Tension Flexibility Training for a Healthy, Supple & Functional Body
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Building a strong, muscular and chiseled physique is definitely the primary focus of kinobody fitness and with this attainment you will look fantastic and you’ll have plenty of real world strength and functionality. However, if you don’t utilize key flexibility movements, it’s likely you will experience nagging joint pain and become stiff and prone to injury.
Now tell me, what’s the point of looking great if you’re constantly in pain? As well, what’s the point of being strong and powerful if you lack mobility and are constantly getting injured? Therefore a true kinobody master should not only be strong, muscular and chiseled, but also have great mobility and joint health.
In this post I will be teaching you how to mobilize your body and in doing so your muscles and joints will become free of pain, you’ll feel more agile and limber, you’ll stand taller and walk with more confidence and exude more power. You will also develop a stronger connection with your body. You won’t have to take 20 minutes to warm up to play a game of soccer, toss the pigskin or wrestle.
Your body will be ready to work at maximum capacity in a moments notice, as it should! In real life there are no warm ups and no time outs. You are only as strong as the strength you have at this very instant. If it takes you 20 minutes to be able to sprint or to lift a heavy weight then consider yourself all show.
Now I have personally dealt with a serious lower back injury that left me in chronic pain. Additionally, my shoulders were constantly in pain and I couldn’t even throw a football without feeling like a drill was being driven into my shoulder. Not only have I completely healed these injuries but I have also never felt better, and I swear I stand a little taller too.
The routine I’m going to share with you is very simple! But don’t mistake it’s simplicity for inferiority! This routine blows everything else out of the water, including extensive dynamic drills, foam rolling, massages and pretty much everything else. But don’t take my word for it, implement this into your exercise routine for 3 weeks and see for yourself.
The Functional Triad
Before getting into the routine, I first must give credit to the book I learned this from – Convict Conditioning Two by Paul Wade. I have been doing these three exercises a few times per week for over a year now and the benefits have been insane! I now wish to share this with you so let’s get into it! The functional triad consists of the three chains of your body.
This includes the anterior chain (front), posterior chain (back) and lateral chain (side). By utilizing a complete stretching movement for each plane, you will keep your entire body balanced and healthy.
Unfortunately most people lack this balance and have the pain and stiffness to prove it. Now it’s not enough to stretch each plane, we also must utilize stretches that serve to oil the joints and build active flexibility.
You Need To Oil Your Joints
To build true strength and muscularity you must train your muscles hard while allowing for plenty of rest. Resting will allow for full muscular and neural recuperation so you can hit the gym with more strength each session. This is the ideal protocol to build a strong and muscular physique! Unfortunately, this protocol doesn’t do very much for the joints.
You see, unlike the muscles, your joints receive no blood flow. Your joints have what is known as synovial fluid, a substance rich in oxygen and protein. This fluid is important for your joints to stay healthy and grow stronger. What you must understand is that fresh synovial fluid is only pumped to a joint when movement around a particular joint is taking place.
If you’re lifting heavy a few times per week then your joints will literally be starving for fresh synovial fluid and if you’re training too often, you will be wearing down your joints. Therefore it’s extremely important that you perform mobility movements daily to nourish and oil your joints.
The most effective way to oil your joints are with bodyweight holds, which open up the cartilage to the maximum degree to allow for fresh synovial fluid to enter in. Bodyweight flexibility holds will also improve your mobility greatly!
You Need To Use Active Stretching Techniques
Most people do passive stretches where they try to get their muscles to relax into a deep stretch. This makes your muscles weak and loose! You want to do active stretches that make your muscles flexible and tense, this is what is known as supple strength. This will allow you to use your strength throughout a great range of motion.
In athletic pursuits you don’t have the luxury to be let your muscles completely relax and become flaccid. Your muscles must maintain some tension to move and maintain positioning. With active stretches you are stretching out your body while undergoing hard muscular contractions. This is the type of flexibility training that has massive benefits.
