favour Pilates as I have a tendency to hyperextend my joints so i have been told that yoga is not necessarily the best thing for me at the moment. Also my inner cynic doesn’t let me take it seriously (but that is my issue) I think yoga is definitely worth a try.

  3. It is a riddle to me as well. I am flexible without being able to stretch much. I am that person who can’t perform a complete split, but I can kick 1 foot higher than my head. Truly puzzling.

  4. You should not be holding your stretches to the point of pain.
    Definitely try yoga…you’ll be surprised of your increased flexibility after even a couple of days. Remember to breathe thru your poses as well.
    Also, try stretching in water (in the bath, in a pool, etc.)…this often helps with the longevity.
    Keep in mind that sometimes our bodies just aren’t meant to bend that way.

  5. Signing people saying active stretching, dynamic stretching/warmups etc. Stretching with therabands is proven to be very effective.
    Passive stretching is proven to not reduce risk of injuries at all (by research) So you will definitely gain more trying some of the other options. Assisted stretching. Active release techniques, Stretching with resistance intervals is very effective for lengthening and relaxing muscles I feel. Look it up:)

  6. I’d like to add that I’ve heard pilates can do wonders for flexibility as well- I personally I have not tried it and I’ll be trying yoga while looking into anything pilates related I can try at home. Good luck!

  7. Definitely do not stretch to the point of pain. That is more likely to injure you than help you make progress.

    Relaxation is key. Yoga is helpful. Pavel Tsatsouline’s book, Relax Into Stretch, has good information as well. Regardless of the training modality you choose, be patient and take your time. If you are impatient and try to force things or if you cast judgment on yourself for not being where you would like to be, then you create tension, you slow your progress, and you are more likely to injure yourself.

    Do bear in mind that rubber guard and head kicks (against taller opponents) are very attribute-dependent tools. They aren’t necessary and even if you develop the flexibility to master them, they won’t be available to you in the long run. Lots of great martial artists can’t use either one, so don’t beat yourself up for not being super-duper flexible.

  8. Hi,
    Just caught this post and thought I would have a read. some of the previous comments are very good and I like you find that I am not very flexible. The idea behind static stretching is to hold a position to increase “muscle length”, this doesn’t actually happen. What you do get though is neural adaptations, stretches need to be held for 2mins+ to actually elicit any adaptation within the golgi tendon organs and increase the neural range.

    I know this may sound silly but I think you may need to consider your warm up protocol and incorporate a lot more mobility drills in there, I am talking in terms of dynamic stretching. What you will find though is you can only improve mobility and range around a joint if you are keeping a neutral spine the whole time, as soon as you flex even a little the mobility drill/stretch becomes redundant.

    A couple things that help me increase my mobility more than anything where drills taken from Kelly starretts book “becoming a supple leopard”. He has some fantastic drills that work wonders, even though he is a crossfit coach :(. Also what really helped was training under lighter loads through greater ranges and making sure to incorporate eccentric training into my program as this is loading your muscle under lengthening.

    hope this helps? please feel free to contact me if you want to discuss this further.

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