Stretching

Racer22

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Hi guys,

I'm going to attend a muay Thai club soon but I want to be a little flexible when I join so I've started stretching, I'm incredibly inflexible and just wanted to know roughly how long it takes to have some decent flexibility? No full on splits or anything but at least so you can do some high kicks etc.

I'm stretching twice a day for 20 minutes. Stretching the hamstrings and that muscle on the inside of your kneecap, not sure what it's called but it hurts like hell.
 

Flatfish

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Well, everybody is different so there's no set time. Might also depend on your age. I started when I was older and it's a long slow process for me. After more than two years I still can't do a head height round house but I'm getting up there with spinning hook kicks, front kicks and crescent kicks. I am also more flexible than I have been my whole life even if it doesn't amount to much.

Twice a day for 20 min is a good amount of time. See if you can find some good MA related stretching routines online and stick with it. Also: don't stretch when you are cold, warm up first.

Lastly, don't worry too much about high kicks in the beginning anyway. You'll learn proper kicking mechanics first, then how to put power in your kicks etc. The height will increase as your legs get stronger and you become more flexible over time and your instructors should be able to help you with your stretching routine anyways.
 

MAfreak

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stretching that much should be effective (difficult to tell you a time period), don't forget to warm up before.
you could also do balance exercises to increase high kicks, because one can compensate bad flexibility a bit when going more down with the upper body while doing specific kicks, which needs a good balance.
 
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Racer22

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Yeah I've been following a warmup routine prior to stretching. I'm just worried about turning up and just being too inflexible and the coaches will just tell me to stretch all the time. Hopefully after a month or 2 of consistent stretching I should be a bit better with my legs.
 

Midnight-shadow

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As long as you keep up the regular daily stretching, you'll have no problems (assuming you are stretching correctly that is). The thing about flexibility is that it is the longest aspect to train, and the first thing you lose if you stop training it. So once you get the flexibility you need, you need to keep doing the daily stretching routine in order to maintain it. That said, I can't imagine Muay Thai requires too much flexibility compared to other Martial Arts like Taekwondo or the Chinese Martial Arts, so I doubt you'll be told to do stretching exercises the whole time during class because you are too inflexible.
 

Kan Ryu

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I think you already have a lot of good answers from people here, and I agree that your session of 20 mins, twice pr. day is reasonable.
I will add a few comments:
1) I recommend stretching after a hot shower. In the morning and after training.
2) I find slow stretching, with deep breathing to the abdomen most effective and healthy.
3) Over-stretching can occur! Do not push yourself harder or deeper than your body is ready for. And consider taking a day off now and then.
4) I do not warm up before stretching. Stretching is my warm-up to training. But my first stretching moves are light and circular and aimed at "waking up" the joints. Then deep muscular stretching. Then keiko.
5) I do think one can achieve permanent flexibility if you stretch/train/live correctly for a committed period of time. One may become tense if not stretching or training for, say a week, but, it is very quick to return again, one or two days of work and I find it is back in the body.

And yeah, I agree, it is hard to say how long it will take and how flexible you can become. Everyone is different. Saying that, true commitment and a good method combined can work wonders faster than imagined.

Hope it helps and good luck,

Kan Ryu.
 

Tony Dismukes

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Stretching the hamstrings and that muscle on the inside of your kneecap, not sure what it's called but it hurts like hell.

If you are experiencing pain when you stretch, then you are doing it wrong and are unlikely to get good results. Also, if you are feeling your stretch on the inside of the kneecap, then you are probably hitting tendons and/or ligaments rather than muscle which is not good for you.

Some general rules for stretching:

Warm up before stretching. Sun salutations, a brisk walk, a light set of squats - anything that helps you break a slight sweat and physically warms up your muscles is good.

Go into each stretch just far enough to feel resistance but not pain. Relax and breath easily and deeply until the resistance dissolves and you can go a bit further into the stretch. Repeat.

You should feel the stretch centered in the belly of the muscle, not at the attachment to the joint.
 

SenseiHitman

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I would just add try to use the muscles throughout the day vs good stretch then sit idle. I have had good results from this philosophy = stretch couple times every day n stay active. I will be 48 soon and I can still easily kick to the head like I did 30 years ago. I ride a bike rather than drive my car when ever I can, and I always stretch after running or any other type of leg workout and I even stretch lightly at my desk at work throughout the day, never skip it, never let the muscles get too cool. as time passes, this will serve you well if you follow it, I promise.
 
