Want to boost gym performance? It’s time to balance out your intense workouts with a good old dance-inspired stretch
Blocking out the time to really delve into a stretching session can seem hard to justify if your busy schedule already makes squeezing workouts in difficult.
But if you’ve found yourself hitting a wall when it comes to results, or you’re constantly plagued by niggling injuries, it might just be what the doctor ordered. US-based Lastics has taken inspo from the long, lean and limber bodies of dancers to come up with classes and online videos to help regular gym-goers get the most out of their workouts. ‘Dancers epitomise the balance between strength and flexibility to the extreme,’ says Lastics founder Donna Flagg. ‘Their bodies are graceful, sculpted and powerful.’
Rather than overhauling your entire workout routine to emulate that of a ballerina, Lastics instead allows you to simply take a leaf out of their book, providing stretching-focused classes to help you develop an improved range of motion. This is essential to anyone who’s looking to prevent injuries, boost conditioning and balance out strength training – as well as achieve a slender silhouette. ‘Lastics enhances all other activities, improves posture and circulation and gives you more freedom to move in your body,’ Donna adds. So if you’re intrigued by the slenderness and strength of a dancer but don’t necessarily have any goals to make it as one (bar the occasional tear-up on the dance floor on a Friday night), this is the perfect middle ground.
If you’re interested in subscribing to Lastics, trying out the DVD or even just having a taster of what it might be like, give this workout a go. Donna has devised it especially to supplement WF’s workouts, but it’s a wise and healthy addition to any active woman’s weekly routine. It can even be added to the end of a workout if you don’t want to dedicate an entire session to it.
How to do it
Breathe into the stretch and release when the body starts to resist. Then take a few breaths and release deeper into the stretch on each exhale. Repeat as desired.
Sit in a straddle and let your head hang between your legs, rounding your back. Release any tension you may be holding.
After you’ve been hanging there totally relaxed, reach your nose a little closer to the floor. Hold your upper body where it is and press the backs of your knees down into the floor.
Hold your body and knees in place and flex your feet, making sure your knees don’t pop back up.
Finally, hold all of that and lift your chin to flatten your back. Hold for a few seconds.