How Are Gymnasts So Flexible?

What Does It Take To Become A Flexible Gymnast?

30 Sep, 2021


Tips & Tricks


Gymnasts need to have flexibility that most of us can only dream of. As well as having mental resilience to deal with performing under pressure while executing precise and intricate movements.

It’s all in the joints

In order to be able to bend, flex and extend their bodies, professional gymnasts require tendons and ligaments that work in an optimal way. Gymnasts who make it to the top of their sport are likely to be genetically gifted with genes that deliver adequate collagen to their ligaments and tendons making them more robust and flexible. It is this, along with years of training, which allows their bodies to perform the feats they do and withstand the impacts inflicted on them.

We are not born equal

Professional gymnasts might be in a league of their own, but there are clear differences between individuals and even siblings. Do you have friends who can do the splits or ace their yoga class? When you try to do the same thing, your body just won’t do what you want it to do, and you feel as stiff as a board?

There’s a strong probability that in the cocktail of genes that make you unique, you don’t have the magic combination which gives you flexible, yet strong ligaments and tendons. Just face it, you weren’t designed to do backflips in the air.

But there’s good news…

Although you can’t do backflips in the air right now, that doesn’t mean you will never be able to do them (if you really want to!). The important thing to remember is that your genes do not dictate your destiny – they only indicate potential. If a person has all this genetic potential but does not do anything to develop that potential, they may deviate from the genetic roadmap they have been given.

What you can do

If you were not born with the flexibility you’d like to have or, alternatively, if you are getting stiffer as you age, you can take steps to improve your flexibility. Breath work is an overlooked but very valuable practice, which allows you to get the most out of stretching, but it can also allow your body to relax into the stretch. Static and dynamic stretching are the core practices you should focus on. Static stretches are positions that don’t involve movement, whereas dynamic stretches involve moving the body through different positions. A daily ten-minute stretching routine will have you seeing results in no time, loosening and lengthening your muscles. Of course, if you work at a desk for long periods of time, you should get up and stretch every hour to keep your body supple.

Know your potential

If this article has made you curious about your own genetic make-up and whether you have been gifted with natural flexibility, you can take our Personalized Wellness Test today. Find out what kind of exercise your body was designed to do, and what you should know about in terms of nutrition for your particular genetic profile. It’s never too late to live life as authentically you!

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