Becoming flexible is a common goal when it comes to fitness. From the splits and leg holds to the bridge and backbends, there are so many ways to challenge yourself. While it’s definitely possible to become flexible without purchasing any extra equipment, there’s no denying that using a few tools can help push your limits. The best tools for flexibility will vary based on your personal goals. Whether you need just a few things on this list or need them all, always remember to stretch safely! Work with a professional to make sure that intense stretching is safe for you.
1. Yoga Blocks
Even if you are not doing yoga, investing in some blocks is worth it because they are extremely versatile for something so simple. Yoga blocks can help you modify moves both ways. You can simplify moves or make them more challenging. For example, you can use the blocks to prop you up while working on reaching the floor in aforward bend. You can also prop the blocks under your feet while in the splits to work your oversplits.
I recommend yoga blocks that are made of cork, especially if you plan on putting a lot of weight on them. They handle pressure better than foam blocks, and the cork helps you get a good grip. This two piece set from Da Vinci is perfect to start out with.
2. Stretching Strap with Loops
The loops throughout the strap makes it easy to adjust according to your current flexibility and what exercise you’re doing. One exercise you can do with this strap is to put your foot through a loop and bring the strap around to the opposite shoulder. This is a great stretch for dancers looking to improve their arabesque!
The Stretch Out Strap from OPTP is the first flexibility tool I purchased for myself when I decided to take things to the next level. I still use it today! If you’re in need of more exercises with this strap, it even comes with a book that will guide you.
3. Door Stretching Strap
The next level from the stretching strap, in my opinion, is a door stretching strap. It’s similar to a stretching strap, but if you don’t have a partner to help you do standing stretches or you’re not quite at the level where you can practice standing stretches efficiently by yourself yet, a door strap might be a solution for you. You can do the same exercises as you would do with a stretching strap with loop, but you get the added benefit of using a door to help you with standing stretches. The exercises can be done while standing up, or you can do them sitting down.
Price Xes has a set that comes with a strap that you can adjust on both ends. It’s also easy to install, so you can get started right away.
Therabands are commonly used by dancers as tools to increase the strength in their feet, but like yoga blocks, Therabands can be used many different ways. They also double up as a workout tool and can be used to strengthen your shoulder and back. When it comes to flexibility, Therabands can be used to give you extra resistance that a regular strap can’t.
What’s great about Therabands are they are non-latex elastic and they come in sets of different strengths. The different colors represents different levels of resistance, making it easy to see how you are progressing as you move on to different colors.
The Tigerband is kind of like a hybrid of the stretching straps and the Therabands. This circular resistance band is designed for maximum comfort while allowing you to do a variety of stretches. There are two padded ankle cuffs, one on both ends, and a padded back cushion on the Tigerband. You can use this tool to work your splits along with poses like the dancer’s pose.
The Tigerband comes from the same company that makes the official TurnBoard, a tool used by dancers to improve turns. This means that the Tigerband is made with people who take flexibility seriously in mind, ensuring a quality product that will help you push yourself and reach your goals.
6. Stretch Ladder
Stretch ladders are something I have only started using recently. They are like mini versions of a stall bar that are just as effective for working your oversplits. Because stretch ladders are not installed on a wall like stall bars, you can use the ladders to work your back flexibility in different ways. One exercise is to lie on your stomach underneath the stretch ladder, reach up, and grab onto the top bar for a stretch across your back.
This tool is the bulkiest one on the list, but stretch ladders are used by dancers and gymnasts alike. The Beam Store has a great ladder that includes a bar pad. The heights are set at 8″, 18″, and 24″ which gives you a good range of heights to work with.
7. Ankle Weights
Sounds weird, doesn’t it? Ankle weights can actually be used to help you get to the next level in flexibility. There are exercises and stretches you can do with ankle weights on that will not only help increase flexibility, but increase your range of motion and develop core strength. Not all exercises with ankle weights are intense. There are some exercises where you can strap the weights on, and let gravity let gravity do its work. For instance, one exercise I like to do is to lie on the floor with my bottom against the wall. With ankle weights on, I slowly bring my ankles down into the middle splits.
I use REEHUT’s ankle weights. They’re very comfortable and fit securely around my ankles. The weights range from a 2 pound pair (1 pound each) to a 10 pound pair (5 pounds each).
This wide variety of tools will definitely help you get one step closer to your goals. If you are looking for something more yoga based, check out 5 Must-Have Tools for Beginner Yogis. Good luck!
This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you make a purchase with my links, I receive a commission at no extra charge to you. Please note that I only recommend tools that I personally use and love, and I always have my readers' best interest at heart. ?