Increasing Flexibility ?

Andy_46

White Belt
Joined
Sep 30, 2007
Messages
13
Reaction score
0
Hi

Any tips for being more flexible?. I've studied karate, kickboxing and Tang Soo do over the last 5 years but don't feel my flexibility has increased at all and its really starting to get frustrating !!

Thanks
Andy
 

exile

To him unconquered.
Lifetime Supporting Member
MTS Alumni
Joined
Sep 7, 2006
Messages
10,665
Reaction score
250
Location
Columbus, Ohio
Hi

Any tips for being more flexible?. I've studied karate, kickboxing and Tang Soo do over the last 5 years but don't feel my flexibility has increased at all and its really starting to get frustrating !!

Thanks
Andy

Are you saying that your execution of techniques requiring a much higher degree of flexibility than people normally possess, such as roundhouse kicks (with the arc of the snapping lower leg in the kick perfectly parallel to the floor because of the rotation of the chambered kicking leg 90繙 from the vertical), or ax kicks, or high side kicks, hasn't increased at all over the past five years of doing the MAs you describe?
 

MJS

Administrator
Staff member
Lifetime Supporting Member
Joined
Jun 21, 2003
Messages
30,187
Reaction score
430
Location
Cromwell,CT
Hi

Any tips for being more flexible?. I've studied karate, kickboxing and Tang Soo do over the last 5 years but don't feel my flexibility has increased at all and its really starting to get frustrating !!

Thanks
Andy

One suggestion is to make sure that you're really warmed up. I always find that I get my best stretch once I'm warm. Becoming more flexable is not an overnight task. Its going to take hard work, but also keep in mind that due to body structure, genetics, etc., you may be limited as to how far you can stretch.

Work at it a little each day. Over time you will see some results.
 

HelloKitty

Green Belt
Joined
Oct 21, 2007
Messages
173
Reaction score
5
Location
TX, USA
You should warm up very good and do a lot of stretching even the days you're not training. This helped me a lot!
 

still learning

Senior Master
Joined
Nov 8, 2004
Messages
3,749
Reaction score
43
Hello, From the Mayo Clinic: Keep the stretching "gentle"
Breathe freely -DO NOT HOLD BREATHE
Recommend NO bouncing, No painful stretching
EXPECT to feel tension ....pain means to far.....Mayo clinic

Tom Kuvz: Book/ DVD ....is an excellant source of great tips! Plus age is NOT the factor in flexibility....it is the lack of excercise!

Do not expect large gains....expect gains to be very little as the weeks,months go by.....some people are built to be more flexible too...

Like everything else....if you do the stretching excercise daily (warm-up first).....in time you will see improvements....once you stop for awhile the body will decrease backwards.

Flexibility is NICE.....many times the range of movements you have now maybe more than enough. (kicking to he groin or sweeping the legs) does not required alot of flexibility)

Better to be more flexible in the MIND....than in the body!

Aloha,

PS: can someone bend down and pick up the belt? .....oops the pants fell!
 

exile

To him unconquered.
Lifetime Supporting Member
MTS Alumni
Joined
Sep 7, 2006
Messages
10,665
Reaction score
250
Location
Columbus, Ohio
Andy, I'd like to get a response from you to my question... I have to say that I consider it very strange for someone to study the MAs you've pursued over half a decade and not gain significant flexibility. I've been doing TKD for just about as long and I find myself vastly more flexible now than when I started. And I'm 60 years old. Surely, somone who's much younger would be able to make far more significant gains in that sphere.

