Why train to increase your flexibility?Coaching tips
What is flexibility?
Flexibility is important in many, many different sports and activities as well as in just normal daily life. Flexibility is a broad term; what some may consider to be a large range of movement may be way too little for some. At its most basic level, flexibility is the ability to move a certain joint through what is considered a free and natural range of motion. In a daily, modern, western lifestyles this covers being able to complete tasks such as open doors, reach up into cupboards, go to the toilet, get out of a car, walk up stairs, etc. Being able to do these things in an unrestricted way. Usually if you’re having problems with these tasks, you should probably be consulting a physiotherapist, or equivalent to help you get to what is deemed to be the “normal” range of motion. If you fall into this category, then unfortunately more advanced flexibility, or even contortion training is probably not for you.
Why is flexibility important for everyday life?
While flexibility is important in being able to accomplish tasks in everyday life, it is also tremendously important in other physical activities as well. In most sports having a higher-than-average range of motion is important, but more importantly knowing where you need to have an increased range of motion is key. As is the case in any training, knowing where your weakness lies is important in improving your overall performance
There is much debate around the topic of flexibility, its benefits, its training methods as well as the disadvantages to having too much flexibility in certain areas.
Generally people that are largely inactive feel like they need to stretch because they feel stiff and have restriction in their movement. Often they will stretch in a passive way such as placing their leg on a raised platform to stretch their hamstring. While this can provide some short term benefits it doesn't address the wider problem of having control of their flexibility while in motion.
What is the difference between Flexibility training and Contortion training?
Flexibility training can be used for a catch all for any type of training that involves expanding your range of motion for whatever purpose. You might just want to be able to squat down lower at the gym, or be able to touch your toes so tying your shoes is easier. You might also want to do more activity specific things such as splits for a dance routine or be able to cheststand for a contortion performance. The different between the two is that increasing your flexibility can be for many different reasons. Contortion training is much more specific and involves a much more narrow set of objectives. For those training contortion specifically, they generally want to be performing a contortion act that involves multiple tricks involving very advanced levels of flexibility combined with either strength or acrobatic elements that weave together and express a performance.
No matter your ultimate goals with your flexibility training, whether it is just to enjoy more mobility that aides with having a pain-free day to day or if you have high ambitions to create a kickass contortion routine, flexibility training can be enjoyed by everyone.