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Making Flexibility Training more Effective

A 2019 study showed that static stiffness decreases by up to 17% after doing this 1 simple hack at the beginning of every training session.

We all live busy lives. We all understand stretching takes time. No matter if you do it to improve your quality of life or because you want to increase your range of motion to train more advanced skills you will have to invest time and energy.

The question is: are there proven, evidence based ways to cut this time short and get more out of the time spent stretching? After years of training, coaching and a whole lot of research I can tell you: Yes, there absolutely are ways to make your flexibility training more effective.

Things such as time of day, nutrition, order of exercises chosen during your workout and your level of recovery matter a lot more than you might think!

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A 2019 study showed that static stiffness decreases by up to 17% after doing this 1 simple hack at the beginning of every training session.

We all live busy lives. We all understand stretching takes time. No matter if you do it to improve your quality of life or because you want to increase your range of motion to train more advanced skills you will have to invest time and energy.

The question is: are there proven, evidence based ways to cut this time short and get more out of the time spent stretching? After years of training, coaching and a whole lot of research I can tell you: Yes, there absolutely are ways to make your flexibility training more effective.

Things such as time of day, nutrition, order of exercises chosen during your workout and your level of recovery matter a lot more than you might think!

In this text I have collected 10 simple techniques and concepts anyone can apply to make their  flexibility training more effective, to save time and to easily break through plateaus.

99% of people don’t use these hacks and waste pressure time so I am about to walk you through them.

My name is Coach Bachmann and I am an athlete and coach in LA. These are some of the best tricks my clients and I use to get and stay flexible on a busy schedule. I run an online business, I coach in person, I am in the process of opening my own studio plus I have family. I know what it means to be busy. Every moment stretching has to bring results. 


When water freezes it turns to ice and loses its elasticity. A piece of metal is stiff. But when heated the beam melts and becomes bendy. Your muscles are just like that. 

Scientific Study on Heat/Cold exposure and Flexibility

A 2013 study by the Loma Linda University examined 20 male & female subjects to determine if heat would increase flexibility of the knee ligament. The subjects were tested at room temperature, after applying ice packs and after applying heat for 20 min. Their conclusion was that ligament flexibility increased and force needed to move the joint decreased with heat by up to 25% in comparison to cold application. 

It is therefore safe to determine that heat makes you more flexible whilst being cold will have the opposite effect.

Increase Body Temperature

Breaking a sweat before you train will absolutely help. You can achieve this by cardiovascular activities such as rope skipping, jogging or similar. Alternatively, you can also use the sauna or even visit the hot tub. Put on a sweater and sweatpants after to make sure you stay warm during your session

Aim to increase body temperature by 1-2C every time before you stretch.

Body Wraps

Here is a secret pro tip: Grab neoprene wraps and any kind of heat cream. The neoprene will lock in the heat and keep you warm whilst allowing enough elasticity for you to stretch. Proceed with caution as you will feel significantly more flexible than you were without. Only increase intensity of depth of the stretch slightly when using the heat wrap trick. This works especially well for back bends!


Training hard can not outwork poor nutritional choices but a healthy and well balanced diet can absolutely support your results at the gym. Flexibility is once again no special princess. There is no wonder pill that will make you flexible overnight but you can absolutely maximize your gains and further support your body by paying attention to your diet.

Minerals & Vitamins

Magnesium supports healthy muscle functionality. One of its key jobs is blocking calcium uptake. This helps the muscles better relax after contracting during a tough workout. It is also believed that supplementing with magnesium will benefit when dealing with muscle cramps.

Overall, magnesium clearly plays a big role in muscle relaxation and it is safe to assume that magnesium can therefore help to boost overall flexibility in tight muscles.

Vitamin B & C are also believed to aid with increasing flexibility development. 


When we stretch the muscle elongates and we create tiny micro tears just like we would when doing strength training. Protein aids muscle recovery by providing the building blocks necessary for repairing damaged muscle fibers after exercise. Specifically, amino acids, the components of protein, play a crucial role in this process, as they are utilized to rebuild and strengthen muscle tissue. Having sufficient amounts of protein in your diet will help you recover in time for your next session. 


Drinking plenty of fluids is not just essential to help flush out toxins released from the stretches but a 2017 study released in the European Journal of Sports & Exercise Science tested 

19 male runners. They found that hydration plays a major role in the elasticity of the hamstrings. 

When hydrated the subjects on average gained close to 5cm in the forward fold, close to 10 degrees in their straight leg raise and general posterior stiffness decreased by around 43.49%.

Being hydrated clearly seems to be one of the keys to gaining and maintaining flexibility. Make sure you drink plenty of fluids and avoid excessive consumption of alcohol, sugary or caffeinated beverages, as they can lead to dehydration.


I’ve spent my entire life around athletes of all levels and fields. Over the years I developed a system for how to build workout routines and in which order to place exercises within the workouts that felt good and brought results. I had a strong natural feeling for how things need to be but I wasn’t always able to truly justify why I want things a certain way. This was until the year 2019.

