Does kicking itself improve flexibility?

ThatOneCanadian

Green Belt
Joined
May 14, 2021
Messages
145
Reaction score
83
Location
N/A
So, it goes without saying that in order to get more flexible, you need to stretch. Dynamic stretching before workout, static stretching after.

But does the act of kicking itself help one get closer to a full split? In other words, if I stretch every time I work out for a year without doing any kicking at all, will I become flexible more slowly then if I were to spend all of those workouts doing nothing but practicing kicks (as well as stretching)?
 

Buka

Sr. Grandmaster
MT Mentor
Joined
Jun 27, 2011
Messages
11,902
Reaction score
8,689
Location
Maui
I don't believe so, no.
 

Monkey Turned Wolf

MT Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Jan 4, 2012
Messages
9,844
Reaction score
3,820
Location
New York
My answer is yes, until that last "in other words". Are you asking if you did an hour workout of stretching focused on flexibility, vs. an hour of kicking each day, will the stretching workout be slower?
Or are you asking if you stretch for a bit of each workout, and then go on to other stuff, or if you stretch for a bit, then go onto kicking as the other stuff, will the non-kicking workout be slower?

If the latter question, then yes, kicking will make you more flexible than, say, weight training. If the former, than my guess would be purely stretching for an hour every day would probably make you more flexible than purely kicking for an hour every day. Not 100% on that though.
 

MadMartigan

Green Belt
Joined
Apr 28, 2021
Messages
187
Reaction score
213
If the goal of your stretching is to improve your kicks, then kicks need to be part of the training. If you want to be good at kicking, you have to kick lots.

There must be a balance between strength and flexibility though. I've seen people who could drop into a full split, but could barely kick higher than their own waist. Their problem was they were 'gumby'. All flexibility, but no strength to pick their own leg up and actually use that flexibility.
 

skribs

Grandmaster
Joined
Nov 14, 2013
Messages
5,928
Reaction score
1,586
Kicking as high as you can kick will increase your dynamic flexibility. Kicking itself won't help your flexibility much if you're not doing a dynamic stretch when you kick.
 

bushido

Yellow Belt
Joined
May 2, 2009
Messages
54
Reaction score
16
Of course it will, to a certain point... not to the splits sort stretch, lol, but say a crescent kick sort of stretch, sure...
And I would argue that kicking isn't really dependant upon stretching... you build up your kicks over time with repetition. So if you work say a crescent kick. Over time, you fall in that groove where efficiency and power meet, and that is when you "own that technique". That is how your body work best with that technique... Working on stretching is not going to make that kick any better, because you now have the stretch and muscle memory you need.
Same with whipping kicks... they are awkward and the joints ache when you are leaning them, and there is a stretch there for sure , but once your body adapts and you find that groove, they are always there for you... after a point, stretching will not help them any further.
How much time do you think you should invest into stretching? Curious to see what the average would be here :)
 

_Simon_

Senior Master
Joined
Jan 3, 2018
Messages
3,735
Reaction score
2,124
Location
Australia
Both are important, but what kicking does is build strength at the end ranges. That (as well as dynamic flexibility work) will help develop flexibility FAR better than just stretching. Mobility is a better term for that, which is ability to actively move a joint through it's full range or motion (instead of just passively).

Building end range strength is crucial to developing strong, stable joints when you do happen to do those techniques, and most importantly it convinces your CNS that its 'safe' for your joints to go into those end ranges. That's the most limiting factor in flexibility, not really muscle related, but the CNS inhibiting movement past a certain point by contracting muscles prematurely, believing it ain't safe to go there! That's why contract-relax exercises works really well instantly!

Ps. Also, from Syrian to Canadian, cool :D
 

dvcochran

Grandmaster
Joined
Nov 7, 2017
Messages
7,047
Reaction score
2,290
Location
Southeast U.S.
So, it goes without saying that in order to get more flexible, you need to stretch. Dynamic stretching before workout, static stretching after.

But does the act of kicking itself help one get closer to a full split? In other words, if I stretch every time I work out for a year without doing any kicking at all, will I become flexible more slowly then if I were to spend all of those workouts doing nothing but practicing kicks (as well as stretching)?
Yes, kicking helps flexibility. I suppose you could say it's affect is indirect.
If you look at purely flexibility, elasticity of muscles, joints, mind, etc... you could picture your leg as a rubber band. 1,) Pretty useless setting on a table. 2,) Pull it back, and you have a tension spring that will create force but will have very little control. 3.) Aim it, using you own faculties, (eyes, hands, etc...) or a tool/toy to aim and shoot the rubber band, then it becomes an effective 'weapon'.
If we apply this logic to kicking, just stretching results in the rubber band setting on the table (1).
Stretching and unfocused kicking would result in idea 2.) where a person may have high but weak and inaccurate kicks and lack the inability to chain kicks or incorporate other movements.
Incorporating both stretching and kicking with a focus is what you want. But understand!!! Uber high, flashy, and even fast kicks take MUCH longer for some folks. Just the differences in body types, time available, etc...
.
To the second part of the OP, no, I guess I would have to say kicking would not speed up getting a greater stretch. But the question becomes what would you do with the added flexibility if it not usable?

