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3 Simple Tricks To Improve Flexibility

Updated: Nov 5, 2021

Sore backs, stiff necks and painful joints are often the results of tight - and weak - muscles. This tightness stems from either injury, movement inefficiency or imbalances, and are often down to our lifestyles and daily routine. We are not designed to sit for long periods of time and stare at screens all day. When this happens over a prolonged period of time we end up with the aforementioned ailments - sound familiar?

So, how do we go about fixing the damage our desks and screens have done to us? There should be a three-pronged approach to the issue:

  1. Improve your habit to avoid prolonged sitting and bad posture - Move more, get up and walk around, take part in sports, sleep better.

  2. Strengthen muscles which become weakened due to this - Hamstrings, glutes. mid and upper back, "core" muscles.

  3. Stretch tight muscles - Muscles such as the hip flexors, piriformis, neck and hamstrings.

This last point is one which we will address in this article. Here are three simple tricks to improve flexibility in problem areas:


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1. Stretch Wherever Possible

I touched on this in a previous article and it is a point I would like to reiterate. Any chance you get to stretch, take it! It could be sat on the sofa, watching TV, taking an escalator or doing the housework. How? Well, try this.

(Hold these stretches for 30+ seconds)

When seated on the sofa perform a seated piriformis stretch.

Place your right foot on your left knee, allowing your right knee to relax down. Apply slight downward pressure to your right knee and sit tall. Lean forward from the hips until a stretch is felt deep in the buttock muscles. Repeat the other side.

When watching TV perform hip flexor stretches on the floor.

Kneel on your right knee with your left foot on the floor in front. Sit tall and squeeze your right glute muscle and imagine "tucking" the hips upwards. Maintain this hip position and then push the hips forward slightly until a stretch is felt in the front of the hip. Repeat on the other side.

When taking the escalator perform a calf stretch.

With your right foot, stand with your toes on the edge of the escalator step and your heel off the edge. Your left foot should be on the same, or a higher, step. Push your right heel downwards until a stretch is felt in the calf. Repeat on the other side.

When doing the housework perform hamstring stretches.

Any time you need to use your hands on the floor ie. sweeping, picking stuff up. hold a hamstring stretch. Ensure the lower back and upper back remain neutral. Allow a slight knee bend to feel the stretch in the back of the upper legs. Do not round the upper or lower back.


Stretching is all about relaxation. There is no point performing stretches where you "fight" the stretch, it will simply not work.

Science lesson! The stretch reflex is a natural safety mechanism whereby muscles being stretched automatically contract to oppose the stretch. This protects the muscle from a perceived danger of over-stretching and subsequent damage as the muscles cannot accommodate the forces placed upon it. This is also why we