Flexibility tips and Tricks

Welcome to flexibility tips and tricks with Rochelle! This is where I write about flexibility drills, exercises, and general stretching thoughts. I hope you enjoy! Sign up here to get these posts via email!

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Tick tocks, and no I am not talking about the super popular app right now. This is a skill that can be done on the forearms or hands and is super great for working on back/leg control.

What is a tick tock?

Tick tocks are a skill where you are either on the forearms or hands, and you kick a leg up and over and land with it "in front" of you, in a bridge position...then you kick it back up and over into the starting position. Tick tock might not be the formal term for this skill, but that is the name I was taught and I am sticking to it lol. Tick tocks are great for strengthening the back/legs and also practicing control of the body in an inverted position. If this skill is comfortable, it is a great addition to routines where there is floor work involved. I love this skill and think it is just so much fun, ugh!

Baseline of flexibility...

With tick tocks, I believe there needs to be a baseline of flexibility before attempting these...I think the best way to test to see if you could do this skill, is if you can do a forearm bridge. If a forearm bridge is not possible at the moment, or it is super difficult, try working on them. Forearm bridge, in itself, is a great way to stretch the back and shoulders. So even if you do not get to the tick tock part of it, at least you will be getting a phenomenal stretch!

~Partner Plz~

I think when first learning tick tocks, having a partner to assist is excellent. They can help with controlling the legs coming to the floor in the first part of the tick tock and then helping the kick over in the second part of the tick tock. But not everyone is #blessed to have a partner with whom they feel comfortable with to assist them. And if that is the case, then head to the wall! The wall is a phenomenal partner: strong, sturdy, and does not move. The wall helps much more in the second half of the tick tock. You can place your foot on the wall and then push against it and kick over. I remember using the wall to help with my kick overs/ticktocks as a kid all the time! My mom wasn't too stoked to have foot prints on her wall, but nevertheless, the wall really helped!

~5 essential exercises to help you achieve your tick tock~

There are many different drills you can do for tick tocks...these are five that I think are really helpful and beneficial. They also work on both the forearms and the hands. So all of the exercises listed below can be done in either position. For these drills, the back, shoulders, and legs need to be super warm. If you need any help with stretching/warming up, check out all my flexibility videos on my Vimeo page: https://vimeo.com/ondemand/functionalflexibility


  1. Bridge with close hands and feet: practice walking hands and feet as close together as possible and then really lifting hips up to the ceiling.

  2. Lifting leg up and down in bridge: when doing this, have attention to not letting the hips drop as the leg moves. Hips need to stay pushed up to the ceiling.

  3. Kicking up onto the wall: as you get more comfortable, you can move further and further away from the wall.

  4. Kicking off the wall: opposite from the above exercise. Start in an arched position and place foot on wall and kick out of the bridge.

  5. Jumps: in bridge, lift one leg up and then practice jumping bottom foot off the floor without letting top leg drop.

~"But Rochelle, I need to see you do these drills"~

And you can! Head over to my Vimeo page (https://vimeo.com/ondemand/functionalflexibility )

and subscribe! I have a video of me showing and explaining all 5 of these drills!

I hope these 5 drills help you with achieving your tick tock! And if you aren't working on that skill yet, still try out some of the exercises. Let me know if you have any questions! Remember to check out my subscription page on Vimeo for more flexibility videos!


https://vimeo.com/ondemand/functionalflexibility

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Yum middle split! My personal favorite of the splits! Here are five drills and general information that will help you achieve that flawless middle split!

~Middle split vs. straddle~

What is the difference? Straddle is when you sit on your butt and open your legs as wide as you can (above pic). Middle split is when your stomach is facing the ground, with legs open as wide as possible. In essence, middle split and straddle are the same, just flipped 90 degrees. Middle split has the advantage of the ground: we are able to push our feet into the floor, helping to get the legs more open. Whether you have a goal of middle split or straddle, both are phenomenal to train!

~SOS help~

I gotchu, do not worry! When talking to my peers/students/coworkers about middle split/straddle, the most common issue brought up is "I train these all the time: I use weights to push my legs down, I have someone push on me, I hold my frog for five minutes, (etc.), and I see ZERO progress. Help!" I understand how frustrating that can be...to work on something and put in so much time/energy and not feel or see much progress. As annoyed as we might be at our body, it is actually protecting us...OMG thank you angel body for saving me, yas! I'll explain below.

~"My body is protecting me??? Rochelle, you sound insane"~

I know, I know, I get that a lot, lol! But for reals, when your body stops its range of motion in any flexibility exercise, it is protecting you/itself...it is trying to tell you that you do not have the strength needed to back up the range of motion you are trying to achieve...let me repeat that one more time...when you are stretching, and you feel your body stop letting you move or you feel stuck, your body is being smart and protecting you...because you do not have the strength and stabilization to back up that increased range of motion. Your body does not let you stretch any further. So while stretching middle split is important, equally as important is strength and conditioning for the glutes, hips, quads, and abs.

~Strength, yas~

When stretching my middle splits/straddle, I spend about 25% of my time being passive (hanging out in straddle, frog, oversplit) and the other 75% of the time conditioning and practicing stabilization exercises related to middle split. Most of the conditioning I do, I do on my back, because it allows my spine to be neutral. This makes me really aware if I am doing any sort of anterior or posterior pelvic tilt. The conditioning is exhausting, but it ensures that my joints feel supported by my muscles.

