People have different motivations to start flexibility training. Some need to do it for their health, some just like the esthetics of certain poses and some start stretching for their sport or art form.
I had just been a few years into my career as a fire performance artist, when I started to train hula hooping - circus style hula hooping.
As I watched videos of well-known professional hoopers with different styles, I noticed that they had one skill in common: Most of them were able to do a front split. So... since I wanted to become as good as them one day, I decided to start stretching for splits :-)
My method? Well, I went into the splits as far as possible :-D
At least I trained both sides and always did a warmup. I also did some more isolated, Youtube inspired stretches like sitting on the floor and bending to the front, but it was only passive stretching without much muscle activity - the slowest and worst way to flexibility. I managed to stretch about two or three times a week and it wasn't fun at all: Since I was already 22 years old and never stretched before, it was a long and hard way. Besides my genetics make me build strength pretty fast, but not flexibility.
I think it was about a year later when I heard about isometric stretching, PNF stretching and related techniques where you go into a deep range, contract the stretched muscles for a certain time and go deeper as you relax. These techniques were already way better, so I integrated them into my training.
In total it took me three years to get front splits on both sides! Next goal: oversplits.
When I did some google research about stretching, I stumbled upon different commercial flexibility programs which promised great progress to the buyer, so I bought them. One was okay, the other one was completely disappointing and contained well-known passive standard stretches. I felt like I had wasted my money.
Then, by accident I saw a facebook ad from "Easy Flexibility" which sells a variety of stretching videos from Paul Zaichik. Although I was distrustful because of the bad experience before, the explanations of the method convinced me to give it a go.
So I bought an advanced splits program and started training.
And found it very effective! The techniques are active stretches, which are meant to train single muscles in an isolated manner - so you can fight your biggest weaknesses instead of stretching many muscles at the same time without having a plan. The method makes stretching safer too and improve pliability, which was a big advantage for me: As a professional performer, I don't have the time to warm up and stretch an hour ahead of a show only to reach a flat split. Now I was able to get my splits in about five minutes!
Click on the picture to get to the Easy Flexibility site - it's an affiliate link. Or just stay here and purchase a private lesson with me ;-)
I was so enthusiastic that I attended the Easy Flexibility certification course. There I learned about anatomy, the actions of different muscles, which muscles are needed to stretch for which pose and of course, how to stretch them. It was my breakthrough and from there on I developed the wish to help others reach their flexibility goals. I passed the test, started to build my little stretching business and soon, I had my very first private students.
In the meantime I kept on studying stretching, recovery and mobilisation techniques and anatomy. I learned from some great, internationally renowned specialists like the contortionists Jonathan Nosan, Hannah Finn oder Catie Brier to fulfill my backbending dreams - and with the help of different physio therapists and osteopaths specialized in competitive sports I also succeeded in integrating health aspects, fascia, joint and nerve manipulation techniques into my flexibility training.
Today I coach flexibility in diverse formats: I have a frequent local group class, private sessions on- and offline with individualized training plans and workshops. I always say, if I had managed to get the splits, everyone can!