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#118516 - 12/28/02 03:42 AM Stretching
Magnum Offline
Stranger

Registered: 12/27/02
Posts: 2
Any tips for increasing flexibilty: side splits; frontal splits to progress faster in your training. It seems my advancement is slow and sometimes I think it's regressing! Are their exercises, stretching or techniques for assisting me [and other beginners] for achieving lower, more impressive flexibility?

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#118517 - 01/12/03 08:35 PM Re: Stretching
USTCtkd Offline
Newbie

Registered: 01/11/03
Posts: 8
Loc: New England
The best way to increase flexibility is to stretch everyday. Get a leg stretcher, use daily 10 minutes a day, everyday. Then sit on the floor and practice front splits side splits. Goal should be 180 degrees. Perseverence is the key to your success.


[QUOTE]Originally posted by Magnum:
Any tips for increasing flexibilty: side splits; frontal splits to progress faster in your training. It seems my advancement is slow and sometimes I think it's regressing! Are their exercises, stretching or techniques for assisting me [and other beginners] for achieving lower, more impressive flexibility?[/QUOTE]

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#118518 - 01/19/03 04:24 AM Re: Stretching
taebot Offline
Veteran

Registered: 01/14/03
Posts: 1166
Loc: KANSAS
Not just everyday, but every morning and evening.

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#118519 - 01/19/03 10:57 AM Re: Stretching
USTCtkd Offline
Newbie

Registered: 01/11/03
Posts: 8
Loc: New England
I agree, every morning and every night!!!

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#118520 - 01/19/03 05:30 PM Re: Stretching
Swordfish Offline
Newbie

Registered: 08/10/01
Posts: 22
May I recomend looking at www.stadion.com .
This site is very useful in helping increase your flexibility and strength hand in hand. The book by Thomas Kurtz called Dynamic Stretching is excellent as well.

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#118521 - 02/07/03 03:37 AM Re: Stretching
UKfightfreak Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 01/08/03
Posts: 2599
Loc: San Francisco
Sorry USTCtkd but Magnum, please do not purchase a stretching machine!!!

Buy a few books or read the free articles that are on this web site or at www.stadion.com as Swordfish suggests.

I can achieve front splits (toes up and down) and side splits with the rear leg pointing to the side and pointing down and I have never been near a stretching machine, I only stretch a maximum of 10 minutes each day extra to my training and about 5-10 mins before training and about 10-20 after (depending on the type of workout).

Torturing yourself with a legstretcher is not necessary, I've seen many people increase their flexibility to kick head height within weeks of beginning stretching with Kurz's methods.

(I sound like a TV ad! [IMG]http://www.fightingarts.com/forums/ubb/smile.gif[/IMG] )

[QUOTE]Originally posted by USTCtkd:
The best way to increase flexibility is to stretch everyday. Get a leg stretcher, use daily 10 minutes a day, everyday. Then sit on the floor and practice front splits side splits. Goal should be 180 degrees. Perseverence is the key to your success.


[/QUOTE]

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#118522 - 02/07/03 05:51 AM Re: Stretching
taebot Offline
Veteran

Registered: 01/14/03
Posts: 1166
Loc: KANSAS
I tend to recommend that people stay away from the machines. One of our instructors is a long-time yoga practioner with an inhuman range of flexibility even in his 50's. His advice is to look inside, see the muscles, and concentrate on relaxing them.

The ground is cheap and it travels wherever you go [on earth].

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#118523 - 02/07/03 06:02 AM Re: Stretching
UKfightfreak Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 01/08/03
Posts: 2599
Loc: San Francisco
[QUOTE]Originally posted by taebot:
I tend to recommend that people stay away from the machines. One of our instructors is a long-time yoga practioner with an inhuman range of flexibility even in his 50's. His advice is to look inside, see the muscles, and concentrate on relaxing them.

The ground is cheap and it travels wherever you go [on earth].
[/QUOTE]


I agree (I enjoy Yoga myself).

But this post illustrates that most Martial Artists conceive stretching as just passive relaxed.

If you employ dynamic stretching (for morning and pre-workout) isometric stretching and then passive relaxed stretching for post work-out you will see great results (still on cheap earth).

Then to improve more get weight training, strengthen your back, stomach and legs (especially your adductors) and use dynamic strenght exercises, such as lunges and adductor pull downs.

