I've also noticed that some clients have been mentioning that they are "stiff" or "tight" particularly in the hamstring area. This is no joke, I know the pain!
Therefore I've decided to give you a few tips on helping you achieve a greater flexibility.
Firstly, and I tell this to all my clients, it is important to stretch after your workout. Why? Well during the workout, we will repeatedly contract specific muscle groups. This shortens the muscle, therefore you should stretch the muscle after your workout to get it back to the normal length. This may also help to alleviate soreness, however I've learned that after a rough workout, or if you haven't trained for a little while, there is no quick fix, you will be sore.. sorry bout that!
Now textbooks say that you should hold a stretch for about 10-15 seconds. I'm still not 100% convinced that this is long enough if you want to increase flexibility. Back in the gym days, we used to hold our splits and stretches for about one minute. And well, at 33 I am still able to do the split, so I 'll leave it to you to decide the length of time, however for post training, I usually recommend the 10-15 seconds, as my clients are not necessarily looking to become contortionists :)
Secondly, the stretching shouldn't be excruciatingly painful. You should definitely feel the stretch and therefore be able to breath through it for the full 15 seconds.
The breathing brings me to my third and final point... yoga. Ah yes, we've all heard of it. I will be the first to tell you that I did not like my first yoga experience at all. Coming from a gymnast, it could be hard to believe, but I will tell you more about that in my blog under the "Balance" Section :)
So back to yoga, I've come to realize that this has helped me the most (post gymnastics days) to regain my flexibility. I myself was having recurring hip flexor pains and lower back pains, due to sitting all day in the office, and my doctor actually prescribed yoga ! I didn't know they could do that. From that point on, I registered myself into some yoga classes and to my amazement, I had less pains all together and noticed an increase in flexibility in all parts of the body. Therefore this was a win win for me :)
There were so many other benefits that came with yoga, which I will go in more detail in , under the "Balance" blogs.. but just a little teaser... it changed my life!