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Flexibility is an important part of your physical fitness but it can be a challenge to train. What are some flexibility training equipment options you can use?
Flexibility is a fitness component that comes down to the range of motion specific joints or joint groups can do. By pushing these boundaries in a safe way you are able to increase this range.
Bodyweight flexibility exercises can help but sometimes you can speed up results with some of the flexibility exercise equipment options on this list. Some of these pieces of equipment also make the flexibility exercises more comfortable.
Improving your flexibility in turn can improve your mobility, reduce injury risk, make everyday activities easier, etc.
1. Yoga mat
A yoga mat is a mat of soft material, often foam, that is used to make many floor exercises a lot more comfortable. Many flexibility exercises take place on the ground so for these a yoga mat is definitely not an unnecessary luxury.
The alternative is working out on the ground which is often painful.
Besides that one of the benefits of a yoga mat is that you can use it in a wide variety of non-flexibility exercises and workouts. It is also very inexpensive compared to the pain you can avoid from working out on the ground.
2. Stretch straps
Stretch straps are a type of sturdy cords, often with loops, that make improving your flexibility with stretching a lot easier. Especially for stretching body parts like your glutes, hamstrings, and calves, stretch straps can be helpful.
On top of that, stretch straps are a relatively inexpensive piece of fitness equipment and they are extremely easy to store and take with you.
One potential downside is that quite a few of these stretch strap exercises take place on the floor. That means you will likely also want to invest in the yoga mat.
3. Slant board
A slant board is a board you can put at a tilted angle. This piece of equipment is mainly used to stretch your calves but it can also help you strengthen your ankles to some extent.
You can use a slant board as a separate flexibility training session or place your feet on it while sitting down throughout the day.
One potential downside of slant boards is that they are only for calves and ankles. For flexibility in other body parts you will need other fitness equipment. Besides that, slant boards do require a slightly bigger investment compared to the previous options.
All in all, the slant board can be a good choice for specific body parts like your calves and ankles. If you are interested in improving flexibility in other body parts you will have to choose other options on this list.
4. Foot rocker
Foot rockers are a type of half circles made to put a foot on. This makes them a helpful piece of flexibility equipment for your calves and ankles.
One of the benefits of the foot rocker is that it is relatively budget-friendly. It is also very compact which means easy to store and easy to take with you.
A downside compared to something like the slant board is that it is easy to move your foot a lot while using it. For stretching your calf muscle you want to put it under consistent pressure, not bouncing back and forth.
You can also do this with the foot rocker but it requires a bit more control.
5. Leg stretcher
Leg stretchers are a piece of flexibility training equipment that in essence is two bars to place behind your legs and a way to bring these bars farther apart.
Leg stretchers offer you a more controlled way of stretching your groin compared to trying to do a standing split as far as you can. Again this is a relatively single-focus piece of equipment.
Another downside is that some leg stretchers require a relatively big investment compared to some of the other options. This piece of flexibility equipment will also require slightly more storage space.
6. Exercise ball
An exercise ball, also known as a stability or yoga ball, is a soft elastic ball. This piece of fitness equipment can help you make a wide variety of body parts more flexible.
One example is sitting in the position for an exercise ball back extension but instead of elevating your body, stretching your hamstrings and glutes.
A benefit of the exercise ball is that you can use it in a wide variety of exercises for a wide variety of body parts and fitness components. On top of that, an exercise ball is relatively budget-friendly.
7. Foam roller
A foam roller is a piece of equipment that can be described as a cylindrical tube. Foam rolling is using this tube in a variety of exercises to do a form of self-massage. One of the benefits of foam rolling is that it can help you improve flexibility.
One small study even suggests that foam rolling may be more effective than static and dynamic stretching for acutely increasing flexibility of the quadriceps and hamstrings without hindering muscle strength (4). Although some studies suggest that a combination of foam rolling and stretching is the best for improving flexibility (5, 6).
One of the benefits of foam rollers is that they are relatively budget-friendly.
A potential downside is that you likely also want to invest in a yoga mat for many foam roller exercises. Certain exercises can also be slightly more challenging to get exactly right for training flexibility.