Athletes, physicians, and even every average person are convinced that body flexibility is an indicator of youth. Wonder courses, both free and paid, have become a virus: only the lazy would not download them on their computer to surprise their friends with their flexibility in only 10 (and that’s what they promise) days. Is it really that simple to do a traditional split? What is behind this efficient gymnastics exercise?
Keys to your success
Alas, we’ve gotten used to trusting whatever fits our desires. How wonderful it would be to learn to do a split in a week or two! Sadly, it’s not possible for most people because each of us is on a different level of readiness. Many factors influence our flexibility and a part of them does not depend on us.
1. Age. The older the person, the less flexible his body. Professional gymnasts start training very early – at 4-5 years. If you want to learn quickly, start today. It is surprising but people who are inclined to stoutness and have big bones are more flexible. Stretching is more difficult for thin and tall people.
2. Genetics. It is the most important factor that influences the speed of success. Some people are naturally more flexible, they stretch easily. Others have to work hard to do the same.
3. Experience. Those who used to do sports will do splits faster than another person will who has never trained before. If you did this exercise before, you just need to make your body remember how to do it.
Unfortunately, not knowing about these conditions, most people feel disappointed and stop doing these useful and healthy exercises.
What can you do about this?
Flexibility cannot be achieved from the first try. To make it develop as quickly and as right as possible, without injuries and unbearable muscle fever, you need to prepare your body for the exercise and do it by the book.
1. Warm up. You need to warm up your body before stretching. The best way to do that is a dynamic training. Your usual physical exercises will do just fine, if you do it “right” and feel a little warm after. Remember, all warm up exercises start at the top and gradually go down: you begin with your head and neck, then do your shoulders and arms, waist, pelvis, hips, and legs. These exercises should keep you mobile. Energetic swings, rotations, and bursts are what you need.
2. Don’t stretch all the way down at once. Do it in steps. You cannot make your body overdo in gymnastics. You can get a trauma that will put on hold your relationship with sports for a long time. Start slow, then stretch more, and then some more. The important thing is to do it slowly and gradually, stretch further down with every jerk motion.
3. Fixation. Once you achieve the tolerable result, fix your position for a minute. Your muscles should get used to that new state. Your psychological discomfort goes away too – you learn to trust your body and enjoy it.
4. Breathing. Your blood should get enough oxygen and when it is required. Take deep and even breaths. Tense your muscles while you exhale.
5. There should be no pain when you do this. A sharp pain would mean that you risk a trauma – muscle fibers ready to tear. This is why you do the stretching gradually – to be able to react in time and before the consequences become permanent.
6. System and stability. Train once every 1-2 days. The duration of each session should not exceed one hour. If you train less often, your body “forgets” everything it learned the previous time, and you will have to start all over again.
7. Complex approach. It’s ridiculous to even imagine a car with its wheels oiled and the rest of it covered in rust. Stretching is a general feature of the human body and not some fancy accessory for your pelvis and hips. You need to work on all groups of muscles and joints, and your body will become really responsive to your sports desires and hopes.
It is important to make some effort and achieve stability in your training. One person will do a split in just a few weeks (as a rule, former athletes) and another person will work on himself for a month, or two, or possibly even a year. The general rule is the following: whoever continues to train, will get what they want, by all means, taking pleasure in physical activity and а healthy body.