The three Greatest Flexibility Workouts: The Final Information to Bettering Flexibility in 30 Days
You're here because you want to learn how to improve your flexibility.
Well you have come to the right place!
We tackled flexibility issues in our Nerd Fitness Journey app. Today we are going to share with you the same exercises that we use to improve general mobility.
If you've always considered yourself "inflexible" this is what you need!
Here's what we're going to cover today:
I promise if you follow the videos in our guide you will be more flexible in 30 days.
What are the 3 best flexibility exercises? (Intro and benchmark test)
The above video is from Nerd Fitness Prime and starts our 30-day challenge "Flexibility for the inflexible".
In it, nerd fitness coach Matt discusses the three best exercises for improving flexibility:
- The toe touch
- The back scraper
- The butterfly range
Now let's go through each of these steps.
# 1) Toe touch
To perform a standing toe touch:
- Stand up straight with your legs hip-width apart. You want your legs to be straight, but you also don't aggressively lock out your knees (this feels like a "microbend" to many people).
- Start by bending over with your quads (in front of your legs) and leaning forward towards the floor.
- Let your body rest naturally, like you were a rag doll. Keeping your hands relatively close together, straighten your fingers, and slowly begin to stretch yourself towards the floor.
The goal here will ultimately be to touch your toes.
We also have a full guide on how to finally touch your toes to learn more.
# 2) Scratch back
How to do a back scraper:
- Get into a comfortable seat (or stand) with your torso and back high.
- Put your thumbs in your fist.
- Put your right hand behind your head, back over your shoulder. Reach the center of your back as far as you can with the palm of your hand.
- Your other arm (left) will go back and up with your palm facing away. Reach toward your upper hand with this hand (do not strain).
- Switch arms and reverse the moment.
Over time, we will work to bring your hands closer together.
# 3) butterfly stretch
To do a butterfly stretch:
- Take a seat with your legs pointing in front of you.
- Bring both front feet together with the floors touching by bending your knees away from each other.
- Grasp both feet with your hands, with your elbows falling towards your knees (they don't need to be touching).
- Keep your back straight and let your knees drop down (if they can, don't force it).
The goal here is to get your knees lower and your feet closer to your groin, but don't fret if this is challenging. Even Coach Matt has problems with butterfly routes.
Why these three exercises?
Coach Matt describes the toe touch, the back scratch and the butterfly stretch as "benchmarks".
If you have decent mobility in these three exercises, you are likely to be fairly flexible.
Improving them will be our mission for the next 30 days!
Each week, Coach Matt offers three different video routines with exercises that target those specific benchmarks.
In week 1 you will find a video for:
- Toe touch
- Back scratches
- Butterfly extends
You can create these videos all at once if you want, or split them up throughout your week.
Maybe you do a routine Monday, Wednesday, and then Friday.
We'll end this guide with some tips for starting a repetitive exercise.
At the end of our 4 week streak we will check in to see how everything goes.
Here's what you need to do now: Make a note of where you are with these steps.
- How far can you go down with your toe touch?
- How far apart are your hands while you are scratching your back?
- How close are your feet and how high are your knees during the butterfly stretch?
In the introductory video above, Coach Matt recommends a few ways to measure these benchmarks, but subjective tracking would also be useful:
"On a scale of 1 to 10, this step was difficult so I would give it an 8."
Don't forget about this initial chase even if you don't have a tape measure. Just go through the initial benchmark tests as best you can.
Before we dive into the series itself, let's discuss some general tips and tricks for improving flexibility.
Tips and tricks for more flexibility
First and foremost, all bodies are different.
You may have a lot of freedom of movement in your back scraper, but you can't get much range when you touch your toe. Or maybe you're like Coach Matt, where butterfly stretches are a challenge.
Our goal here is to improve YOUR flexibility. On the first day we all have different mobility areas.
We all have to start somewhere, so don't stress if you feel inflexible …
… That's why you're reading this guide.
No matter what, as you go through this process, you will learn more about your body and develop tools to increase your range of motion.
Next Up …
Coach Matt points out two general ways to increase your flexibility:
- Function. This is your technique and your awareness of your flexibility. Think of this as maximizing the potential of your current body.
- Structure. This would be your body itself and the range of motion of muscles, tendons, etc. Structure is about changing your body itself through these flexibility exercises.
They are unlikely to increase the structural flexibility of your body after a stretching session. These things take time
However, you can very well increase your flexibility by improving your function or technique. As you go through the videos, Coach Matt gives instructions on how to position your body for the correct stretch.
This alone can very well increase your freedom of movement.
We'll also be using three special movement tools to improve flexibility:
# 1) Active range of motion
This would fluidly perform the full movement of an exercise.
So a normal body weight squat would be an active range of motion if you were to do all of the movement:
When you go all the way down and back up on your squat, your muscles are consistently exercised evenly.
# 2) impulses
This movement involves stopping at a specific point in an exercise, e.g. B. on the floor of a squat, and slowly and in a controlled manner pulse gently up and down:
You really only move about an inch for your impulses here.
In this way, you can gain control over that particular area.
# 3) Holds
As the name suggests, this is where you hold the position at a specific point in the exercise.
For example, for your squats, you can take a break at the end of the movement:
This can help you increase stability during a given route.
Over the course of the next four weeks we will use a combination of active range of motion, impulses and hold points to increase your flexibility.
And so on week 1!
How to improve your flexibility: Week 1
In our first week, Coach Matt will start us slowly.
This is about learning the basics of movement.
