I can hardly believe it has been 10 weeks already. In those 10 weeks I have calculated to have practiced about 80 hours give or take. Roughly that is 4x per week, 2 hours per session, and sometimes more when I am teaching.
In those 80 hours I have faced many challenges, and have come to many new realizations about my body and how to push it further than ever. You spend 80 hours doing anything, you’re bound to learn something. 😉
My Top 5 Key Focuses to Greater Flexibility
- Flexibility is not just about bending, it’s also about STRENGTH. To hold a range of motion your body has never been in before takes an incredible amount of strength. Balancing strength and flexibility is crucial to progress.
- The mind plays a huge role in flexibility. You must be mindful of breath and how to engage and disengage every muscle in your body; this takes focus, time and practice.
- Rest is important! If you balance your rest/train ratio you will be less likely to injure yourself from overuse and imbalances. There are two definitions to rest, both are useful when balanced throughout the days. The first one is where you are laying down, reading a book, meditating or just straight up relaxing. The other rest is where you are not training, but you can still perform your activities of choice and do light dynamic stretches to keep you loose, but nothing serious.
- Food supports muscle repair and regrowth. If you eat plenty of fresh fruits, greens, herbs, roots, seeds, nuts, grains and anything else that comes straight from nature, you will recover faster and may not experience any soreness or loss of energy. If you eat poorly, you will be sore and tired for longer. Fresh food is easy to digest and leaves you feeling light and energized. Processed foods and heavy cooked meals take longer to digest, which means less energy goes to repairing muscles and more energy spent digesting.
- Having a consistent routine will lead you to success. Figure out when and where you are your most comfortable, and make it a crave-able experience.Willpower is like a muscle, if you use it everyday to make yourself stretch, you’ll eventually wear it out. But if you make a routine where you habitually stretch at a certain time, on a certain day, with a specific reward, you will be more successful in your training.
I asked one of my students, who has made tremendous progress in a short amount of time, what is your routine? She said she looks forward to coming home after work and stretching to her favorite tv show in the living room with her husband. She knows my consistent warmup and dynamic stretching routine by heart so she doesn’t even need to look at it any more, which enables her to focus more on her breathing, muscle control and her tv show of course 😉 . Her reward is spending time with her husband, laughing at a hilarious show, and the obvious feeling of being loose after a good stretch. No wonder she craves her routine, it sounds like a good time!
Sign up for the 100 day flexibility challenge here.
Week 10 Progress
In the past 2 weeks I have only trained contortion twice! Mainly because it was rainy and I was drained, my body told me to give heavy stretching a rest and I followed orders. I did some light dynamic stretches throughout the days just to keep loose and I’m glad I did because I made tremendous progress when I got back to the static stretches and poses. I think this was because I wasn’t sore, I felt fresh and renewed. I also took my time going through the dynamic stretches, I was comfortable, and I had a stretching buddy.
For the first time ever I saw my whole foot in a lunge backbend, I went straight back, almost horizontal, in cobra; and kicked myself in the head several times with my arms reaching backwards. I am beyond happy that all my hard work is starting to pay off!
The most challenging aspect so far, is balance. Balancing the strength and flexibility of my legs and shoulders has been complicated. It takes a lot of mental focus to be able to control your muscles individually and I think that may be the hardest part for everyone. Once you have conscious control of your muscles, anything is possible!
After 10 days of rest with only light cardio, dynamic stretches and pole dancing, I spent 1 hour on my dynamic stretching routine which helped me to go further than ever before in my backward lunge and middle split. I must have done that backward lunge about 6 times for 30 seconds each. I was feeling good and strong, it was the perfect temperature and I wasn’t hungry or too full; I was just right.
When you are completely comfortable you can relax further and really focus on your muscles and breathing.
Day 68 was a very productive day. I had 4 hours to stretch, and so I was very relaxed and went through my routine slowly.
One of the biggest tips I can give if you want to make big gains in a day, go slow and do every static stretch or pose 4x for at least 30 seconds.
The picture below was my 4th attempt at this move and was probably my best attempt. Right before doing this pose, I did an intense back strengthening workout. My stretching buddy sat on my ankles so I could lift my upper body as far up and back as possible with 3 different arm positions 10 x each; straight forward, out to the sides, and straight back. For some reason my video didn’t record so I didn’t get a chance to capture it but hopefully you get the idea.
I love to hear about your progress, so if you have an experience you’d like to share please comment below! 🙂 <3