Are you trying to achieve that flexible trick in pole dance but unable to get it? No matter how much you stretch your flexibility does not seem to be improved. Here are some factors that could limit your flexibility:
Your shoulder and hip joints have the greatest mobility, whereas your elbow and knee joints have a more limited range of motions. Genetics could play a role in determining your joint structure. Some have hyper-mobile joints which their joint range of motion are higher than normal, while others, on the contrary, have hypo-mobile joints.
Large muscle mass leads to less mobility. For example, large hamstrings limit the ability to fully do the forward bend. In addition, the elasticity of your muscle tissues and muscle's ability to relax and contract will affect your flexibility.
We become less flexible as we get older as a result of certain changes that take place in our connective tissues. As we age, our bodies gradually dehydrate to some extent and collagen in ligaments and tendons mature. Another thing is that we tend to become less active when we get older. The highest loss of joint range of motion in the upper body due to age is at the neck and trunk according to research.
Women are generally more flexible than men due to different bone structure and muscle mass. Men tend to have larger muscle mass, which limits their flexibility.
Temperature in the environment and body
Connective tissues in the body become less elastic when the body is cold, hence more vulnerable to injury. Therefore it is important to warm up. Your joints and muscles offer better flexibility at body temperatures that are 1 to 2 degrees higher than normal.
Injury or sickness
Injured joints and muscles will usually offer a lesser degree of flexibility than healthy ones.
Your daily movements and activities
Your body adapts to whichever requirements of the movement it performs. If you are inactive, your body will adapt to this inactivity. When connective tissue is unused or under used, it provides significant resistance and limits flexibility. If you have an office job and spend hours sitting in front of a computer, your shoulder muscles may become stiff, and you will find it more difficult to perform pole moves that require shoulder flexibility.
When you are stressed, your body release stress hormones and your muscles become tightened.
It helps to understand these factors and adjust your practice. I highly recommend reading books about yoga anatomy by Bandha Yoga. They cover key yoga pose and muscles that contract and lengthen in each pose. In the next blog, I'll share with you some sources I use to train my flexibility.
Written by Mai Phan
Mai Phan is the owner of Pole in Style, an online store providing apparel and training tools for pole dance (www.poleinstyle.com). She also works as a personal trainer in Oslo, Norway and is a certified pole fitness instructor, IPSF judge and President of the Norwegian Pole Sport Federation. Mai has been doing pole dance since 2012 and loves how it has given her self confidence and belief in herself. Follow her personal page here.