To increase flexibility, it is often important to set up the stretch properly.
We'll start by teaching you the basics.
Toe Touch Week 1:
Back Scratch Week 1:
Butterfly series week 1:
How to improve your flexibility: Week 2
This week we will identify the edge of your flexibility.
We will not try too hard or try too hard, but we will use our breath as a sign of difficulty.
The goal here is to understand how flexible you actually are (you can potentially go further than you think).
However, as Coach Matt will keep reminding you, DO NOT DO IT if it feels unsafe!
Toe Touch Week 2:
Back Scratch Week 2:
Butterfly series week 2:
How to improve your flexibility: Week 3
Week 3 is about exploring and expanding your flexibility exercises.
We're going to test your movements and think about how you can get a little off the rails here and there.
In our third round of practice, you begin to change, adjust, and re-mix the movements to increase your range of motion.
With flexibility, some creativity can be a good thing that you will focus on at this stage.
Toe Touch Week 3:
Back scratch week 3:
Butterfly series week 3:
How to improve your flexibility: Week 4
The last week of Flexibility for the Inflexible is all about building strength.
Muscles help you maintain and expand mobility positions. That's why this week Coach Matt covers exercises designed to combine strength with flexibility.
We're even going to mix some weights into your routine here.
Toe Touch Week 4:
Back Scratch Week 4:
Butterfly series week 4:
Next steps to become more flexible
The video above is a "re-cap party" with Coach Matt that ends the 30 days of flexibility for the inflexible challenge we ran for Nerd Fitness Prime members.
Let's go over some highlights.
# 1) Test and keep testing your flexibility benchmarks.
What is measured is improved. So keep tracking your toe touch, back scratch, and butterfly stretch.
Remember, these tests don't have to be an accurate measurement rounded to the nearest millimeter (although you must if you want to).
Instead, they can be subjective:
"This is really tough, I can't get my knees down at all."
"I could probably sit like this for 15 minutes."
Don't worry about how accurate your measurements are, just write down how these stretches feel. It helps us know if you are improving.
# 2) Use your breath as a guide.
Breathing can often be a signal for excretion values:
- When your breathing is calm and normal, what you are doing is within your comfort zone.
- If you snort and puff a lot, or even hold your breath, you are probably too strenuous.
As Coach Matt points out, you shouldn't push too far beyond your comfort zone during your agility exercises.
Yes, we should find your advantage, but we also want you to feel in control during your stretches so that you can really "own" the movement.
If you need to catch your breath, it could be a sign that you have gone too far.
Pay attention to your breathing during our flexibility exercises.
# 3) You don't have to stretch every day.
You've probably noticed that we've provided three 20 minute videos a week to give you greater flexibility.
This was by design because you don't have to stretch every day to increase your range of motion.
To be honest, you don't even have to do 20-minute sequences three times a week to improve flexibility. Even just 10 minutes of agility exercises several times a week can improve your mobility.
Just make it a habit.
To that end, you can keep following the videos in this guide or I have some other resources for you to check out.
Here are three more guides to improving your flexibility:
- 21 yoga poses for beginners. Yoga can be a great exercise to improve your flexibility. If you've never tried it before, check out our guide. We offer video sequences for beginners. So don't worry if you have no idea what a downward facing dog is. We'll teach you.
- Three full body stretching routines to cool you down. After a workout, a good stretch can be the perfect way to lower your heart rate. Our guide gives you three different routines to do after your workout (or whenever) so that you can improve your flexibility.
- So touch your toes. Since the toe touch is the yardstick for seeing how flexible you are, we have a complete guide on how to get there. If you have always dreamed of reaching your little pigs, start here.
The most important thing you can do now?
You don't get more flexible reading articles online. So pick a sequence from today and get started!
Start with that Flexibility for the inflexible First week videos if you're not sure where to start.
If you like our style here at Nerd Fitness, I have three great ways you can continue your journey with us:
Option 1) If you want a professional coach in your pocket who can do video form reviews, provide feedback, and tailor your training to suit your experience, check out our 1-on-1 online coaching program!
Let's say you have an old injury and haven't been able to do any of our flexibility exercises. A nerd fitness coach can work with you to create a routine tailored to your exact situation.
Personally, I've been working with the same online coach since 2015 and that has changed my life. You can learn more by clicking the box below:
Our coaching program changes your life. Learn how!
Option 2) work out at home and need a plan to follow? Check out Nerd Fitness Journey!
Our fun habit-building app will help you exercise more, eat healthier, and (literally) improve your life.
Plus, you can participate in Flexibility Challenges along with a group of nerds who are all trying to improve themselves!
Try your free trial here:
Option 3) Be part of the rebellion! We need good people like you in our community, the Nerd Fitness Rebellion.
Sign up in the box below to sign up and receive ours Rebel starter kit, including all of our guides who work out from home.
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Okay, now I want to hear from you!
Have you tried our "Flexibility for the Inflexible" series?
Did you find any of the exercises easier or more difficult than the others?
Any tips or tricks to help the "inflexible"?
Let me know in the comments!
P.S. Personally, I have found that practicing yoga is incredibly helpful in improving my mobility. We have an entire class on starting yoga at home as part of Nerd Fitness Prime.
I would love if you check it out.
Photo source: Evgeniy Pavlovski © 123RF.com, LEGO Marvel Avengers, Teenage Mutant Ninja Trooper, Maybe the droids we're looking for are at the bottom of this pool. Hold on to your hat, Monkey King