Flexibility often isn’t something you think about until you need it.
Yes, the term “flexibility” may conjure up images of hyper-mobile acrobats or Cirque du Soleil performers, but for regular people, it’s really just about having the range of motion you need to be able to do the things you want and need to.
That’s how Charlie came to make flexibility training a major part of his life.
After retiring from a physically demanding career, Charlie found he was unable to get through his day without mobility restrictions getting in his way. Focused Flexibility has helped him overcome those issues and given him the freedom to pursue any goal he wants.
“Focused Flexibility has affected me in a much different way from [many trainees]. There are small things I took for granted 40 years ago that aren’t a given now. Things as simple as scratching my back without a tool, getting in and out of a bath tub, seeing what’s on the bottom shelf of a cabinet without dropping to all 4s, are some of the scores of small ways it’s helped me change.”
Charlie didn’t have a specific flexibility goal when he started FF. He merely wanted to improve his function. But as you’ll see from his story, it helped him do a lot more than he expected.
Flexibility for Life, Not Just for FitnessCharlie Brown (yes, that’s his real name!) had a long and fulfilling career as a cabinetmaker and commercial property manager, both physically demanding jobs.
He was always active in some way or another, but it wasn’t until he and his wife watched their parents go through the difficult process of aging and end-of-life, that he started seeing fitness in a different light.
“I train because I want to be able to move as I age. It sounds simple but having 4 parents who made it past 80 and 2 who saw their 90s we have learned that you lose abilities along the way. The stronger and more flexible we remain, the longer we can be useful to ourselves and each other. Training is the best antidepressant that exists. It also gives us confidence. Eventually just walking to the car will be a difficult skill at some point. I like skewing our odds against possible future disabilities.”
We all know it’s much harder to see the big picture until we’re faced with tragedy or other difficult life circumstances.
For Charlie, seeing his parents decline the way they did gave him the motivation to prioritize his movement abilities in a different way than he had in the past, and in a different way than many younger trainees do.
Rather than chasing fancy tricks or advanced skills (though he did get to that point, much to his surprise), Charlie was far more interested in being able to get through his day with relative ease, and in maintaining agility for as long as possible. This is the kind of flexibility many of us don’t think about much, but probably should.
Finding a Program That Fit His NeedsSince Charlie wasn’t specifically looking to gain flexibility for particular positions (at least not initially), he needed a program that would be easy to integrate with his other training and the rest of his life.
“I was a stiff old cabinet maker who never much thought about flexibility until I found FF, which gives me a very easy-to-follow, nuts-and-bolts approach, and a process for building the necessary skills one step at a time. Without the remedial-to-advanced process that GMB teaches I would have just had to move on.”
“I have not stopped going through FF. I use parts of it every single day. I think that I’ll be using it as long as I train.”
Because FF is designed to help address whatever flexibility goals a person may have, Charlie has been able to easily integrate it into his training, to help him improve his range of motion for the activities he loves.
But he didn’t stop there…
As Charlie saw his mobility improving, he decided to take on a much loftier goal: the front splits.
Charlie’s Mission to Conquer the Splits
How many 60+ year-olds do you know who would even think of training for something like the front split? Probably not many (though we’ve got quite a few such badasses on our Alpha Posse member forums).
Charlie decided he was not going to let age or physical condition hold him back, and set a lofty goal to get a full front split on both sides.
Take a look at his journey to the splits:
Charlie’s overall flexibility improved, which has helped him get through life with greater ease than he had before.
- His squat is deeper, which helps him pick things up off the floor without worrying about throwing his back out, and helps him continue to build and tinker as he’s always loved to.
- He can move more easily on the dance floor when he and his wife go ballroom dancing 6-8 times per month (he says, “I’m still a horrible dancer but I know enough now and can move well enough to keep Elaine happy.”)
- He’s able to train for skills most people would never think a 63-year-old retiree could train for. Charlie proves age is just a number, and it’s all about getting your body moving well.
Achieving the splits is a huge accomplishment for anyone, but starting that journey in your 60s is beyond impressive.
Talking to Charlie, though, it’s clear that the splits were an after thought. The real accomplishment for him was getting his body to the point where he’s not afraid to move, and is confident he’ll be moving well for years to come.
Keep Your Body Moving WellNo matter how old (or young) you are, what your training background is, or what physical goals you have, your body should move within the ranges of motion needed for your life.
It’s simple: If you can’t get your body into the positions you need it to, you have to find a way to change that.
“I want my autonomy for as long as I live. Focused Flexibility and the other programs I have will help me reach and keep that goal.”
For Charlie, Focused Flexibility was just the ticket. Through systematic, easy-to-understand programming, and a directed approach, it helped him address gaps in his mobility that were keeping him from getting through his regular activities easily.
Plus, it helped him get to the point where he could train for skills he never expected to be able to.
Get More Flexible Where You Need It
FF is completely customizable for assessing and improving your mobility and flexibility for greater ease of movement.