7 Best Stretches to Improve Flexibility Now

Mar 15 / Stacey Nemour Flexibility Master /Martial Artist ©

 I will not only lay out some of the best stretches to improve flexibility but, include my game changing details from my proven flexibility training system that make a world of difference. 

 Consistency and stretching the right way play a huge roll in safe effective progress. The basic Jack LaLanne stretches of yesterday are outdated and may leave you feeling frustrated and confused about how to finally get unstuck. When it comes to stretching, there are many harmful turns you can take. There is an overflow of ill-informed advice running rapid all over the internet.

My intention is to eliminate the confusion and misinformation around stretching and flexibility. For three decades I have been a flexibility guru and martial artist working with Olympians, performers, dancers,  from beginners to the top athletes all around the world.

Disclaimer: Speak to a professional for all your health needs and seek their counsel. Children need to be under adult supervision at all times. We disclaim all liability for any physical harm resulting from the information on this website. By performing any fitness exercises, you are performing them at your own risk. Stacey Nemour, Flexibility Makeover and/or associated affiliates will not be responsible or liable for any injury or harm you sustained because of this training series. By continuing to the program, you acknowledge that you have read this disclaimer and agreed.

Important details to get the highest results from the stretches:

 Keep in mind learning the best stretches will not do much unless you apply these details below. Read carefully first then try the stretches shown after the next few paragraphs.

How long do I hold each stretch:
Many blogs and articles say to hold each stretch for 30 seconds. I have found that is not necessarily correct. Here’s why, the body knows always listen to your inner knowing. Holding a stretch that long can be too painful and cause harm from forcing yourself to hold it when the body’s feedback is saying otherwise. This may cause the muscles to contract and get even tighter.

 

How to finally get unstuck: Instead of going by a certain number of seconds go by how the body feels. For an area that is painfully tight hold for a few seconds and come out of the stretch and then go to the other side or right back into the same stretch over and over until it starts to get easier. The break gives the body an opportunity to process in between and get used to it. You may notice that you are able to go deeper into the stretch and build up to holding the stretch for longer. The magic happens on the repeat so do not give up!

On the other hand, if you are in a stretch that feels so good and healing you may want to stay in the stretch longer than thirty seconds to fully receive the benefits your body is asking for.


How to breathe to increase flexibility:

The release and mobility breakthrough happen through the best use of the breath, by setting Intention and paying attention. Start with an open mind about the power of stretching the right way. When going into a stretch always begin with a deep inhale through the nose and take breathe all the way day to the bottom of the spine. Hold the breath for a beat and right before you exhale mentally tell your low back to “let go” then exhale out of the mouth and you go into the stretch. Time your exhale to keep going until you get to your new stretch destination.

 

Right sequence:
Stretches should be done in the correct sequence to safely maximize the results. Here I have laid out some stretches from my  system to get you started. The magic is in my details so follow the instructions above carefully to feel and see a real difference.

1. Chest Opener

All you need is a doorway to open chest, shoulders and improve posture. Easy to follow clip  from online course "End Your Back Pain Flexibility Course"
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2. Calf Stretch

How to clear locked tight feet, calves, Achilles, hamstrings and low back.

Hold the wall or something steady then put one foot on the block to hold it in place while you put the other foot on block to stretch foot back until heel is completely on the floor. Hold until you feel stretched out and go to the other side. Repeat as many times as needed. Screen shot from "The Flexibility Formula - 4 Short Program Series and Bonus Picture Guide"

3. Quad stretch

Hold the wall or chair to balance. Then make sure knee is in line with the knee of the supporting leg and not in front of knee. Then grab foot with hand and bring it towards bottom, while tucking hips under. If it feels completely locked up drop it right back down to floor and immediately repeat until the quad start to release and allow the foot to come up higher.  Screen shot from course "Flexibility At Any Age"
 If you are having a difficult time, use the Stacey Stretch Strap to help pull leg up.

4. Hip Opener

My gift to you is my FREE 5-minute chair stretching and flexibility routine. You can do it from your hotel room, office, anywhere you a sturdy chair. In my 5-Minute Chair Flexibility Makeover: I demonstrate an effective way to heal and open the low back, outer hip, knee & clear sciatica pain. Grab your chair and follow along for this chair session.

Important: Protect your knees! Never ever press directly on knee, instead right under hip bone on very top on leg. Copyrighted material not to be reused without written permission.

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5. Hamstring Stretch

This video will show you how to increase flexibility for Achilles, calf and hamstrings.

Put stretch strap on from behind you and put a loop from each side on one foot, be sure to stretch the foot evenly by flexing the foot back don’t leave out the toes! Be aware of the foot caving in or turning out it needs to be aligned perfectly straight to fully benefit. If you don’t have a strap and are very tight lean the leg that is stretching against a chair or wall to hold it in 
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Using Stacey Stretch Strap, Stacey Posture Strap & Yoga Blocks

6. Straddle Stretch

In this video I show how to stretch the hip flexors, grion and strengthen the inner thighs and core which is needed because that muscle does not get used as much as other areas. It can be done without the strap. If very inflexible scoot close to the wall and put your legs up and let the wall to support the legs just stay there and if you can handle more do this exercise sliding legs down and up the wall. 

