Share Pin Email
feature image
New! Elev8d Fitness by Sonima

A New Approach to Improving Flexibility

Try this smarter, better-for-you, more accessible way to stretch.

0 20
Author Image
Contributing Experts
SHARE:

When your shoulders get tight from constantly sitting hunched over your computer or phone, you might do a quick stretch for a little relief. When your hips get sore from sitting too much—or the opposite, moving too much—you might spend some quality time with a foam roller. These are common responses to soothing so-called “tight muscles.”

But here’s the thing, these aches or knots often give you insight into other areas of your body (not just that specific muscle) and your overall alignment. For instance, tight hamstrings could mean you have a limited range of motion in the joints above and below the muscle, or your pelvis, knee or lower leg, says Pete Egoscue, co-founder of Elev8d Fitness, a total-body 8-minute workout program developed by the experts of Sonima.

Of course, massaging the area—or spending some time stretching—might help temporarily, but it doesn’t address the root of the problem. Here’s how to get to the bottom of poor flexibility and muscle tension.


Activating One Muscle to Stretch Another

“Instead of stretching a tight muscle, we’d rather ask why is the muscle tight,” says Brian Bradley, fitness director of Elev8d Fitness. Typically speaking, “tight muscles are essentially doing what the non-activated muscle group should be doing.”

In other words, if you have tight hamstrings, that could mean they’re working in overdrive to make up for the lack of effort from your hip flexors. If your lower back is feeling uncomfortable, that might reveal your core is putting in zero work. That’s why stretching that hamstring or your low back might feel good for a little while, but without addressing the opposing muscle group, it’ll just keep going back to its uncomfortable state.

Let’s focus on the core for a second and how weakness in your midsection can lead to discomfort and tightness in other areas. This is particularly true of your back. Research actually says there’s a strong tie between back pain in runners and weak core muscles. But strengthen your middle, and you could relieve those aches.


Related: The Surprising Muscle Weakness Linked to Back Pain


Taking that even further, many runners often experience IT band syndrome too. Often times, they’ll spend days on a foam roller trying to work it out and loosen it up. But really, they should look to their core. “The treatment is not simply to stretch the IT band out—stretching alone will generally not be successful. A program of core strengthening that addresses the underlying deficiency and corrects running posture and mechanics will be much more successful,” says Theodore Shybut, M.D., assistant professor of orthopedic surgery at Baylor College of Medicine “Many people don’t realize that tightness or contracture [shortening and hardening of the muscles] is usually secondary to a core weakness or muscle imbalance.”

This same principle holds true in strength training. Take the deadlift, for instance. If you teach your core to fire properly, then you take the movement out of your back into your hamstrings and glutes where it belongs, Bradley says.

Why It’s Time for More Active Stretching

The debate about stretching—whether static works better before or after a workout or whether you should do more dynamic movements—has been going on in research for some time. But experts have come to a pretty agreeable conclusion: To get your body to move most efficiently during your workout, warming up with movement is key. In fact, one study says static stretching could hinder your performance, while another says it doesn’t reduce your risk of injury anyway.

“Your body is designed to warm to the task naturally—walking warms your muscles for running, running warms you up for jumping,” Egoscue explains.

The Best Way to Increase Range of Motion

Besides simply warming up the body with light movements, another solid way to get started in improving range of motion is with proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF), or a contract, relax, repeat approach to stretching or strengthening, according to research.

This is the exact approach Elev8d Fitness takes in their GLAM sequence, a workout to help improve your body alignment and range of motion. “Elev8d exercises go after balancing mechanics, which allow your body to become driven by, say, the hips, which are a load-bearing joint, rather than driven by the peripheral, tight muscles,” Bradley explains.

GLAM, specifically, fires up your glutes and hamstrings. “The GLAM sequence is great because it helps activate your balancing mechanism by using your big leg muscles, so your hip flexors can turn back on and your lower back and glutes won’t be firing all day or all workout,” Bradley says.

To learn exactly how to do the workout, and read more about this approach to improving flexibility, check out this story on Elev8d.

