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How to Get Flexible

Flexibility, mobility, stretching, range of motion. The list goes on. Countless of opinion, everyone believes they know best and everyone promises a different secret. Thus far in my life my entire career depended on getting and staying flexible whilst being able to perform athletically at the highest level.

I’ve been able to do so thanks to a bulletproof support team. Coaches, athletic therapists, research papers and over 15 years of self experiments fueled by curiosity and the desire to be the best has brought me to a place where I finally feel comfortable and ready to give precise advice on how to get flexible and explain why certain things work better where others do not. 

Home | Knowledgebase | FLEXIBILITY

How to
Get Flexible

Flexibility, mobility, stretching, range of motion. The list goes on. Countless of opinion, everyone believes they know best and everyone promises a different secret. Thus far in my life my entire career depended on getting and staying flexible whilst being able to perform athletically at the highest level. 

I’ve been able to do so thanks to a bulletproof support team. Coaches, athletic therapists, research papers and over 15 years of self experiments fueled by curiosity and the desire to be the best has brought me to a place where I finally feel comfortable and ready to give precise advice on how to get flexible and explain why certain things work better where others do not. 

Why you should train Flexibility

Health & Quality of Life

Improving your general mobility will increase your overall posture, this will leave you feeling better and you will regain basic, regular humanly functions such as being able to tie your shoes standing up without back pain or reaching overhead without feeling a stretch in your shoulders, ultimately leading to an increased quality of life.

Yet, one should be aware from the start that flexibility is no one fix all wonder healer kind of approach. Just getting mobile alone won’t fix your posture and getting too flexible without developing the needed strength and end range control can leave you in a worse place than where you came from.

Stretching won’t heal your problems or keep you young. No matter that I am here to help you get flexible and my daily bread depends on your desire to get flexible it is important to recognize that in regular human beings, all real life range of motions are available and therefore for a regular life flexibility training is not required. Modern day lifestyles, desk jobs or injuries can change this rapidly turning flexibility training into a medical necessity.


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Lessen risk for injuries in certain sports

Our muscles are not elastic like for example rubber bands. They are viscoelastic. Whilst a rubber band returns to its original position right after stretching it apart a muscle stays in this lengthened position for a continued period of time once the stretch is completed.

This temporarily increased range of motion can linder the risk of injuries during sports as the joint is able to move freer. This is why you generally see high level athletes stretch before training. Keep in mind that after about 10 min relaxation this increased range of motion goes away.

Advantage through mechanical advantage

Presenting to you the reason why most of us really stretch. Increased flexibility means that you will be able to create a mechanical advantage for your technical training making skills easier and more accessible. 

Training your middle split for example will not only make your handstands look beautiful but will also provide stability. The better you middle split the easier your planche and front lever become as you can shift your center of mass.

Increased hamstring flexibility will make skills such as the skin the cat, press to handstand and L Sit significantly easier allowing you to advance to more difficult skills faster.

What Flexibility
Depends on

Anyone who has ever done any kind of mobility or flexibility work knows that stretching is not the most pleasant experience in the world. It is uncomfortable enough for most to be highly motivated to make it as efficient as possible. Your flexibility gains will depend on many factors.


Whilst the entire body is connected every joint, muscle and tendon is its own flexibility unit. Whilst it is important to keep your flexibility routine well balanced you should be stretching goal specific. Stretching your hamstrings will not improve your shoulder mobility.

Every joint is specific and some parts of your body are naturally more mobile than others. Hips and shoulders for example are ball and socket joints allowing for an elevated range of motion compared to the elbows mobility that is rather straight forward and linear.

Lastly, it is important to mention at this point that not all flexibility is the same. Each type of flexibility needs to be trained specifically. Passive stretches will only partly increase active flexibility and vice versa.


The beauty about humanity is that we are all unique. For flexibility this means that everyone will advance at a different speed. Elasticity of muscle tissue, tendons and ligaments and skin is individual from athlete to athlete and influences heavily how flexible someone can become. 

Gender and age is also significant. Female athletes usually tend to be more flexible than their male counterparts and young athletes increase flexibility easier than older ones. Throughout their journey of life an athlete can expect to start losing some flexibility around age 55 with a heavier decline starting around mid 60s. This loss of flexibility mainly manifests itself in the shoulders and hips.

Human Factor

Whilst genetics do play a big role at the end of the day it comes down to how bad do you want it and how focused will you be able to work towards your flexibility goals. Are you watching netflix or scrolling threads whilst stretching? Do you show up on time for your workouts, stay dedicated and put in the constant and consistent work? 

The ability to learn movement patterns and to execute them correctly influences heavily how well you will be able to increase flexibility. If you have ever trained with me you know how much coordination can change the outcome and ultimately the success of your flexibility session.

Pain tolerance is also a huge indicator of how fast your flexibility will improve. Whilst we generally do not want to push into pain (more to this later) depending on where the athlete’s pain threshold is the more efficient stretches might be.

Health and the athlete’s current status in the recovery process will impact how hard an athlete is able to work during the flexibility session heavily influencing success of the training.

How do we
get flexible

This is possibly the hardest question to ask. There are plenty of scientific studies out there and many suggest different findings. 

Body Adaptations

The human body is fascinating and over time is able to adjust to pretty much any external pressure put on it. Fascia and muscle adapt to repetitive movement and stimuli and ultimately get more elastic. Studies found that sarcomere (smallest contracting unit of the muscles) is added and subtracted from muscle based on use. With flexibility training additional sarcomere are recruited ultimately leading to increased flexibility gains.

Brain Adaptations

The other side of flexibility training is your mind muscle connection. Through repetitive stretching your muscles learn to trust your brain under pressure and begin to relax more. This building of trust is not just a figure of speech but actually happens which is why you must allow your body time to get more flexible.

