How do I get flexible fast?

By December 16, 2018Advice, Safety

We’re going to tell you how to get flexible in three easy steps! Just follow the guide below and you’ll be flexible in no time at all!

This is becoming a common clickbait line on social media. But at what cost?

A good number of blog posts, youtube tutorials and Instagram post profess to be able to help you with gaining flexibility in the fastest way possible. With social media bursting at the seams of beautifully photographed, mind-bending poses it’s hard not to want a piece of that action for yourself. This goes for a large chunk of those interested in circus arts, contortion or flexibility as many people follow these guides as their main source of training. Unfortunately these approaches can ultimately leave your training hollow, without a true understanding of what their body is doing and how to work with it.

Common claims

Get your splits in one day!

This is a pretty ridiculous to claim for anyone except those that are hypermobile. While the splits would be considered an intermediate level pose, they are still an essential part of a good foundation for contortion training. Learning strong, true splits takes longer than a day. These tutorials can often leave people feeling discouraged that they aren’t making the fast progress that was claimed when they started watching.

Things to watch out for

In tutorials that are making this claim, take a closer look at a few things that might be telltale signs that they’re not the best source of coaching.

Firstly, are they very young? It’s an obvious fact that in youth our body is much more flexible than when we get older. Also younger contortionists that have this natural flexibility probably don’t fully understand how their own body works, let alone be able to teach the masses on the internet.

Secondly is form. Are their hips square? Are they arching a lot in their lower back? These are telltale signs of rushing into splits and not taking the time for correct technique. Having un-square hips can put unnecessary stress on your hamstrings and can also cause you to have limitations in your backbending later on. Something else to watch out for is the fact that the person leading the tutorial may already be very naturally flexible and potentially doesn’t understand the methods of training that someone without natural flexibility is more suited to.

What to do instead

Accept that your splits aren’t going to come to you in a day in 99% of cases

Be smart about your training, find out what is your limiting factor? Is it your hamstrings, or is it your hip flexors? Or perhaps both areas that are stopping you getting your splits

Once you’ve figured out which areas need work, focus on them until they start to see improvement.

Re-asses what needs to be worked on and then change your focus and repeat

Get insane flexibility fast!

This is another common claim that you see people making. Promises of deep flexibility in a short period of time are also something to be taken with a pinch of salt. This is especially true when it involves backbending. There is no quick solution to advanced flexibility training, unfortunately it is that simple.

Things to watch out for

Tutorials that suggest that you can get very deep backbends, or over 180 degree oversplits in a very short period of time. This is simply not now it works. In the same way that strength and balance take time to hone, so does flexibility. Tutorials that tell you otherwise are unfortunately misleading.

What to do instead

Set your expectations in a realistic way. If you’re a beginner, look at the basics poses and master those before moving on. There are progressions for everything and there is no shame in not being able to do something, that is what training is for!

“Basic” Contortion

Videos that show very advanced poses and tricks under the guise of being “basic” tricks. These can be demotivating to those that aren’t already at that level. Social media makes it very easy to compare yourself against others. This can be motivating, but also it can be very demotivating if you’re just starting out! Remember that like all things, flexibility training is a process. What is basic to someone that is naturally flexible, may not be basic to you. Remember that is fine. Everyone has to start somewhere.

Things to watch out for

Videos, blogs or tutorials that define “Basic” as something that is very much not. Take a look at the Contortion Poses page to get an idea of what would be considered Intermediate or Advanced if you’re unsure.

What do do instead

Keep your eye on your own training and don’t worry about the level that other people are at. Trying things you’re not ready for can be dangerous and discouraging. Work your way through poses at your own pace. Contortion isn’t a race!