5 Beginner Stretches With the Flexistretcher to Add to Your Holiday Routine

Get your stretch on as you dive into the holiday hustle & bustle. From carrying bags to waiting in lines, prevent sore, achy muscles with a proper stretch routine. 

TRY THESE 5 BEGINNER STRETCHES WITH THE FLEXISTRETCHER 

 

 

10 Reasons the Flexistretcher Makes the Perfect Gift!

What makes the Flexistretcher top the holiday wish lists of dancers & athletes everywhere?  

Here are 10 reasons the Flexistretcher makes the perfect gift this holiday season:

  1. The Flexistretcher is a researched approach to strength & flexibility training. The inventor of the Flexistretcher is former ballerina and fitness enthusiast Rachel Hamrick, who developed the product after a devastating injury put her dance career on hold. Her invention is a combination of training methods, researched technologies and measured resistance for the most efficient & effective flexibility & strength workout. 

  2. It is a facilitated stretching technique that safely stretches while strengthening muscle groups. While working with a Flexistretcher, a facilitated stretching technique is applied, allowing the user to ‘actively stretch’—engaging isometric contractions through out the stretch to achieve greater flexibility.

  3. It is a multi-purpose training tool. The Flexistretcher’s size & shape allows it to be used in full body stretches (such as a ballet arabesque), but it can also be adjusted to target specific, smaller body parts (such as shoulders or hamstrings). 

  4. It's widely used & preferred by the professionals. The Flexistretcher is the professional dancer's tool of choice for strength & flexibility training.  It can be found in the dance bags of ballerinas in a number of esteemed companies, including American Ballet Theatre, StaatsBallett Berlin, Dance Theatre of Harlem, Dutch National Ballet and Royal Danish Ballet, to name a few. 

  5. The Flexistretcher doesn't allow you to cheat the movement. Utilizing the elastic allows for a variable resistance, not relying on gravity and promoting muscle activation throughout the exercise.

  6. It creates a more efficient yet effective workout. As the strap is stretches the resistance increases, the muscles are challenged to respond with increased effort which promotes muscle growth, strength and power. 

  7. It's the only stretching strap you'll need for a while. Built to withstand the daily use of professional dancers and athletes, the Flexistretcher’s sturdy construction and custom designed parts are guaranteed to last!  

  8. It goes perfect with other FLX products. The Flexistretcher can be purchased as a part of the FLX Ballet Conditioning Package - a bundle of portable, durable training tools to target all areas of the body.  Give yourself an abomdinal boost and enhance foot strength with the FLX Ball, or roll out muscle groups after a workout with FLX massage. 

  9. The Flexistretcher isn't just a tool for dancers.  It is used to enhance training programs in a variety of sports & fitness routines - from synchronized swimming & gymnastics, to yoga, Pilates & soccer! 

  10. Did you know you can become certified in FLX training methods? Whether a yogi, ballerina or fitness enthusiast, you are now able to learn the researched, scientific approach to working with the Flexistretcher & other FLX products by attending the regional training program!  For application details and upcoming training information, email admin@flxnyc.com. 

 

Single Leg Hip Lifts with the Flexistretcher

Practice this series of Single Leg Hip Lifts with your Flexistretcher!

SETUP:

Lying supine with your legs bent feet flat on the floor, hip distance apart. Place the Flexistretcher center pad around your right shin and grab nylon straps in each hand. Arms are long close by your sides and pulling the elastic center to a slight tension.

ACTION:

  • With control, curl your hips off the ground, feeling your knees move towards your toes.
  • Hold the position and slowly articulate the spine to the floor, returning to your starting position.
Single leg lift

REPS:

  • Hip lifts 5 reps.
  • Heel lifts 5 reps.
  • Hip lifts with heel lifted 5 reps.

SETS: Repeat single leg series 3-5 times on each leg.

CUES:

  • Keep leg parallel and engage back of the leg to lift.
  • Keep feet parallel [Dancers watch out for the external rotation to take over!]
  • Knees line up over toes
  • Arms stay hugged in by your sides.
  • Head stays in line. [Do not turn head side to side]

When adding this exercise to your routine remember the principal of overload. Jacqui Green Haas supports the idea of keeping in mind this principal in order to increase strength.  Greene Haas asserts:

“If you want to increase strength, you must continue to work the targeted muscle group past your normal load. The exercises are executed at maximal contraction throughout the entire range of motion.”

These exercises require less repetitions since the muscle is targeted and experiences more resistance-working the muscles to a fatigue.

