I’m psyched to bring you this guest post by one of my favorite fellow bodyweight athletes, Al Kavadlo. He’s not only a lead instructor for the Progressive Calisthenics Certification (PCC), but is a prolific author (see below for links to my reviews). His latest book on flexibility and stretching is a must-read for anyone into bodyweight training, and I’m sure you’ll find something useful in the tutorial he’s included below. – Mike Fitch
If you’re like me, the most appealing thing about bodyweight training is the simplicity of it all. You don’t need any fancy equipment or special clothing and you don’t even need to go to the gym. As a personal trainer, I especially love to give my clients a workout that can be done anywhere/anytime – no excuses!
Iâ€™m a big proponent of basic calisthenics exercises like squats, push-ups and back bridges. For many people, however, the range of motion required to get the most out of these strength training exercises exceeds their current abilities. Strength and mobility are more intimately connected than many people realize; true functional strength includes the ability to move with a full range of motion.
Fortunately, flexibility work requires very little space or equipment, and it doesnâ€™t take very long to begin reaping the benefits. Here are five quick stretches you can try right now wherever you are. Use them to assess your flexibility and you will quickly get a good idea of which areas you may need to work on.
- Bend over and touch your toes with your knees locked.
- Get into a deep squat position with both heels flat on the floor and your calves and hamstrings in contact with one another.
- Lie flat on your back with your legs straight and lower back in contact with the ground. Reach your arms overhead with both wrists flat on the floor behind you with minimal flexion at the elbows.
- From a standing position, pick up one leg and place the outside of your ankle on a bench, bar or other object that is just below waist height. Now rotate your hip to touch your knee to the object as well (your shin should be perpendicular to your body.)
- Reach both arms behind your back â€“ one from above, one from below â€“ and touch the tips of your middle fingers together.
Watch the video below for demonstrations:
Nowadays, most adults are unlikely to pass all of these requirements, so donâ€™t feel bad if youâ€™ve failed at one or more of these tests. Once you identify your tight areas, you can work toward gradually improving your range of motion.
For more information, pick up a copy of Al’s new book, Stretching Your Boundaries.
Interested in more of Al’s books? Check out some of my reviews here:
Al Kavadloâ€™s Raising the Bar: Review and Podcast Interview
Al Kavadloâ€™s Zen Approach to Fitness
Al Kavadlo, CSCS is one of the world’s leading experts in bodyweight strength training and calisthenics. He has been featured in The New York Times and is a regular contributor to Bodybuilding.com and TRAIN magazine. As the lead instructor for the Progressive Calisthenics Certification (PCC), Al gets to bring his unique coaching style to fitness trainers and enthusiasts around the globe. For more info, check out www.AlKavadlo.com.