Stretching And Age.......

Brian R. VanCise

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Suck it up buttercup! (yes if you train with me you will probably here this at some point :)

I have this post over on my blog:
Stretching And Age??.. | The Instinctive Edge?


I am curious how other martial practitioner's are coping as they age with stretching.
What do they find harder. For me I just rule out high kicks as frankly even though I
am still flexible my body does not like or appreciate them. So while I stretch every day
(though it is not my favorite thing to do) to maintain my flexibility. I know now that I
do it more for health than self-defense because I do not see myself kicking above the
groin.

So as you age what you have noticed? How are you coping with this? etc.
 

Xue Sheng

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I use to stretch out by putting my heal on the top of a 5 foot tall refrigerator, but then I was a young TKD guy once too.... as I got older and started training CMA my entire view of high kicks and jump kicks changed to the point I saw them as more of a risk than an advantage.... I have been dealing with injuries over an extended period of time and ended up with arthritis too so my flexibility is way down and the result was I am lucky if I could kick above waist level.

Being over half a century old I decided I needed to work on flexibility and balance so I returned to Yoga for flexibility, balance and some strengthening. There is also a, very hard to explain and real easy to show, type of slow kicking though a wide range of motion that helps with flexibility and strengthening as well.

I have seen some great improvements in my flexibility with this so it appears to be working, but I doubt my heal will ever see the top of a 5 foot tall fridge again.
 

Kung Fu Wang

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The stretching is a very important part of my daily training. My stretching include whole body stretching. When I bend my body backward in a 90 degree angle, it makes me feel great. I believe that a flexible spine is the key for youth. I always use my 3 miles running to warm up. After running, it's very easy for me to do static stretching and posture stretching. I then do dynamic stretching, and solo kicks. I like to throw 40 kicks none stop as a group. This training pattern has worked for me very well so far.
 

K-man

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As a gymnast nearly 50 years ago flexibility wasn't an issue. Now days I have difficulty tying my shoe laces! (Not really :p ) truth is flexibility hasn't been a strong point for the past 30 years.

Perhaps I could quote this to sum up my situation ...

My goals over the years have changed from being able to kick as high as possible to just having good flexibility for life long health! That is why I stretch now because in a violent encounter I probably won’t kick above groin level and more than likely only into the legs. You see I understand now that my body is not interested in kicking someone in the head. Especially in a violent encounter where I had no time to warm up. As with all things in life you have to know your limitations!!!
Well put Brian!

What I could say is that stretch science has changed over the years. It has been shown that dynamic stretching is more effective than static stretching and that stretching should take place after exercise, not before as we always used to do.

As to kicks to the head, I train them regularly ... but only if my opponent is on the ground. ;)
 
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Brian R. VanCise

Brian R. VanCise

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Yes K-Man I like head kicks when the opponent is on the ground as well! Much easier on my joints and flexibility issues! Heck I do not even need a warm up then. ;)
 

Buka

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Age and stretching. Oy vey!

It took me 14 years of stretching to finally do a Chinese Split. Maybe that's a non pc term now, I dunno, it's what we always called it. But that was thirty years ago. I kept that flexibility for a few years, but eventually lost some of that range due to less stretching.

I don't stretch my legs and hips too much now. My hip joints are worn from too much kicking over the years. The stretching I do do for legs and hips are more of the type you would do in physical therapy as opposed to MA stretching. I've always had tight hamstrings, but they've always been strong. I do some of the standard hammy stretches. My back remains good, I do light stretching of the trunk as part of warm ups, don't really think about it much as it's just habit. I don't do as much upper body stretching as I would like, my neck tends to stop me, so my shoulder flexibility is starting to suffer. I'm going to have to address that.

Light grappling seems to work for me as a method to stay flexible over all. My range is pretty good, I can still do a rubber guard okay. My biggest problem with flexibility isn't with martial arts, it's with driving a car. Turning my head to back up really sucks. And I'm careful now reaching into the back seat quickly, not to tweak my shoulder. I dunno, this whole aging thing sucks in some ways. Pretty good in others, though. :)
 

Transk53

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K-man said:
What I could say is that stretch science has changed over the years. It has been shown that dynamic stretching is more effective than static stretching and that stretching should take place after exercise, not before as we always used to do.

Static as in the usual sit on the floor stuff?
 