Everything matters
Get the most out of your training

When you want to increase flexibility efficiently you are trying to change the way your body functions. This won’t be easy. To make the most of our time we have to take everything in account!

Time of the day

When first waking up in the morning one is usually rather stiff. Most people are more flexible in the afternoon compared to the morning peaking at around 2-4:30 PM. 

Body temperature

Simply put the warmer you are the easier it will be to gain flexibility. Research shows that joints and muscles increase flexibility easier at a body temperature elevated by 1-2 celsius. 


Overlooked by many but nutrition will have a big impact on your flexibility gains. Hydration is key to keeping muscles loose and supplementing calcium and potassium intake will reduce risk of cramping and can further increase flexibility.

Training space

Not just your body should be warm but of course also the space you train in. This will make it possible to stay warm during passive stretches and to get warm in the first place. If you are training in a space less warm make sure to wear long clothes! 

Humidity has positive impacts on your flexibility training as well. Training in a slightly humid climate will make stretching and increasing flexibility easier.

How to train
for flexibility

We know now in general how to get flexible and we build appreciation realizing that everything matters when it comes to building flexibility. Now let’s get a bit more into detail to get you ready to go to the gym and actually work on your flexibility.


Flexibility gains and progress is usually rather slow. This is great and it really should be like this! Fast flexibility gains usually lead to either immediate or long term injuries. You are changing the way your body functions. Your body is used to something it’s entire life. You should not mess with this stability from one day to another.

Current research suggests that in order for changes to manifest themselves it takes about 10 min a daily stretching for about 2 months.

Good news is that from my personal experience progress is visible and especially internally recognizable much quicker than that but it is important to mention that gains come in waves. You might have multiple weeks when it feels like nothing is moving before all of a sudden breaking through and gaining a whole new load of range of motion.

Correct Form & Progressions

Personally, I believe nothing is more key than this. If you are using a progression that is too difficult for you at the moment you are not able to line yourself up properly meaning you will not be able to actively target the area you are attempting to stretch. Not only will this make your stretch ineffective but also will it increase risk for injuries. It is crucial that you learn to use the right progressions for your current level!

Pressure & How far should you go

One of the main questions I always get is how hard should one go when stretching. This is difficult to answer and it is highly individual and case specific but as a general rule of thumb: you are gonna go less hard than what you are probably expecting.

We want mild discomfort. No pain! You should be able to carry a conversation easily whilst stretching. 

2 things to remember here is that the mind adapts so your pain tolerance and general perception of pain will change over time meaning that what feels very painful to a beginner might be received as very mild discomfort to a beginner.

Also to keep in mind is that due to the internal and external factors mentioned above your end range of motion can be different every day and whilst it is important to have a goal you can not train towards it as you are used to from strength training. You will have to reassess your range of motion in every workout resetting your “daily personal best”.

Time under Tension & Frequency

Another difficult question is time under tension and frequency. How often should one actually train flexibility and for how long should stretches be held for. Here is really where science and research papers have the widest variety of answers and beliefs.

Generally, everyone agrees that stretches should be performed for about 30-40 sec at the time. Yet, when you are first starting out these can be performed less long slowly building up to the total time. 

Throughout the week I recommend stretching each body part 3 times. This can either be in one session or spread over 2 sessions. This will make the difference if you stretch every or every other day. Whilst beginners will get away with stretching every second day, advanced athletes will have to stretch daily.

Rest & Recovery

Stretching can and most likely will leave you sore which is why it is so important only to stretch 3 times per week when first getting started.

Over time your body will get better at recovering from flexibility training and you will be able to increase the frequency of your workouts to 4 or even 5 flexibility sessions per week. 


Besides the right progressions it is also essential to utilize a wide variety of drills and flexibility training techniques. This will allow you to give new stimuli to your body and to keep challenging it for increased adaptation. 

As discussed above, flexibility gains are specific. Whilst it is key to keep your routine and with that entire body well rounded you also want to make sure to train specific for your goals!

Dynamic stretches are stretches where the athlete uses momentum to gently pull in and out of a range of motion that stretches gently but does not reach the current limit of mobility. These stretches are highly beginner friendly and a must in every warm up.

During Static Stretches the athlete holds a static position with the help of an external force such as gravity, a coach or gym weight for prolonged periods of time. This is the most common form of flexibility training.

PNF Stretches refer to drills that are part of the post-isometric relaxation stretching techniques and should mainly be applied to long kinetic chains such as the hamstrings. Utilizing the Engage-Relax cycle the athlete will engage the stretched muscle against an external force to pre fatigue it and to build mind muscle connection before relaxing it sliding into a slightly deeper stretch.

Ballistic stretches use momentum created by the opposite muscle, often in combination with gravity in an attempt to force the targeted muscle into a deeper stretch. Ballistic stretches are for more advanced athletes only. 

Lastly, we have active stretches which focus on using one muscle group in an attempt to stretch the other. Studies suggest that building strength in the opposite muscle will allow the stretched muscle to relax more and therefore achieve greater results but personally I believe that active stretching should be part of your conditioning work if anything.


Know what you do before you get to the gym. Write it down! Be precise. Once at the gym you shouldn’t have to look around trying to figure out what to do. You want to keep your sessions short and efficient. If you are just doing whichever stretch comes to mind you will not see optimal progress. 

Creating a well balanced full body flexibility plan takes quite a bit of thinking and experience. Lots of things need to be considered. The better you are prepared the more your flexibility will increase.

Making flexibility accessible and efficient to everyone is not easy. Follow the key rules and principles discussed in this article to make the most out of every session and to guarantee lasting, visible and especially feel-able gains.

Keep in mind that different lifestyles require different levels of mobility and no one stretching routine is flexible enough to work for everyone.

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