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How to Improve Flexibility Fast

Jan 15, 2010

Many people don't know how to improve flexibility, especially beyond a certain point. But improving your flexibility is easier than you think and you can do it quickly, too. Here are some simple steps to help you improve your flexibility, fast.

1) Commit to Your Flexibility Routine

You can't gain flexibility if you're not willing to commit to a stretching routine. Ideally, you should stretch for 20 to 30 minutes every day. Gentle stretches, when performed regularly and repetitively, can usher in great improvements in flexibility.

2) Breathe Deeply

When you breathe shallowly and rapidly, your body remains tense and you'll feel agitated and high strung. It's difficult to stretch properly when you feel this way.

When you perform your stretches, breathe deeply, fully and slowly. Deep breathing is crucial to stretching and increasing flexibility levels. Deep breathing calms nervous agitation to help your body relax. Deep breathing also oxygenates muscles to improve blood flow to the muscle tissues and remove lactic acid, both of which can encourage your muscle fibers to stretch more deeply than they would if you continued breathing shallowly.

You'll know you're breathing deeply when your abdomen expands before your chest and ribcage begin to expand. To help your muscles relax more fully, count to four as you inhale, then count to six as you exhale. Long exhales help the body to release tension.

3) Breathe into Your Muscles

Once you've got into the habit of breathing deeply, fully and slowly, begin to breathe into your muscles. This isn't as complicated as it may sound to those of you who've never tried it. Simply imagine your breath moving the muscle you're stretching. If you're having problems with this, start by breathing into the muscles of the shoulders, chest and upper back; this will be easiest, since these muscles directly surround your lungs.

As you focus your attention on the muscle you're stretching while simultaneously breathing deeply and fully, you'll begin to feel the muscle relax more and more with each exhale. You'll be able to gain more flexibility in that muscle more quickly than you would if you simply stretched it without paying attention.

4) Contract and Relax

The final step in increasing your flexibility quickly is to contract your muscles, hold the contraction for 20 to 30 seconds, and then stretch again. When muscles are forced to remain contracted for many seconds, then when they're finally allowed to relax, they relax even more than they before you contracted them to begin with. Stretching your muscles after contracting them for 20 to 30 seconds should allow you to move far deeper into your stretching exercises.

5) Repeat Your Stretches

Repetition is key to gaining flexibility fast; repeating your stretching exercises two or three times per stretching session allows your muscles to grow longer faster so that you can go from stiff to splits in no time. As you repeat your stretching session for the second and third time, you'll notice a big difference in your own flexibility. You'll find that you can go deeper into your stretches and hold them for longer.

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