6 Stretches for a Lean, Limber Body
Stretch for Greater Flexibility
Still not getting the results you want from your exercise routine? Blame tight muscles, says Ashley Borden, a celebrity trainer based in Los Angeles. "When one muscle group, like your quads, is stiff, that prevents others, like your glutes, from firing correctly," she explains. End result: compromised performance (and calorie-burning ability), not to mention an increased risk of injury.
Old-school static stretches, where you bend and hold for what seems like an eternity, aren't necessarily the most effective approach to increase your flexibility. Borden swears instead by her "Stretch and Fire" method, which she uses to teach clients like Mandy Moore. Based on a principle called Active-Isolated Technique, it involves contracting one muscle group while stretching the other. This triggers a muscular reflex that will increase your range of motion and deepen the stretch. Best of all, her workout -- which targets most women's tightest muscles -- takes just minutes a day.
Try these six stretches after your regular cardio or strength workout (aim to do them five times a week). You'll see improvement to your flexibility in as little as two weeks and gains in both your strength and endurance in less than one month.
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