How to Become Flexible

Nine Methods:Key Aspects of FlexibilityShoulder StretchesBack StretchesLeg StretchesUpper Thighs StretchesFinger StretchesAnkle StretchesWrist StretchesInner body meditation

You can't become flexible overnight. You need to get in the habit of doing stretching exercises every day. But with patience and time, you'll become more flexible. And you will be amazed at how good you feel. Here are some basic steps in the process.

Method 1
Key Aspects of Flexibility

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    Take good care of your inner body. Good care of your body includes paying attention to what you eat and ensuring that you are getting adequate nutrition.
    • Maintain a healthy diet. Eat more green leafy vegetables and increase your protein and calcium (drinking milk is one easy way to increase your intake of both of these).
    • Every morning, eat a good, healthy breakfast.
    • Drink plenty of water. Since your body is mostly water, you have to be hydrated.
    • The most important thing is to balance everything. If you don't, you will not be completely flexible.
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    Keep your joints and muscles stretched and cared for. Start your workout with low-impact stretches and work up to a full stretch workout. Later, wind down your routine with low-impact exercising.
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    Make sure you have supervision when performing stretches. If you have no idea what you are doing you'll undoubtedly injure yourself. Most martial arts schools and gymnastics classes have extensive programs and teachers available. Check them out.
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    Remember to include both the positive and negative motions when you stretch. Keep it symmetrical. If you are stretching your left, stretch out your right too. If you are bending forward, bend backwards too.
    • If you don't feel a little strain in your muscles, you're not doing it in a way that will prove beneficial. A little strain is normal.
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    Think positive when you're becoming flexible. It takes time but you will get there. Tell yourself motivating things, such as: "I know I can do this!"
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    Remember you must always be patient. The key to being flexible is waiting calmly.
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    Do stretches every day (for at least 10 to 15 minutes) and work at it progressively. This is important if you want to become flexible! Remember, you can't become flexible overnight. Work at the rate you are comfortable with, and then slowly increase the difficulty (length of time, length of reach or both).
    • When you are doing stretches, wear comfortable gear, such as tank top and shorts, leotard, and so forth.
    • Do warm ups before beginning stretches. One way to warm up would to be to do a decent amount of jumping jacks.
    • Starting with difficult and advanced stretches is dangerous and ill-advised for anyone. Begin from the easier stretches, then move on to the harder ones.
    The following sections provide a list of basic, good stretching exercises for your body. Be careful, take them slowly and become comfortable with them before pushing yourself.

Method 2
Shoulder Stretches

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    Stretch each arm as far across your chest while holding it as you can without feeling pain for 5 or 10 minutes every day.

Method 3
Back Stretches

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    Always observe the greatest care when doing back stretches. Take it slowly and easily and if you don't feel that you can do the stretch, don't push it.
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    Lie down on the floor.
    • Sit up straight, leaving your legs out in front of you. They don't have to be flat.
    • Turn your upper body slowly, and make absolutely sure that you stop turning when it starts to hurt. It is relatively easy to damage your spinal cord if you stretch improperly, so pay attention.
    • When you stop turning, hold that position for 5 to 10 seconds. Turn the other direction, and repeat.
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    Try to do a backbend, or a bridge. Be very careful not to go too far! Once you are in the bridge, push through your shoulders, and try to put your legs together and straighten them. Don't go onto your toes!
    • When you are doing the backbend, make sure your shoulders are over your hands or in line.
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    Try a gentle twist. Stand up with your arms hanging out to the side. Then very slowly twist from side to side.
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    Try a snake, or seal stretch. Lay flat on your tummy and then use your arms to put yourself in a snake or seal stretch.

Method 4
Leg Stretches

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    Sit down as you did before for the back exercises, only this time, make your legs as flat on the ground as possible, right beside each other.
    • Stretch down toward your knees. Do not bend your head to face your knees, face forward.
    • This will also stretch your neck muscles; if it hurts your neck to do this exercise, face your knees and stretch.
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    You can also sit down with your legs straight out and take your right leg and swing it over your left leg a few times. Do the same with your left leg.
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    Try doing the splits as well as possible, but carefully for about 4 minutes per day. If you are advanced and flat on the ground, take a sofa pillow and put one of your legs on it to give more of a stretch.
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    Try a pike stretch.
    • To get started, lay flat on the ground and then sit up.
    • Reach for your toes.
    • Look at your knees and hold for about 20 to 30 seconds.
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    Try a butterfly stretch. Keep the bottom of the feet pressed together, then pull them towards you.
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    Do some lunges. Kneel down, one leg front, one at the back; when your legs are at 90 degrees, push down. Then straighten your front leg.
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    Try a straddle. Open your legs as widely as possible while sitting. Lean left and right, very gently, while in this position.

Method 5
Upper Thighs Stretches

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    Squeeze both sides of your thighs together.
    • Hold for 5 minutes. (If this is too long, start with 2 minutes, and build it up.)

Method 6
Finger Stretches

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    Hold one hand out in a fist.
    • Slowly open up the fist.
    • Stretch your fingers back as far as they can. Hold for a minute.
    • Repeat with your other hand. This can help with carpal tunnel syndrome.

