With so much emphasis put on contracting your muscles and pushing them to the limits with weightlifting and cardio workouts, people often forget just how important it is to loosen up your muscles and stretch them out before and after your regular workouts.
Here, we’re going to go over why flexibility workouts are so important, what types of balance and flexibility exercises you can do, and how you can get started.
Why are flexibility workouts important?
Stretching and flexibility exercises are a staple of most athletic training programs, and it’s common wisdom that proper stretching routines can keep your muscles pliable during intense workouts, reducing post-workout soreness and lowering the risk of injury.
A 2005 study verified what most exercisers already believed, showing that proper stretching and flexibility workouts can reduce muscle soreness post-workout and can reduce the risk of muscle injury by 5%. While the injury risk reduction is not particularly big in the general population, people who are especially inflexible or hyperflexible have been shown to have a significant increase in injury risk, and a long-term stretching regimen may be able to prevent those extremes of flexibility.
Balance and flexibility exercises are particularly important for older-aged adults as balance is crucial to reduce the risk of falling, a major cause of death and injury for seniors. Maintaining a flexibility routine throughout your life can help prevent fall-related injury and death by keeping your balance in tip-top shape even as your flexibility starts to naturally decrease as you age.
Flexibility exercises can also help ease joint pain whether its from injuries or disease such as rheumatoid arthritis.
Who should add balance and flexibility exercises into their workouts?
Flexibility training isn’t just for gymnasts, dancers, seniors, or women. Whether you’re a bodybuilder or a yoga practitioner, flexibility training can help you achieve your fitness goals and reach peak performance in any physical discipline. Indeed, the American College of Sports Medicine recommends that everyone include at least two to three days of stretching into their regular exercise routine.
Best balance and flexibility exercises
If you’re ready to make flexibility a core part of your workout, here are five exercises to help you get started.
This is a variation on the classic “touch your toes” stretch. Start with your knees slightly bent and your feet at hip-width. Bend forward as if you’re going to touch your toes, and then reach behind your legs and place your hands on the back of your legs. Hold this position for 30 to 45 seconds, bend your knees slightly, and release.
Lay flat on your stomach with your head touching the mat, both hands at your sides, and your feet pointed straight behind you. Contract your abs and lift your head and upper chest off the mat. Return to the resting position and repeat this motion for 10 to 12 reps.
Lift your heel towards your glute and grab your foot once its near hip height. Pull the foot towards your glute to stretch your quad, then lower it and repeat with the other foot. If you need help balancing, you can hold onto a chair or bar with your free hand.
This exercise is geared more towards seniors, but those who are new to working out may find it a useful addition to their routine as well. Stand in front of a wall at just about arm’s length and lean towards it until your hands make contact. Bend at the elbows to bring your body closer to the wall. Once you’re close to the wall, push back out to bring yourself back to the starting position.
Sit in a chair with your right ankle crossed over your left knee. Push down on your right knee until you feel a stretch in your hip. Leaning on your right knee will produce a deeper stretch.
How to get started with a flexibility workout
You don’t need to spend thousands of dollars on a home gym or pay for an expensive gym membership to get started with flexibility workouts.
With Tream, you can get instant access to hundreds of free online flexibility workouts for men and women from top trainers, no signup required.
Finding a workout that fits your needs is easy with our convenient search feature that lets you find trainers using tags and categories. Filter videos by release date, popularity, and recommendation, and make a playlist of your favorite workouts so you can come back to them whenever you like.
Once you’ve found a trainer you click with, follow them so you can get notified every time they post a new workout video. If you have any questions about your workout, just send them a direct message, and you’ll get a notification when they respond.
But Tream doesn’t just bring the trainer into your living room — it brings the whole class too! Join our community and comment on your favorite videos to connect with other users, share tips, ask and answer questions, and motivate each other to break new personal records and hit new milestones.
Unlike a traditional fitness class, Tream runs around your schedule, allowing you to squeeze in a workout whenever you have a quick break in your busy lifestyle. Plus, our mobile-friendly app makes it easy to take your workout on the go.
Ready to get in shape with flexibility workouts from top trainers? Plop down a mat and check out our full selection of balance and flexibility exercise videos to get started, absolutely no sign up required.
Disclaimer: The content on this website is never intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider for any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.