So I'd appreciate it if you provided a bit more information about how it is that after five years of training various techniques, especially kicks, that require considerable flexibility, you still are basically where you are when you started. What is it that makes you think that you've made no gains in this area?
 

lady fighter

White Belt
Joined
Oct 23, 2007
Messages
15
Reaction score
0
Location
Alabama
Flexibility has alot to do with your individual training! If you are only stretching during class time, well there is your problem!! You need to stretch EVERYDAY and make sure you are warm by doing jumping jacks, and push ups and shadow boxing.. etc, prior to stretching.. once you are done stretching try working on your kicks.. adding height and technique.. afterwords STRETCH again, this time your stretches should be VERY low and more productive!! :)
 

newGuy12

Master of Arts
Joined
Sep 7, 2007
Messages
1,691
Reaction score
63
Location
In the Doggy Pound!
Agreed. Stretches after the class, for cooldown, are AWESOME, if you have the chance. Some schools don't take the time to do that, though, and students are expected to get dressed quick and go home.
 
OP
A

Andy_46

White Belt
Joined
Sep 30, 2007
Messages
13
Reaction score
0
Hi

Thanks for the replies. Excile For example when warming up we often stand, legs together bending forwards and I still cant touch the floor.

Or we will sit on the floor, legs spread, then lean forwards, in which case many people in our class can touch the floor with their whole forearm, whereas I can only touch the floor with the palms of my hand.

Im also way off getting anywhere near into the splits !!

Newguy12 Im afraid our class is one of those where we have to hurry out of the room so the next class can start, so no stretching after class for me.

Thanks
Andy
 

exile

To him unconquered.
Lifetime Supporting Member
MTS Alumni
Joined
Sep 7, 2006
Messages
10,665
Reaction score
250
Location
Columbus, Ohio
Thanks for the replies. Excile For example when warming up we often stand, legs together bending forwards and I still cant touch the floor.


But look... do you do that exercise at home as well? Most people start off being pretty inflexible by the time they reach adulthood, and it goes on that way. By the time people hit 30, they're pretty bloody stiff! But unless you're in class every day, or almost, doing say 20 minutes of stretching exercises every class, relying on class stretching to limber yourself up is going to be futile, I think. You have to work on it at home too. I'd bet that you don't do much in the way of stretching during your home workouts; if you did, I cannot imagine you'd have the problem you describe. The solution is simple: do that exercise every day for ten to twenty minutes. You will get stretchier, I guarantee it...


Or we will sit on the floor, legs spread, then lean forwards, in which case many people in our class can touch the floor with their whole forearm, whereas I can only touch the floor with the palms of my hand.

Same thing. Again, it's a matter of doing it enough that your tendons get the point. Don't rely on class floor workouts alone; you have to keep up with this. People loose muscle strength much more slowly than they lose elasticity.

Im also way off getting anywhere near into the splits !!

Ah, well, the splits... that's a different kind of story. Men have a much harder time with this than women: their joints are articulated much more tightly, and you have to admit, the splits are pretty extreme. When did you start trying to get flexible enough to do splits? If you were much past very early adolescence, it could well take you a very, very long time to get there...

But you don't have to do the splits to be way more flexible, Andy. I started doing MAs in my middle 50s. I'm a couple of orders of magnitude more flexible than I was before I started, and I don't by any means spend the time on stretching that I should. But I do spend enough time specifically on stretching that I can do what I need to do for TKD. You know how sports trainers like to distinguish between functional strength and exhibition strength? Exhibition strength is what you display in a weightlifting competition; functional strength is what you rely on to lift a 75lb bag of mulch into your car. I happen to think that flexibility works the same way. The splits are exhibition flexibility. But functional flexibility is what allows you to do all kinds body movements in good balance without stress and strain on your joints, muscles or connective tissue. If you've got enough of that to do your MAs well, you don't actually need the flashy exhibition-level flexibility...

The key though is doing your homework. Especially with stretching, I don't think you can get around that.
 

newGuy12

Master of Arts
Joined
Sep 7, 2007
Messages
1,691
Reaction score
63
Location
In the Doggy Pound!
I started doing MAs in my middle 50s. I'm a couple of orders of magnitude more flexible than I was before I started, and I don't by any means spend the time on stretching that I should. But I do spend enough time specifically on stretching that I can do what I need to do for TKD.

