It’s been quite a while since I provided you with an update on the old flexibility quest, and to be honest I wouldn’t blame you for thinking I had packed the whole thing in altogether and accepted my fate as a pole dancer who is about as bendy as a dog shit that has been left out in the sun for a week. Well thankfully this is not the case, and I am neither a dog shit nor ridiculously stiff anymore as you can see from the photos above- fuck yeah!
I am definitely not as flexy as I would like to be in any way, shape or form (yet) but I am slowly chipping away at it and have noticed slight changes in my body as a result. Yes in all honesty I do need to dedicate more time to stretching , especially my back and shoulders (don’t we all) but attending a fabulous weekly splits class is legit paying off at long last.
Anyway, as someone who has been on a holy pilgrimage to flexy land for almost two years, I thought I would share my top tips for anyone who is on or about to embark on their flexibility journey, or like me has been on it for a while. Tips that I could do with a bit of a reminder on myself sometimes!
This shit takes time!
Patience is a virtue as they say and this sentence is oh so relevant to those of us on our flexibility journey, as fuck me it feels like it takes forever to get bendy! Well it does for me anyway. As someone who isn’t naturally bendy and had pretty much zero dance or gymnastic background (apart from the odd few ballet lessons from the ages of six and nine), getting my stretch on again at the ripe old age of 28 felt like a bloody impossible task I can tell you. Everything was stiff, sore, tender and stretching propelled me into a whole world of hurt. However, after the first few weeks of stretching at least once a week, I did start to notice small improvements in my flexibility. Trust me on your bendy Wendy mission please don’t be disheartened if it takes weeks if not months for you to see results. Unless you have a natural aptitude for it (you lucky, lucky bastard) then getting bendy is going to take some serious time. And effort.
Consistency is key…
Practice makes perfect and all that jazz, and nothing could be more accurate when it comes to getting bendy. Obviously the more time you focus on your stretching routine properly the better you will get. I must confess that for the past month I have been a right lazy prick and only stretched once a week, which along with the month off I had in December has hampered my progression. So last week I managed an additional 15 minutes of stretching after a run as well as my 45 minute stretch class, and fucking hell that piddly 15 minutes actually made a difference and has been a big motivator for me to stretch on a more than weekly basis.
…but something is better than nothing!
We are all busy people at the end of the day- with jobs, families and social lives at the very least that demand our attention. Unless you’ve got plenty of free time, the majority of us can’t stretch for hours daily as much as we would love to, but even stretching for 15 minutes twice a week is better than doing fuck all, believe me I know. Trying to slot in some stretching time into your schedule when you have the free time to do so is a good start, even if that is only for half an hour a week to start with. Never underestimate the power of getting even a few precious minutes of stretching in!
Get a cracking teacher and go to their class religiously
Holy shit this is probably the best little golden nugget of advice I can think of when it comes to taking your stretching game to the next level. Since June I have attended a bloody incredible “100% Splits” stretch class at my beloved second home Maya Dance and Fitness and shit the bed I have noticed such a big difference not only in my own flexibility but in my class mates too. Our teacher Eloise really puts us through our paces with a shitload of intense stretches that open up and elongate everything, apart from my pain threshold! Since attending this class all three of my splits have been the lowest they have ever been, and my fellow Thursday stretching crew are busting out oversplits galore. You’d be amazed at how a decent, disciplined stretch class where there is nowhere to hide during a 30 second split hold challenge ups your bendy game, as opposed to casually sitting in a half-arse straddle in front of the TV.
Lastly, absolutely do not compare yourself to others on your bendy quest
You don’t know what their background is, simple as that. Staring in the peculiar yet common mixture of awe and envy at your classmate because they can execute a three block over-split and beating yourself up internally because you cannot (yet) get your calf down is going to do nothing but put you in a right shitter of a mood. They may very well have a natural ability for all things flexy, or have a previous dance or gymnastics background, or even have more free time to train than you do. Comparing yourself to other folk who are working on their flexibility is only going to piss you off. This is not to be confused however with asking your friends for advice and tips on how to they stretch, as you might be able to acquire some cracking advice, but straight up giving yourself a hard time because you’re not as flexible as one of your friends is a big no no.
Do you have any cracking words of advice for those of us on our flexibility journeys? If so please be a total G and drop them in the comments!