Still not getting the results you want from your exercise routine? Blame tight muscles, says Ashley Borden, a celebrity trainer based in Los Angeles. "When one muscle group, like your quads, is stiff, that prevents others, like you glutes,
from firing correctly," she explains. End result: compromised
performance (and calorie-burning ability), not to mention an increased
risk of injury.
Old-school static stretches, where you bend
and hold for what seems like an eternity, aren't necessarily the most
effective approach to increase your flexibility. Borden swears instead
by her "Stretch and Fire" method, which she uses to teach clients like
Mandy Moore. Based on a principle called Active-Isolated Technique, it
involves contracting one muscle group while stretching the other. This triggers a muscular reflex that will increase your range of motion and deepen the stretch. Best of all, her workout -- which targets most women's tightest muscles -- takes just minutes a day.
Try stretches after your regular cardio
or strength workout (aim to do them five times a week). You'll see
improvement to your flexibility in as little as two weeks and gains in
both your strength and endurance in less than one month.