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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Drop back into bridge, yas! Drop backs into bridge are not only a great strengthening/stretching exercise, but also, a super impressive, gorgeous skill. Here are five exercises that I think will help you achieve your drop back into bridge!


~Tad bit scary~

Okay, so drop backs are scary! You are arching backwards, staring straight at the floor, and trying to stay balanced. It can be terrifying! And as a coach, sometimes when I watch people attempt a drop back, I am terrified for them: their arms are nowhere to be found, there is no strength in the back, they are super relying on counterbalance, and much more. Luckily, if you have proper form and strength, the drop backs should come, no problem!


~Do I need a partner to practice drop backs?~

Not going to lie, drop backs are a little easier to practice with a partner. Having someone to assist and hold your low back and hips is helpful. Also, there is that comfort in knowing that if you don't feel strong enough to hold yourself up, your partner can help assist in getting your hands to the floor safely, and not crashing down. However, you can still do drills for drop backs without a partner. My five exercises I have listed below are all done without a partner.

~"To the windowwwww, to the wall"~

Thank you Lil Jon for that intro. Anywho, I often see people practicing their drop backs by walking their arms down a wall to get into the bridge. While this is great way to feel what arching back is like, this will not transfer to what an actual drop back (off the wall) is like. The reason for this is when we walk ourselves down a wall to get into bridge, the arms are in front of our body (I call this zombie arms). When doing a drop back in center, our arms should never be in front of us...they should be behind us. Our ours behind us ensure we do not land on our face when dropping back...when the arms are in front of the body in a drop back, the first thing that will hit the floor is you gorgeous face, oh no!!! Moral of the story, the wall is a great tool for practicing drop backs, just be aware that it is not exactly how a drop back will be in center.


~5 essential exercises to help with your drop backs~

Just like I have said before, there are so many exercises/drills that will help with drop backs. These are 5 exercises that I have found to be extremely helpful to all of my students. You will need two blocks and a wall for these drills. For these drills, make sure the back, shoulders, and hip flexors are very 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. Pulling the arms back: can be sitting or standing for these. Arms straight up by ears, practicing pulling the arms as far back as you can. So important for your shoulder strength for drop backs!

  2. Bridge with block jumps: doing a bridge with hands on the outside of your blocks. Then trying to jump your hands onto the blocks and then back onto the floor.

  3. Bridge rocks: I feel like doing rocks in bridge is super common. However, this version, you practice bringing weight into your finger tips when you are rocking towards your feet. Goal is getting more and more weight into the feet and less in the hands.

  4. Bridge with arm reach: in bridge, going up onto fingertips. From here, try to reach one arm towards the same side heal. Keep arm straight and engage the glutes.

  5. Dropback from knees: practice drop back from knees, with wall behind you. Because you will be on the knees, it is a lot less sketchy than standing. Can also really emphasize the pulling of the arms back motion.


~"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 drop back! Let me know if you have any questions! Remember to check out my subscription page on Vimeo for more flexibility videos!


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Therabands, Therabands, Therabands! There are so many different bands out there and so many exercises to try that it can be overwhelming to know where to start! Here are ways that I use my theraband!


~Should I use therabands for stretching?~

Excellent question! Before you go out and buy a theraband, I think it is super important to figure out if a theraband would be conducive to your flexibility training. Bands have different purposes for stretching and not all bands are created equal! Some are better for passive stretching, some active, some help with leg flexibility, others with back flexibility. Some bands are high resistance, while others low resistance. Lots of different bands and it can be v overwhelming with all the different types! So, step one, figure out if your flexibility training would benefit from incorporating a theraband in.


~What band is best?~

As once recited from the infamous Jim Halpert from The Office, "What band is best?" (okay, he definitely was asking about bears, but we get the idea). So you have decided that you would like to incorporate therabands into your flexibility training, amazing! But, what band should you use!? I will describe the 3 bands I use and why:

  1. Ballet band: my favorite band! This is a green, looped band, around 90 inches in circumference. This band is my favorite for really getting an active stretch. You can see in the picture to the left, I have the band looped around my friends back and I am pushing my legs forward, resisting the stretch. By doing this, I am super engaging my glutes, getting them strong for straddle!

