How to improve flexibility to give your workouts the edge

The starting point for every health and fitness routine has to be flexibility.

Stretching to improve flexibility

When we start a new routine with the aim of improving our overall health and fitness, there is a simple sequence that must be followed in order to achieve the greatest success. The very first goal you should be looking at achieving is how to improve your flexibility.

Once you start to improve your flexibility you will be in a position to improve your overall health, and only then can you expect to put yourself in the position of getting physically fit.

This statement usually leads to me being asked two questions:

  1. Why do I need to focus on flexibility?
  2. How can I achieve it.?

The reason you need to focus on achieving flexibility first is because when dysfunction or imbalance happens in the body, it becomes full. Full of toxins and full of restrictions - mental and physical.

You need to create space inside the body so that all the organs and glands have the freedom to move and do their job correctly. It usually takes about a month of regular exercise for anyone starting off to see some positive results on the weighing scales. For many, when they don't see quick results, they tend to give up.

So, my advice to all who are in the early stages of a new fitness routine is: Focus on your flexibility. You will be able to see almost immediate improvements here and this will keep you inspired to keep going until you can see the more physically obvious results on the scales and in your cloths. By focusing on improving your flexibility you will be changing your focus from pure external transformation to one of internal and external transformation.

Outstretched hand

According to Washington University School of Medicine in a paper published in 2009, they say that “New findings from nutrition researchers suggest that it's not whether body fat is stored in the belly that affects metabolic risk factors for diabetes, high blood triglycerides and cardiovascular disease, but whether it collects in the liver”.

We can be very focused on the removal of belly fat and forget the very positive effects that an exercise and fitness routine can have on the inside of our bodys. As soon as we start to reduce the amount of fat around our liver, we start to increase our liver mobility and therefore its function. The liver needs to be able to move to clean our blood and if liver function is impaired by fatty deposits, then the quality of our blood will drop.

This has the knock on effect of making the blood thicker and more acidic. This greatly reduces its ability to transport the oxygen molecules to our muscles in order to provide the high levels of energy required during fitness sessions.

When you focus on getting flexible you are focusing on 'total body decompression', and this allows all the organs and glands to function at a higher level. Internal flexibility is critical to help the body detox, clean out toxins and burn off unwanted fatty deposits.

So how do you do this? Well, it's simple. Build in some pre and post workout stretches to your routine. Anytime you get up on the scales knowing that you've worked hard but the numbers don't match, just tell yourself that the gains are on the inside this week. Things have to move on the inside before the next layer can be removed from the outside.

Outdoor stretching to improve flexibility

Two simple exercises to help get internal flexibility

Exercise 1

The first exercise is designed to improve lung capacity/flexibility and shoulder flexibility while releasing tension from your thyroid and thymus glands.

Starting position:
Start in a seated position with your legs and arms straight out in front.

Movement:
Inhale to prepare for the move. Now exhale and draw your elbow towards and beyond your shoulder. On the next inhale rotate torso and extend arm to full length behind you. Then, return a straight arm back to the starting position.

Internal flexibility exercise one

Tip:
Always look at your arm as it goes behind you and make sure you have a full lung at the end of every rotation.

Exercise 2

The second exercise will improve shoulder flexibility and lung capacity while stimulating internal organ function (i.e. liver and spleen).

Starting position:
Kneeling on all fours, hands directly under your shoulders and knees under your hips, flat lower back.

Movement:
Place left hand two inches behind right hand. Then as you exhale slide your left hand across body in the gap between right arm and leg.On the inhale draw left hand back across body and lift a straight arm as high as possible. Pause for two seconds and repeat eight times on both sides.

internal-flexibility-exercises

Tip:
It’s important to keep a strong core and a straight lower back. No dip in lower spine. You should feel a big shoulder stretch on a full lung.Your liver is on the right hand side of your body and this move is super for stimulating internal decompression.

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