Can anyone become flexible?.. Or is it genetic?

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Mar 09, 2009 7:59 PM GMT
    Since a kid, I've not even been able to touch my toes.

    Do you think I could become a lot more flexible with practice?


    (gratuitious picture of yoga hunk)
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Mar 09, 2009 9:16 PM GMT
    yes....I relax into a stretch. For example, to touch my toes, I just bend over and stay that way allowing the back muscles and hamstrings to slowly fatigue, let go, and relax into the stretch.

    I dont follow this guy very much but he has the same idea....he's russian and plays it to the hilt in his book, making it quite humorous.

    Relax into Stretch : Instant Flexibility Through Mastering Muscle Tension
    by Pavel Tsatsouline

    Product Description
    Regain the Buoyant Flexibility of a Young Child While Maximizing Your Power and Strength
    "Conventional stretching attempts to literally elongate your tissues, which is dangerous and ineffective. Relax into Stretch simply teaches your muscles to relax into a stretch. If you compare traditional training to a messy hardware reorganization, then Relax into Stretch is an efficient software upgrade.

    While stretching tissues may take years, changes in the nervous system are immediate! Your muscles will start noticeably elongating from your first Relax into Stretch practice—and within months you will have achieved a level of flexibility uncommon in our species."—Pavel Tsatsouline

    —Own an illustrated guide to the thirty-six most effective techniques for super-flexibility

    —How the secret of mastering your emotions can add immediate inches to your stretch

    —How to wait out your tension—the surprising key to greater mobility and a better stretch

    —How to fool your reflexes into giving you all the stretch you want

    —Why contract-relax stretching is 267% more effective than conventional relaxed stretching

    —How to breathe your way to greater flexibility

    —Using the Russian technique of Forced Relaxation as your ultimate stretching weapon

    —How to stretch when injured—faster, safer ways to heal

    —Young, old, male, female—learn what stretches are best for you and what stretches to avoid

    —Why excessive flexibility can be detrimental to athletic performance—and how to determine your real flexibility needs

    —Plateau-busting strategies for the chronically inflexible

    About the Author
    Pavel Tsatsouline, Master of Sports, is a former physical taining instructor for the Soviet Special Forces who is now much demand as a strength and endurance trainer for SWAT teams and a nationally recognized presenter of fitness seminars. He is the author of Power to the People! and Bullet-proof Abs. ADDRESS GOES HERE
  • Bunjamon

    Posts: 3161

    Mar 09, 2009 10:10 PM GMT
    If you stretch every day before you go to bed, you will eventually be able to touch your toes. Also, stretch your hamstrings after you work out your legs. Short/tight hamstrings are a lot of the reason why many guys can't touch their toes.
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    Mar 09, 2009 10:11 PM GMT
    yes of course anyone can become as flexible as this guy, although i think this dude has more strength in his arms to lift his body then flexibility. but take me for an example i used to be 220 pounds then i went down to 125, through various yoga practices and dieting. for touching your toes start with bending your knees until your hands touch the floor, and slowly straighten your knees only as much as you can, but don't straighten them till it hurts thats over doing it. then bend your knees back down then straighten again, keep practicing this and you'll be able to do it.
    p.s. most yoga gyms and videos and practices start with yoga blocks, highly recommended.icon_exclaim.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Mar 09, 2009 10:13 PM GMT
    Be good at the yoga plow maneuver and you may never need a boyfriend. icon_wink.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Mar 09, 2009 10:18 PM GMT
    Touching your toes is definitely may want to get a coach, friend or trainer to assist. Things that may prevent you from touching your toes: too much belly fat (not a problem with you), injuries to your back or hips, injuries to your hamstrings, and--of course--never having done toe touches. Your body may need a few weeks or months to develop the conditioning to do it.

    Most contortionists are freaks of nature. You're born with that stuff or not. Toe touching is not in that category.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Mar 09, 2009 10:56 PM GMT
    i think i have stiff genes...but i seeing an improvement doing different things.
  • EricLA

    Posts: 3461

    Mar 09, 2009 11:03 PM GMT
    Actually, I think that guy is actually doing gymnastics, not yoga. But, still, flexible nonetheless.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Mar 10, 2009 1:31 AM GMT
    I'm more bendable than a drunk Gumby, which is why I don't feel the need for a bf. lmao
  • MikemikeMike

    Posts: 6932

    Mar 10, 2009 2:03 AM GMT
    Anyone can improve their flexability, but alot is genetic.
  • inmidair

    Posts: 70

    Mar 10, 2009 2:30 AM GMT
    I have some strong opinions about flexibility training, since I've gained and lost my flexibility several times. With gentle, consistent hamstring and hip flexor stretching, I think most adults can see significant progress in a year. (It takes about that long for most people to get to their splits.) Here's what I've learned:

    Hold for at least 30 seconds. Whatever your favorite stretch, you need to hold it in a static position for at least 30 seconds, up to about 2 minutes. For the first 30 seconds or so, the muscle has a reflex that is actively resisting the stretch, so if you only hold the position for a few seconds, you will never make any progress. At around 20 or 30 seconds, you will feel the muscle relax; after this point you starting to do the work of actually stretching the muscle. As the muscle relaxes, you can often breathe a bit deeper into the stretch.