Basically the reason why people can't do the splits is because their legs aren't strong enough - most people can stand with one leg on the floor and the other to around their waist hieght - thats the splits, well sort of, but basically there are no muscles that connect your legs together so therefore you should be able to do a split - except that your legs won't let you if they don't think they are strong enought.

I don't feel I am explaining myself well.

Best to refer to Kurz's articles for a better discription/advice.

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#118524 - 02/19/03 04:42 PM Re: Stretching
Chen Zen Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 02/09/03
Posts: 7043
Loc: Ms
you should stretch everyday at least twice if not three times. there have been times that i could not do this due to work schedules or what have you and found that the time off actually made me more flexible the next time i went to stretch. so maybe you just need time off.

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#118525 - 03/17/03 03:13 PM Re: Stretching
antonio inoki Offline
Stranger

Registered: 03/16/03
Posts: 2
Loc: italy
hello,
i come from italy, sorry for my english.
browsing this forum i was able to find good answer for my stretch activity. in the 7 years of my krav maga training i have never done stretch ativities that much, now that i started taewondo and hapkido in parallel, i am having some difficulty to stretch in my own time. anyone could help me out in giving me a manual whihc show good stretch activity in my free time, a guideline on which stretch to do and how in few word.
and another thing, is it necessary to warm up before stretching ?
thank you in advance

[This message has been edited by antonio inoki (edited 03-17-2003).]

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#118526 - 03/18/03 07:00 AM Re: Stretching
taebot Offline
Veteran

Registered: 01/14/03
Posts: 1166
Loc: KANSAS
You are doing well with your English, especially compared to some of the offerings by the native speakers.

I like to combine stretching and warmup. your muscles need to be warm to relax and stretch. Also stretching needs to be done daily, if not twice daily. Flexibility is the hardest to achieve (considering strength and aerobic as the other two important aspects of martial training) and the quickest lost.

One of my teachers, Ken Baker, speaks Italian and goes to Italy to train. You two could talk!

[IMG]http://www.fightingarts.com/forums/ubb/biggrin.gif[/IMG]

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#118527 - 05/13/03 06:03 AM Re: Stretching
UKfightfreak Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 01/08/03
Posts: 2599
Loc: San Francisco
[QUOTE]Originally posted by taebot:
You are doing well with your English, especially compared to some of the offerings by the native speakers.

I like to combine stretching and warmup. your muscles need to be warm to relax and stretch. Also stretching needs to be done daily, if not twice daily. Flexibility is the hardest to achieve (considering strength and aerobic as the other two important aspects of martial training) and the quickest lost.

One of my teachers, Ken Baker, speaks Italian and goes to Italy to train. You two could talk!

[IMG]http://www.fightingarts.com/forums/ubb/biggrin.gif[/IMG]
[/QUOTE]

I would disagree with this, maximal dynamic flexibility (the one you need for kicking) can be reached in 8 to 10 weeks.

I think it is far easier to develop flexibility than strengh, power and endurance.

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#118528 - 05/18/03 02:37 PM Re: Stretching
Glashopper Offline
Member

Registered: 05/17/03
Posts: 34
Loc: Omaha, NE USA
I'm the new guy and UKfightfreak advised me to check out this area in regards to my problem with flexibility. I've been using the stretching machine for over a full year and I'm only up to 120 degrees on a good day.
I purchased the book,"Stretching Scientifically" by Kurz and found it so damn dull that I put it away. After reading this thread, I have pulled it out again and will give it an honest try and follow through with the instructions. Thanks for the interesting thread! This is something I've been stumbling over for a year now.
I don't feel so bad after seeing some younger students who have this same problem and I know it's not any easier on them

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#118529 - 05/19/03 05:59 AM Re: Stretching
UKfightfreak Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 01/08/03
Posts: 2599
Loc: San Francisco
Most Martial Artists stretch wrong.

Most Martial Artists are too weak to kick.

Most Martial Artists trust there instructors on stretching, although the instructor has relatively poor flexibility themselves.

If you walk into a TKD class and most of the class can't do the splits, especially the black belts - they are not stretching effectively.

So to summarise:

Get strong, especially your lower back, stomach and legs.

