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Gymnastics/Flexibility improvement.

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Question
Dear Sir,
I really have one important question to ask you for my future. I am a Male.
I have a fitness goal for my future. Within next 6 year I want to be a Martial Artist, Parkourer, and a Gymnast.And there's a common distinction between all three subjects which is flexibility. Presently I am 18 years old and I will be starting to learn Martial Arts from next year. But in this one year gap I want to really be able to get very fit and flexible.
I want to be very flexible like a Gymnast. In a way that I can play with my body and I can bend it the way I want to.
But I am really confused.....:(
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There are so many suggestions out there to increase flexibility but what should I follow. Can you suggest me how and what should I start today to be something tomorrow?
Which exercise should I do?
When shall I do?
How long should I DO IT? And What should I eat in diet? ----
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It is really really important for me. Your reply will be highly appreciated.

Thanks
-Sangeet

Answer
Sangeet-

This is a very broad question. The stretching should include extending your range of motion in your legs, arms, hips and back. So you need to stretch your legs in pike, straddle and split positions. You need to stay in those positions for several minutes and do it at least twice a day. You can contract the muscles for 15 seconds and then relax and try to go down. You need to do this for arms behind your back and front. Doing a bridge position for your back, side stretches for your hips. You can find charts for these stretches on the internet. Bob Anderson is a good source for this.

Do the stretching in the morning and evening. If you have time, a third session before going to bed. It will take about 3 weeks to start to notice results. If you are tight, make sure you do something to warm-up your body before starting, running, cycling or something active for at least 5 minutes.

Your diet should include carbohydrates, fruits and vegetables. Try to stay away from sugary drinks and desserts. Limit the amount of meats to once a day. Eat small portions 5 times a day to fuel your body. Find a way to exercise for at least an hour a day.

Good luck.

Gymnastics

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Mark Williams

Expertise

My expertise is primarily with men`s gymnastics at all levels. General questions about gymnastics and Olympic and World Championship competitions are also areas which I have knowledge.

Experience

Head Coach at the University of Oklahoma, 1996 Assistant Olympic Coach for US Men''s Team, 1999 Head Coach of Pan American Games US Men''s Team

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