    Do not overstretch. Hamstrings are especially vulnerable to tears from overstretching. Stretching is not a "no pain, no gain" situation. You should push the stretch to a point where you feel that the muscle is stretching, but not so much that the stretch is painful. If you are working with a gymnastics trainer or someone who is used to working with children, stand your ground and do not let this person bully you into overstretching. Adult bodies (even at 20 or 21) are much different than child and adolescent bodies, and if you stretch as aggressively as teenagers stretch, you will tear a hamstring, which is painful, sets back your training, and can also hurt your potential for flexibility in the future.

    Do not bounce. If you bounce in a stretch, especially at the beginning, your muscle never disengages its stretch-resistance reflex. Bouncing may make it feel like you are pushing against your flexibility, but actually you are just dealing a sharp trauma to that muscle with every bounce, while it tries to resist with its reflex.

    Stretch before, after, and throughout your weight training. Because both stretching and weight training involve tearing down old muscle, incorporating stretching into your weight training routines will encourage the development of long, toned, flexible muscles. People who stretch throughout their workouts make more flexibility gains than people who only stretch at the beginning or at the end.

    Other than that, be sure to breathe, and be sure to use a stretch that isolates the muscle you want to stretch. If you just bend over and try to touch your toes with tight hamstrings, you'll probably take more of the stretch in your lower back than in your hamstrings, which isn't the goal.
  • tbeaux

    Posts: 419

    Mar 10, 2009 2:34 AM GMT
    Do those stretches that everyone has said, but a big thing I'd stress is don't forget to breathe during stretching. So many people hold their breath while they are and that's not helping the muscles, if anything that is straining them more. So don't forget to breathe! Your muscles need the oxygen!
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    Mar 10, 2009 2:44 AM GMT
    All the points midair has posted are very true, these will help greatly. Something else, if you are suffering from any lower back or hip problems. is to start doing them sitting on the floor instead of standing. At least until you have the strength or flexibility. This will reduce stress on the back, hamstrings and hips until you've made good progress. And definitely, do this daily. Start with 5-10 minutes and build up. You will be amazed at the muscle control you will gain.

    Best of luck!
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    Mar 11, 2009 1:33 PM GMT
    That's great, thanks for the advice.

    Thanks for the product tip as well Caslon.

    Does anyone know any good introductory yoga dvds? They cost a fortune - and I don't want to waste my money.
  • tbeaux

    Posts: 419

    Mar 11, 2009 1:43 PM GMT
    I suggest finding a place that has yoga and having a teacher instruct you. They can help you if you are positioned wrong.
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    Mar 11, 2009 1:46 PM GMT
    i agree with inmidair- the best way to learn to do it all right is to take a really good yoga class- preferably one that focuses more on far eastern, yin yoga, which involves simple asanas held for long periods of time, in deep stretches that hit at the joints and deep connective tissues, rather than the muscles.

    i was always flexible as a kid, and gymnastics and yoga improved it further (luvjunkie, i know what u mean, but its still better when another does it lol)
    however, i haven't done yoga for a couple years on a regular basis so i've lost a lot of it, and want to get it back. especially in my hamstrings. it'll take some effort over time but at least i know it can be done.
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    Mar 11, 2009 2:30 PM GMT
    Lost_And_Found said
    Thanks for the product tip as well Caslon.

    Dude, you're only at 584 posts. Ya gotta follow the rules around here:

    funny pictures
    moar funny pictures
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Mar 11, 2009 2:33 PM GMT
    It's both. More so gentic then anything else.
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    Mar 14, 2009 6:08 AM GMT
    I've always been slim, but touching my toes has never been easy. Conversely, since I was a kid I've been able to do a full lotus effortlessly, with no assistance from my hands. This was not the result of long practice, and I can do it even if I haven't tried it in months (maybe years, who keeps track?)

    So I figure there must be a huge genetic/structural component. But now I'm going to try some of the advice from those above.
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    Mar 14, 2009 11:55 AM GMT
    Most people believe they are unable to touch their toes because of tight hamstrings. However many other areas of the body need flexibility before one can touch their toes. I followed the following article from Men's Health Magazine. Before I followed the stretching routine I was unable to do it. I'm now able to touch my toes without difficulty. I'm in my fifties; so you young guys with practice should be able to do it.
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    Mar 17, 2009 5:41 PM GMT
    there are many different modalities when it comes to stretching. i have only experienced two and of these, i only have extensive experience in the second (at least extensive enough to be able to teach it and use it in my personal training/massage therapy practice):

    1. pnf ( proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation.

    2. active isolated stretching (

    unfortunately, you will need someone who is well-trained in either one of these modalities to perform it on you, much teach you how to do it properly. there are subtle nuances involved in any form of bodywork(including stretching) that cannot be conveyed by book or video.

    but the bottom line is yes. you most certainly can improve your flexibility. consider flexibilty as an inherent muscle characteristic, much like strength and endurance are. you can train your muscles to improve strength. you can train your muscles to improve their endurance. and you can train your muscles to improve their flexibility as well; but just as with strength and endurance, you don't go from zero to hero overnight (unless you really are a superhero, or a ninja, or the avatar; i would mention the jedi, but really, they're a bunch of pussies).

    i hope this helps. cheers.