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Author: Kristina Nekyia

  When trying to design your training regimen, sometimes its difficult to know where to begin. How many days per week? How long? What exercises do you do on which days? This is especially true if you cross-train or practice more than one discipline. Flexibility may be only one of your fitness goals. How do you best balance all of the things you want to learn to optimize your body’s response to your practice? One tool has made all the difference for me and many other the circus performers, dancers, aerialists, fitness nuts, and

  It is great to have goals in your training, it gives us motivation and that glorious feeling of satisfaction whenever we reach one. There is a dark side, however, to the ambition that comes when the drive to get better overshadows the training process. In my coaching, I often hear concern from men and women of all ages that they are not progressing quickly enough, and that they are struggling. The desired results are not coming as easily as they had hoped, or they are coping with pain and injury. These

  In my experience, adults who would like to become more flexible excel when we approach our training with a devotion to the process rather than as a slave to the results. The ideal approach to training flexibility is to use a variety of stretching techniques. Because an over emphasis on passive stretching can leave gaps in your development it is important to have other options. If you are encountering obstacles—pain, injury, poor alignment, weakness, feeling stuck—it may be time to try a new approach. The more tools you have at your disposal

  Passive static stretching does nothing to stabilize the joints, build strength, or comfort the nervous system. That is why any stretching regimen needs to branch out from the traditional passive static stretches to include resistance, active, and slow dynamic stretches. Sitting in splits is fine, but it is of limited usefulness in flexibility training for adults. It cannot be the sum total of your flexibility training because passive static stretching—allowing and external force like a strap, another human, or gravity to push as you try to relax into a stretch—is of limited

  Training your flexibility is a very different journey from training strength, endurance, speed, or even technique-based fitness like dance or sports. Many of the mental strategies that one uses to get through your standard CrossFit, weight lifting, running, or spinning workout are inappropriate for confronting flexibility fitness. It is important to approach your flexibility training with a sense of calm energy. Your standard fitness philosophy can be summed up by some of the most prevalent inspirational fitness T-shirts and posters: Go Hard or Go Home, Train Like a Beast, or my favorite Jillian Michael’s quote: