Gaining flexibility is easy. At least that's what I told myself when I set out to touch my toes at age 22, after four long years of college spent running, using the elliptical, and biking all over campus. I had aches and pains in my legs and back, so I decided it was time to loosen up my muscles and joints. No big deal.
But after three months of stretching every morning, my body was more rigid than ever, and my back had developed unfamiliar twitches and aches. It was only when I started doing yoga at night that I started to see a real change, which I later learned was because I was finally approaching stretching correctly.
I'm not alone in that experience—plenty of people have attempted to get more flexible and had it backfire on them. Here's what most people do wrong: