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Felix Leech

How Does Balance Get You Flexible?

How Does Balance Get You Flexible?
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Balance is all areas of life, we hear it all the time.
It’s also important in getting flexible, in a slightly different way. Here’s how.
When you want to get flexible the most important thing is relax. You know that already.
The easiest way NOT to relax is to lose your balance. When you’re about to fall over your body kicks off an adrenaline response, tensing up in preparation for a collision with the floor. After all, who wants to fall on their face?
Unfortunately this is not helpful when you’re stretching, especially if you’re a foot from the floor.
 
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The remedy?
– Start with something to hold. This can be a partner, yoga block, sofa, whatever you have to hand. Preferably not your pet cat as it will run away.
– Over time your balance will improve. Balance is a learned skill, like agility or strength. The more you do stretches that test your balance, the less you will need a support.
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Yoga involves a lot of movements that require balance. It not only develops your balance but also makes holding these stretches easier as your balance improves.
So like any smart student, we cheat and copy what works in yoga and use it to get flexible even faster. And you’re well away.
Come to flexibility class for your dose of improved balance for your Crossfit and gymnastics.
Or for even faster results book a 1-1 session with Felix for free on
M: 07504142211
E: felix@superflexcoaching.com

Does Stretching Make You Weaker?

Will stretching make me weaker?

– by Felix Leech

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This question comes up a lot. Will stretching make my muscles weaker ? And if I get flexible, will I decrease my strength?
It’s a great question. And yes, after stretching particularly hard we all feel that jelly like, almost weakened feeling. But there are ways around it.
The first is timing your stretching and doing the right kind at the right time.
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When warming up, keep it to dynamic (moving) stretches and mobility exercises. Now if you’re used to warming up with static stretches, don’t worry, everyone does it.
But there’s a few reasons why static stretches are less effective. Muscles that are over stretched are less able to output power, for a short period.
While they are longer they are also more prone to injury – not so good if you do a high impact sport. Dynamic stretches are better for keeping blood around the body and brain, giving you that ‘buzzed’ feeling.
Save your static stretches for post workout, as well as PNF and partner stretching.
The other secret to staying strong AND flexible is active flexibility. Active flexibility is using your own muscular strength to stretch – for example when a dancer holds their leg in the air.
By doing active stretching after your main post workout stretch, you are engaging the muscles ‘waking them up’ after the relaxed period of stretching.
You’re also training your body to work at that new range of motion. Truth is, we think stretching makes us weaker but in fact we just haven’t built the strength in that range before.
This exercise is for building active flexibility in the legs:
Start out holding a support. Lift one leg out straight in front, hips facing forward. Hold for 10 seconds each leg.
Repeat on the first leg, although this time have a partner hold their hand under your foot while up in the air. Lift your leg out of their hand 10 times, aiming to move about 3 inches.
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Repeat this cycle, first holding then pulsing up and down, on the side and back leg extensions.
That’s it! Do this active flexibility work after you do a deep leg stretch and you won’t feel so jelly like, keeping some of the ‘strength.’ This can be adapted for other body part.
By combining this with some strength work in your new range of motion (eg deep squats) you really can be strong AND flexible.
Felix Leech, Crossfit London Flexibility Instructor
Improve your flexibility,  recovery rate & skillset, drop into a flexibility class this week
Or book a free Get Flexible 1-1 taster session with Felix by contacting felix@superflexcoaching.com / 07504142211

Ever Feel Like You Can't Be Bothered to Stretch?

Ever Feel Like You Can’t Be Bothered to Stretch?

– By Felix Leech

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“I know I should stretch more. But I don’t.”
Sound familiar? We’re all guilty of this from time to time. So where does this motivation come from that enables us to do the stretching, that we know will do us good?
Let’s look at why we do Crossfit inherently. There can be a multitude of reasons. Feel the buzz atmosphere of everyone working hard around you. Get fitter, stronger, in better shape. Learn new skills. Gain confidence. The social side.
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When looking at each individual session we don’t question it – we just go because that’s when the Crossfit is on. But key fact is, there’s a reason behind it.
Purpose. Purpose is the different between sitting on the couch watching TV and doing something amazing with your body. Purpose fills you with excitement, with energy, a lust to do more.
What’s your reason to stretch?
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Maybe you want to get flexible. Maybe you want to stop picking up injury after injury. Help recover from the ones you’ve got, the day to day pains. Make your everyday Crossfit movements less of a struggle.
Whatever it is, it’s YOUR reason. Know your reason. Hold it with pride at the top of your mind. Repeat it to yourself every time you stretch, or DON’T feel like stretching.
Stretching in itself is painful and boring. But you’re not stretching. You’re working towards a goal. One step closer to the better to the better Crossfit, the injury resistance, feeling 15 and not 50.
What is your Why?
Whatever it is, it’s your pathway to becoming an amazing new you – or wishing you had.
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KNOW You Should Stretch But Just Don't?