Do the right stretches:

Pre-workout = dynamic stretching, if you sit and do a slow stretch before a workout - it is wrong.

Post workout = static passive stretching, this is the stuff that most are used to, the slow process of waiting and relaxing in a stretch.

Isometrics can be done pre cool down about 4 times a week after Martial arts workouts and strength workouts, but only if you are strong enought - can you deadlift twice your body weight for 1 or 2 reps - No? dont do Isometrics.

If you perform relaxed stretches only for your martial arts training - you are stretching wrong.

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#118530 - 07/08/03 09:41 AM Re: Stretching
smittenkittenTKD Offline
Member

Registered: 06/29/03
Posts: 232
Loc: MI usa
its important to do the right stretches for the right movments....ie reverse butterflies for rounhouses and calf stretches for upright jumping kicks....

throwing a few mid range kicks slowly and without power also increases flexibility...a lot! lol

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#118531 - 07/09/03 01:52 AM Re: Stretching
Chen Zen Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 02/09/03
Posts: 7043
Loc: Ms
You should stretch slow. Putting about 2 minutes into each specific stretch. You should stretch until just outside of the pain barrier and hold it there. 2 or 3 times a day and before any workout or sparring match. Machines are garbage. Also to help in flexibility and strength raise your leg straight out slowly and go as high as you can and hold it. Do this three time with each leg to the front side and back. Hold the first one for 1 minute and the last to for 45 seconds each. Hard to make yourself do but well worth the effort.

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#118532 - 07/09/03 07:18 AM Re: Stretching
UKfightfreak Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 01/08/03
Posts: 2599
Loc: San Francisco
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Chen Zen:
You should stretch slow. Putting about 2 minutes into each specific stretch. You should stretch until just outside of the pain barrier and hold it there. 2 or 3 times a day and before any workout or sparring match. Machines are garbage. Also to help in flexibility and strength raise your leg straight out slowly and go as high as you can and hold it. Do this three time with each leg to the front side and back. Hold the first one for 1 minute and the last to for 45 seconds each. Hard to make yourself do but well worth the effort.[/QUOTE]

Only as a COOL DOWN doing these type of stretches before dynamic kicking is MORE likely to lead to injury.

I have never met anyone who has pulled a muscle warming up with dynamic stretches (leg swings etc.) I have seen it many times with people who warm up with static stretches.

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#118533 - 07/09/03 04:06 PM Re: Stretching
Chen Zen Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 02/09/03
Posts: 7043
Loc: Ms
I have to take it slow. If I go in and start trying to stretch by throwing out some ax kicks then my hamstrings are destroyed. I think it comes down to what you are used to. I find that most people who get injured doing stretches often are doing them incorrectly.

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#118534 - 07/10/03 04:17 AM Re: Stretching
UKfightfreak Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 01/08/03
Posts: 2599
Loc: San Francisco
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Chen Zen:
I have to take it slow. If I go in and start trying to stretch by throwing out some ax kicks then my hamstrings are destroyed. I think it comes down to what you are used to. I find that most people who get injured doing stretches often are doing them incorrectly.[/QUOTE]

That just means that your dynamic flexiblity is poor, you still need to work up slowley and smoothly - you don't just throw your leg in the highest axe kick possible - thats how to get injured.

If you work on your dynamic flexibility each morning (warmup for a few mins and do some joint rotations) then do leg swings starting low do around 12, and repeat.

It should take you about a week to notice the difference in both training and non-warmup flexibility (e.g. I can kick to head hieght at any time of the day with no warm up)

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#118535 - 07/10/03 04:23 AM Re: Stretching
UKfightfreak Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 01/08/03
Posts: 2599
Loc: San Francisco
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Chen Zen:
I find that most people who get injured doing stretches often are doing them incorrectly.[/QUOTE]

Yes - and you are doing them incorrectly and therefore are likely to get injured.

You said this yourself - if you threw an axe kick you would destroy your hamstrings!!

What is the point of learning how to kick if you need to say 'Hang on a minute mate, just give me half and hour to warm and stretch and I will be able to hammer you into the ground'

Although I wouldn't do a whole training session without warming up - I have no problem in throwing high kicks.

