All dancers and gymnasts need to be flexible to achieve graceful movements. Having a flexible body also has a wide range of health benefits, and can help you reach your general fitness goals. Flexibility is usually associated with static stretching or being able to get into a position with a large range of motion. However it also encourages better mobility, which is the ability to use a large range of motion whilst moving.
Why you should spend time improving your flexibility and mobility
While you don’t need to spend masses of time working on your mobility, you can simply incorporate it into your warm up or morning wake-up routine to reap the benefits. Ideally, you should focus an hour a week on increasing your mobility. Here are four reasons why:
To Prevent Injuries
Static stretching was once used to prevent injuries. However increasing the static range of motion is like stretching an elastic band. If you don’t teach the body how to use a new range of motion properly, it will spring back to its original position, which can lead to injuries. Trying to move in a new and unknown way, particularly when muscles are not warmed up properly, can cause muscle tears, sprains and even dislocations. However If you gradually increase your range using dynamic stretching movements, you can teach your body how to cope in the new range, and over time explore more and more exercise options.
Burn More Fat
To burn fat you need to increase the amount of energy you expend. By increasing your mobility you will recruit more muscle fibres along the full length of the muscle which will then require more energy. If you aim to increase the mobility of all the muscles you use throughout the day then you will greatly increase the amount of energy you expend without doing any extra exercise.
To become stronger a muscle needs to be fully activated. To activate a muscle you must lengthen it. The more a muscle is lengthened whilst moving, the more muscle fibres will be recruited resulting in larger muscles and increased strength. A good example of this is the crossover lunge. This exercise isolates the glute by lengthening it in all three planes of motion: rotating it, extending it forwards and sideways.
Be More Defined
Being more mobile will allow fibres to contract along the full length of the muscle. By utilizing more of the muscle in this way, you can build a better shape and become more defined and toned.
By simply adding an aspect of flexibility to your regular training sessions, such as yoga or dynamic stretching, you should notice a difference in your overall fitness levels. TruBe includes mobility exercises in every warm up and cool down.
How do you include flexibility exercises in your workout? We would love to hear below.