K-man

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Static as in the usual sit on the floor stuff?
Yes.
Studies show that static stretches actually have a detrimental effect on explosive movements and strength output. There are two types of flexibility receptors: a static receptor, which measures magnitude and a dynamic receptor, which measures speed and magnitude. Dynamic activities that require movement, such as running, jumping or kicking use the dynamic receptor to limit flexibility. Therefore, a dynamic stretch that stresses the dynamic receptor is more beneficial when preparing for a warm-up when performing a dynamic activity. Dynamic stretching also includes constant motion throughout the warm-up, which maintains the core body temperature, whereas static stretching cage drop in temperature of several degrees. Another benefit of dynamic stretching is that it prepares the muscles and joints in a more specific manner since the body is going through motions it will likely repeat in the workout. It also helps the nervous system and motor ability since dynamic motions do more to develop those areas than static stretches. It is important to note that although many studies show the lack of benefit of static stretching before a workout, there is still much data to support the benefits of static stretching after a workout.
Dynamic stretching - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Dynamic movement stretches are designed to take a joint or a muscle through a challenging and repetitive motion, moving a body part further with each repetition. Reducing hip stiffness prior to starting a run or ride will reduce the risk of the dreaded overuse injury. Dynamic stretching is ideal prior to exercise to prepare the joints for movement and muscles for optimal activation.


Static sustained stretches are designed to hold a position for a joint or a muscle that is minimally challenging. The focus is on relaxing the body part being stretched and letting it go further on its own. Research suggests that holding the position for 30–60 seconds will increase flexibility in the tissue; conversely, done prior to activity, static stretching may actually inhibit the muscle’s ability to fire.


New Runner: Dynamic Stretching vs. Static Stretching - Competitor.com
Static stretching actually tears the muscle fibre and this is what gives you added flexibility as the fibres regenerate a little longer each time. It shouldn't be done before training though. And I'm not convinced static stretching helps as much as you get older.
:asian:
 

Buka

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P.S. Brian.....I saw your chair split on your blog. I hate you. :)
 

Transk53

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Yes.



Static stretching actually tears the muscle fibre and this is what gives you added flexibility as the fibres regenerate a little longer each time. It shouldn't be done before training though. And I'm not convinced static stretching helps as much as you get older.
:asian:


Cool. Thanks for that K-man. At work and did not have time to Google.
 

donnaTKD

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i find doing high roundhouse kicks really difficult - i'm sure i've ripped my groin on more than a few occasions ;)

something else that i'm finding is that the speed that things happen seems to be increasing with every day that goes by.

one other thing that i've noticed is that my muscles are still as strong as they were, my waistline is still the same size but the food i eat has got more balanced and a lot less fatty -- no takeaways and alcohol anymore, think that i'm just more carefull with how i look after me rather than ending up like some of my friends where they've really let themselves go.

i got complimented on my shape when a few of my friends dropped by the other night :) if only they knew exactly what it takes to keep me looking like i do now i think that some of them would have a heart attack and prolly drop dead LOL :)

i still lift the same weights as i was 5years ago, i still do the pushups and situps both with and without weights, i still run through the same set of drills and routines that i did all those years ago :)

the only difference in my routines is amount of sweat that seems to be pouring off me everytime i look at my weight bench :) it's totally loaded and the leg press is at 220kg and the weight bar has 50kg on it --- these have not changed over the years they just get more difficult to use :(:(:(
 

Transk53

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220 on the legs, bloody hell.

donnaTKD said:
no alcohol anymore, think that i'm just more carefull with how i look after me rather than ending up like some of my friends where they've really let themselves go.

Yeah, it is something that I am genuinely shocked that I am still alive. I could quite happliy put a 70cl bottle away in the space of three hours. I have a lot of admiration for you're mindset, what you are doing is well cool, keep it up, or maybe mix it up :)
 
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donnaTKD

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as a side note due to being older (nearly 38) i'm pretty sure it's part of the reason behind all my injuries :(

i've had more MA related injuries in the last 12 months than at any point during my muay thai studies. last year (i wasn't on these boards then) i ripped both calves, both hamstrings, both achilles tendons and this year i've broken my ankle, pulled all the ligaments in feet and now i've got a busted foot with yet more ligament damage :(

i think that as we get older i think that we think about things more and question the merits of each move ? i know that i've more or less stopped performing high roundhouse cos my hamstrings just won't let me do more than 1 or 2 :) and tbh i can get way more power into a mid kick than i ever could into a high kick. i also use my arms more making use of speed to get inside and use my forearms and elbows more :) it's easier for me to step in and bang rather than stand off give a weak kick and watch me hit the floor cos it got caught not good :(

i'm fighting again on the 24th and most of the focus has been on getting in doing my stuff and getting out without getting battered in the process :) it's proving a bit tiring if i'm honest. i've had too many fights over the years and sometimes my head just goes walkies it's like i'm there but i'm not really there --- like for instance i'll be looking at something and then it just freezes and the only way to get shut of it is to shake my head - the worst part of that is if i'm driving and it happens :(

i actually think that i might need to reassess what my MA means to me and whether or not i need to train for fun rather than competition.............. :(
 

Danny T

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Am 60 and my flexibility in some areas is very good in other areas, due to injuries, not so good. Can't do a full split but can come close.
Standing with my feet together I can still bent forward and place my hands on the ground or grab my ankles and place my head on my legs however, I can't not kneel and sit back on to my feet. Do not have near the flexibility in my wrist or fingers due to arthritis but still stretch everyday.