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We’ve all bad it. You get to the end of a workout, or a long day and your muscles are tight. You know you should stretch – but life gets in the way. You don’t feel like it.

What do you do?

The answer is accountability.

Having someone, like our Bethnal green Crossfit box to hold you accountable makes sure you get done what you need to.

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This can be a coach or a class you go to, or a friend or partner. One advantage of a class is group energy – doing something in an environment where others are doing the same makes it easier.

Whoever it is, tell them what you have to do, send them a message, tell them in person.

It doesn’t matter if they respond or not. I send messages to my accountability partner and just knowing I’ve told them makes me do it as I don’t want to admit I haven’t.

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So next time you say you ‘have to stretch,’ tell someone else and give them a date to follow up with you by. See how much YOU can get done.

Get your stretching you know you need done, come along to a flexibility class or if you’re serious about FAST results book a ‘Less Pains, More Gains’ get-flexible 1-1 on:
07504 142211
felix@superflexcoaching.com
Felix
Our classes are at the fantastic Crossfit London Bethnal green E2

What Shoulder Pain Exercises to Do For Crossfit

3 Tips For Shoulder Pain Exercises to Do For Crossfit

Do you get pain in your shoulders before or during lifting? Maybe some moves like snatches or overhead squats are impossible because of it?

Here are three tips to help relieve your shoulder pain to make it easier easier to lift and prevent further discomfort.

1. Diagnose

First step is to work out: how bad it is? Shoulders are complicated and serious injuries must be treated ASAP.

Ideally ask a physio or doctor friend who can give you a free once over. If it’s anything ligament- or tendon-related you are best to see a registered physiotherapist and do everything they say before moving on to step two. If the pain is just in the muscles, crack on:

2. Relieve

What exerciees can you do to relieve shoulder pain? Chances are pain will be from overuse or tight muscles so anything you can do to relax the muscle will help.

Start by doing some shoulder stretches after every Crossfit or weights session. This will ease out the scar tissue.  – you’ll learn some great examples in our flexibility classes.

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Adding in some foam roller work as well will help. Whatever you do:

  • Go light, especially while the shoulders are still sore
  • Get support. Seek the advice of someone who knows what they are doing as well as a partner to stretch with. Having someone else will ensure you don’t push yourself too far and can focus on easing your pain as fast as possible

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3. Prevent

Shoulder pain during and after sessions often comes from incomplete recovery. Make sure you stretch after every session as this is the biggest mistake people make – and you don’t want to be one of them.
Second thing you need to do is even out any imbalances, as chances are if you’re experiencing pain it’s from tight shoulders. Work on improving your shoulder flexibility consistently the bridge is ideal for this and looks cool as well!
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Anyone can get more flexible in the shoulders, no matter how tight you feel now, and once you do it will open up new possibilities and help you feel amazing in your sport and life.
So why not give it a try:
Come along to a flexibility class or if your serious about FAST results book a ‘Less Pains, More Gains’ get-flexible 1-1 on:
07504 142211
felix@superflexcoaching.com
 
Felix

Can you buy anything to make you flexible?

Is there anything you can buy or use to make you more flexible?

In short no.

Flexibility is one of those convenient pursuits – unlike cricket for example – that you can do all off your own bat.

That said, you can ‘tool up’ with a few things to make it easier and less painful.

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1. Pads

Knees are a funny animal. Plates, wires, connectors and who knows what that somehow are able to take several times our body weight. So it’s a good thing we look after them.

If you get pain while resting on your knee a pad is a useful add on.

This can be on you or one the floor – your choice. Thickness depends on the hardness of your floor and whether or not you use a mat. Or you could just embrace nature and use grass…

Pads also help for longer durations.

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2. Blocks. In this case blocks are used for balance, but they can also be used to hold if it hurts to put your hands flat on the floor.

Why would you want to hold onto a support? Being out of balance causes fear (no one wants to fall on their face) and a shot of adrenaline.

So if you want to hype yourself up,  fall over repeatedly.

Adrenaline however tenses up the muscles making it harder and more painful to get flexible. So balance is good.

If your stretch is deep enough, hold the floor, if not, hold supports high enough to keep you upright.

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Don’t be tempted to lean forwards to reach the floor though – in these particular examples you get the best flexibility gains keeping your shoulders over your hips.

Of course there are many more tools you can use to pimp your flexibility progress – but these are the two are my pick to start.

Felix

– Break through your limits with our tools at a flexibility classor if you’re Serious about getting flexible and pain free fast, book a 1-1 with me on

07504142211
felix@superflexcoaching.com

Fix Your Stiff Shoulders With The Bridge – King Of Stretches

Stiff shoulders? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. We can thank our industrial ancestors for our poor shoulder mobility, being shoved in front of a desk as soon as we’re able to speak.
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Luckily, there’s a remedy. In comes the bridge. Not only does this open up the shoulders, it builds the core, and is a great milestone for shoulder flexibility.
As with all streches – and any goal in fact – we work things up one step at a time.

