Liquido Blog

Keep Your Legs Flexible!

By Guest Writer: Klaudia Siejca

 

Let’s start with flexibility itself - what’s that?

When we talk about the ability of the body to bend, extend and generally move without rupturing muscles during these actions - that’s when the body is flexible.

Of course, flexibility has different ranges/levels, but the idea and tools to improve it are always the same.

Why it’s so important to stretch your legs? Leg muscles are one of the biggest in human’s body, and also the ones we use the most - even when we’re not aware of that.

Keep Your Legs Flexible!

 

As muscle works, it shortens and decreases its ability to stretch - that’s the natural consequence. The perfect counteraction which will keep our muscles strong, but save mobility in them, is stretching!

There’s nothing more fun than wear favorite leggings, do splits and other amazing poses, but besides this - keeping legs moderately flexible is crucial to maintain a healthy body! Yogis are usually extremely flexible for general standards and I fell it’s our duty to keep the people around us know how important it is to stretch legs, at least twice a week! It can lower the risk of injury, guarantee the full range of motion, and as some of the leg muscles are attached to the lower back - save from back pain. 

Flexible muscles are less prone to injuries and are leaner! Flexibility overall makes our bodies stronger and improves circulation. 

There are no bad sides of stretching, so let’s stretch!

Keep Your Legs Flexible!

 

How to improve flexibility in legs?

Every properly lead class involves some stretches before and after the main workout.

And that’s how it should be done!

Gentle stretches to wake up the body before a workout can save from injury and enhance muscle work. Longer, post-workout stretches are great to tone the muscles and prepare fibers for even recovery. These two main types of stretching are static and dynamic.

Static stretching

It's when the muscle is being stretched for 30 seconds or longer. This stretch activates sensory receptors at the ends of the muscle and relaxes it. Static stretching affects static flexibility - that’s why it should be planned as the after-workout. 

Dynamic stretching

It's when the joints are being moved to their full ranges of motion. Example - lunges and leg swings for runners, and sun salutations for Yogis. 

Dynamic stretching stimulates sensory receptors called muscle spindles, which are located in the center of the muscle.

Dynamic stretching affects dynamic flexibility - it triggers muscle for action, so makes it a perfect pre-workout!

Keep Your Legs Flexible!

 

Sessions dedicated to stretching only are a great idea!

I really recommend Yin Yoga classes, where we work on cold muscles and creating space in the facia.

But for those who don’t have time or energy to go to the class, it never hurts to spend some time at home and self stretch in certain areas.

As most of the people have a sitting job and spend half of life driving cars, they need a shield which will protect them from heavy consequences of that lifestyle. We can literally stretch out the lower back pain! 

Here are a few easy stretches which can be a game-changer!

We should stretch legs until the moment we feel pain - pain is the signal our body gives us to stop.

 

Hip flexors 

  1. Kneel on leg and bend the other leg out in front of you, with foot flat on the ground
  2. Keeping your back straight, slowly push your hips forward until you feel a stretch in the upper thigh of your back leg and hip.
  3. Hold the stretch for at least 30 seconds.
  4. Repeat on the other side.

 

Hamstrings

  1. Lie down on your back.
  2. Loop a strap around your toes and hold the ends of it in both hands.
  3. Slowly pull on the strap to lift your straight leg up.
  4. Bring your leg up until a stretch is felt behind your thigh. 
  5. Hold the stretch for at least 30 seconds.
  6. Repeat on the other side.

 

Quads

  1. Stand on one leg, one knee touching the other. You can hold on to something to keep balance. 
  2. Grab your other foot and pull it towards your butt, while squaring your hips. 
  3. Hold the stretch for at least 30 seconds.
  4. Repeat on the other side.

 

Stretching once a week won’t magically turn anyone into a circus artist. Regime is required. It takes weeks to months to get flexible, and sessions have to be done over, and over again. We have to be committed to the process and continue to maintain the results.

 

About the author:

Klaudia was born and raised in Poland. After she graduated from University and worked for several years, she moved to the US to improve her skills and teach Yoga for the world’s best BJJ and MMA fighters. Today she is a fully involved yogini, active athlete, Vinyasa, Hatha and Yin Yoga teacher, experienced trainer, scuba diver, traveler and enthusiastic girl doing what she loves. She's also the founder of Plus Performance Yoga. Find her on Instagram.

  

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