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I am looking for some exercises to improve my flexbility, as it is appalling at the moment.

I am guilty of neglecting stretching before/after runs but have started to recently but it just hurts! I can just about touch my toes standing up but my muscles are in pain after a few seconds! Also, when attempting to do the same sitting down I can only stretch to within about 4 inches of my toes. Admittedly I have long legs but thought that my body would be in proportion!

Any tips appreciated.
 

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ehm... I am a male! lol - trust me it's very suitable for a male.. it's the fast paced yoga and you will have sweat dripping from you by the end.. lads in work used to take the piss till one of them borrowed the dvd cos of a running injury - he went and bought it himself after doing it a couple of times.. don't let the cover fool you either it is prob one of the best flexibility workouts I've ever tried!
 

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AdamD said:
I can just about touch my toes standing up but my muscles are in pain after a few seconds! Also, when attempting to do the same sitting down I can only stretch to within about 4 inches of my toes.
A good tip I picked up for the seated version of the stretch is to have a towel wrapped around the soles of you feet, grab one end with each hand and gently pull yourself forward. After a couple of weeks of this, hopefully you'll see an improvement.
 

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Stretching 3-4 times or more a week really will improve your flexibility before long. Focus on stretching at the end of your runs, when your muscles are warmed up.

Don't stress about whether or not you can touch your toes or where you can reach with your fingertips. The important thing is to start from what you can do now, whatever that is, and gradually push yourself a little further, bit by bit. The trick is to reach as far as you comfortably can and then just slowly edge a bit further, hold it for a few seconds, then edge a bit further again, hold it again, and so on till you really can't go any further. It'll only be a few weeks before you'll be touching your toes without any effort at all.

Even if yoga isn't your thing, it's well worth learning the basics. I don't do yoga any more, but I used to, and I know that what I learned then means that I stretch better now. BTW, yoga really isn't just for girls - at least a quarter of my yoga class used to be male, and the best instructor I ever had was an extremely fit (read that whichever way you like - both meanings are true ;)) bloke.
 

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Being able to touch your toes won't make you a better runner, Adam. It's debatable as to whether a higher degree of flexibility is even a significant guard against injury. In fact, over stretching can weaken joints and make injury more likely. There may even be a case for saying that distance runners may even benefit from a certain degree of resistance in some of their joints.
There have been some top-class endurance runners who have been notoriously inflexible. I have a friend who was never able to touch his toes. We used to take the p*ss out of him every time we were warming up. He went on to run a 4-09 mile whilst still at school... Much, much faster than the rest of us (toe-touchers) ever managed. ;).
Sprinters, on the other hand, require a greater degree of flexibility due to the fact that they're operating with a much wider range of movement.
 
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