You are such a source of inspiration to me, Exile!

Andy, another thing you can do, if you wish, is to practice yoga stretches in the morning. The morning is the best time to do this, because it also starts SQUEEZING certain tissue in the body. This means that blood flows in a different way when you are holding the poses. You end up feeling more awake after it is done, so nighttime is not the best time.

There is a free trial issue of Combat TKD available here:

http://combat-tkd.com/Ctkd1/freeTrialIssue.php

In it you will see a very simple yoga routine.

If you do new poses, just make sure that you do them slowy, gently, and focus your brain on what you are doing. Also, include the splits somewhere in there, too.

If done every morning, you will not fail, guaranteed.




Robert
 

meth18au

Blue Belt
Joined
Jun 20, 2007
Messages
240
Reaction score
3
Location
Perth
...People loose muscle strength much more slowly than they lose elasticity....

...Exhibition strength is what you display in a weightlifting competition; functional strength is what you rely on to lift a 75lb bag of mulch into your car. I happen to think that flexibility works the same way. The splits are exhibition flexibility. But functional flexibility is what allows you to do all kinds body movements in good balance without stress and strain on your joints, muscles or connective tissue. If you've got enough of that to do your MAs well, you don't actually need the flashy exhibition-level flexibility...



Tell me about it...you gotta stretch every day (or most days) to gain and then maintain that flexibility. You'll grow to enjoy the stretching routines though....well I have!!! I stretch a lot in class, and also a lot out of class.


Exile has put it perfectly in stating the difference between functional flexibility and exhibition flexibility. Splits definitely fall into the category of flashy exhibition flexibility!!! I can kick head height on both legs after I'm nice and warm. However I can't do normal splits, and can only just nearly get side splits. I would love to be able to do them splits though....just to say I could!!! ;)


Stretch every day, and stretch EVERY muscle.....


Good luck champ.
 

exile

To him unconquered.
Lifetime Supporting Member
MTS Alumni
Joined
Sep 7, 2006
Messages
10,665
Reaction score
250
Location
Columbus, Ohio
You are such a source of inspiration to me, Exile!

Hey, nG, I appreciate the thought, but I'm not sure anyone should see me in an excessively good light—a lot of what motivates me is just out-and-out fear—fear of aging. There's a great line from Gordon Bok's haunting pseudo-folksong/chanty, `Bay of Fundy', where he says,


Give her staysail, give her main,
In the darkness and the rain;
I don't mind the wet and cold,
I just don't like the growing old.


When I look at people a few years older than me, and what bad shape they've gotten themselve into, and how prematurely ancient they appear to be because of the way they move, it's all the motivation I need to get my butt back to the gym, or the dojang floor...

Andy, another thing you can do, if you wish, is to practice yoga stretches in the morning. The morning is the best time to do this, because it also starts SQUEEZING certain tissue in the body. This means that blood flows in a different way when you are holding the poses. You end up feeling more awake after it is done, so nighttime is not the best time.

There is a free trial issue of Combat TKD available here:

http://combat-tkd.com/Ctkd1/freeTrialIssue.php

In it you will see a very simple yoga routine.

If you do new poses, just make sure that you do them slowy, gently, and focus your brain on what you are doing. Also, include the splits somewhere in there, too.

If done every morning, you will not fail, guaranteed.

Good advice. I can't imagine anyone doing yoga—not the fancy supercontorted stuff that people who've been doing it since they were teenagers do, but just this kind of basic routine—and not getting (way) more flexible. It's just a matter of making up one's mind to do it, every day. For a lot of people, that seems difficult to achieve—to make some kind of exertion beyond the minimumm part of one's day's routine. I think that modern life has given us a `default' expection of so little effort that anything beyond the trouble to press the controls on the remote is seen as excessive. The funny thing is, a lot of people seem to be able to overcome that in a group setting, like a MA class, but find themselves reluctant to do almost anything remotely tiring or demanding on their own. I guess that's why exercise classes exist...

