Updated: Dec 16, 2019
You’re probably here because you’ve been trying to get flexible without seeing the results you’ve hoped for. Here are the top 10 mistakes you could be making, that are preventing you from becoming more flexible!
1. YOUR’E SCRUNCHING INSTEAD OF STRETCHING!
You think you’re stretching - but actually you’re “scrunching”. Your head is touching the floor but you look more like a crippled granny than a flexy cheerleader, gymnast or ballerina. INSTEAD: Lengthen your stretch: it doesn’t matter where your head is. What matters is the angle of your stretch, and if you’re feeling it in the right places.
2. YOU’RE COLLAPSING INSTEAD OF LIFTING
When you’re holding your stretch skill, you’re collapsing to the ground instead of lifting. Your muscles are relaxing and falling to the ground instead of extending. INSTEAD: Lift your muscles and make them long and strong! Think of making yourself as tall and long as possible: you will be more stable when holding your stretch.
3. YOU’RE NOT BREATHING
By not breathing enough or breathing too fast, you’re not bringing enough oxygen to your muscles and you’re telling your body that you’re under stress, making it more difficult to deepen your stretch. INSTEAD: Breathe slowly and deeply to relax your body, inhaling before you’re ready to push yourself a bit more and exhale as you push the stretch further.
4. YOU’RE ALL SKEWED
Great, you look like a boomerang! Yes, it’s frustrating that your stretching is not yet on point - but stretching at wonky angles is just slowing down your progress. Don't focus on how low you can go, rather that you're stretching correctly. INSTEAD: Be patient, stretch straight. It looks like you’re not as flexible but trust us when we say: you’re 10 steps ahead of a wonky stretcher!
5. YOU’RE STRETCHING COLD
You think you’re too tough to warm up before you stretch. The joke’s on you because it’s like trying stretch a dry sponge. Your body needs to be warm to reach its full stretch potential. INSTEAD: Make sure you’ve been warming up for at least 5 minutes before stretching - that means getting a little out of breath before you stretch out.
6. YOU’RE STRETCHING AT THE WRONG TIME
If you’ve come across our blog or insta feed before, you might have read numerous times that working on flexibility at the start of practice is a bad idea... 1) it’s dangerous to overstretch before training power skills 2) it reduces your muscle explosiveness 3) chances are you won’t stretch at the end, when it really matters for flexibility. INSTEAD: Keep your warm-up stretch short and focused on dynamic movement and mobility. Spend more time at the end of practice training your flexibility, set your stretch timer for 60 secs and breath deeply while you stretch.
7. YOU’RE ONLY STRETCHING FLEXIBILITY SKILLS
You’re so focused on “getting” your skill that you forget to stretch the rest of your body. INSTEAD: Remember that real-life people are not cartoons... they are 3D complicated bio-mechanical machines with lots of intricate parts. To get flexible, all of these parts need to be mobilized and stretched before you attempt a flexibility skill.. especially the ones that feel sore and tight!
8. YOU’RE NOT STRETCHING ENOUGH
You’ve been stretching every week for the last 15 years and getting no-where... INSTEAD: Remember that flexibility requires consistent work to see visible progress... you’re not only changing the elasticity of your body but you’re also convincing your muscles and joints that it’s ok to go a little further! You will find more results in 6 months of stretching every day than stretching for 15 years once a week.
Strengthen your flexibility with 360° movement and stability work
9. YOU’RE NOT STRENGTHENING YOUR STRETCHES
You’re flexible yet you can’t hit your flexibility when it matters: during a skill. That’s because you might have the range of motion, but not the strength and control to get there. INSTEAD: When you’ve progressed your stretch - spend as much time training the strength of the stretch also: for example holding the stretch on a stability board or conditioning the range of motion with strength and power drills. Try holding at the top, middle, and bottom of your ranges of motion.
10. YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND STRETCHING
We don’t blame you. Stretching is not easy: if you’re not one of those rare people who were born with "rubber bones" (so to speak, you actually just have more collagen in your body) then understanding how flexibility works with your body (rather than against it!) is the real key to success.
We hope that this list was useful to help your next stage of flexibility and if you want to download our in-depth flexibility guide and access our workouts: our brand new #BodyBeforeSkill Flexibility Guide and Workouts is now available for all CCA Members HERE.
To find out more about CheerConditioning.Academy online memberships for Athletes, Teams and Coaches - with unlimited access to our workouts and resources, SEE HERE FOR MORE INFO.