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#118536 - 07/10/03 12:18 PM Re: Stretching
Chen Zen Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 02/09/03
Posts: 7043
Loc: Ms
LOL! You misunderstand I think. I have no problem with my kicks its just not for me to start out that way. I usually stretch every morning and for the rest of the day Im perfectly functional. Its not for me to wake up and throw an ax kick first, but thats why I stretch first. On the street or in the dojo I have no problems stretching or throwing high kicks. Ive just always believed that there are some things that you cant rush into. Ive never been injured from stretching or in the dojo from lack thereof so to me I feel like Im doing something right and Im more flexible than ever. To each his own, and your approach may work for you but for me its different as Im sure it is with most people. Everyone has something different and new to contribute which is why we're here right? [IMG]http://www.fightingarts.com/forums/ubb/smile.gif[/IMG]

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#118537 - 07/10/03 12:42 PM Re: Stretching
UKfightfreak Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 01/08/03
Posts: 2599
Loc: San Francisco
But I still don't understand why anyone would do static stretches for dynamic movement - it makes no sense at all.

This is really nothing to do with preference, but to do with the fact that dojos all over the world teach their students static stretches as a part of a warm up which is wrong.

Lets get rid of the axe kick analogy as well. Axe kicks are not leg swings - leg swings are dynamic stretching exercises these should be done fairly quickly but not forcefully - not like an axe kick where you force you leg down. You should not feel tired after performing these exercises, they should be preparing you for the work ahead.

Besides static stretching being a slow (and pointless) process for preperation for kicking it also can be better employed at the END of a workout where it should be. Also if done correctly passive relaxed stretching makes you sleepy - whats the point in getting sleepy in the morning when you have just got out of bed? or when you are about to have a workout?

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#118538 - 07/11/03 03:42 PM Re: Stretching
Chen Zen Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 02/09/03
Posts: 7043
Loc: Ms
I wopuld like to know where you get your information but I will say this. Every morning when I wake up the very firsst thing I do is stretch my body out as far as I can and yawn. Before I ever get out of bed. Its a natural thing. Why? Because the endorphens from stretching stimulates your mind and wakes you up. I cant comment much on dynamic stretching as I have limited knowledge of it but I know many martial artists who static stretch, in fact they all do even Bruce Lee did. I also know that my flexibility has improved greatly over the years. Thats just my experience.

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#118539 - 07/11/03 04:35 PM Re: Stretching
Isshin Dude Offline
Member

Registered: 07/06/03
Posts: 480
Loc: Knoxville Tennessee U.S.A
[QUOTE]Originally posted by UKfightfreak:
But I still don't understand why anyone would do static stretches for dynamic movement - it makes no sense at all.

This is really nothing to do with preference, but to do with the fact that dojos all over the world teach their students static stretches as a part of a warm up which is wrong.

Lets get rid of the axe kick analogy as well. Axe kicks are not leg swings - leg swings are dynamic stretching exercises these should be done fairly quickly but not forcefully - not like an axe kick where you force you leg down. You should not feel tired after performing these exercises, they should be preparing you for the work ahead.

Besides static stretching being a slow (and pointless) process for preperation for kicking it also can be better employed at the END of a workout where it should be. Also if done correctly passive relaxed stretching makes you sleepy - whats the point in getting sleepy in the morning when you have just got out of bed? or when you are about to have a workout?
[/QUOTE]UKFF Good post. [IMG]http://www.fightingarts.com/forums/ubb/smile.gif[/IMG]

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#118540 - 07/12/03 09:31 AM Re: Stretching
Ender Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 04/29/03
Posts: 2253
Loc: Burlington, Ontario, Canada
Actually, contrary to popular belief you should NOT stretch every day, but every other day.

I knoiw from experience, as in the last few weeks I was stretching my groin heavily every day, and was developing pain (which would become chronic if i hadnt stopped) in my hips and knees from pressure.

Doing it every other day gives your muscles and ligaments time to rest.

Don't over due it, and have patience.

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#118541 - 07/12/03 08:29 PM Re: Stretching
Anonymous
Unregistered


Ender, when I was your age I use to "stretch" my groin almost everyday to.The urge to do so goes away as you get older, or get a girlfriend. [IMG]http://www.fightingarts.com/forums/ubb/smile.gif[/IMG]

Sorry about confusion regarding axe kick for stretch, leg swings is what I meant.

