Can you touch your toes?

Can you touch your toes?

It’s a question many people ask themselves in relation to flexibility, but is touching your toes a good measure of flexibility?

Well, yes and no!

Let’s start with the “yes” first.

Bending forward in either a seated or standing position will definitely give you an idea of how long the back of your body is, including your spine, hamstrings and calves.

It’s very important for the back of your body to have length for function, to minimise postural imbalances and potential for either chronic or acute injury.

But having great flexibility and mobility involves the entire body, not just the back of it.

You might naturally have length in the back of the body but be tight in the front of your body, especially if you spend a lot of time sitting.

This might then lead you to thinking you need to be doing an isolated stretch of one part of the body to “even up” your flexibility.

That’s OK, but not ideal. The human body is built for movement and to build function and resilience in it, you need to stretch through movement.

Let’s face it, you never see a cat or dog doing and “isolated” stretch!!! Hence the exercises called Cat Stretch and Downward Dog.

The amazing thing about Pilates, it creates this functional flexibility.

Total body mobility and flexibility whilst developing strength and function, through all of the body, not just one part of it.

Joseph Pilates was very clever, and the 34 traditional pilates mat exercises are designed to give you flexibility, but you need to work for it!

Unless you have an injury or issue you’re working on specifically, learning these exercises, practicing over a number of years (or a lifetime) will keep give you functional flexibility, not just long hamstrings.

Here at Pilates Plus we believe that the Pilates Mat exercise and fundamental to the Pilates exercise method and specialise in teaching and guiding our clients from beginner to advanced.

The mat exercises are designed to be a journey of ongoing and continuous development, not a destination to arrive at.

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