  2. Mini looped bands: so I just recently purchased these, and OMG! I use these for my glute and outer hip conditioning and wow, game changer! They are around 12 inches in circumference and have different resistance levels (medium and heavy are my go to). These bands have made my glute and hip conditioning work outs 10 times more intense, wow! If you want my glute/hip conditioning workout, find it here: https://vimeo.com/ondemand/functionalflexibility

  3. Exercise Resistance band: this band is around 4 feet long and a light/medium resistance. I tie loops at the end of this band so I can put it around my ankles when I want to. I feel like I use this band the most. This band is so multifunctional: perfect for kicks (yas making them super active), arm circles, shoulder stretching, foot stretching/strengthening, and much more. I have this band with me whenever I train!


~Choosing a band~

It truly is up to you and your flexibility training on what band you want to use. Here are my recommendations on what band I think is best for different levels/goals:

  1. Yoga strap: great for passive flexibility! If you have tighter muscles and are wanting more chill stretches, this would be awesome. The lack of resistance in this band makes it so you don't have to use as much strength to keep your body where you want it to go...the band does that for you!

  2. Long resistance bands (not looped): great for warmup exercises, kicks, foot pointe drills, shoulder openings, and so much more! The great thing about these bands is you can choose the resistance...want to intensify the exercise? Choose a heavy resistance band. Most versatile band.

  3. Long resistance bands (looped): a personal favorite. Great for active stretches, especially straddle and splits. Very important to already have correct muscle engagement during exercises, as the resistance in the band is heavy, therefore muscle compensation will be tempting.

  4. Short resistance bands (looped): great for stabilization exercises of the glutes, hips, and arms. These bands usually come in a pack with different resistance, so you can choose if you want light, medium, or heavy resistance


~"But Rochelle, I have no idea what band exercises to do"~

No worries! Head over to my Vimeo page (https://vimeo.com/ondemand/functionalflexibility )

and subscribe! I have numerous videos showing different exercises with therabands! As Juicy J would say, "Bands a make her dance".


I hope this information on therabands 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!


#functionalflexibility #frontsplits #onlinetraining #activeflexibility #flexibility

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Updated: Feb 28, 2021

Splits! An amazing party trick, a super common pose in dance, aerial, performing, etc., and a super hard skill! I have 5 exercises that will help you achieve your front split!


~Why can't I get my front splits?~

Front splits are so challenging because they are deceivingly difficult. So much of the time, we focus on just stretching, but not strengthening. In front splits, not only do the hamstrings and hip flexors need to be stretched out, but they also need to be strong. And in addition to that, the glutes, quad, and back need to be engaged during the split! "Umm excuse me Rochelle, that is so much happening, plz chill." I know, I know, but by having all of these muscles engaged, it helps to prevent muscle strain and possible injury.


~She sits~

"Sitting" in the front split is something I see quite often. What I mean by sitting in front split is putting most of your body weight in the front leg, making you "sit" in the front hip. When we sit, we have ZERO glute engagement, most of the stretch goes to the front leg hamstring, and there is no stretch in the back leg hip flexor. And then our poor little hamstring is trying to do the work of multiple other muscles. Poor bébé hamstring! When we sit, we are not actively stretching. We have zero muscle engagement and this can lead to muscle strain and injury (no good). If you have any other goals that build off of split, you have to be in an active split. So even though "sitting" in front split is so tempting, we have to try to stay active in the split and keep multiple muscles turned on.

~5 essential exercises for that front split~

There are a million stretches you can do for front split. The following 5 exercises are what I believe are essential for getting your front split. I always do these 5 exercises before I get into split and I have seen my students make amazing progress using these drills. These 5 exercises alone will not solve your front split problems...you need to stretch and condition the legs, hips, and glutes with other exercises. Make sure the hips, legs, and glutes are nice and warm before attempting these! I have lots of yum stretching videos on my subscription page: https://vimeo.com/ondemand/functionalflexibility

  1. Calf stretch: stretch out those calves! If they are tight, it can make stretching the hamstring impossible.

  2. Front kicks: I love a good kick! They stretch and strengthen so much of the leg and glute!

  3. Low lunge: literally my favorite! Get into that hip flexor and stretch her out! How can you get into your hip flexor best? Leaning forward? Staying upright? Play around with different positioning for your upper body.

  4. Low lunge, straightening and bending the back knee: keep your hips where they are and straighten and bend the back knee. Keep the glutes turned on and hips even. Wow, wow, wow!

  5. Pigeon: an amazing way to see if the glutes can turn on. See if you "sit" in pigeon...do you? If you are, try to engage the glute and stay active. Practicing staying active in pigeon helps you know what split engagement should feel like.


~"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 front split! Let me know if you have any questions! Remember to check out my subscription page on Vimeo for more flexibility videos!


#functionalflexibility #frontsplits #onlinetraining #activeflexibility #flexibility

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