Whats the best way to increase flexibility?

For many years I have neglected stretching. And because of that become very stiff
But during the past 3-4 weeks I have been streching 5 times per week after workouts.
And I have noticed a nice improvement in my flexibility, but I am still to stiff for optimal performance I think.
I have noticed that some of my old nagging pains have suddenly disapeared and also my body feels more loose and flexible.

So I wonder what sterching protocoll I should use?
I am keeping a static hold for 1 min on every musclegroup.
I gues the streching takes 15-20 minutes in total.
Is there some more effective way?
How hard should I stretch?

My interval sessions starts with dynamic stretching and after the intervalls I do static stretching.

How to stretch and when to stretch is an interesting discussing because there seems to be a large varliability in what people think regarding what is effective.
Typically the stretching I have done and promoted happens more as my training has progressed within a session and over time thoughout my entire career.
As a gymnast we were told to work on our flexibility ever day. I was a gymnast upto age 14 or 15 max and had very little muscle compared to a typical sprinter. It took me years to aquire more muscle mass and as the intensity of my traininig improved over time so did my flexibility.
I was always told and taught to hold a stretch approximately 15 seconds not more. Having said that I never spent a lot of time stretching.
It would be worth spending some time experimenting with Yoga but my advice there is there to start slow and be very gradual and think of it as a supplement not so much a requirement to your training.
I also believe that many variables effect your flexibility. 1. Eating correctly and avoiding inflammation on a cellular level. 2. Sleep is huge and maximizing the quality of sleep. 3. Contrast baths ALWAYS help me prepare to be looser. As often discussed here I feel that it is rarely one thing that effects how loose you will feel and it sounds like you are on your way to success.
How hard should I stretch?
One last thing. I was always taught that relaxatoin while stretching is most desireable otherwise you are working against yourself and what your end goal is.

The only way I’ve seen solid flexibility improvements is from therapy and removing trigger points and fixing posture mechanics. After which I always do a solid 30 to 60sec stretch that is relaxing and solid (not painfull)

If what you’re doing is working then keep on doing it!

Is this for you personally or do you also find this with the people you work with?

Consistently with the people i work with.
Have yet to find it NOT happen.

I have three kids of stretching.
1 - dynamic pre workout swings (generally after a 1km jog and before drills)
2 - after workout static to re-set the tone
3 - During therapy, after removing knotts or trigger points. This is where huge gains in flexibility occur.

after switching from baseball to sprinting and then switching events to javelin a couple years later, I was left with an extremely tight throwing shoulder and limited rotational range.

I found that extensive stretching just did not seem to serve the purpose. active motions, starting slow and moving to fast, combined with intensive stretching for specific motions (held only as long as I could continue totally relaxing while lengthening the stretch further) seems to have done the trick. Went from barely being able to have my arm externally rotated vertical to external rotation parallel to the ground being fairly easy and twisting my torso 90 degrees versus the 45 or so I started with…

for me consistency, relaxation and moderation were the keys. occasional, light pnf work did wonders for especially tight areas. if anything, weightlifting has increased my flexibility because of the ROM’s required in oly lifts and overhead presses, so it seems to me that actively hitting the ROM through an applied motion repetitively leads to the position becoming more and more comfortable. 60s static stretching holds never do much for me but make me feel tighter

We did a lot of mobility exercises within our warm up once we finished jogging for 10 or so minutes.
Lots’ of back and forths with arm swings and side skips and very gentle and easy movements allowing the body to gradually without force heat up.
We always began specific stretches just before we did Power Speed Drills which for me was at about 18 to 20 minutes of the session specifically speed days. Tempo days it was a bit different as the work of the speed session meant you needed that tempo flush before you could make too much progress with stretching. Our warmups on tempo days could be modified and shorter typically especially when it was summer. Warming up in the winter indoors to do tempo was tough as it was cold at the track in relative terms and the work of the speed session was apparent.
There is no question that massage helps enormously and I am wondering now if its essential for really doing a proper job for sprinters.
Therapy is essential and if you can’t get someone to do it for you , it’s something you need to solve in other ways. Rollers, water, nutrition, ems, yoga, do what ever you are able to do but find time and make time.
There is also no question in my mind that anyone who had the brains to add massage into team sports could make huge gains. Charlie and I used to talk about this idea all the time. I remember dropping my jaw when Johny Morton worked with Charlie and he had never had a massage up to that point in his career and he was already in his 30’s.
It’s always about money and time but it’s also about people do not understand how essential recovery is to any type of consistent performance.

To this day, the best massage work I’ve ever had was from Charlie. I love the fact that he always described his massage skills as Igor level. I can only imagine what it would be like to have someone like Waldemar working on you every day.

When I got off the table it felt like I was in an antigravity field. Once you experience that, you really appreciate what the body is capable of doing with that kind of support built into the training program.

Yeah this is true.
In part it’s because he focused a great deal on the hamstrings and glutes.
The other reason his methods worked so well was he believed in doing a little bit more often and understood the value of combining training with treatment.

I give my athletes 8 stretching programs to do at home. 4 are based on AIS or movement, and the other 4 on static stretching. The shortest program takes 4 minutes and the longest takes around 40 minutes.

In fact the two shortest programs I try and get my athletes to do in the morning and before bed. Do you think they can waste 10 minutes in a day to do them - NOPE.

The whole reason I gave them the short programs, was to make them do them regularly and consistently.

Going back to the original post, I think this is the key. The specific stretching method is of secondary importance. Pick a method and apply it consistently and frequently. Once you’ve established the habit where it feels awkward not to stretch regularly, then you can start experimenting with different methods. I think people neglect stretching because they think it requires 20-30min or longer at a time and they get bored with it and stop because it’s all or nothing. If they break it into bite sized chunks and do 2-3 min of stretching here, 2-3 min of stretch there throughout the day they’d get much better results because they’d actually do it. It’s like diet. The best diet is the one you’re actually going to follow consistently regardless of little compromises from the “ideal.”

So true of everything. What you choose to do is utterly unimportant compared to the extent you choose to do it. I find this in education when teachers quibble over the curriculum, but if you visit their classroom the kids aren’t doing anything!

I’ve settled on a pre-training therapy routine and it is the best way of improving recovery.

DMV, get their parents to put it in their phone as an alarm… :wink:

I feel weights are the best. If you use the weight for partner to stretch you. ie a squat , deep, with weight on your back increases mobility and strength along a longer range… On bench press if your grip is shoulder width, the elbows come back past your ribcage and that stretches the pec…. straight leg deadlifts stretch the hamstring… there are many many ways to use weight to stretch…