Improve your flexibility with these two Chest Opener Exercises on the TRX Home2 System and the TRX Rocker, brought to you by TRX Black Rank Coach, Shauna Harrison.
Picture this: you’ve reached the end of your workout, and the instructor tells you to hinge forward and reach for your toes. You try, but your fingers are still dangling inches above your shoelaces, while your neighbor has planted her hands flat on the ground. “It’s okay,” you remind yourself. “I’m just not flexible.” The same thought crosses your mind as your niece shows off her newest skill from gymnastics: sliding into split. “I never could do that—even at her age. I’ve never been flexible.”
The only flaw in your reasoning? Flexibility requires practice.
Why Flexibility Matters
Flexibility plays an important role in performance and life: it affects the way we sit, stand, and move. Most people visualize the perks of fitness in the broadest terms: cardio burns fat; strength training builds muscle. If you have trouble qualifying flexibility, think of it this way: flexibility increases your range of motion and your ability to use your muscles for more activity. As the Harvard Medical School explains:
Stretching keeps the muscles flexible, strong, and healthy, and we need that flexibility to maintain a range of motion in the joints. Without it, the muscles shorten and become tight. Then, when you call on the muscles for activity, they are weak and unable to extend all the way. That puts you at risk for joint pain, strains, and muscle damage.
Now that we’ve nailed down why flexibility and stretching are important, it’s time to consider how to improve flexibility using two tools anyone can keep at home: the TRX Suspension Trainer and the TRX Rocker.
Suspension Trainer Flexibility Exercises
The Suspension Trainer allows you to increase your range of motion and flexibility at your own pace by loading and unloading the exercises. If a stretch is too difficult, change your angle. If you want to go deeper into the stretch, move further away from the anchor point.
Take the TRX Half Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch, for example; this move helps increase mobility and flexibility in your ankles, hips, shoulders and thoracic spine. Adjust your straps to mid length. Place arms in a "T" position, body in half kneeling. Maintain lengthened spine, shift the hips forward, rotate torso away from rear leg, arm by rear leg overhead, side bend away. Shift your hips back to return hip to neutral, with arms down.
For a lower back stretch, try the TRX Hip Hinge. Stand facing the anchor point with your feet wider than shoulder width apart and your arms extended in front of you, pressing down on the TRX handles. Bend forward from the hips with a straight back, pushing your hips back and extending your arms forward. Drive your hips forward to return to the start position.
Starting your workouts with either of these moves—or any flexibility challenge—can help increase your flexibility, but flexibility work isn’t restricted to a pre-workout routine. You also need to help your body recover from your workouts, and there’s no more efficient way to do that than with the TRX Rocker.
Available in small (13”) and large (“26”), the TRX Rocker is more than a foam roller; it’s the only tool that promotes rocking, a hyper-focused muscle release technique that increases blood flow and circulation, and improves relaxation and recovery overall. The TRX Rocker’s distinctive tear-drop design features three levels of intensity for a full progression of release, wherever and whenever you need it.
Back feeling stiff? Start on the low intensity side of the Rocker and rock back and forth until the tension releases. Or, to go back to our original example, you can help improve your range of motion in that forward fold or toe touch if you regularly rock your hamstrings. Myofascial release in the hamstrings improves flexibility.
Too often, we associate fitness with intense exercise, but your body needs more than cardio and load-bearing drills: it needs to stretch and release. Fortunately, the TRX Suspension Trainer and the TRX Rocker can simplify that process. If you want to move faster and better, you have to slow down before and after your workouts for warmups and stretching.