I do a 5 minute warm up beginning slowly and working up to a robust final 2 minutes and then a light static stretch. Do my workout and finish up with a 12-15 minute deep stretch as a cool down. As I have aged what I have noticed is 1: it takes longer to warm up, 2: stiffness returns quickly, 3: If I do not get real warm first the stretching is ineffective. 4: Dynamic stretching is far more effective but I like how the static stretching and messaging makes me feel. 4: Speed is gone!! No matter how warm I am, no matter how relaxed I am, speed is gone.
 

Transk53

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donnaTKD said:
i've had more MA related injuries in the last 12 months than at any point during my muay thai studies. last year (i wasn't on these boards then) i ripped both calves, both hamstrings, both achilles tendons and this year i've broken my ankle, pulled all the ligaments in feet and now i've got a busted foot with yet more ligament damage :(
That one is simple. You're body has reached the maximum threshold. It needs a slower pace, or better still a good rest. Hey, that does not mean relinquish!

Yeah, lower kicks are my thing too. I doubt that I will ever get a properly executed kick in. Look I could never get the fight licence, but I will say this anyway. If you get sustained injuries, then in essence you are fighting yourself. It is a bit tiring you said, yeah. By all means take the 24th with focus. But after that please reflect that perhaps you could do with a new journey, if for a little while :)
 
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Transk53

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Am 60 and my flexibility in some areas is very good in other areas, due to injuries, not so good. Can't do a full split but can come close.
Standing with my feet together I can still bent forward and place my hands on the ground or grab my ankles and place my head on my legs however, I can't not kneel and sit back on to my feet. Do not have near the flexibility in my wrist or fingers due to arthritis but still stretch everyday.

I do a 5 minute warm up beginning slowly and working up to a robust final 2 minutes and then a light static stretch. Do my workout and finish up with a 12-15 minute deep stretch as a cool down. As I have aged what I have noticed is 1: it takes longer to warm up, 2: stiffness returns quickly, 3: If I do not get real warm first the stretching is ineffective. 4: Dynamic stretching is far more effective but I like how the static stretching and messaging makes me feel. 4: Speed is gone!! No matter how warm I am, no matter how relaxed I am, speed is gone.

No offense to you're mature age, I have some of those symptoms now, but point 4 is a bit disconcerting, sorry, but how?
 

donnaTKD

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That one is simple. You're body has reached the maximum threshold. It needs a slower pace, or better still a good rest. Hey, that does not mean relinquish!

Yeah, lower kicks are my thing too. I doubt that I will ever get a properly executed kick in. Look I could never get the fight licence, but I will say this anyway. If you get sustained injuries, then in essence you are fighting yourself. It is a bit tiring you said, yeah. By all means take the 24th with focus. But after that please reflect that perhaps you could do with a new journey, if for a little while :)

i'm gunna take time out maybe do less heavy weights and more lighter ones - keep in shape and keep fit but maybe one level below fight ready :)

i think you're right in that i'm now at the stage of fighting against myself and that i do need a proper chill out cos i've not had a proper rest for about 10years :( i've never been on holiday - i've always lived from one fight to the next and cos my fights are normally 6 weeks or so apart i've always had enough time to get sorted train and then fight and it's a continuous cycle and i think that the older you get the more it prolly takes to get right again.............

idk..............
 

Transk53

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i'm gunna take time out maybe do less heavy weights and more lighter ones - keep in shape and keep fit but maybe one level below fight ready :)

i think you're right in that i'm now at the stage of fighting against myself and that i do need a proper chill out cos i've not had a proper rest for about 10years :( i've never been on holiday - i've always lived from one fight to the next and cos my fights are normally 6 weeks or so apart i've always had enough time to get sorted train and then fight and it's a continuous cycle and i think that the older you get the more it prolly takes to get right again.............

idk..............

Precisely, you find yourself in the aftermath of emotional content when you ignore the signs. Eventually you start to question yourself. I personally think that perhaps you are at that crossroads of thought, but one can be redundant for a while. The problem is Donna that fighting at a lower level ain't gonna work, IMHO of course!
 

terryl965

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I am coming back after five year bout with lung cancer it is a slow progress, but I only take it one day at a time. Not going to push it so hard I can't move and pull muscles, it took me forever to get out of shape and I have nothing but time to get it back.
 
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