Spending hours in the gym every week working out and focusing on your physique can take its toll in many ways. More often than not, the regular gym-goer wants to build muscle and stresses the importance of pounding weights – with little regard to increasing flexibility. With flexibility being a key factor to athletic performance, you would hope it would be prioritized towards the top, but we all know the truth. Here are 7 ways to improve your flexibility without trying.
1. Full Range of Motion
We’ve all seen it; the “Half-Rep” king of the gym exists no matter where you go. Completing a full repetition to the king is secondary to loading the bar with bear-sized weight. This type of exercise may increase ego but it vastly decreases flexibility. Using a full range of motion ensures that a muscle is strong at its flexed and extended position, aiding your athletic ability when conditions are less than optimal.
Bodybuilding involves smooth controlled motions with intense contractions 90% of the time. Plyometrics on the other hand, involves explosive movements that develop speed and power through the full range of motion. Incorporating plyometric exercises into your routine can force muscles to become stronger at the “bounce” portion of an exercise when tensile strength is key for fighting off injuries.
3. Varying Exercises
Building your physique using the same motor patterns can lead to strength and size gains but can also lead to imbalances. Varying your exercises from time to time will aid joint health, help muscular development, and increase flexibility.
4. Play Other Sports
Along with varying exercises, varying the sports you participate in can also increase your flexibility. Repeating the same motions and performing actions on the same plans of movement can cause overdevelopment and or underdevelopment of muscles. This cause and effect can wreak havoc on your flexibility.
We all hate cardio, it’s just a given fact but what if I told you that by doing cardio your flexibility and performance would enhance drastically? The basis of this idea comes from promoting blood flow. By increasing blood flow you aid muscle recovery flushing lactic acid and causing the muscles to become more pliable.
6. Opposing Muscle Group Supersets
Charles Poliquin, Charles Glass, Lee Priest, Melvin Anthony, and Arnold. What do all these names have in common? All of these bodybuilders utilized antagonistic muscle group pairing. Chest and back, Biceps and triceps, Hamstrings and Quads – These pairings increase blood circulation to an area causing massive pumps but also, actively stretches the opposing ground immediately after is been forcefully exhausted. Supersets in this fashion will skyrocket your heart rate, cause insane pumps, and decrease the risk of injury. What more could you want?
7. Hot yoga (Bikram)
I know what you’re thinking, “you said without trying”. Hot yoga is performed in a room at 104 degrees, you’re put through the same 26 postures in succession, and a class lasts 90 minutes. The heat for that long should already have you scratching your head but imagine being put through
stretches that require a large amount of muscle strength. Survival of your first Bikram class is what you should be focusing on, the flexibility will come secondary.