If using the Stacey Stretch Strap put 1 strap (or 2 for the more advanced to double the stretch and resistance) and pick the loop with the right level of tension and put one on the foot and do the same with the other foot.  Do not do the double bounce to use momentum to get legs up together as shown in video
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7. Splits

The splits or (over-splits for the more advanced) should only be done after being completely stretched out. In this video I show the proper way to practice splits training.
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Flexibility the fountain of youth

To become more flexible, you must stretch, and it should be an integral part of any workout routine. Stretching lengthens your muscles and improves the range of motion of your joints, allowing you to move more freely and with less risk of injury. But flexibility is also useful in everyday life by making chores like bending to scoop up a dropped pen or stooping to tie a shoelace easier to do. Regular stretching can help improve flexibility, as well as range of motion in your joints, if you are new to exercising, start slow and gradually build up the intensity of your workouts regularly.

Do you find it difficult to touch your toes? Struggling to tie your shoes, put on socks, and perform other activities you used to take for granted when you were younger? Stretching will help you regain lost flexibility by lengthening the muscles that are shortened and atrophied during the aging process.

See Best Way to Increase Flexibility

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What's your level? Flexibility Master Class Series

Setting up your flexibility training area:

The best flexibility aids to safely increase flexibility

Matt:
The back doesn’t like a hard floor

Area with some clear wall space (walls and chair provide support)

Yoga Blocks:

There’s no reason to skip out on a deeper stretch or the perfect yoga pose just because your flexibility isn’t quite there yet. Yoga blocks are one of the most useful accessories for beginners, but even advanced yogis love using yoga blocks for support in poses where it's needed. These are ecofriendly soft foam yoga blocks

Stacey Posture Strap:
The Posture Strap can be used by anyone. The benefits include better posture, decreased stress and tension, less joint and muscle pain, greater energy, increased breathing capacity, great for frozen shoulder and torn rotator cuff. All you need to do is slip it on, cross the straps in back, pull it up and feel your body begin to straighten as you control the tightness with the Velcro. With regular use your shoulders will shift back giving you a taller, straighter appearance. Good posture is the body language of confidence and health.

 

Stacey Stretch Strap:

I cannot stress enough what an effective tool the strap is to increase flexibility, range of motion, and improves recovery of the muscles. Efficient way to stretch your upper and lower body with clean alignment to create new muscle memory. When I researched the market, I found the straps to be lacking in the essential elements of the correct level of resistance, tension. It also needed to be soft yet strong enough material to not painfully dig into skin and with the correct length and number of loops to suits all ages & heights. So, I created it myself! My customers say it is the BEST STRETCHING STRAP ON THE MARKET! This custom designed stretch strap will provide you support needed to help stretch further than you ever thought possible, and fast.

 

Calf Master Stretcher:

The Bob will increase speed, strength, ankle mobility, and vertical jump. It strengthens and stretches muscles, tendons, ligaments, helps treat plantar fasciitis, and is the ultimate lower leg solution. This simple, yet effective, device will relieve your pain in no time. It also strengthens and tones the calves, as well as trains your core.

No matter how much you stretch, sore muscles and Achilles’s tendons can hold you back. But there’s an innovative way to stretch every muscle in your lower body with this Calf Stretcher.

Whatever the fitness levels, the calf stretcher can be used by anyone. You can target your calf muscles at both ends of their stretch range. Target your Achilles tendon as well as the back of the knee to aid post workout recovery.  What is differentiates this calf master is that rocks back and forth to also work your core while delivering an excellent stretch to your calf muscles. It also improves vertical jump height, clears shin splits, and helps clear tender Achilles, foot, and lower leg pain.

Stretch before or after workout:

Despite the claims that stretching before a workout is not recommended, after working with athletes for thirty years and myself as a professional martial artist I have experienced otherwise. If you are performing a sport, martial arts or dance that requires an extreme range of motion stretching beforehand will allow better performance with good alignment and help prevent serious tears and injuries. If using elliptical or stationary bike or a less demanding workout as far as requiring a lot of flexibility stretching after while body is warm is highly beneficial.

My flexibility training programs are a workout within themselves it is good to take days just training with my intensive courses are their own

Held back by lack of flexibility

If you go to dance class, cheerleader practice, martial arts class or most classes involving physical activity there is usually not a solution based effective flexibility training routine offered. Over the last three decades of my career this has been an all-too-common issue.

Many times, these instructors tell the student they will never be flexible, leaving them devastated. Only because the coach truly does not know how to help the student safely increase flexibility

What you can do now – Get the right program for your exact needs. If you are beginner an advanced flexibility program will not serve you. If you have aches and pains get a program that helps, clear those issues. Train mindfully everyone progresses at a different rate. However, if you are progressing it means you are doing the right program correctly.

Results during my flexibility training session via Skype with ballet dancer Paloma

 Flexibility benefits everyone

You don’t have to be a dancer or yogi to benefit from the best stretches. The above stretches are the perfect way to increase flexibility for all ages. Learn how to stretch to increase flexibility and decrease the risk of injuries, including hamstring stretches, stretches for runners and more. Regular stretching the right way will help improve posture, circulation, muscle recovery, range of motion, clear aches, pains, reduce stress, increase energy and sleep better.

Flexibility is the ability of the joints to move freely through their full range of motion. Young athletes growing thru growth spurts desperately need to bring the body into balance with flexibility training as well as those speeding up the aging process from inactivity and hunched over posture. The good news is that anyone of any age can improve their flexibility by consistently doing stretches at home. This can be a life changing opportunity!

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