Flexibility is one thing some people get right away, while for others, it takes consistent work. I’m one of those who has to work on flexibility. And flexibility challenges are my favorite way to do it. It makes it less daunting and pushes me to do better.
I have pretty significant scoliosis, two curves, so my spine is shaped like an S. I had to wear a back brace for a few years, and I neglected to do any stretching during that time. It resulted in me having the least flexible hamstrings ever. I can only touch my toes if I work on them every. Single. Day. So you can bet I’ll be doing this challenge with you.
Below you’ll find flexibility challenges I’ve personally created and done myself.* I focused on these three stretches for different reasons:
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- Toe touches: probably the most common flexibility measure
- Backbend: I wanted a challenge.
- Splits: They’re just so beautiful. So why not?
- Start: sitting or standing, reach for your toes as far as you can while keeping your legs straight.
- Time: hold for 1 minute
- Finish: repeat daily until you finally reach your toes.
- Make it a Habit: incorporate it into your warm-up routine pre-workout or start your day with a 30-second toe touch.
- Challenge: once you’ve successfully touched your toes, pull your body in more until your nose touches your knee (I’m still working on this one!)
- Start: sitting or standing, reach your arms straight back into a backbend position and push up (if sitting) or reach for a platform (maybe initially a wall, then a table, then the floor). A backbend from standing is more difficult, so only do what you can do!
- Time: hold for 30 seconds to 1 minute
- Finish: repeat daily until you finally complete a backbend
- Make it a Habit: incorporate it into your meditation or your post-workout cooldown.
- Challenge: once you’ve successfully done a backbend, lift one foot and raise it as high as you can
- Start: sit or stand in a split position and stretch as far as you comfortably can
- Time: hold for 1 minute. Add 15 seconds each day until you reach 3 minutes.
- Finish: repeat daily until you finally come to a full split
- Make it a Habit: incorporate it into a bedtime stretching routine
- Challenge: take it off the ground– do a handstand, jump splits, or use yoga swings in an aerial yoga class to do weightless split
Start a flexibility challenge. Try one of the challenges listed here or find one you like. Pick a time of the day you know you’ll do it. Maybe that’s first thing in the morning, right after your workout, or to wind down before bed. Commit to one challenge for 5-10 minutes a day.