Tell me about it...you gotta stretch every day (or most days) to gain and then maintain that flexibility. You'll grow to enjoy the stretching routines though....well I have!!! I stretch a lot in class, and also a lot out of class.


... I can kick head height on both legs after I'm nice and warm. However I can't do normal splits, and can only just nearly get side splits. I would love to be able to do them splits though....just to say I could!!! ;)

I agree, it would be fun to be able to do, just to say (and know) you could do. It reminds me of something a bluegrass musician once said in a Time magazine story about folk music, way, way back in the '60s, about Earl Scruggs' unique, off-the-chart virtuoso banjo-picking style: `I'd really like to be able to do that... and then not do it.' In a weird way, I know just what he was talking about, I sort of feel the same way about the splits...


Stretch every day, and stretch EVERY muscle.....


Good luck champ.

Exactly: as with a lot of other things, ya gotta do your homework to make it work...
 

Xue Sheng

All weight is underside
Joined
Jan 8, 2006
Messages
33,246
Reaction score
8,046
Location
North American Tectonic Plate
Good advice. I can't imagine anyone doing yoga—not the fancy supercontorted stuff that people who've been doing it since they were teenagers do, but just this kind of basic routine—and not getting (way) more flexible. It's just a matter of making up one's mind to do it, every day.

I tried Yoga once, it was nice and it did improve flexibility and I am glad there are so many people out there that enjoy it…… but…. It was just WAAAAAY to peaceful for me. :EG: :uhyeah:

But seriously….actually that last bit was serious….well then on with an actually answer to the posted question

This book is not too bad for getting some ideas

Ultimate Flexibility: Complete Guide to Stretching for Martial Arts
By: Sang H. Kim

And there was a book I purchased a long time ago that was rather good and categorized stretching routines by what you were stretching for; martial arts, baseball, skiing, etc. If I can find it I will post the title.

But as it was already said, stretch every day.
 

terryl965

<center><font size="2"><B>Martial Talk Ultimate<BR
MTS Alumni
Joined
Apr 9, 2004
Messages
41,259
Reaction score
338
Location
Grand Prairie Texas
All I can say is ask Exile my wife Boricautkd can really get you stretch out if you would like it.She knows how to make you cry and feel better in a week.
 

exile

To him unconquered.
Lifetime Supporting Member
MTS Alumni
Joined
Sep 7, 2006
Messages
10,665
Reaction score
250
Location
Columbus, Ohio
All I can say is ask Exile my wife Boricautkd can really get you stretch out if you would like it.She knows how to make you cry and feel better in a week.

I'll drink to that, Terry. We were doing extreme stretches under her guidance at the Meet & Greet training sessions this summer, and it was tough. Good, but tough. But good... but tough...etc.

I think there are connections among flexibility, balance, and strength which emerge in the MAs as in few other activities. Hip flexors, for example, are very tight in most people; but if you're not limber enough to lift your kicking leg high, you can't develop the strength in those muscles which allows you to kick fast and accurately... and you won't be able to control the positioning of your limbs to maintain perfect balance during the whole technique; so it's all linked together. You kind of have to work on flexibility at the same time you're working on balance, strength, accuracy... they really feed on each other, even though, in some cases, you can, to a limited degree, work on them separately. Overall muscular strength is something you can train using the big compound exercises at your gym, but the dedicated strength in the right places for a straight, high impact sidekick at waist or lower ribcage height... that's not going to come from doing heavy squats or leg presses.
 

Jai

Black Belt
Joined
Oct 13, 2007
Messages
632
Reaction score
5
Location
Minnesota
I'm pretty sure I didn't see this anywhere and if it was forgive me as it's pushing 2am here. What about machines that help with flexibility and stretching?
 
Top