ohpayk

Flexibility Trainable?

9 posts in this topic

I reading some stuff recently regarding flexibility and wanted to hear what other people thought. From my knowledge flexibility is trainable similar to traditional strength training regardless of genetic predisposition (easier for some than others based on genetics). I am curious, though, if there have been any studies about various techniques and returns achieved in various time periods. For example you never strength train the same muscle on consecutive days. Are there similar rules for flexibility. Also have there been studies on limits and atrophy?

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While I'm far from an expert, the best thing that can be said about yoga is you don't have to worry about repitition...

...For example you never strength train the same muscle on consecutive days...

...every ten seconds you're working on a different muscle or joint. As far as 'muscle confusion' is concerned, your muscles will be confused.

 

As far as becoming more flexible, yes, you can become more flexible with continued training. In November I could barely touch my knees...and now I can touch my shins!!! (j/k)

Yes, flexibility can be improved.

See link in my signature

fshliz09 and mimisouth like this

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Flexibility can definitely be improved! That being said, sometimes anatomical "issues" can inhibit certain folks from ever being able to move into some poses. For example, I will probably never ever be able to wiggle my way into full lotus. My hips are tight, which I can (and do) work on, but some people's ball and socket joints (particularly short people's) - where the femurs fit into the hip bones - are oriented in such a manner which can make full lotus impossible (I have always had this problem, even during my gymnastics days when I could readily jump into the splits).

 

Regarding the questions you posed about frequency, time frames, etc...since yoga is more about working the fascia and isn't (necessarily) about microtearing the tissue and to allowing it to repair in order to gain muscle mass and strength, the issues you raised aren't all that applicable unless your focus is predominantly power yoga or the like. One thing to note is that if you do a lot of chaturangas - as you would do in Ashtanga and some other styles of yoga - you are going to work the "pushing" muscles far more than the "pulling" muscles...you can mitigate the resulting imbalance by doing fewer chaturangas and/or focusing more on the back muscles (and less on the pecs) when hitting the weights.

 

I practice yoga almost every day, and I feel that it does nothing but benefit me. My flexibility has greatly improved, as has my posture. I don't think anyone can predict how long it will take you to see obvious gains in your flexibility, and you will probably see it quicker in your hamstrings than, say, in your thoracic region in your back. But practicing regularly will definitely have an effect. If you want inspiration, check out Candace's scorpion before and after pics. They blow my mind and remind me that it's easy to get frustrated with the journey, but that progress happens in subtle ways...and that those subtle progressions end up summing to a significant progression over time.

Vicky and Hildegard like this

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I am not sure if I know anything to exactly answer your question. I had a quick look on the Yoga Journal, you can use their search to try and find more if you wish.

 

What Science Can Teach Us About Flexibility http://www.yogajournal.com/article/practice-section/what-science-can-teach-us-about-flexibility/

 

The best advice I have is find something that you enjoy. Just enjoy the poses and practice where you are at and don't worry about becoming more flexible it will happen on it's own if you stay with it. 

Our bodies are suppose to get 'exercise' all day long. Not pushing to the limits but something more than all day sedentary.  

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Thank you for the responses. My question wasn't really about me personally but the science as a whole. I do not know of any research periodicals that have studies completed.

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I would recommend The Daily Bandha if you are looking for a more anatomical medically researched explanation of poses. Written by a doctor and long time yoga practioner, I find his explanations useful for my own teaching. He has a 5 step "process" that he applies to poses, called the Daily Bandha Codex. He also references the research articles that he uses. Hope that helps!

http://www.dailybandha.com

KristiSmithYoga likes this

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I did a quick search on pubmed since your original questions sounded like they were about optimal methods.  I pasted the study's conclusion below - # of days per week seems to be the most important, but not duration or times per day.  I don't know about atrophy - most studies have been about flexibility help heal overuse injuries.

 

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9327823

 

CONCLUSION AND DISCUSSION:

The results of this study suggest that a 30-second duration is an effective amount of time to sustain a hamstring muscle stretch in order to increase ROM. No increase in flexibility occurred when the duration of stretching was increased from 30 to 60 seconds or when the frequency of stretching was increased from one to three times per day.

KristiSmithYoga likes this

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That is excellent thank you. Now I need to see if any research has been done regarding limits and average flexibility gained per week/month when training to push your limits. 

yogafire likes this

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