What we're going to be talking about today is how to become more flexible. Everyone is trying to become flexible because they know they need it, yet flexibility is all about balance. You can't become flexible if you don't have the strength to hold that flexibility. This is something many people don't understand so they try to accumulate strength by bulking up or become really thin like yogis in order to become flexible. Both are at opposite ends of the spectrum, but you have to find that sweet spot in between. So how do you get there?
The answer to this question comes from what you are doing and the reason for why you are not flexible. The common thing I see in most of my clients who come in with this goal in mind, is the inadequate blood flow running through their muscle tissue. This results in hard muscle tissue with a leathery texture instead of soft, pliable tissue. You can freeze a rubber band and observe its motion to understand what's happening with your tissue. If you try to stretch it, it will be hard and stiff due to the cold temperature. Your muscle tissue needs viscosity and blood flow to stretch and become soft, much like the rubber band that needs the warmer temperature to stretch. You want to get out of this leathery spot to a pliable place, by using foam rolling, stretching, or trigger point work. There are many ways to get there but you need to begin first. So what you want to think about is the following: a muscle tissue needs to learn how to move to gain strength, speed, and flexibility. The farther it's able to stretch, the faster it can collapse and do its job. That's the main idea. So if you are trying to increase speed, get more range of motion in your muscle tissue. Instead of doing small actions like bench presses, you can do longer range-of-motion exercises to ask your muscle to stretch and move farther.
The relationship here is that flexibility correlates with strength. I see many yogis coming in that are getting injured because they don't have the strength to uphold the flexible positions they are trying to do. This also inversely applies to body builders coming in. You have to find this sweet spot and the only way is by focusing on both aspects of this relationship. Note that it is difficult to balance out strength with flexibility, so when it comes down to it, how do you get there?
I mentioned earlier that you have to get blood flow through there. So you want to find a therapist who can help you get your muscles to start moving. If you want to do this by yourself, you can do foam rolling and trigger point work. Stretching is good to make muscles move but you can only stretch your rigid muscle so far. If you can get it to start opening and closing it can stretch farther and then you have a compliant muscle. Your body will have reasons to move and before you know it, you can stretch farther and easier. When you start realizing that you don't have to work hard to get out of pain, you stop trying so hard and when this happens, events just run their course. Stop trying to make your body become flexible and give your body a reason to be flexible. Find out why first - because blood flow is running consistently through a muscle to make it pliable.