You are right on track with you dynamic/static comment. Assuming you do partnered pad work, drill the higher kicks. Not all the time but often. Then apply them with resistance (drills or sparring).

Remember, this is a marathon, not a sprint. In the bigger picture, and year can be a short amount of time.
 

seasoned

MT Senior Moderator
Staff member
Lifetime Supporting Member
Joined
Apr 19, 2007
Messages
11,152
Reaction score
1,134
Location
Lives in Texas
So, it goes without saying that in order to get more flexible, you need to stretch. Dynamic stretching before workout, static stretching after.

But does the act of kicking itself help one get closer to a full split? In other words, if I stretch every time I work out for a year without doing any kicking at all, will I become flexible more slowly then if I were to spend all of those workouts doing nothing but practicing kicks (as well as stretching)?
My 2 cents...Repeated kicking will strengthen the legs "for" kicking. Over extending past flexibility will cause muscle pulls. Warm muscles, stretch better, so... loosen up at the beginning of class and at the end of class finish up with a bit more concentrated stretch.
You will reach your flexibility max by slow stretching as oppose to bouncing or forcing the muscles passed what they are ready to do. Take the time and you will reach your goal accident free. Good luck!!
 

angelariz

Green Belt
Joined
Apr 22, 2013
Messages
160
Reaction score
37
Location
CT
So, it goes without saying that in order to get more flexible, you need to stretch. Dynamic stretching before workout, static stretching after.

But does the act of kicking itself help one get closer to a full split? In other words, if I stretch every time I work out for a year without doing any kicking at all, will I become flexible more slowly then if I were to spend all of those workouts doing nothing but practicing kicks (as well
So, it goes without saying that in order to get more flexible, you need to stretch. Dynamic stretching before workout, static stretching after.

But does the act of kicking itself help one get closer to a full split? In other words, if I stretch every time I work out for a year without doing any kicking at all, will I become flexible more slowly then if I were to spend all of those workouts doing nothing but practicing kicks (as well as stretching)?
I've been dynamic stretching for years because static stretching was not helping my become anymore flexible. In 30+ years of training, I've never been able to split. I can get close but some people just will never have a full split. Some hip joints are just not formed the same as others. One can still be a good kicker without having a full split.
 

MadMartigan

Green Belt
Joined
Apr 28, 2021
Messages
187
Reaction score
213
For anyone who may not be familiar, Tom Kurz is a sports science expert and martial artist who specializes in flexibility for kicking.

While there are some (but very few) people who structurally cannot achieve the splits... most can. As _simon_ said, the main problem is not muscle length, it's your central nervous system locking down and preventing further motion.

The linked article is a short read that explains the topic in the best way I've seen and shows an easy test to determine whether your body structure will allow you to eventually attain the full side split.


(Edit: the link does work, not sure why I can't get it to display correctly)
 
Last edited:

Instructor

Master Black Belt
Supporting Member
Joined
Feb 18, 2012
Messages
1,459
Reaction score
352
Location
Harpers Ferry, WV
For anyone who may not be familiar, Tom Kurz is a sports science expert and martial artist who specializes in flexibility for kicking.

While there are some (but very few) people who structurally cannot achieve the splits... most can. As _simon_ said, the main problem is not muscle length, it's your central nervous system locking down and preventing further motion.

The linked article is a short read that explains the topic in the best way I've seen and shows an easy test to determine whether your body structure will allow you to eventually attain the full side split.


(Edit: the link does work, not sure why I can't get it to display correctly)
Thanks for this!
 

dvcochran

Grandmaster
Joined
Nov 7, 2017
Messages
7,047
Reaction score
2,290
Location
Southeast U.S.
Thanks for this!
I don't know. Tom Kurz is President of Stadion Publishing (his own company). I cannot find much of anything regarding credentials. Seems very self-promoting without substance.
That said, he appears rather accomplished (in his own circle) and has done much with what he has.
 

Instructor

Master Black Belt
Supporting Member
Joined
Feb 18, 2012
Messages
1,459
Reaction score
352
Location
Harpers Ferry, WV
I don't know. Tom Kurz is President of Stadion Publishing (his own company). I cannot find much of anything regarding credentials. Seems very self-promoting without substance.
That said, he appears rather accomplished (in his own circle) and has done much with what he has.
Nothing wrong with self publishing, sometimes it is the best option.
 

dvcochran

Grandmaster
Joined
Nov 7, 2017
Messages
7,047
Reaction score
2,290
Location
Southeast U.S.
Nothing wrong with self publishing, sometimes it is the best option.
True, but the lack of credentialing is concerning. Snake oil? Who knows.
If everyone can do a 180簞 split you would see it more often. And used in application. Especially, his explanation using a leg on a chair has zero basis. There is a Ton more mechanics that go on to do a full split.
 

Ji Yuu

Yellow Belt
Joined
Jan 11, 2022
Messages
44
Reaction score
25
So, it goes without saying that in order to get more flexible, you need to stretch. Dynamic stretching before workout, static stretching after.

But does the act of kicking itself help one get closer to a full split? In other words, if I stretch every time I work out for a year without doing any kicking at all, will I become flexible more slowly then if I were to spend all of those workouts doing nothing but practicing kicks (as well as stretching)?
Short answer to the first question: Yes.
 
Top