The flexibility litmus test: Can you touch your toes? We’ve all stood around with friends, family, or colleagues and performed the simple test, talking about how much stretching we do or don’t do. But we want to let you in on our not-so-little secret: flexibility has next to nothing to do with static stretching.
Static stretching—the old-school stretch and hold method—does not actually lengthen muscles. The key to true flexibility is muscle activation and range of motion. By increasing your range of motion and aligning the body, you essentially unlock flexibility. In other words, the body is primed to have full range of motion and therefore can ‘stretch’ further.
These three exercises from Elev8d Fitness, a new workout program brought to you by the experts of Sonima, put your body in proper alignment and then ‘turn-on’ the hip-flexors and the psoas, the most powerful muscle group in the body. When these core muscles are activated, the secondary muscles can release—and voilà! Don’t believe us? Take three minutes and give it a try.
Standing Arm Circles | 40x
- Hand Position: Put your thumbs up, and fold your fingers forward so that the tips are on the top pads of your palms.
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart and pointed straight ahead.
- Extend your arms directly sideways, straight, point your thumbs forward, hands palms down, and pinch your shoulder blades back.
- Move your arms up and forward in a circular motion forty times. Keep your shoulder blades pinched.
- Next, flip your hands palms up, thumbs pointed backward, and move your arms up and backwards in circles forty times.
Polar Opposites | 25x
- Lying on your back, bend your knees, keep your feet flat on the ground, and interlace your fingers behind your head, keeping your elbows back.
- Simultaneously lift your feet and head a few inches off of the ground, using your abs to lift and then your hip region to lower; do not just drop your feet, and do not use your arms to lift your head.
Cats and Dogs | 15x
- Get on your hands and knees.
- Beginning the movement at the hip, roll your back slowly upwards so that it finishes in a rounded position like a mad cat, your head down, chin resting on your chest.
- Then, beginning the movement with the hip, lower your back into an inverse arch, your head and tailbone up, your shoulder blades pinching toward each other.
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