#81 – Dan Van Zandt | The Importance Of Flexibility for Athletes

Dan Van Zandt is a flexibility researcher, educator and coach and probably one of the (if not the) most knowledgable people in the world of flexibility.

This episode is one that brings a lot of knowledge and science around flexibility, the importance of it for athletes and how to best build it. Lewis and Dan talk about some of the myths that are around flexibility, its impact on the body but also its impact on the mind for athletes, type of flexibility and where best to begin when trying to increase flexibility. They also talk about how yoga can be of great benefit for athletes not just for the physical gains but the mental resilience it can build too.
Dan is the go-to man when it comes to flexibility knowledgeable and this discussion hopes to give some insight and advice that you can take to help you on your flexibility journey.

Listen to the episode

Subscribe on

Follow Lewis

This episode at a glance

  • What sparked Dan’s interest in flexibility [5:02]
  • Formal education on flexibility is sorely lacking. [10:02]
  • Yoga is severely lacking in the science of flexibility. [12:25]
  • Yin yoga promotes long duration hold. [14:50]
  • Yin yoga is ahead in tissue mechanics [15:00]
  • Experience is more important than credentials. [17:10]
  • How flexibility fluctuates. [19:50]
  • Many of the flexibility coaches out there are hypermobile. They have abnormally high ranges of motion. [20:33]
  • The true definition of flexibility based on science. [22:50]
  • The 4 types of flexibility. [30:59]
  • The most important type of flexibility. [32:24]
  • How big a role does anatomy play in a person’s flexibility? [36:43]
  • How to build up flexibility from static passive flexibility. [40:28]
  • What delayed onset muscle soreness while stretching can tell you. [41:52]
  • People are averse to stretching. Stretching is both a mental and physical practice. [45:40]
  • What good flexibility coaching looks like. [47:40]
  • Your mental state will influence what you can physically do. [50:20]
  • How important is breathing when stretching. [53:32]
  • How fast can people progress their flexibility. [57:32]
  • The correlation between sports performance and injury rates. [1:01:15]
  • How we can lower the risk of injury. [1:03:35]
  • The ideal amount of flexibility [1:08:31]
  • Recovery and flexibility. [1:08:59]
  • Cognitive flexibility and effective flexibility and how it relates to mental health. [1:10:28]
  • The environment is the most crucial component to flexibility training. [1:15:02]


Episode Sponsored By Sport Yogi

The app that introduces Yoga, Mindfulness and Meditation to Athletes all without the fluff. Choose from over 100+ sessions to improve flexibility, strength, recovery, focus, stress, nerves, anxiety on and off the field.