How To Become More Flexible Every Day

Get a little more flexible, one day at a time.

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September 14, 2017 - Updated April 16, 2024

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As adults, it’s so common to look back on our younger years and think, how did I used to be so flexible? Moments like this can strike in the middle of a workout, a stretch, a yoga or Pilates class, or even in everyday life when you reach or twist a little too far and almost pull a muscle.

But improving your flexibility isn’t just about reducing your risk of injury or becoming an advanced yogi! Flexibility is considered one of the five components of fitness, and Sweat’s mobility trainer Kelly MacDonald says prioritising it in your workout routine is also about improving muscle recovery and posture, reducing aches and pains, and boosting athletic performance by having a greater range of motion. With poor flexibility and mobility, you’re literally limiting what movement you’re capable of.

Take strength training for example. A common misconception is that flexibility and strength are completely separate, unrelated fitness goals, but they’re much closer friends than you might think. Whether we’re talking about a squat, deadlift, bench press or chest fly, improving your range of motion can help you to move with better form and achieve greater strength gains.

The good news? Becoming more flexible doesn’t need a complete training overhaul, just a few simple tweaks.

7 simple ways to become more flexible

Working on your flexibility doesn’t need to take over your entire training routine. Keep it simple and achievable with these tips.

Don’t skip your warm-up and cool-down

If you want to improve your flexibility but don’t have a lot of time, aiming for short but regular stretching sessions is the way to go, rather than only one longer session each week. In the Sweat app, an easy way to do this is to always follow the guided warm-up and cool-down that bookends each workout.

Each Sweat warm-up is specifically designed to prime your body for your chosen training style and the exercises to follow, often including dynamic stretches (static stretches and a cold body do not go together!). Finish your Sweat session with the cool-down, which provides static stretches to target the muscles worked in your session. Great for muscle recovery, great for your overall flexibility, and no guesswork required - easy!

Set yourself small flexibility goals

We wish we could whip out the splits as an impressive party trick, but for most of us this goal is (excuse the pun) a bit of a stretch. Your fitness goals should be challenging enough to require some effort, while still being achievable enough to keep you engaged and motivated.

If your ultimate goal is to do the splits, you might start by aiming to touch your toes and then the floor to work on your hamstring flexibility. If including a regular stretching practice in your routine is the goal, you might aim for a 5 to 10-minute session each night in front of the TV. Create smaller goals that ladder up into your bigger goal so you can tick them off and celebrate your progress along the way.

Foam roll

Feeling stiff is often due to having tightness in the fibrous tissue and muscles of your body. Foam rolling as part of your recovery can help massage and loosen up tight areas, allowing your muscles to lengthen out and giving you a better range of motion. The more often you foam roll, the less likely your connective tissue will become stiff, so you may find stretching becomes easier! Here are 10 of our favourite foam rolling exercises.

Kelly MacDonald Stretching With Dumbbells

Give love to both sides

With flexibility training, it’s easy to focus more on the side of your body that is naturally more flexible. Just like with strength training, neglecting your weak side isn’t something we recommend as it can lead to muscle imbalances and increased risk of injury. Whatever stretches or foam rolling you do, make sure you perform them on both sides.

The key word here is also love. Stretching isn’t necessarily easy, but the intention is to support and care for your body. It shouldn’t feel like excruciating punishment and as the Mayo Clinic says - if it hurts, you’ve pushed yourself too far.

Practice good posture

We’re definitely guilty of slacking in this department. If you’re working atin a desk -job (or enjoy chilling out on the couch), it’s easy to let your posture slip. Unfortunately, poor posture can contribute to poor flexibility (and vice versa) andcan become a vicious cycle.

Having tight shoulders can also cause you to slouch forward more and may, while slouching can contribute to a sore or stiff back. Tight hips can also disrupt good posture, while being seated for long periods can leave your hips and glutes feeling even tighter.

Stand and sit tall whenever you can, or consider investing in a standing desk to avoid long periods of sitting.

Take regular movement breaks

If you tend to spend long periods of your day seated, try to take regular movement breaks to increase blood flow and mobility. It could be a short walk around the block, a few exercises at your desk, some stretches on your balcony, or even an Express workout in your lounge from the Sweat app. The aim is to keep your body moving throughout the day to keep your muscles active, mobile and moving through a wider range of motion.

Enjoy a weekly stretching session

If you have time, a dedicated stretch session each week can go a long way towards promoting muscle recovery and increased flexibility. There are plenty of short and full-length stretching and mobility sessions in the Sweat app, as well as yoga flows suitable for all experience levels. Many Sweat programs also include weekly recovery sessions, designed to ensure flexibility and mobility training are part of your workout routine.

To dive in even deeper, Kelly MacDonald’s Mobility & Strength in Motion is an amazing 6-week program designed to increase your range of motion, flexibility, strength, posture and body alignment to help you move every day with more freedom and confidence. After something shorter? Kelly’s 3-week Lengthen & Strengthen Challenge is a short and sharp program designed to help you improve your range of motion in all areas of the body.

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Ready for your first workout?

If being more flexible is a goal of yours, start by taking small steps today - they really do add up and make a big difference over time. What are you going to start doing this week to stretch your way towards a more flexible version of you?

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A more empowered you starts with Sweat, and our editorial team is here to bring you the latest fitness tips, trainer recommendations, wellbeing news, nutritional advice, nourishing recipes and free workouts.

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* Disclaimer: This blog post is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. The above information should not be used to diagnose, treat, or prevent any disease or medical condition. Please consult your doctor before making any changes to your diet, sleep methods, daily activity, or fitness routine. Sweat assumes no responsibility for any personal injury or damage sustained by any recommendations, opinions, or advice given in this article.


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