There are many different flexibility techniques. Which technique will be the best for a beginner?
Thank you for you question. I’ll agree with your confusion when it comes to flexibility. When it comes to a flexibility program for beginners, I start with the basics: large muscle groups without much isolation. In general sense, slow and sustained stretches will meet your needs. It may not continue to be as effective as your client’s fitness level improves, but holding stretches for 20 to 60 seconds will help greatly. I would recommend browsing the PTN Exercise & Flexibility Library on the web site. I want to note a few specifically:
- McKenzie Press Up Stretch
- Lateral Flexion on Ball Stretch
- Kneeling Latissimus Stretch
- Lying Lower Hamstrings
- Ball Passive Extension
- Standing Side Bend
- Knee-to-Chest Stretch
- Wall Hamstring Stretch
- Piriformis Stretch
Prior to performing flexibility exercise, the body must be properly warmed up. This could include any movement which produces a light sweat throughout the body (i.e., walking, running, stair climbing, ect.) By raising the body’s core temperature, the muscles are prepared to be stretched. Failure to properly warm up before stretching may cause injury, which initiates the inflammatory process and ultimately impairs further stretching, function and performance.
Lack of core strength also contributes to restricted range of motion. The tight muscles act as barriers to keep the body from causing injury to itself from “unprotected” motion. This is motion where the body does not possess enough strength to stabilize the spine.
By initiating in an aggressive core strengthening program (without compromising technique) and combined flexibility program, your client should see considerable benefit.