Direction-specific flexibility weakness...

Gnarlie

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Hi all

I would appreciate the best advice you can offer on this please:

I've started back in TKD about 6 months ago after an 8 month break. I had lost a surprising amount of flex and strength in that time but now it's back. All except in one direction.

Side splits with the feet turned out = progress good.

Side splits with the feet pointing forward = never been able to make it past about 100 degrees.

This affects my active kicking ability especially on side kicks and though the turning kick prep. It's like a 'blind spot' - I can kick high angled off to the front or to the back, but with shoulder, hip and foot in line it's stuck at 90 degrees.

It's especially evident in a slow side kick chamber: if I chamber the knee high ready for a high side kick, then roll the hip over ready to kick, at the point where the inner thigh muscles require flexibility, the knee and thigh are literally ripped downwards to end parallel with the ground. I can combat this by turning the standing foot away from the target more, but I have observed that most people don't need to do that to the same extent. Turning the foot too much is bad practice as it recruits the back muscles into the leg lift causing hip weakness.

I have battled to make these muscles more flexible for more then a decade. They are so strong that I worry for the safety of my knees when stretching.

Hip strength is not a factor - I can lift and hold at every other angle.

I've worked around this blind spot for the whole time in TKD, but after my pause I think it's time to confront it head on.

Can anyone offer any practical advice to target and improve the flexibility of this specific muscle group?

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ACJ

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You actually have a process on your femur which prevents abduction of the hip past about 30 degrees from a neutral, anatomical position. Side kick should be chambered in front and turned while kicking to avoid this bit of bone.
 
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Gnarlie

Gnarlie

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You actually have a process on your femur which prevents abduction of the hip past about 30 degrees from a neutral, anatomical position. Side kick should be chambered in front and turned while kicking to avoid this bit of bone.

Thanks ACJ. Do you mean the greater trochanter jams im the socket, or something different?

What I don't understand is that most people seem to be able to manage a lift to around 120 degrees in a side kick position, with the standing foot turned only 90-135 degrees from the target.

For my side kick it's really hard to get that kind of lift without a full standing foot rotation with the heel to the target, because it relies on inner thigh flexibility (I think). How can I train this to improve quickly?

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ACJ

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Do you mean the greater trochanter jams im the socket, or something different?

To be honest, I'm not too sure, it has been quite a while since I have taken a direct look at my skeletal systems. It was a vague memory about abduction to begin with...

What I don't understand is that most people seem to be able to manage a lift to around 120 degrees in a side kick position, with the standing foot turned only 90-135 degrees from the target.

For my side kick it's really hard to get that kind of lift without a full standing foot rotation with the heel to the target, because it relies on inner thigh flexibility (I think). How can I train this to improve quickly?

If you aren't straight abducting, and it IS a flexibility issue. You should try doing the stretch you are struggling with, but hold an isometric contraction near your point of maximum range. Contract your legs about as hard as you can (as if you were going to push yourself up from the splits to standing straight up) for about 30 seconds. Repeat this 2-4 more times. Once you stop progressing with this method, you can add some weight to increase the force of contraction. You could either hold the weight for light weights, or put something in a backpack.

So that is:


  • Relax into split position as far as you can go.
  • Contract muscles to near maximum for 30 seconds
  • Release the contraction and stretch and stand up.
  • 30 seconds rest.
  • Repeat 2-4 times.

This is a leg strength exercise, so do it in the same workout as any other leg exercises and recover for at least 48 hours. Perform this set 2-3 times per week.

If you have any questions, I am happy to answer.
 

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