~5 essential exercises to help you achieve your middle split~

There are lots of different stretches/exercises you can do for your middle split. These are 5

exercises that I find essential in making your middle split feel yum! For these drills, make sure the legs, hips, and glutes are warm. If you need any stretches to help you warm up, I have so many videos to help with that on my Vimeo page: https://vimeo.com/ondemand/functionalflexibility

  1. Frog: we love a good frog...but moving around in it...do cat/cow, move hips forward and back, move the legs. Don't just sit there, move around...muscles are multi-directional.

  2. Side lunge: push the knee away from you, get a delicious stretch. Then practice transferring side to side, making the hands as light on the floor as possible.

  3. Straddle on back: holding with hands pushing down. Then practicing the high V position: legs closer to ears.

  4. Butterfly to straddle: laying on the back with legs in butterfly. From here, extend a leg into straddle and then re-bend the leg. Use those glutes!

  5. Passé on side: laying on the side, starting in turned out passé. Lift and lower the leg without turning in and letting the hip roll back

~"But Rochelle, I need to see you do these drills"~

And you can! Head over to my Vimeo page (https://vimeo.com/ondemand/functionalflexibility )

and subscribe! I have a video of me showing and explaining all 5 of these drills!

I hope these 5 drills help you with achieving your middle split! Let me know if you have any questions! Remember to check out my subscription page on Vimeo for more flexibility videos!


https://vimeo.com/ondemand/functionalflexibility

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One of the most common questions I get! How often and for how long should we be stretching?

~What are your goals with flexibility?~

I think that is the first question you have to ask yourself when deciding how often you want to stretch. Is there a certain flexibility skill you are wanting to achieve? Is there a flexibility skill in your other disciplines you would like to achieve? Wanting less pain in certain movements? The list of questions can go on, so really zoning in on what you are hoping to achieve with your stretching is essential.

~Maintenance stretching vs deep stretching~

Once you figure out your flexibility goals, we come to the topic of maintenance stretching vs deep stretching. What is the difference you may ask...I will explain:

Maintenance stretching is stretching you do often and to help maintain current flexibility. This might be 5 stretches you do everyday, it could be a 10 minute flexibility video you follow regularly, or it could be stretches a physical therapist/flexibility coach gave you to practice. Whatever the case may be, these are stretches you do often and are low intensity. These stretches help upkeep the body's current flexibility status.

Deep stretching is stretching that has a goal of increasing flexibility and strength...this type of stretching is a workout. This is more than a 10 minute stretch...this type of stretching can take 30 minutes to an hour and a half. You are breaking a sweat, pushing yourself (safely), and focusing on increasing the range of motion. Some examples of this type of stretching could be taking a flexibility/contortion class, following along to multiple stretching videos, working on a certain flexibility skill and drills associated with it (y scale, chin stands, front splits, etc.), taking a flexibility private, etc.

Both maintenance stretching and deep stretching are beneficial...it is important to understand the difference, that way you can identify what type of stretching you are doing.

Maintenance stretch Deep stretch

~Perf, I know the difference, now what?~

Now that you know the difference, you can start figuring out how often to do these two types of stretches. Personally, I do maintenance stretching every day...I have about five stretches that I do every day, no matter where I am, or what I am doing. These are stretches that work really well for my body and make me feel good. Two of them were given to me by my chiropractor, and the other three are ones that feel absolutely wonderful for my body. These maintenance stretches that I do help to ensure that my current flexibility stays preserved and I do not tighten up. I truly recommend trying to do maintenance stretching every day, even just for a couple minutes...the payoff will be huge!

Deep stretching I do about two to three times a week. It takes anywhere from one to two hours and it requires focus. I have to be in the zone, not talking to anyone, and have a layout of the exact stretches I want to do. I roll out before and after deep stretching, and I make sure I am listening to my body. I think practicing deep stretching every other day is best for the body, as it gives it time to recover in between sessions.

~Too much, too fast~

I am def guilty of this: I learn a new stretch, or I am super close to a flexibility goal I have, and I push myself. I think it is good to push oneself, however sometimes it can cause us to strain a muscle, injure something, etc. So as much fun as it is too push the flexibility, make sure it is being supplemented with lots of strength training, rest, and body care (foam rolling, massage, acupuncture, cupping, etc.). Listen to your body and be kind to it!

Plz summarize Rochelle

Yes, no problem! So to summarize...

  1. Try to do 5-10 minutes of maintenance stretching everyday (or 5-6 times a week)

  2. Try to do 1-2 hours of deep stretching 1-3 times a week

  3. Make sure all of your deep stretching is accompanied with strength training

  4. Listen to your body...if it is telling you to go slower or take a break, do that! It will be much more beneficial in the long run

  5. Body maintenance can totally boost your athletic performance! Personally, I go to the chiropractor every other week, get massages and acupuncture/cupping every month or two, and roll out everyday. Try different body work out: you might be shocked at how much it helps!

~"But Rochelle, I have no idea where to start with this!"~

All good, all good! I have recently uploaded a 10 minute stretching routine onto my Vimeo site: https://vimeo.com/ondemand/functionalflexibility. This is a great flexibility maintenance routine that you can do every day! I also have so many different videos uploaded that can be used as your deep stretches. Choose three videos and follow along to them twice a week! The payoff will be huge! Flexibility does not just magically happen. It requires work, attention, and correct form. Yas, you got this!


I hope this information on when/how often to stretch is useful to you! Let me know if you have any questions! Remember to check out my subscription page on Vimeo for more flexibility videos!


https://vimeo.com/ondemand/functionalflexibility

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