A month is a short time. Even by the end of our flexibility challenge, you may not find that you've made a ton of progress. But every little bit helps, and it's inspiring to see the progress of people who have been working on their stretching for years.
Anastasia Liukin, who practised for more than one month to be able to do this. Photo: Adam Pretty (Getty Images)
Our past two challenges were all about getting stronger, but this month we're going to do something a little different. We're getting stretchy.
Take this one, for example. Gracie Beeswax says she did a few stretches each day, including lunges and pigeon pose, and then attempted a split. Despite a pulled muscle around day 50, she was able to get all the way down by day 89 and looked pretty amazing at day 100.
For a longer term view of progress, here is six years of stretching from Lachlan Walker. He notes that passive, static stretching didn't help as much as stretching while contracting the involved muscles. There is some science to this: Proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF) stretching involves alternating contractions with stretches, and it works better than passive stretching in some studies.
And for some more aspirational inspiration, here's what happens when somebody who is already super flexible takes it to the next level. Amanda Nicole Smith did a 100-day flexibility challenge, focusing on backbends and related moves. She improved her form, but also notes in the comments that a lot of the progress was internal: Moves that were a struggle at the beginning felt easier at the end.
If you joined us at the beginning of March, you've only been at this three weeks. So if you haven't made much progress, that's fine - three weeks or even a month is just a taste of what might be possible if you continue. That's true of all our fitness challenges, by the way. When you find something you enjoy, keep doing it!
So, how is the flexibility challenge going for you? Have you noticed the stretches feeling any easier, or have you made progress another way, such as fitting flexibility into your routine?