  1. Warm up your shoulders with some mobility exercises – you’ll learn some examples in our flexibility shoulders class.

After your shoulders are opened out a bit, you’re ready to take the bridge for a test drive.
All bridges start in the prep position. Hands by your ears, heals at your backside.
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For the first progression, grab hold of a partners ankles – less of an ask for your wrists and adds stability. If your shoulders need some work start with your partners legs wide.
We’ve got a bonus here – your partner can hold your shoulders to take some of the weight.
Lazy!
But good lazy. Once your elbows are straight and shoulders up enough you can let the support go.
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Now we’re onto the floor. Same prep position. The closer together your feet and your hands the harder it gets.
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A partner can again support your shoulders/neck/lower back etc – but by this stage you should be OK on your own.
 
That’s it! Head over to flex class for ml ore progressions and pointers on why your bridge might not be working.
Til then, stay chilled, go with the flow and keep up that little-&-often stretching.
 

Listen and Your Gains Speak For Themselves

Listen to your body.

It’s the one thing we athletes hate to hear.

“What do you mean I have to take a week off training?”

“Training too hard? But otherwise I’ll never make the comp next week!”

But there are some times when listening to your body, and with the partner you work with, will send your results sky flying.

 Calm

Getting flexible is a perfect example. You’ll remember in a previous post we talked about how ego is your worst enemy in flexibility. If you want to get flexible, you need to ignore that voice in your head saying, “just push a little further, we’re almost there.”

That’s where listening to your body is a great help. Here’s what you do:

  1. Go into your stretch, hopeful, optimistic, expecting to go further than before – but not worrying if you don’t. Not being ATTACHED to a result.
  2. Keep calm. Carry on. If your body wants to move, let it move. If not, just go with it, relax, wait until you get that signal.
  3. If you’re going into a deeper stretch and your body tells you to stop, listen. Slow down, ease off, stop, come out if you have to. Remember it’s not just doing things that make us flexible but not doing things that make us inflexible.

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Same goes if you’re the partner stretching someone else. Your partner might look calm, in control, making good progress. You want them to go further, for their sake as much as anything.
This is where communication is key. You as the partner doesn’t know how they are feeling. Get them to talk with you, give you feedback. If they reach their max, go with it. Calling quits saves injuries, pulled muscles and leaves you both fighting for another day.
Flexibility comes bit by bit

So remember:

  • Flexibility, or any gains in training, come bit by bit. Millimetres in a stretch add up
  • Go with the flow. Listen to your body. If your body wants to move, that’s great, if not, that’s OK too.
  • Communicate with your partner. If it hurts, tell them. If they’re going too fast, tell them. Sometimes it’s what you DON’T do that get’s you furthest ahead

Is Stretching Supposed to be That Painful?

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Pain. It’s the big thing that draws people to getting flexible but one of the main things that keeps us away from stretching. 

So is pain in stretching a good thing, and if so how do I get around it?

Number one is to understand there are two kinds of pain. ‘Burning’ pain you feel while stretching is good. Think of it like going to the gym or doing a Crossfit WoD – you hurt the day after, right? It’s a sign of your muscles rebuilding stronger – or longer in the case of stretching – after they’ve worked hard.

Stabbing pain you want to avoid. If you’ve broken a bone, twisted something or dropped a plate on your foot you know what I mean.

How do you keep it to the good pain then, and make even that as comfortable as possible?

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1. Breathing. The deeper you breathe, the more you relax, and relaxed muscles get more flexible with less burning pain – think of it as giving your muscles what they want. Less fight = good news.
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2. Distraction. Have a conversation with your stretching partner, watch TV, it helps focus away from the pain, and reducing focus on pain tends to reduce the pain itself. Plus any excuse to catch up on Netflix I could go for.
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3. Listen. To your body. Go slow, if your body wants to open up today, it will. Pushing to far too fast turns stretching pain into stabbing pain = ton muscles = major setback to your flexibility. 
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4. Position. Stretch in a way that doesn’t damage joints, experiment or ask an expert for advice.  

Stay smart & stay safe. Felix

So What If You're Not Flexible?

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The first step to getting flexible is to start where you are.
When looking at flexibility it’s easy to fall into the trap of ‘I should be better.’ That’s when our ego gets in the way, we push harder and faster than we should, and end up pulling a muscle.
Bad move.
Know where you are, accept it as being OK, then you can advance. Here are a few tips to help you get on top of your ego:
1. Admit how you feel about not being flexible and get everything off your chest. No more than 20 minutes on this. Then accept it as being OK.
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2. Focus on improvements and not the status quo. Rather than saying ‘I can’t touch my toes’ all the time, say ‘I’m closer than yesterday.’
3. Don’t worry about others who are better than you. Be happy for them, and only compare yourself to how you were before.
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4. Focus on good technique and consistent work rather than the destination. Straight legs, deep breaths, relax as much as you can. The destination will come before you know it.
Come to the flexibility classes on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and you will learn exactly that.