Dynamic Stretching

In 2019 a study was conducted that I personally like a lot. 24 healthy athletes performed dynamic stretches for warm up. Hamstring flexibility was measured immediately after, 15, 30, 45, 60, 75, and 90 min after performing the dynamic stretches. 

Range of motion increased by 7-10% and was sustained over the 90 min.

Pain tolerance increased by 10% and returned back to baseline after 30 min.

Passive stiffness decreased by 7.9%-16.7% and sustained for 90 min.

This shows that the order of exercises used during your training is crucial and we can easily conclude that all your flexibility training must start with dynamic stretches focusing on the muscles that will be stretched ideally in movement patterns similar to the ones of the main sessions. If you are planning on working on your back bends performing dynamic stretches for your hamstrings will only bring little results. 

Another very interesting point to take from this is the length of your flexibility session. The remainder of your workout after the dynamic stretches should not be more than 30 min and must never exceed 90 min.

Allow your flexibility to warm up

Once your dynamic stretches are done the main part of your session is about to start. It is essential to keep in mind that you have to warm up your flexibility every day. Spending time with dynamic stretches and doing static holds will increase mobility during your session. Always start with small stretches before working on bigger, more intense ones.

Active work at the end

It is highly recommendable to finish every single session with active stretches where the agonist muscles attempt to pull the limb into a deeper stretch. This will allow you to build end range of motion strength but also to learn to actively pull yourself into a deeper stretch.

The pancake is an excellent example for this. Due to the set up and angle it is very difficult to get into a deeper stretch relying on gravity allowing. Learning to engage the hip flexors in the pancake stretch will help to pull yourself into a deeper stretch.


There is a study that talks about what I would consider the most beautiful way of looking at flexibility. The abstract is that we are all born flexible but our muscles engage and will not relax, basically preventing the joint from moving into a deeper stretch trying to protect the joints from injuries because the muscles do not trust the brain. Your muscles know that the brain sometimes wants more than it can and should have. The muscles try to protect your joints from you!

Relax but engage

Rarely any stretch allows you to simply relax and get flexible. Your muscles pull on 2 joints. You have to use at least the other muscles connected to one of the joints to stabilize said joint to place pressure on the muscle you are trying to work. Taking the example of the standing calf stretch with a bent knee targeting the soleus muscle. Your quads have to engage enough to keep the knee angle intact. Otherwise the knee would extend as you apply pressure on your soleus.

It is now your job to figure out how to actively relax the muscles you are stretching whilst engaging the surrounding muscles to stabilize the position. This is not an easy task. It will take time and practice.

Step 1 for this is to actually analyze which muscle is being stretched and which is holding on to the muscle. For this you have to build a strong mind muscle connection. You have to develop strong feelings for your body!

Weighted & PNF Stretches

Focusing on mind muscle connection and being mentally present when training every single workout is one great way of achieving this.

Incorporating weighted stretches can be a great way to further feel and analyze the working muscle. Assuming your form is on point the additional weight will place significantly more pressure on your muscles making it much easier to truly feel what is going right and wrong.

Engaging the stretched muscle with the Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation stretching method is also a powerful option. In a PNF stretch the antagonist muscle is being contracted  isometrically. In order to engage a muscle you truly need to know where it lays. 


Picture this: You start training calisthenics. You did your research. You’e selected the right exercises and progressions. It is finally time for your first workout. You head to the park. You do your training. You even warm up well. Everything is going smoothly. You film a couple sets in order to later analyze your form. You are proud of yourself as you should be. You are doing a great and responsible session. 

At the end of your workout you want to finish strong and get in a couple stretches. You didn’t really research them and are looking at your phone whilst you stretch analyzing your workout footage.

You wake up the next morning and your back is in pain. Calisthenics training is the only change in your life. You come to the one logical solution. Calisthenics training must not be for you! Your first session was your last one and you quickly move on to the next new thing.

The problem is that Calisthenics training is not what hurts your back. It was the careless hamstring stretches that hurt your back.

Form makes stretches effective & safe

Form is absolutely crucial when it comes to flexibility training. Not just to make your stretches effective but also to make them safe. If your form is off you will not make the expected gain whilst possibly hurting the joint you are focusing on or a completely unrelated one.

The beauty especially with static stretches is that you can take time and focus on what you do. This will allow you to nail form and alignment every single time. There is truly no excuse for doing a static stretch without perfect form.

Utilize Precise Cues

To make sure you get it right make a cue list. Not just in your head but actually write it down. Get precise. Execute each step in order every single time you work on your stretches. Consistency is absolutely key here.

One new cue at the time

Never add more than 1 cue per exercise per workout. If you want to improve flexibility you are in it for the long game. There is no reason to rush. Adding 1 new cue at the time will allow you to continue to focus on the old ones whilst being able to digest and truly apply the new one.


Now don’t get me wrong. Earlier I told you to hit the sauna for warm up, put on something hot and then get stretching. I stand by that but this does not mean I want you to Neflix and stretch! 

I should really go without saying. We have been discussing mind muscle connection, movement cues and all this for a little whilst now. It should be clear that focusing on what you do is key!

