What to do when you’re feeling stuck
You downloaded the App, ready to finally conquer your splits (or to get a bendy back, or to finally touchdown on your middle splits) once and for all. You try out a few classes and slowly start to build your training routine, feeling determined to stretch regularly and make major progress. You stick with it for a couple weeks, maybe even a month. At the end of the month you test yourself and…UGH. It hasn’t happened yet. In fact, it doesn’t even feel like you’ve made any progress. So, what’s next?
The Journey of Flexibility
Well, there’s good news and bad news. The good news is that the consistent routine you’ve built is the key to your success. You’ve shown yourself that your drive and commitment can translate into action. You CAN make the time in your week to stretch, prioritizing your flexibility training in the face of all of life’s other demands. You’ve proved to yourself that you CAN reach out and find resources that will help lead you in the direction of your dreams (that’s why you downloaded StretchIt in the first place!). Your resourcefulness and willingness will take you far, so recognize those positive traits and thank yourself for them.
The bad news is that there are no shortcuts to flexibility. Everyone’s body is different and has a separate timeline. The one thing NOT to do is to force anything your body is not ready for. Instead, let your mantra be: patience, safety, strength, and commitment. Front splits, middle splits, advanced back-bending…all of these can take months or even years to achieve. The founders of StretchIt, Natasha and Marina, couldn’t even touch their toes when they first started stretching! Six years later, they’ve found themselves doing things they would never have dreamed when they first started. Think of flexibility as a lifelong journey. It’s exciting to think about where the future can take you, so don’t let the present get you down! The minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, and years add up. It’s just hard to feel that way when you want achievement to happen on an expedited timeline. Your body has its own wisdom, so don’t let your mind take over just for superficial ends. Forcing a position that is new territory for your body can be dangerous, plus it might lead to injury, which will slow down your timeline even more.
Are you taking enough time to rest and recover? The techniques taught in the StretchIt classes place an emphasis on strengthening the muscles in order to support greater flexibility. We recommend that you give yourself at least one day between intense stretching sessions so that the body has time to repair your muscles. Remember, the rest days are when you grow stronger! The muscle fibers rebuild themselves on the off-days, and prepare your body for more intensity at your next training session! Don’t short change yourself on recovery.
We hope that you try different strategies to help yourself achieve success with your training. Be your own best cheerleader and thank yourself for all the things you have done to find greater flexibility in your body. Not every session will end with a gain, but over time you’ll feel better and discover that your body really is changing.
Finding Your Way Past the Plateaus
Another common experience is when you find yourself stretching for a long time, maybe even years. You’re seeing steady growth in your flexibility until the progress starts petering out and….boom. Months pass by and you feel like you’ve gotten stuck in the same place. You’ve hit a plateau. You like your training routine but you want to keep going and you’re not sure how. Give these strategies a shot:
Get specific. Pick a goal that you want to achieve. So often we feel like we aren’t getting ‘more flexible’ but we don’t have any way to measure our progress. The more specific you can make your goal, the better! Try measuring the distance from your hips to the ground, or using a marker of success such as “At the end of every session, I’ll stretch my oversplits with 2 blocks instead of just hitting my flat splits on the floor.” You can also use photos, which we think is the best way to measure your progress with stretching! Take photos at regular intervals and you’ll have a visual timeline of your progress.
Switch it up. Too much of a good thing does exist. Sometimes we need to mix up our training in order to see gains with our goals! Try adding another fitness class or workout into your week if you feel like you aren’t seeing any progress with your flexibility. Strength training, a vigorous dance class, or even a meditative modality like gyrokinesis can help you tap into new ways to get bendy. Adding new workouts or meditation practices to the mix can help you access unexplored corners of your own strength, stability, and breath work.
Try longer stretch sessions to go deeper. Add an extra 5, 15, or 30 minutes onto your training session! Challenge yourself a little more. Get sweaty with a pre-warm up by going for a jog or doing some extra push-ups. Pick a few advanced poses that you want to work on at the end of your stretching sessions and leave time to experiment with these before cooling down. You can also try adding two classes together, like Front Splits and Bendy Back, in order to hit all parts of the body during your session.
Push past the plateaus by changing up your approach with these tips. Good luck and happy training!
"When you make a choice, you change the future.”
How do you get unstuck when you feel like you’ve hit a plateau? Share your strategies with us! firstname.lastname@example.org