The three active stretches we will be utilizing are back bridges, L-sits and twist stretches. These three holds will stretch out all three chains, while improving mobility, joint health and suppleness.
How To Do The Back Bridge
- Stretches out the anterior chain (quads, hip flexors, abs, and chest, plus lats)
- Contracts the posterior chain (hamstrings, glutes, low back, upper back and triceps, plus shoulders)
The back bridge is probably my favorite exercise in the world. If it wasn’t for this exercise, I’d still suffer from aggravating lower back pain everyday. But thanks to bridging I have strengthened the deep muscles along my spine that reenforce proper posture and spinal alignment. Basically I have injury proofed my entire back and spine.
I can sit down for hours and I feel absolutely no pain. Before my back would be screaming if I sat down for more than 20 minutes. What’s more, if you do this exercise daily, you may be able to increase your height by half an inch as this exercise helps to elongate your spine.
How To Do The L-Sit
- Stretches out the posterior chain
- Strongly contracts the anterior chain
Everyone is obsessed with training their rectus abdominal to get v line abs, which are the muscles that make up the six pack. Well what about the deeper, internal alignment muscles, such as the psoas, the hip flexors, the iliacus and the transverse abdominals? It’s very often that people actively try to disengage some of these muscles when learning how to get v line abs.
When you neglect these muscles they become very weak and these are the muscles that align your hips and torso; if these muscles are weak, your entire body will suffer. L-sits are an excellent exercise to use in your routine. Holding the L sit contracts the deep muscles hard and also strengthens your traps and triceps.
As well, it stretches out the spine and develops strength in the lower back. This is because the lower back has to work hard to stabilize itself during powerful anterior contractions, which makes L-sits a great way at building tension-flexibility in the back, making it stronger and more injury proofed.
How To Do The Twisting Stretch
- Stretches out the lateral chain plus the rotator cuff
- Contracts the lateral chain of the opposite side plus the rotator cuff
Many athletes train up and down, front and back, but very few twist. The twisting exercise takes care of this and increases strength and flexibility in the deep muscles responsible for rotation. The shoulder position of the twist stretch will stretch and work the rotator cuff. This deep stimulation improves shoulder mobility, increases blood flow and enhances healing.
Many people suffer from upper back pain due to excess tension in the muscles between the shoulder blades. Twists actively release the shoulder blades. Proper twists will reverse stiffness and damage done to the hips and back, helping to prevent hip cramps and backache. As well, twisting is very key in sports and the twisting stretch will improve functionality and sports performance.
This Video Will Show You How To Do The Trifecta
Here’s a great video of a pretty fit guy demonstrating the three exercises – the back bridge, L sit and twist. These are fairly advanced movements, especially the twist stretch. Locking your fingers through your leg and behind your back takes exceptional flexibility throughout your entire body.
Don’t worry if you can’t do these exercises at first, do the best you can and with time you will be able to build up to them. In the coming weeks I will do in-depth tutorials for bridging, L sits and twist stretches.
How Do You Program the Trifecta?
I recommend performing bridges, L sits and twists daily! I use them in my morning routine every day. On rest days perform them at some point during the day and on workout days perform them after your workout. Performing these stretches daily might sound like a lot but they’re not very taxing and will help with recovery.
You want to hold each exercise for a total of 20 seconds. That can be 20 seconds all in one set or you can break it up into 5-10 second holds. For example, my stretching routine looks as follows:
Back Bridge – 2 sets x 10 seconds
L Sit – 2 sets x 10 seconds
Twist – 1 set x 20 seconds
Done! It literally only takes a few minutes per day but will be the most effective few minutes of your life.
This Is How You Maximize Aesthetics And Function
Combine incredible strength, muscularity and definition with solid tension-flexibility and joint health and you have the ultimate physique in aesthetics and function. You’ll be able to conquer your way through life with ease and power in any athletic pursuit!
Nagging injuries and lack of mobility will no longer stand in your way and you’ll move with finesse. These three exercises are the staple of my flexibility and joint routine, in fact they’re the only ones I do.
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