10 Ways to Test your Flexibility
My Contribution to Charlotte Robertson's #charlottesjanchallenge!
The lovely Charlotte Robertson is running a challenge this January to help you reach your flexibility goals in 2016!
Head to Charlotte's YouTube Channel for more info on the challenge and to get caught up:
We all love progress!
It can be very motivating to see how far we’ve come and highlight areas we have worked hard on.
However – tracking progress can sometimes just focus on the good and not highlight the areas we need to focus on.
You may already have a clear goal in mind as part of your January Challenge or 2016 goals but keeping your overall flexibility in-check is a great way to see if there may be something underlying that’s holding you back – along with giving you those boost of motivation when you see all of your training paying off.
I’ve included 10 ways to test different areas of your body. Some you can track with measurements – others you are just checking you’re within the ‘normal’ range.
The majority of them can be done with just a wall and/or some tape, although it is easier if there are two of you as you can mark the tape a little easier. I was by myself so you can see it can be done!
So what muscles are we testing and why are they important?
1) Calves – These can be sneakily tight with all our pirouetting and pointed toes and they could be affecting all sorts of other areas – such as hamstrings and lower back.
- Start facing a wall with your toe around 4 inches away.
- Bend your knee and try to touch the wall – if you can this is a pass (you
could continue to move your foot back and mark the furthest point back
- If you cant reach your knee without twisting your body or lifting your
heel, move your foot in and mark until you can.
Hamstrings: Super important as they can affect so many aspects of movement and functionality of our body.
- Sit on the floor with your legs together out in front. Use can use the wall or some tape to mark your hip position.
- Keeping your back as flat as possible reach your hands down your thighs, or either side of the legs until you cant reach anymore without rounding off you back.
- Hold for 3 seconds to ensure the true result (no bouncing in)
- Mark at the end of your fingertips
Quads: These big muscles can cause imbalances at the hip – leading to back pain and posture issues.
- Lie on your front and pull one leg down towards your glutes.
- Your heel must be able to touch as a minimum pass. This is the ‘normal’
range of motion
Hip Flexors: Can be another sneaky answer to a lot of flexibility issues. Tight hip flexors can cause all sorts of issues – and our lifestyle can play a huge role in their dysfunction. Too much sitting at work, in the car or relaxing at home can shorten the muscle and
- With your hipbones as close to the edge as you can, tuck your knees towards your chest and roll back until flat on your back.
- Allow one leg to lower down whilst holding on to the other. You’re aiming to get the knee inline with the hip or lower.
- Don’t allow your back to arch
Adductors: They help us squeeze on to the pole and open to aid with flexibility tricks.
- Lying on your back with both legs straight and toes pointing up.
- Draw one leg up and away and mark how far you can get it without
twisting your body.
- You can use tape or the wall to keep straight down the otherside.
Pancake Stretch: Being able to forward fold in this position can help position
your body in many beneficial ways on the pole.
- Sit on the floor with one leg along the wall or tape.
- Open your legs into a straddle and mark the distance
- Reach forward trying to reach your bellybutton to the floor and keep your
- Mark the distance you can reach forwards
*Active Flexibility Standing: As we’re not always on the floor we need strength in our flexibility! Keeping track of active flexibility will help you to mark your progress.
- Standing side on against the wall.
- Lift your leg up straight out in front of you and mark where you can hold
for 3 seconds.
- Don’t lean back or against the wall
- Keep standing leg straight
*Active Flexibility Lying down:
- Lying on your back with your side against the wall.
- Lift the leg closest to the wall up straight and gently pull towards you.
- Release the leg and mark where you can hold it for 3 seconds
Lats: We spend a lot of time pulling down on the pole and these can get tight and knarly from all that hard work. Keeping your lats happy with ensure a happier training session = happy poler!
- Lying on your back with knees bent and lower back flat on the floor.
- Head should also be relaxed on the floor – lift your arms up keeping them
straight and touch your fingertips together.
- Bring your arms above your head and try to touch your hands to the floor
without arching your back or bending your elbows
*Chest/Shoulders Standing: A tight chest can severely affect your shoulder range of motion – which leads to impingements and can cause injuries. Not a muscle group to be overlooked!
- Start with your lower back flat against a wall, head touching and knees are bent.
- Feet are away from the wall.
- Bend your arms and lift them to the wall so the backs of your palms are
- Raise them slowly and mark how high you can get them without arching
*Chest and Shoulders Lying Down
- Starting lying down with your back flat and core engaged.
- Bend your arms to 90 and try to place your elbows and hands on the floor
without arching your back.
Internal/External Rotation of the shoulders: Over compensating for lack of internal or external rotation of the shoulders can cause the shoulder to move into a compromised position under load. This increases the risk of injury, placing more stress on the shoulder and reducing the effectiveness of the muscles.
- One arm behind – one arm over head. Try to get the fingers to touch/hold hands
- Keep straight and don’t arch the back