By

SHARE:

Comments (0)

Load More

Find us on Instagram

@LIVESONIMA
  • Did you catch our Instagram or Facebook LIVE yesterday? Deepak Chopra, MD, gave a profound keynote speech on the neuroscience of self-awareness and higher consciousness at the 2019 Yoga and Science Conference in NYC. Visit the link on our page to hear it and check out or Instagram highlights for a recap of the conference. #YogaAndScience2019 #LiveSonima
  • Day 2 of the 2019 Yoga and Science Conference began with a restorative yoga session led by Gail Parker, PhD. Participants welcomed one another through partnered listening exercises followed by a brief meditation and restorative postures. ❤️🙏 #YogaAndScience2019 #LiveSonima
  • We’re at the Yoga and Science Conference this weekend in NYC! Head over to our Instagram and Facebook Stories for our coverage on the research behind mindfulness-based practices. And be sure to tune today on Instagram or Facebook at 2:30PM for a LIVE video of Deepak Chopra, MD, exploring the reality of science and yoga. ❤️🙏
#YogaAndScience2019 #LiveSonima
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
#yoga #science #mindfulness #mindfulpractice #deepakchopra #yogaandscience #yogaheals #healthylifestyle #yogahealing #yogaresearch
  • We are so excited to announce that registration is now open to all! Join Paramaguru Sharath Jois in the U.S. this Spring. Spaces will fill up quickly, so be sure to reserve your spot on one or more of his teaching weeks:
.
.
* Stanford, California,  April 22 – 27
* Miami, Florida,  May 1 – 7
* New York, New York,  May 11 -16
.
.
Follow the link in our bio to sign up! And once you do, we’d love to see how you’re preparing for it. Share your practice and plans with us on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter by tagging @LiveSonima and #SharathJoisUSA2019 ❤️🙏 We’ll see you there!
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
 #sharath #sharathustour #sharath2019 #sharathjois #yogawisdom #livesonima #ashtanga #ashtangacommunity #asana #yogaliving #yogaeveryday #mindfulliving #livewell #livefree #balance #yogilife #yogamaster #ashtangafamily #practiceisprayer #miamilifecenter #stanforduniversity #sharath #sharathjoistour #astangalove #ashtangalove #ashtangapractice #ashtangayogalove
  • Tonight, visit the link in our bio to read groundbreaking studies from leading researchers about how yoga and mindfulness help heal. 💖 #LiveSonima .
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
#mindfulness #2019 #2019intentions #reachyourgoals #newyearsresolutions #mindfulnesstechniques #healthyliving #livewell #achievesuccess #2019goals #mindfulnessmatters #livebetter #yogaheals #yogaandscience
  • The Yoga & Science Conference is only five days away in New York City! The headlining speaker this year is our friend, Dr. @deepakchopra. He is joined by several other renowned scientists who are coming together to speak about their research on the effects of mindfulness-based practices this January 19th and 20th.
.
.
.
There are a few tickets left! Get yours through www.yoganadscience.org or the link in our bio. This is a wonderful opportunity to understand the science behind yoga. And if you are unable to attend, be sure to follow along with us on social media as we will be sharing everything we learn at the conference this year and live-streaming certain sessions. We are proud to be a sponsor of this incredible event! .
Other speakers include Dr. Stephen Porges, the scientist who discovered Heart Rate Variability and created the Polyvagal Theory, Dr. Shirley Telles, head of research for Patanjali Yoga Institute in Haridwar, Dr. Gail Parker presenting on Race Based Stress Trauma and so many more. A huge thank you to @eddiestern for making this happen. We are looking forward to this weekend! [Graphic repost: @eddiestern]
.
.
.
Other sponsors of this event include: @aliceandolivia @ragandbone @nyu_bms @nyutandon @theshalanyc @skytingyoga @ishtayoga
.
.
.
.
.
#yoganadscience2019 #vaguesnerve #yogaandscience #scienceandminfulness #yogaresearch #sciencebehindyoga #broooklyNY #yogaandscienceworks #yogaheals #yogachangeslives #yogalive #livebetter #livewell #mindbodybalance #healthyliving #yogaeverydamnday
Receive fresh content delivered to your inbox every week!

Get Elev8d Fitness News

Delivered to Your Inbox

EMAIL ADDRESS

By subscribing, you agree to Elev8d Fitness'

Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy