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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Updated: Sep 6, 2021

Bridges! An amazing drill and skill to help with back strength and flexibility!

~What is this bridge you speak of?~

Bridge is the skill where you are on your hands and feet in an arched position. Bridge is a beautiful skill to put in a routine, or you can use it as a drill for your flexibility training. Bridges require a great amount of flexibility in the back, shoulders, and hip flexors. In addition to that, it requires an enormous amount of strength. But it is such a phenomenal pose/drill! And once you can get in/out of the bridge, there are many variations you can do with this drill.

~All bridges will look different~

Not all bridges will look the same! I think this is a very important concept to keep in mind when watching others do bridge, and also when looking at your own bridge. Bridge is a skill that really shows where the body has range of motion, and where it is most tight. Questions I get asked a lot are "Rochelle, why does my bridge not look like so-and-sos?" or "Rochelle, why aren't my shoulders stacked over the wrists?" and "Rochelle, why are my hips not lifting higher in the bridge?". These are all phenom questions...think of it like this though, if person A has tight shoulders and person B has open shoulders, the bridges will look very different. Person A probably won't be able to stack their shoulders over their wrists (due to lack of shoulder mobility), whereas person B might be able to get their shoulders pushing past their wrists (good shoulder mobility). That being said, both of these people can do a bridge, they just are going to look different.

~Bridge variations~

Once you feel comfortable with bridges, there are many variations you can do with it. The list goes on and on and on. My personal favorite though is forearm bridges. Those help me push through my shoulders so much. I also love bridge with leg developpe into the air. That helps me get into my low back a lot and practice my active flexibility for my splits. Bridge against the wall is also a personal fav of mine. I can really get into my shoulders doing this drill. There are so many different drills you can do, and in my Vimeo video I just released, I go through many bridge drills you can try! Once the drills start feeling good, it makes practicing bridge skills in routines so much more comfortable!

~Listen to your body~

I think something very important to remember with bridges is to listen to your body...because this skill is so intense, it can fatigue the body easily. Once the muscles get fatigued, it puts your joints into a little more vulnerable position. And in bridge, we want our muscles working as much as possible. With that being said, I always tell myself, if things are starting to hurt, stop! There is a difference between the feeling of stretching and the feeling of pain. It takes body awareness and time to be able to decipher the difference. But once feelings of pain begin, I think it is important to stop. Listen to your body! If it is trying to tell you something, listen:)

~"But Rochelle, I need to see you do the bridge drills, plz"~

And you can, no worries! You can head over to my Vimeo page, where I show you, not only what a bridge is, but lots of drills you can do in bridge! Subscribe to the page and you will see the videos! https://vimeo.com/ondemand/functionalflexibility






I hope all of that information about bridges was useful to you! Let me know if you have any questions! And check out my Vimeo page and subscribe to get access to all of my flexibility videos!











https://vimeo.com/ondemand/functionalflexibility

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Active split...what is she? Basically any split that is not on the ground. Active splits require much more strength than passive because the floor is not there to help push the legs!

~What is active split?~

Active split is a true test of strength within flexibility. When we are doing splits on the floor, we might not realize it, but the floor is super helping our splits: the floor is helping to push our legs open. We of course are using some strength to get our legs to open, but the floor is doing a lot of work. Now take the floor out of the equation...could you do your splits without the floor? In an active way? For most people the active vs. passive (floor) split is different. The passive split is usually deeper than the active split...however, our goal in general should be to make our passive and active splits (and flexibility in general) as even as possible. For example, my passive split has more range of motion than my active, but they are pretty similar. And my forever goal is to make my active split as even with my passive as possible.

~But why even out passive and active split?~

I know I know, it is much more work to have an active split...but here are reasons that I believe it is so important to have your passive and active flexibility be as even as possible:

  1. Injury prevention! When we have a strong active split, that means our muscles are supporting our range of motion. Correct muscle engagement helps to protect the areas we are stretching. Improper or lack of muscle engagement can lead to injury much easier.

  2. Flexibility lasts longer. Active flexibility is flexibility that lasts. I hear people tell me all the time how they took 2 days off from stretching and they lost so much flexibility...that should not be happening. With active flexibility, you are building muscles to help your flexibility stay!

  3. Flexibility will transfer to other areas of life. If you actively stretch your legs, you are making your legs stronger. This then transfers to any area in life where legs are in use: walking, running, sport, dancing, weight lifting, hiking, etc.

  4. Performance essential. When performing any sort of routine (floor, aerial, pole, burlesque, dance, etc.), we are moving/keeping the body active. This means all flexibility in the routine will need to be active. If you're only used to stretching passively, performing an active routine will be very difficult.

~"But Rochelle, active split requires so much more effort"~

Ugh, I know! If you struggle with this mental block, trust me, I totally get it! It is hard, and some might say, not as fun as passive stretching. But, I always tell myself, if I am going to sit down and stretch, I want it to be beneficial. I do not want to waste my time with stretching that could injure me, disappear in a couple days, or provide zero advancement to my range of motion and strength. I know active stretching has so many benefits....and that is why I do it. So if you struggle with motivation to stretch actively, start small. Try 5 minutes a day and build on that...there is no rule saying you have to sit down for an hour and stretch. All of my training videos are active, so check them out if you need guidance on active stretching.

~ 5 essential exercises to help with active split~

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

exercises that I find essential in making your active split feel delicious! For these drills, make sure the legs, hips, back, 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. Extended low lunge: engage glutes to help control the hips.

  2. Inclination on wall: most favorite drill ever! Practice pulses, leaning back, and holding.

  3. Penche on wall: love...ugh, I love all these drills! Pulses, leg lifts, straightening leg, holding.

  4. Penche in center: a true test of where your active split is. Same thing here, leg lifts, pulses, bending leg, etc.

  5. Leg lifts: leg behind you, practice lifting the leg up and then down, without leaning forward

~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 active 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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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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