Turn the TV off and stop browsing on your phone. Actually focus on what you do. You wouldn’t watch TV when training your handstands so why allow yourself not to be fully focused whilst stretching. I know it might not be as exciting and I know watching TV whilst stretching has become the norm for many but force yourself to really tune into your workouts and let nothing distract you!

Choice of
progressions & Exercises

Pushing yourself in weightlifting is easy. You simply lift as much weight as you can at the required rep range and intensity. When the set gets easy you put more weight on the bar. With flexibility training it is not always quite this simple. 

Go Hard but not too hard

The real challenge of flexibility training is finding the progression of the stretch that brings mild discomfort whilst allowing you to relax into the stretch and keeping correct form.

You have to find a progression that challenges you yet is not too hard as you will lose form and your stretch will not be effective anymore.

At the same time it is vital the stretch is not too easy. If you do not feel any stretch during your training you will not achieve the expected outcome either.

Everyday is different

To make matters worse many factors such as nutrition, time of day and state of recovery play into how much accessible range of motion you have available. To a certain degree you have to reevaluate your progression level every single day to make sure you chose the right exercise at the right progression.


Our body truly is fascinating. The eye sees something, sends the info to the brain where it gets processed and then through the nerves in our spine and entire body this info is traveled to react to what the eye just saw.

See the bigger picture

When you are working on your flexibility it is essential that you keep this in mind. Especially when you are working on more complex skills that require multiple joints to open at the same time like for example the front split it is essential to see the body as a whole.

You might make it down to the floor in your front split but you realize you are leaning towards the front. You bring your upper body back to straighten out. Now you feel tension in your lower back so you think maybe you have to stretch your lumbar spine more. Yet, in reality you have to learn to open the hip flexor further to be able to sit up straight in your split with less of an arch.

Break apart & Find your Weak Spots

It is essential to take more complex exercises and break them apart. Coming back to the example of the front split. Stretch your front leg and back leg separately. Work on your hamstring and hip flexor flexibility first before putting it all back together.

This will help you identify your weak spots. You will learn and understand what is actually holding you back. This will then allow you to train in a more planned and targeted manner allowing you to advance in a more planned and calculated way. 


I know for a fact that there is at least one of you out there reading this right now who has the genius idea to just stretch between sets to get done faster. What could possibly be the harm of hitting a hamstring stretch between a couple sets of bench or a little adductor stretch between chin ups?

Ruin your main working sets

You are trying to get everything but you end up with nothing. By now you should be convinced that flexibility training is hard and takes focus. Doing a stretch well will mentally and physically fatigue you. Trying to stretch in between sets of literally anything else means that you will not be recovered for your next set of what you are working on. You rest in order to regain energy so you can push harder during your next working set. Stretching in between sets will not just stop you from recovering but it will most likely exhaust you even more leaving you more fatigued after your rest period then you were before.\

Get nothing from your stretches

This problem is a two way double lane highway. You will get into your stretch right after your main working set. If you are doing your training right you are tired when you get to your stretch! You are mentally and physically exhausted. You are low on energy for your stretch and you can not expect to achieve much.

Don’t stretch for gains in between sets!

Foam roller
= self massage

We all know those days when we are so sore we can not reach our end range of mobility. Stretching when too sore is actually quite useless. You will not improve your flexibility & it won’t help you get less sore. What do we do when we are too sore? We book a massage session and if you are not able to get a massage for whatever reason you default to the next best thing. A typical tool that athletes use to loosen up their muscles is the foam roller. 

Foam roller = self massage

Foam rolling as a form of self massage can and will help you get more flexible. Not directly of course. Unless used in very creative ways the roll will not push you into a deeper stretch but in an indirect way rolling will absolutely help you increase mobility.

On a surface level self massage will help loosen up tight muscles and fascia and with that increase range of motion.

Yet, it also helps to improve blood flow, modulating the nervous system allowing the muscles to relax more and reduces pain.

Not for Everyone 

However, it’s important to note that individual responses to foam rolling may vary. Further research is needed to fully understand its mechanisms and optimal application for improving flexibility.

As you can see everything matters when training flexibility. If you chose to capitalize on every single point to truly make the most out of every single session is up to you. Science paired with experience gives us plenty of evidence what to do to gain flexibility efficiently but at the end of the day no magic pill, no advanced exercise and surely no hack will take the most essential part of your flexibility training out of the equation:


You have to stay dedicated and put in the work!
Stretch responsible and see you soon!

front split guide
Bent Knees in the Middle Split
Golden Rules of Back Bending
"Pancake VS Middle Split"
How to Get Flexible
Middle Split Swimmer - The Ultimate Guide
6 Steps to better flexibility training
5 Types of Flexibility Training - Find what is right for you
Why you are not getting more flexible
How to Hamstring Stretch
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Effect of heat and cold on tendon flexibility and force to flex the human knee
Dynamic Stretching Has Sustained Effects on Range of Motion and Passive Stiffness of the Hamstring Muscles
Chronic Effects of Foam Rolling on Flexibility and Performance: A Systematic Review of Randomized Controlled Trials
Acute effects of static stretching and massage on flexibility and jumping performance
Dehydration Reduces Posterior Leg and Trunk Flexibility and Increases Stiffness in Male Collegiate Age Runners

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