Method 7
Ankle Stretches

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    Sit with your legs straight out in front of you in the same manner as the leg stretch above.
    • You can also sit with one leg in front of you and take the other ankle and rest it on your knee then grab your foot and twist your ankle.
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    Twist your ankles in any shape or form (for example, the "ABC"s).

Method 8
Wrist Stretches

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    Sit on your knees and then put your hands out like you are reading a book.
    • Flip your hands onto the floor with fingers facing you, like "save the page."
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    You can also, after you do the stretch above, flip your hands in any way (fingers facing outward or inward to the side, whatever).

Method 9
Inner body meditation

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    Practice inner body meditation. Apart from working on physical flexibility; externally via stretches, crunches etc, one should also focus upon working on it from the inside. Its cause inner realm and outer realm are deeply interconnected to each other. Plus only through awareness you have access to inner body.
    • Inner body meditation means focusing your attention or feel the inner energy field of your body.
    • It not only dissolves the physical stiffness but also make you aware of the tense body parts that were unconscious of.
    • Try this: focus your attention on your shoulders or hands from the inside and hold it there for sometime. From there focus your attention on other parts of the body and then feel the body as whole. Can you feel that your body is more relaxed now?
    • If you want, you can be more specific. For example if you experience that your legs are not very flexible then you can focus your attention on inner energy field of your legs and hold it there.
    • Don't just reject or accept it. Put it to test. Read Meditate and Stay Rooted in Being for more details.


  • It takes time to develop flexibility. Have patience about seeing improvements; within a week there will be small noticeable differences, and within a month, you'll feel a lot better. One day, being flexible will feel like the normal state for you. Keep it up!
  • Do around 10 to 15 minutes of stretches to begin with. Increase to 30 minutes a day for more benefit. Keep the exercise regular.
  • A warm room can assist with stretching. Put on the heater if the room is cold. You can also warm your muscles; try putting a heating pad on the area and stretching after ten minutes: just remember to ice it afterwards.
  • Also try jogging, walking, or even running to boost up your blood and to get your blood running, then begin stretching.
  • When stretching, don't bounce. This puts stress on the joints and muscles, as well as creating micro-tears in the muscle fibers. Stretch slowly and as gracefully as you can. Make sure the movements are in one fluid motion. Also, be sure to keep your back and legs straight. It helps if you relax and ease up before.
  • For example, make up a routine of your stretches. Example: first you do arms and then legs and so on and so forth. But don't be afraid to change it up.
  • Stay within your comfort zone. Stretches are about increasing your stamina and flexibility slowly, not tearing a muscle and being in horrible pain.
  • Make sure you stretch everyday and don't give up!!! It always helps to have an idol, for example, someone that has done it before. If you can, ask them for advice. This makes getting flexible a whole lot easier.
  • Always warm up and do some stretches.
  • If you have trouble touching your toes, go as far as you can go without bending your knees everyday and hold it for a couple more seconds. Eventually you will see improvement.
  • Never Give up! It takes time to become flexible, so dedicate yourself to gymnastics, stretch in the morning, at night, and throughout the day. The more you stretch, the better results you will see. Stretching is about moving forward, so every time you stretch, push further and further gradually.
  • Gymnastic classes can help you get a daily routine of stretching and you'll improve faster. Dance classes might be better, because they do stretching the whole time. Dancing makes you flexible so of course you won't be doing the splits the whole time.
  • Heavy stretching must only be done one day in a week, to allow time to heal muscle fibers and small-pulls. However, you can use simple stretching every day.
  • Try to learn yoga postures. Indian classical dancing such as kuchipudi, silk weaving exercises are also good. Get your whole body massaged with ayurvedic herbal oil every week.
  • Ballet is an excellent way to improve flexibility. If you've never tried it, look for an adult class.
  • Supervision is extremely beneficial when you start out your stretches. If you don't know what you're doing, only do it under supervision, or not at all.


  • Don't continue stretching if you're in severe pain. This can cause you to pull a muscle.
  • Never forget to warm up; without this, you may hurt yourself.
  • It is recommended not to smoke, if you are doing these exercises. Smoking can cause serious problems in your body that could be made worse by stretching your muscles.
  • If you are feeling a pain in any part of your body then it means you're overdoing the stretch. You will need to slow down and use less force.
  • If you are rehabilitating an injury, consider consulting a physical therapist or trainer to make sure you are making things better, not worse.
  • Never attempt stretches that you do not fully understand how to do properly or attempt ones that require spotters by yourself. You can easily hurt yourself.
  • Depending on what you're doing, overdoing certain stretches can cause breaking of bones or sprains, which can cause problems.
  • Be very careful if you create your own stretches. This could be very dangerous for those who don't know how to do it!
  • Do not do these stretches if you have a calcium deficiency. It is very easy to damage your bones that way.
  • Speak with your doctor, if you are unable to do these exercises due to immediate fatigue, muscle weakness, or injury. Don't wait for it to clear up on its own.
  • Make sure you're not constipated while stretching. It may hurt.
  • Children must have expert adult supervision before trying anything that could present a physical risk.
  • Just always know that me-self is awesome

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Categories: Performing Arts