In addition, it is important to remember that  all exercises require control through the full range of movement. Initiating movement with momentum does not allow for experiencing the full physical benefits of the exercise. Allowing gravity or loss of awareness to finish the movement can also bring negative results. Begin each exercise with a slow, precise control and maintain that control throughout the movement.

4 Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your Stretching Routine

Looking for the best results from your flexibility routine? These 4 stretching tips, when followed on a regular basis, will help you see results.

Flexistretcher Middle Split

1.) Frequency

Actively stretch at least 3-5 times per week.  It is important you practice your stretching routine often if you are looking to achieve results.  Stretch on your own before your workouts or class as a part of your warm up and after class as a part of your cool down.  

2.) Intensity

Slowly stretch, find your edge and never work to a point of serious pain. Stretching with a prop, such as the Flexistretcher, will allow you to increase resistance and intensity of a stretch when performed correctly.   Facilitated stretching with the Flexistretcher is an active way of stretching that engages isometric contractions to achieve greater flexibility. Utilizing elastic resistance allows for a variable resistance throughout out an exercise, not relying on gravity, and requires muscle activation throughout the stretch.  This muscle activation challenges the muscles, allowing a full range of motion.

Take it up a notch! The shorter the straps are adjusted the tighter the tension, raising the intensity of the exercise. Working against this resistance forces the muscle to respond with increased effort, which promotes muscle growth, strength, and power.

3.) Length

Hold each stretch for at least 10-15 seconds while slowly working towards more lengthened stretches.  Holding a stretch for the proper amount of time is key to effective, efficient flexibility training.  Holding a stretch for a very short period of time may defeat the purpose, while holding a stretch too long can exhaust muscles with potential to cause injury.

4.) Repetition

Perform each stretch 3-5 times.  With respect to the length and intensity of a stretch you perform, performing a stretch multiple times will allow for you to go deeper into a position.  

MORE STRETCHING TIPS:

  • Avoid bouncing while performing a stretch.
  • Maintain normal breathing throughout each stretch.
  • Focus your attention to releasing the stretched body parts and try to limit movement elsewhere in the body.
  • Incorporate stretching into your warm up and cool down routines.

 

Pilates Teaser

This exercise requires coordination, balance, flexibility and control to perform correctly and successfully.  The body often compensates for some weakness to complete the movement and engages incorrect form and muscle activation. Weakness in the hip flexors or tight hamstrings and lower back can hinder the progression in this movement.

Try completing this exercise with the Flexistretcher by utilizing it’s elastic resistance to guide you through the complete movement, allowing full concentration on correct muscle activation and alignment.


Joseph Pilates named this exercise "The Teaser" because it teases gravity. So true!

Try these variations of the Pilates teaser for an added instability and challenge to the exercise.


PILATES TEASER WITH THE FLEXISTRETCHER

SET UP: Lie down supine with the foam pad around the soles of your feet and the loops in your hands, with the legs pressed long and glued together. Arms are slightly bent with palms facing you pulling the straps to small tension.

ACTION: Begin by lifting your head up, pulling the straps towards you.

  • Peel the spine off the floor as you simultaneously lift the legs to a high diagonal. Arms finish out by your sides with palms facing back, pressing into the straps.
  • Balancing on your sit bones, deepen out the abdominals, as you press into the straps to maintain a long spine. Hold for 10 counts.
  • Fold the elbows in by your sides as you begin to articulate the spine to the floor slowly lowering your legs to the starting position.

SETS: 5

LEVEL: Intermediate-Advanced

FULL TEASER 1 WITH FLX BALL

SETUP: Lying supine, hold the ball in your hands with your legs pressed together.

ACTION: Move arms over head and roll up.

  • As you roll up lift both legs (ball is touching the shins).

REPETITION: 4 times.

SETS: 3

MODIFICATIONS: Begin setup with legs bent and feet flat on the floor.

LEVEL: Advanced

FULL TEASER 2 WITH FLX BALL

SETUP: Lying supine, place the ball in between your ankles with your arms stretched long and fingers toward the sky.

ACTION:  Begin rolling torso up off the floor as your legs lift and extend to a high diagonal.

  • Fingers are reaching towards toes.
  • With control begin to lower your legs and torso at the same time to end up in your starting position.

MODIFICATION: Legs bent in a table top position.

LEVEL: Intermediate-Advanced

With stronger a strong core, flexibility and freedom of the body can improve. Stretch your limits.


Remember to apply Joseph Pilates methods of “contrology” based on the idea of muscle control. All exercises should be done with muscular control working against gravity and the resistance of the spring (on the apparatus) or other props, this activation controls the movement of the body and the apparatus. 

“Contrology is gaining the mastery of your mind over the complete awareness of your body.”~Joseph Pilates