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.

Bicycle with your FLX Ball

The Bicycle is an exercise that both works on stabilizing the core and coordination. It is valuable to train coordination and gain a greater sense of proprioception states the International Association of Dance Medicine and Science.  Proprioception is a sense that is more than just a feeling of movement. It is intimately tied to our feeling of muscle tone, perceptions of effort and of balance.  Specialized nerve endings originate in our muscles, fascia, tendons, ligaments, joints, and some scientists even include the skin.

Flexibility exercises should be incorporated into dance-specific training with real space-time values in order to gain greater proprioception. Such exercises, like the bicycle, include making sure to achieve motor programming through repetition of goal-directed movements. In these movements dancers utilize multiple degrees of freedom to stimulate different neuromuscular pathways. In other words, practice a variety of moving positions, taking all muscles from full shortening to full lengthening, and returning to the neutral resting length of the muscles and joints during an embedded rest period (constructive rest).

Something as simple as the bicycle can really make a difference in your overall coordination!

SETUP: Lying supine on the floor, place the FLX Ball under your sacrum at your lower spine. Legs are bent with feet flat on the floor and arms are long by your sides with palms face down.  

ACTION:

  1. Lift one leg to tabletop then the other and extend both legs straight up towards the ceiling.
  2. Begin by lowering one leg and then bend it in, feeling heel pull towards your sitz-bone,and straighten leg up towards the ceiling.
  3. As the first leg bend in, begin the same movement pattern with other leg.
  4. Keep switching legs as if you are riding a big bicycle.
  5. Repeat 10 to 15 times

To finish, bend both legs in towards you and rest feet on the floor.

Advanced FLX Ball exercise: twist and switch

FLX Ball twist and switch

SETUP:

Begin by lying on your back and place the FLX Ball at your upper back in between your shoulder blades. Legs are bent and feet flat on the floor. Place hands behind your head and keep elbows wide.

ACTION: Lift legs to a table top position and pull the abs in.

Slowly, twist to the right as you bring left elbow to right knee with left leg reaching out on a high diagonal.

With control, twist to the left bringing right elbow to left knee.

Pull the abdominal muscles in to deepen the twist.

Repeat 20 times.  3-5 sets.

CHALLENGE:  Both legs are straight and scissor as you twist.

CUES:  Sink belly button in towards spine and with the help of the ball, feel the rib cage fold up and over the stomach.

Hug the inner thighs as you scissor the legs. Watch out from rocking side to side.

Plank with the FLX Ball

The plank is an isometric exercise that targets your abdominal and back muscles, and it’s used for developing core strength, balance and endurance.


FLX Ball Plank

SETUP: Come on your hands and knees, place the FLX Ball under the tops of your feet and press your legs and feet together. Walk your hands out to a half plank (with knees still bent) or out to full plank.  

ACTION: With the tops of your feet still pressing into the ball, straighten legs.  Shoulders should be over your hands.

Hold for 10 counts, walk hands back, and rest.

REPETITIONS:  Hold for 10 counts up to one minute.

SETS:  3-5 sets.

CUES:  Tuck pelvis slightly under to engage the abdominals and take any strain out of the lower back. Pull up on the thighs to activate the quadriceps. Make sure to keep head in line with spine.

MODIFICATIONS: Bend the knees to the floor or come onto your forearms to perform a forearm plank.

CHALLENGES: Lift your pelvis towards the sky and return to your plank position, 10 times.

FLX Ball plank and pushup

Add hip twists by dipping the right hip bone towards the floor and then the left hip bone, 10 times.

Perform small push ups by bending the elbow in to your sides, 10 times.

TARGET MUSCLES: Rectus abdominis and transverse abdominis.

DANCER FOCUS and BENEFITS: Strengthens the core and upper body and is used as a core warm up. A stronger more stable core can help to improve turns, jumps and balances.

CONTRAINDICATIONS: Injury to the arms, back or shoulders.


