Finding what suits you : tailoring flexibility to your body

So last post I wrote about the most dramatic changes I felt after my first year of contortion ( btw I forgot to mention my bruised chin aha!), today I wanted to address another topic related to flexibility training, which is how to know what works for your body, what don’t, what’s worth to try and what is not.
I primarily refer to people who start their quest for flexibility at a later age (over 20-25 yo), we have different bodies than kids of course, one of the main aspect that we lack compared to kids is: our body has a story already written on it, we are not a blank canvas anymore. You might have noticed kids can pretty much do anything, they don’t have pre-existent injuries, imbalances and body-habits, because they didn’t live enough to develop them yet ! But we did, and so we have to work either around injuries, work to correct imbalances and bad habits (postural or training induced). So you’ll get frustrated because someone can do a certain move with ease, and you can’t even get close to it. But then you’ll find you’re great at something else, while the same person you thought was better than you, can’t. So this is what’s interesting, you need to create the flexibility that your body is willing to accept! It can be very challenging and a long trial and error, butย you need to give it time and see how your body react to the stretches, it will either take it and make it its own, or you’ll have to find an alternative way to get in the pose you want to be, or either avoid the pose altogether.

There are things that with time you’ll able to correct (like imbalances), other won’t really happen, because again how your body has grown its own stubborn habits, or it will be because of your proportions (height, bone structure, torso-legs ratio etc), your background and lifestyle: those have all a huge impact on your ability to develop flexibility, you just have to find the right key (the right stretches) to open those doors, and sometimes there will be no key at all. For example, something I worked (and still work at it) to correct is, I have a tendency to drop my left hip lower when I do a chest stand (and I look crooked), if it wasn’t for my trainer Otgo, I’d have never known. Something I’m not so good at, but it’s worth keep trying: handstands, I don’t think being almost 5’11 helps, but I can’t even use it as an excuse. Something I don’t think will ever get fixed: my aerial splits have a turn out so strong, I can correct it on the floor but in the air it’s so natural to turn out that I can’t avoid it, but I don’t sweat on it, because I have a tons of other stuff to work on ๐Ÿ™‚

So my message is: don’t get obsessed to fit into a pose, without first testing out how your body feels about it. It is painful, uncomfortable, but it’s getting better, almost each time ? Then go for it. It feels completely unnatural, painful, and simply not designed for you ? Then skip it, or you can always re-try again later on. But don’t make excuses, it will always “hurts”, to some degree ๐Ÿ˜‰ you just have to learn if it’s a pain that your body will take to make remarkable changes and adjustments, or not.

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One response to “Finding what suits you : tailoring flexibility to your body

  1. I started contortion just after my 17th birthday. My only natural flexibility is in my shoulders, and its damn impressive now that I’ve been working them for over a year. My back was always my main goal when I set out. I started with the 100 day stretching challenge (taking one photo everyday for 100 days) after I first explored Instagram, and then it became my inspiration hub and, what I like to call, my flexibility diary. After the 100 days I just couldn’t stop; I saw the progress I had made and suddenly I was addicted.
    It took me about 9 months to figure out what suited me.
    Each week I have one good, intense back stretching session where I bust out all my hard skills and stretch for 2 – 3 hours. Then I’ll have one or two days of shoulder stretching, one day of middle split/hip stretching (my least flexible area by far) and the rest of the days will be variations of the front splits. And one of those days I add on a light back stretch.

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