Improving your flexibility if you possess Flat Back Posture (an overactive back chain and neutral or posterior tuck in the pelvis) plays an important role in injury prevention.
What muscles need to be stretched?
If you posses Flat Back Posture you will want to spend time stretching the calves, hamstrings, IT band, gluts, piriformis, lats, and neck extensors.
Static stretches can be held for 1-5 minutes, and for a deeper release, couple these with foam rolling and trigger ball work to further loosen the fascia. If you work behind a desk or are sedentary for a good portion of the day, you will also want to stretch the hip flexors.
When to stretch?
My suggestion would be to stretch your hip flexors before you begin working out. These muscles will need to be strengthened, but must be stretched beforehand to safely begin building muscle. As your body warms up and you do strength work appropriate to this posture, you can simultaneously weave in stretches and rolling for the calves, hamstrings, hips, glut med, IT Band, lats, and neck extensors.
How long will it take for my flexibility to increase?
If you commit to 1-5 minutes per stretch on each side during all of your workouts and both pre and post sports training, you will see a discernible difference in your flexibility within weeks.
2 for 1
I’m always looking for ways to accomplish more in a shorter period of time. Stretching gives you the perfect opportunity to work on your Pilates breathing, which contracts the transverse abdominis (the deepest layer of the core). This not only gives you a flat stomach, but it also protects your lower back, which can be vulnerable to injury due to the overactivity and tightness of the back chain. For a deeper understanding of how to do Pilates breathing, please read Blog #3.