The answer to how long you should stretch to increase your flexibility will depend on your flexibility goals and how far along you are in your flexibility training. I will address those two aspects of the question and then give you an overview of what you can expect as far as how long it will take to see results.
Your Flexibility Goals
As I shared in my post Top 5 Flexibility Benefits I Personally Experienced After 40, I was surprised to discover all the ways flexibility training was helping my body and my mood. I started working on my flexibility because I wanted to do the splits. It turned out I noticed the following benefits:
- Improved energy
- Improved mood
- Increased confidence
- Improved posture
- Reduced aches and pains
Many people start stretching simply to gain an overall sense of well-being and calm or to improve their performance at a sport. If that’s the case for you, stretching for 10 minutes a few times a week should be enough to increase your flexibility enough to achieve your goals. However, if like me, you want to be able to achieve some more advanced yoga poses like the splits and the king pigeon, keep reading. I have more info to share.
Advanced Flexibility Goals
Are your flexibility goals more advanced, like being able to do the splits? Or maybe you are a dancer and want to take your art to the next level? In that case, if you are wondering on long you should stretch to increase your flexibility, you need to know that this will vary according to your body type, your age, and the efficiency of your training routine. Moreover, if you have already attained a certain level of flexibility, you will need to invest more time in your training to advance further.
Next Level Goals Beginner Training
As a beginner looking to achieve advanced flexibility goals, I recommend you stretch for 15 minutes every single day. Moreover, you need to ensure your training sessions are strategic. When I started training for the splits, I purchased a flexibility program by Katrin Dimitrova. Although I appreciate the foundations she laid out for me (like the importance of mobility), I found that I wasn’t advancing much using her flexibility training schedule. I think in part, the issue was that I was so stiff, that I could hardly do some of the exercises in her program. Mobility training is important, but beginners should focus on more passive stretches for better results.
Next Level Goals Intermediate Training
When you become more advanced in your training, you will need to devote more time to stretching. Particularly if you are working on more than one flexibility goal (like if you want to achieve the splits and improve your backends, for example). I recommend you schedule 30 minutes a day for stretching. If you wonder what it takes to be considered intermediate, my answer is that you need to be able to sit on yoga blocks for your splits. Basically, you are closing the gap to get into your full splits from yoga blocks.
If you would like a full-body flexibility training program that takes into account the level of flexibility you have achieved and that includes your calendars as well as your full-length videos, check out my Moving With Intention program.
How Long Will It Take to Increase Your Flexibility
Now that you know that depending on your flexibility goals, you need to stretch daily from 15-30 minutes, you may wonder how long it will take for you to see results. Again, the answer to this question will vary according to the flexibility level you will have achieved. The further along in your training you are, the longer it takes to see improvement
How Long Does It Take to Increase Your Flexibility for Beginners
If you are new to flexibility training and stay consistent, you will see improvements fast. You will notice huge gains every single, month. It’s very motivating! Take progress pictures! As I mentioned earlier, I consider the beginner stage of flexibility training to be from being stiff and really far from getting into a specific flexibility pose (like the splits). If you stretch 15 minutes a day, it will take anywhere from 1 to 6 months to be flexible enough to do the splits sitting on yoga blocks. Now, please don’t believe anyone who says you will get from my before picture to the full splits in 30 days! Still, the progress will be noticeable every month!
How Long Does It Take to Increase Your Flexibility for Intermediates
Once you become more flexible (and can sit on yoga blocks for the splits, for example), it will start taking more time to see flexibility gains You will have to stretch for 30 minutes daily and your improvement will be less obvious. For example, you will gain enough flexibility to do the splits on blocks with better form (without opening your hips). You will be able to stay longer in the pose and gradually, months and months later, let go of the blocks completely.
Stretching for Different Flexibility Poses
Another factor to consider is the body parts you are stretching. Gettig in the full splits without blocks takes months and months (even over a year) of daily stretching. Gaining enough back flexibility to achieve nice form in the wheel, will take less time. Your back can become bendy quicker with consistent training. However, you can always work on your full-body flexibility and improve to pursue more advanced yoga poses. It may take only a few months to get into a beautiful wheel, but then, you can work on deeper back flexibility poses like the king pigeon or the forearm wheel.
The answer to the question of how long should you stretch to increase flexibility varies according to your flexibility goals, how often your stretch, and how advanced you are. However, if you are consistent and stretch for at least 15-30 minutes every day, you will improve every month As you become more advanced, the improvement will not be as obvious, but it will happen nonetheless.
If you would like to try my teaching style, check out my Full-Body Flexibility Routine (With Handy PDF).