LEVEL: Intermediate

Abdominal Flexion with the FLX Ball

Exercises with a FLX resistance ball has been proven to be effective in increasing core stability.  Incorporating core strengthening exercises into your daily warm-up or exercise regimen will help avoid injury and help you stay in tip top shape! Try this abdominal exercise today.

SETUP: Lie on your back and place the FLX Ball at your upper back between your scapula. Legs are bent pressed together with feet flat on the floor and arms are straight over head with fingers interlaced and index fingers pulling arms straight behind head.

ACTION:  With slow controlled movements, lift upper torso gazing in at your belly button and return to a slight spinal extension.

REPETITIONS: Repeat 20 times.

SETS: 3-5

CUES:

  • Ground feet into the floor pressing into the big toe.

  • Concentrate on isolating the movement and watch out for unnecessary movement in the pelvis.
  • Keep knees in line with your toes.

  • Pull navel in and up.
  • Fold rib cage over stomach and feel the bottom rib pull toward your hips.  The will insure that there is no unnecessary tension or movement in your neck.

MODIFICATIONS:

  • Place hands behind head with elbows wide.

  • Do not go as far back and maintain a smaller range when performing the exercise.

CHALLENGE:

  • Both legs straight up towards the sky.
  • As your upper torso extends over the ball, move the legs away from you. As you flex your torso up, move the legs closer to you. 
Abdominal Flexion with FLX Ball


TARGET MUSCLES: Rectus abdominus, transverse abdominus, internal and external obliques.

DANCER FOCUS: Abdominal strength allows for increased flexibility, strength, balance and coordination in simple and complicated choreographies.

Your core muscles connect your upper and lower body and consist of roughly 30 muscles that connect your legs to your hips, spine, and rib cage. These muscles include your abdominal muscles, back muscles and the muscles around the pelvis. A strong core can enhance balance and stability by the ability of the torso or trunk muscles to stabilize the spine. This in turn, provides a stable base for the arms and legs to move from.

CONTRAINDICATIONS: Lower back pain.

BENEFITS:

Improvements in these four areas are observed when working with the FLX Ball:

  • Flexibility: Using the FLX Ball to warm up and stretch before a workout not only keeps your muscles and joints supple, but it also helps to train your body to activate key muscles.

  • Coordination:Working against the resistance and instability of the FLX Ball creates better body awareness and enforces controlled active movements.

  • Balance: The unstable surface of the FLX Ball forces muscles to heighten their readiness. The body responds by activating the necessary muscles needed to help stabilize the body.

  • Strength: A strong core is imperative to improve functional stamina and strength in any form of dance, sport or fitness.

LEVEL: Beginner-Advanced

Take the 9-Day FLX Ball Challenge!

Whether your work season is approaching or you're soon headed back to the studio after a summer of sporadic classes, it's time to grab your FLX Ball and get prepped for what's ahead!  We've put together the perfect fitness challenge to get you back in peak performance shape.

Take the 9-day #FLXBallChallenge!

Utilizing the FLX Ball to perform exercises puts emphasis on correct form, which is required to work against the instability of the ball’s surface. This increases an exercise's effectiveness by activating the key muscles necessary to complete the movement, resulting in a quicker, more efficient workout!

 

Why is the Flexistretcher the notable champion for flexibility training?

There are so many flexibility programs, props and equipment out there developed by other brands, but very few of them accurately and safely meet the needs of professional and pre-professional dancers.

 

Unlike flimsy elastic stretching bands, the Flexistretcher’s resistance has been carefully constructed to provide progressive stimulus to the muscle working to hold the position against the strap. 

This combination of support and stretch cannot be found in any other product.  Here's why:

  • The Flexistretcher’s size and 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).  
  • 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.
  • Utilizing the elastic allows for a variable resistance, not relying on gravity and promoting muscle activation throughout the exercise.
  • As the strap is stretched the resistance increases, the muscles are challenged to respond with increased effort which promotes muscle growth, strength and power. 
  • The shorter the straps are adjusted the tighter the tension, resulting in a more challenging exercise. 
  • Built to withstand the daily use of professional dancers and athletes, the Flexistretcher’s sturdy construction and custom designed parts are guaranteed to last!