Flexibility tips with Charlotte Robertson & Sarah Scott

Now we are in 2016, it only seems right to want to set up new goals and challenges for the New Year. I’ve even gone as far as buying a “passion planner” to try and give myself even more of a chance of achieving my goals this year!

Across social media I have noticed a lot of talk about flexibility goals, people challenging themselves to be more flexible by the end of the year, have their splits etc. There has also been talk of whether you are a “back bender” or “front bender” or in between. So I thought it would good to have a chat with two professional flexi ladies to ask them a few questions on their experience with flexibility and top tips for stretching, they have also been kind enough to share their stretch videos (bottom of the page):

Charlotte Robertson – www.charlottepolefit.co.uk

 

12108882_10153669109128890_8869221907685802461_nIn 2012 Charlotte found pole & fell in love with it! Charlotte started competing in 2013 & went on to win Miss Pole Dance Doubles Championships with her partner Steph K Foster. 2013 also saw her first year perform solo where she won a place in both MPD women’s final and UKPPC final.
This year has seen Charlotte perform in Pole Theatre as one of the chosen crew members for Alex Shukin, Alan Carr chatty man her TV debut which was also shown on E! News & at Electric Daisy Carnival alongside some of the worlds biggest DJs.

Charlotte’s Flexibility Background:

“I began to properly train my flexibility around 3 years ago, I was a gymnast as a child so had trained it in the past but flexibility for on the pole I found very different. When I started pole I could do the splits on my right side only (it wasn’t pretty) so I suppose I could be classed as a front bender back then?! One of my first flexy moves I wanted to do was the Eagle, I soon realised I couldn’t grab my foot to my head anymore, my shoulders and hips were so tight….and so the journey began! So I started by finding ways to stretch my hips and shoulders, flexibility has no end so it continued each week and even now I find I want more! ”

Charlotte’s Top 5 Flexi Tips:

  1. Make sure you warm up – Yes of course you need to make sure you do a warm up before stretching, the warmer your body is the better response it will have and will help you avoid injury!
  2. Set goals and stick to them – We need to be specific and realistic when setting goals to help make them achievable! Too often we say we want to do something…try for a few days or weeks…aren’t where we want to be so we give up! Of course goals change over time but you have to know what you want and go for it! Good principle for life too 😉
  3. Be consistent – This doesn’t mean you have to stretch every day! For me I sometimes only have 1 big stretch day a week but when I’m training I will always do some work on flexibility, even if it’s just going through the lower range of motions of some stretches. I have found that because I’m not naturally flexible, if I over train my flexibility, I just end up getting niggles which then require rest so this way works best for me. However everybody and everybody’s body is different and responds differently to training. It’s important to listen to your body and discover what works for you!
  4. Track your progress – If you know me, you know I love a good progress pic! 😉 I wish I had taken more pictures when I started stretching! Because I train alone it’s the only way I have to track my improvements. It’s really helped to keep me motivated to continue on my bendy journey.
  5. Always learn more – I love to learn different techniques and gain advice from a variety of people and disciplines. You can never know too much and it’s always good to change up your training to try new things!

What is your favourite & worst stretch?

Favourite stretch is of course any lunge 😉

What could you not live without for flexibility training?

“I couldn’t live without my back warmer – helps keep me warm and is also maybe a bit of psychological support! 😉   Also Yoga blocks – so many uses, but mainly to help me with enforcing my technique, balance etc.”

Elite Sports Band £36
USA Pro Yoga Blocks £2
 Sarah Scott – www.sarahscott.co.uk

 

12074621_767836816675197_9092289684178492124_nSarah has been Pole Performing and Instructing for the last 7 years.
She currently travels teaching workshops and hosts training packages in South West England
She is a pole fitness model for XPOLE, representing them at events such as BeFit, FIBO, Rimini Wellness and has presented at the International Fitness Showcase for the past 2 years.
Sarah loves her strength moves and her biggest passion is to pass on her knowledge in both pole and physical training.
A master trainer for XPERT Pole Fitness Training she is available for workshops across the world. Miss Pole Dance UK Singles and Doubles Champion 2012
Appearances:
Sky 1 A League of their own – Series 6 Episode 8
National Geographic- Stupid Science:
Fitness Channel- Fit Gear

Sarah’s Flexibility Background:

When I started pole I was pretty un-flexible. I could just about touch my toes but splits seemed a long way off! I even competed at Miss Pole Dance UK without being able to do the splits! It was always really painful and I was lazy because I didn’t enjoy it. I realised though that apart from the obvious trick and line benefits, my body was always feeling tight and I wanted to change that, so I began to research different methods to try. I found some movements that I enjoyed and worked for me and within a few weeks I saw a lot of progress. I’m more of a front bender as that is what I have focused on, but recently I’ve begun to increase my hip and shoulder range and I’m enjoying finding more movements that work for me.

Sarah’s Top 5 Flexi Tips:

1) Don’t compare yourself to others – This can be hard to do in a world where you are constantly seeing pictures and videos of other people. But try to keep in mind that you don’t always know the full story. Some people’s body types allow them a greater ROM (Range of Motion) more naturally than others. Some have sacrificed their health to achieve those shapes, others have been training hard for years etc. we’re all guilty of it, but just step back and remember you’re training your body, not someone else’s!

2) Mobilise – Having healthy, mobile joints is hugely important as it allows you to perform functional movements with no restrictions. Think of these as like the foundations of movement – so pushing, pulling, lifting, climbing and for polers – inverting! This was a bit of a breakthrough for me when I started, I always found my muscles were tight from exercise and stretching was very painful and I saw little progress. But when I focused on mobilising I found, as I was moving through a bigger ROM, my flexibility increased.

3) Make it a habit – Start small, then the duration and frequency can increase. You can start with a set structure of a few moves to do every time so you don’t get too overwhelmed – and this can be helpful for tracking your progress too. Once it becomes a part of your schedule, you can explore different movements and difference pieces of equipment to help you along. But in the beginning keep it simple! It’s like starting a whole new diet and exercise regime all at the same time – this can feel too much. Change a few things at a time and its more likely to last.

4) Look after yourself – Your body will thank you for this! Foam rolling and Trigger Point release is very beneficial – you can find specific classes to take you through this if you have never tried or speak to an experienced instructor. Hot baths with Epsom salts, regular massages and REST! Giving your body enough to recover in-between sessions can be almost as important as the training itself. That’s not to say sit on the sofa and abandon everything – but active recovery – light movements can keep you ticking over without going to the extremes.

5) Hydrate – Think about your body as a sponge – specifically the layers of connective tissue. When we stretch these connective tissues ‘glide’ along each other. They need to stay hydrated to do this – otherwise they can seize and ‘stick’ together, increasing the chance of injury. Water lubricates your muscles, joints and tissue – which is vital if you want to feel healthy and mobile.

What is your favourite & worst stretch?

My favourite is Charlotte’s PNF lunge stretch! My least favourite is middle splits! I want to love it….but I don’t!

What could you not live without for flexibility training?

“I couldn’t live without my green resistance band. I love work with these! I use it for my shoulders and hips and find it releases my joints and muscles after a hard session”

Green resistance band £19.99

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sarah Scott’s Quick Tips for Pole Dancers – How to stretch your shoulders

Sarah Scott’s 10 ways to test your flexibility

Charlotte Robertson’s Wall lunge & PNF flexibility technique

Charlotte’s Flexibility warm up

Charlotte’s hip flexor, upper back, shoulder and lunge stretch