You know that feeling you get right after you killed your workout?
Your ego says you’ve done a good job, you’ve done something most people can’t nor ever will be able to do.
Meanwhile, you see some kids playing around, not even attempting to do anything.
Hanging, jumping, running.
Doing side splits, bridges and deep squats. Effortlesly. Almost making it seem like it shouldn’t be an issue for you.
So you try it.
After trying it for a while -with the I’m-taking-a-shit-look on your face- you realize you can’t do any of that ‘kid-stuff’.
‘Ouch’ that hurts. Not only your body, but also your ego.
You can’t even touch your toes with straight legs, let alone grab a coin. Every time you try it, you feel like you just turned 50 years older as you come up in a slow and agoninzing way with a pain ridden face.
How is it possible that those kids without any training or visible strength are able to do more stuff than you?
They have something you’ve lost. Flexibility.
Here is how you can start getting it back.
Primary goal: Shoulder flexibility and health
1. Grab a stick as wide as you need to with an overhand grip at hip height. The palm of your hand facing away.
2. Completely lock your elbows. Make the movement you would make if you would try to snap the stick in half, that will cause your arms to rotate outwards and your elbows to rotate outward as well.
3. Move the stick over your head, while keeping your elbows locked and keeping a firm grip with your fingers. There shouldn’t be any space between the stick and your hand/fingers.
4. Move the stick until your reach your lower back/butt. Make sure you still have a firm grip.
5. Move your stick back until you end at your starting position. Tip: pushing your shoulder blades towards each other as firmly as possible will both benefit your overall strength and make this movement more fluid.
6. Repeat this for 10 times. 1 repetition of this move should take about 4 seconds.
7. Combine this with some hanging for the best results. If this is not clear, make sure you check out this video tutorial.
Note: If you are unable to keep your elbows straight. Try an elastic band or get a stick which is larger in size. If you have a history of shoulder injuries, read How To Cure And Prevent Shoulder Injuries first.
Primary goal: Shoulder joint and connective tissue strength and flexibility.
1. Grab the bar with an overhand grip. Palms facing away.
2. Completely relax the shoulders and allow your body to hang.
3. Keep your head between your arms.
4. Hold for 60 seconds.
Note: Hanging is by far the best exercise to recover from 99% of shoulder injuries. Most of these injuries are caused by lack of flexibility in the shoulder joint which in turn leads to both elbow and wrist issues. This is very common in calisthenics, yet easiliy preventable.
Primary goal: Hip and hamstring flexibility and overall leg strength.
1. Place your feet around 2 feet beyond shoulder width. Point your toes forward as much as possible.
2. Tilt your pelvis forward as much as possible. This means pointing your chest forward and your butt backward, which will give you a hollow lower back.
3. From this position go down as low as possible while at the same time keeping that back arched. You will discover a point at which you will have the tendency to tilt your pelvis backward, push on a little bit more without losing form.
4. Place a stick on your upper legs. The stick should be laying on your legs horizontally (You can also do it without a stick, but you can use the stick as a game). Keep pushing your knees outwards.
5. Hold this for 60 seconds. At the end of 60 seconds, contract your butt muscles and come up slowly. After that prepare to feel like an 80-year old person for 5 seconds. It’s fun ;).
6. Try this with a group of friends or bros. If the stick drops you lose, but keep going for the full 60 seconds or longer. Make it a challenge.
Primary goal: Lower back strength, flexibility and to open up the chest for back bridges.
1. Lay flat on the floor.
2. Bring your heels to your butt.
3. Grab your ankles with your hands.
4. Lift up your butt from the ground as high as possible, while at the same time pushing your chest upward.
5. Keep the back of your head and both of your feet flat on the ground and strongly contract your lower back and butt.
6. Hold this for 60 seconds.
Simple Crucial Workout Routine To Increase Basic Flexibility
If you are wondering why you should do this stuff, I’ll be clear: “Your body needs flexibility as much as it needs strength.”
More precise, real strength cannot exsist without flexibility and vice versa.
Add this to your weekly routine based upon your needs for flexibility in specific areas.
If you want to make this into a complete routine, here is the the full calisthenics flexibility workout plan:
- 60 second hang
- 10 shoulder dislocations
- 60 second spine stretch
- 60 second horse stance
Repeat 5 rounds.
Is It Realistic For You To Expect Fast Increases In Your Flexibility?
I won’t beat around the bush…
That would be like putting a 3 year old kid in a Power Wheels car and expecting him to win a formula 1 race.
But here is the thing.
If you do it on a consistent basis, you will definitely get there.
Of course you might not have realized that there is more to strength than just power or muscles.
You might have thought that doing the advanced moves is all about power, just increasing the number of pull ups or push ups and then simply doing it.
Strength consists of more than just big muscles or power.
Most people are blinded by aesthetics and they lose sight of what will actually make them stronger. Flexibility.
You might not believe this, but you can actually do a side split, you can do a front split.
Your brain just doesn’t trust you in that position any more, because you aren’t exploring your ranges of motion fully (source). This has very little to do with actual muscle or tendon length.
Now you know.
If you can’t move like a kid, but have the power of a beast you are limiting yourself.
Play more. Practice grabbing a coin with straight legs from the floor. Be a kid.
Beast mode ON!