I use a combination of dynamic and static stretches.Never gotten sleepy from static stretches,relaxed and invigorated yes,sleepy no.

Agree that machines are garbage.

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#118542 - 07/13/03 05:05 PM Re: Stretching
UKfightfreak Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 01/08/03
Posts: 2599
Loc: San Francisco
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Ender:
Actually, contrary to popular belief you should NOT stretch every day, but every other day.

I knoiw from experience, as in the last few weeks I was stretching my groin heavily every day, and was developing pain (which would become chronic if i hadnt stopped) in my hips and knees from pressure.

Doing it every other day gives your muscles and ligaments time to rest.

Don't over due it, and have patience.
[/QUOTE]

You should have no problem with practising dynamic stretches and static relaxed stretches everyday. They should not cause you pain - if they are it may be an indication of either a weakness in your legs and/or back, or an imbalance of muscle strength (a really common one is very strong quads with hams and adductors lagging behind) or possibly just overdoing i.e. going to fast to soon.

It may be worth examining your strength programme and your stretching technique.

As I, along with many friends practice dynamic stretches every morning and relaxed stretches after training and sometimes before bed.

I mean think about the Yoga people out there who practice all the time!!! Come on Yoga people back me up!!

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#118543 - 07/13/03 05:20 PM Re: Stretching
UKfightfreak Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 01/08/03
Posts: 2599
Loc: San Francisco
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Chen Zen:
I wopuld like to know where you get your information but I will say this. Every morning when I wake up the very firsst thing I do is stretch my body out as far as I can and yawn. Before I ever get out of bed. Its a natural thing. Why? Because the endorphens from stretching stimulates your mind and wakes you up. I cant comment much on dynamic stretching as I have limited knowledge of it but I know many martial artists who static stretch, in fact they all do even Bruce Lee did. I also know that my flexibility has improved greatly over the years. Thats just my experience.[/QUOTE]

Try linking to the stretching section on this site - that is a good place to start.

Alternatively go to www.stadion.com/column.html for a really good list of articles regarding stretching that dispell a lot of the myths about stretching.

Also, I'm sorry just because Bruce Lee did it doesn't make it right - he injured himself once so badley due to incorrect training that he couldn't walk for a long time - don't believe the film his back injury wasn't from a death match style fight it was from incorrect strength training.

I also think its about time I shut up about stretching as nobody can seem to be bothered to read anything (even the stuff thats on this site!!) and I can't be bothered to keep trying to explain stuff that an expert has already written much better than I have. So I will have my last rant and call it a day.

So, I will continue to be happy with the full front splits (toes up and down) and the side splits I can perform with no warm-up that don't and have never caused me pain in my muscles or joints (I'm no freak either I have showed the tom kurz method to many friends and training partners with similar results) and everyone else who can't be bothered to do any home work can struggle in a slow ineffective manner believing the splits and amazing flexibility is something that takes years - where it should only take weeks - fine.

Just ask yourself two questions:

1. How long have I been training?
2. Have I got great flexibility? (e.g. can I kick to the head with no warm-up and be able to achieve a split)

If the answer to number 1. is above a year and the answer to number 2. is 'No' then you are stretching wrong.

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#118544 - 07/13/03 10:05 PM Re: Stretching
Scott Miller Offline
Member

Registered: 07/13/03
Posts: 30
Loc: Garland, TX USA
I think leg stretchers are pure evil. I borrowed one from a 2nd degree BB Kenpo friend of mine, and after using it for 5-6 times, gave it back. It temporarily damaged my inner thigh muscles, for two weeks I was sore, and I didn't crank my legs to maximum stretch for too long, either. In other words, I didn't abuse the machine.

I'm 42 yrs old, and getting back in martial arts after being out a few years, and need to regain lost flexibility. I'm finding that Tom Kurz's system is working best for me, and bio-mechanically makes the best sense as a fast and safe method to gaining strength AND flexibility.

I'm also using dynamic stretches as taught by Matt Furey, such as hindu squats and the neck bridge. Static stretching, as a method to increase flexibility, simply doesn't work nearly as well as dynamic stretching and isometrics -- but for both of these to work well, build core (abs, back, sides, hip) strength and leg strength.

Leg stretchers are static stretching devices, and therefore they have little chance of working well on their own.

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