Stretching tools are a great addition to your routine for more leverage and support.
From yoga blocks to doorways, I tried to think of everything I have used for more leverage. I’m sure there’s more, but there’s plenty here to start with. A lot of random things can be used for stretching, so keep your eye for potential stretching tools!
Let’s work our way through the uses and benefits of the more common tools.
Yoga blocks are great for extending limbs, making stretches easier, supporting good form, and also making stretches harder.
Let’s say you’re going down into a split and you’re hunching your back to be able to get your hands to the ground. In this case the yoga blocks extend your arms to allow you to be more comfortable and to have good form.
It doesn’t matter how far you are; if you’re almost standing up, it’s okay! Just work on controlling muscle engagement and relaxation like we talked about in flexible strength, breath deep and push up tall like we talked about in breathing, form & posture.
If you have been following along, you already know that maintaining good posture while in any stretch is certainly recommended, even while attempting a split. A nice long spine, hinging only at the hips with arms straight down by your side, and neck pushed up and out of the “shoulder pocket”.
If your legs are tight, you’ll definitely need some yoga blocks to prop your arms by your side, hands stacked under shoulders, back tall and straight.
More examples will be apart of the split posts, coming up!
There are many other uses for yoga blocks, check these out.
Straps are great for pulling things up, down or all around. They help you get more leverage, reach things you once couldn’t, and can help with strength exercise like the one below.
You can wrap the strap once around a railing, bar, pole, or your feet; pushing your arms up and straight, while bringing your chest to the ground, like the picture above. There should be two straps to grab, allowing you to move your arms apart and together.
The other way to attach, is to wrap the strap around the railing an pull it through the loop; this allows for a longer strap but only one strap to grab on to. This is really beneficial if you want to do each arm individually like the picture above.
As you can see I have wrapped the strap around my hand a couple of times. I’m trying to relax my chest to the ground, but my upper back doesn’t want to bend 😉
There is a lot of strap stretches to choose from!
Pretty much the entire lower body dynamic stretching routine can be done with these bands!
After completing a warmup and dynamic stretching routine with resistant bands, you’ll feel light as a feather, plus it’s a great strength workout!
Resistance bands always trick me into greater dynamic flexibility. I’ll do the leg kicks with them on, then I’ll try a few without, and I can kick so much higher and easier!
Stall Bars, Deck Railings, and Poles
Anything that you can grab above and behind you. I like using my deck railing posts because they are vertical. Plus it allows you to grab narrow or wide. It also has a railing which can be used for horizontal grips.
I like stall bars because the grips are horizontal and you can go higher or lower.
There are many different tricks that require both horizontal and vertical hands, so it’s important to try and work on both.
Stretching with a pole can also be very useful., this is just one example of many.
Doorways and moldings are wonderful for splits, shoulders, and backbends. Every time I walk in to my kitchen I’m tempted to do this stretch because it feels so good!!
I’ll admit I was struggling with this doorway split plus backbend last year at the beginning of my 2nd 100 day challenge.
The split machine is great for allowing you to relax your leg muscles and let the split machine hold you in position. I am truly able to focus on relaxing my muscles rather than just trying to maintain the stretch.
There are other kinds of split machines, but this one is by far my favorite.
Comfortable mats make everything more comfortable. If you want to work on over splits I recommend having a soft surface like a mat, couch or yoga block to rest your ankle on. Also it doesn’t hurt to have a nice mat underneath that back leg as well.
As a side note, weights are a great way to help you push down towards the ground.
You’ll want a mat for a bunch of different stretches, such as chest stands and anything on the knees, especially when you’re first starting out.
I hope I have inspired you to use some tools to further your flexibility!!
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