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Racer22

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If you are experiencing pain when you stretch, then you are doing it wrong and are unlikely to get good results. Also, if you are feeling your stretch on the inside of the kneecap, then you are probably hitting tendons and/or ligaments rather than muscle which is not good for you.

Some general rules for stretching:

Warm up before stretching. Sun salutations, a brisk walk, a light set of squats - anything that helps you break a slight sweat and physically warms up your muscles is good.

Go into each stretch just far enough to feel resistance but not pain. Relax and breath easily and deeply until the resistance dissolves and you can go a bit further into the stretch. Repeat.

You should feel the stretch centered in the belly of the muscle, not at the attachment to the joint.

Well I thought if I'm not really feeling the stretch the it's not good so I'm making sure I can feel it. I'm following a stretching routine on youtube and I'm doing it just like they are but I can really feel the stretch. 2 days of stretching and my legs are aching lol. It must be working.
 

Midnight-shadow

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Well I thought if I'm not really feeling the stretch the it's not good so I'm making sure I can feel it. I'm following a stretching routine on youtube and I'm doing it just like they are but I can really feel the stretch. 2 days of stretching and my legs are aching lol. It must be working.

There's a difference between feeling stress in a muscle, and straining it. when we stretch we are putting stress on the muscle and slowly stretching it a little beyond its normal capacity. If you stretch a muscle too much you are straining it, causing damage. If your legs are aching after just 2 days of stretching, chances are you are straining the muscle too much. Basically when you stretch your muscles you should feel the pressure, but it shouldn't hurt. If it hurts, you are over-stretching it.

Just out of curiosity, could you link the videos you are using for your stretching workout?
 

Tony Dismukes

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Well I thought if I'm not really feeling the stretch the it's not good so I'm making sure I can feel it. I'm following a stretching routine on youtube and I'm doing it just like they are but I can really feel the stretch. 2 days of stretching and my legs are aching lol. It must be working.
Pain does not mean that the stretching is working. If anything, it can indicate you're doing damage.
 

Kenpoguy123

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What you're doing sounds fine but just so you know no decent instructor is going to tell off a new student or make them feel silly for not being flexible that's what you're there for to get better and improve in all aspects.
 
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Racer22

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Thanks Kenoguy.

The reason my legs are aching is probably because I've not stretched a muscle in 5 years, literally. I've played 0 sports and the most exercise I've had in 5 years is walking to the shops.

I don't feel like my muscle is strained, it just feels a bit tight.
 
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Racer22

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Here is a photo of the muscle that I get pain in. It's like an intense burning pain.

https://embed.gyazo.com/7a10dfaefc4266d94db67fb2551b6c41.png
https://embed.gyazo.com/21fd5b1e10b4070f45c6dfd5ec5be40d.png
7a10dfaefc4266d94db67fb2551b6c41.png[img]
 

JowGaWolf

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You have to relax. That pain that you are getting is because you are trying to stretch too far to fast. It takes me about 5 minutes to stretch a certain muscle in my legs. I first sit or stand in the stretching position where the stretch is barely noticeable. Then I being to relax my body and the areas where I'm stretching. This relaxation stage is very important to me because I want to be relaxed as much as possible through all of the stretching. After that I'll increase the intensity of my stretch to where I can feel it and it feels like a good stretch. All of your stretches should feel like a good stretch where you can feel the muscle pulling but it's not hurting, especially like an intense burning pain.

The area of where you feeling the pain is where most people will feel a stretch. Your tendons are tight in that area and it just takes time to lengthen those areas. The thing you don't want to do is to is have that pain that you are feeling. It's possible that you could be causing significant tears in the tendons which may cause scarring. Scarring on your tendon or muscle will actually make it less flexible.

I like the approach that yoga takes to stretching and gaining flexibility. Notice how yoga's stretching always seems to be laid back and relaxed.
 
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Racer22

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You have to relax. That pain that you are getting is because you are trying to stretch too far to fast. It takes me about 5 minutes to stretch a certain muscle in my legs. I first sit or stand in the stretching position where the stretch is barely noticeable. Then I being to relax my body and the areas where I'm stretching. This relaxation stage is very important to me because I want to be relaxed as much as possible through all of the stretching. After that I'll increase the intensity of my stretch to where I can feel it and it feels like a good stretch. All of your stretches should feel like a good stretch where you can feel the muscle pulling but it's not hurting, especially like an intense burning pain.

The area of where you feeling the pain is where most people will feel a stretch. Your tendons are tight in that area and it just takes time to lengthen those areas. The thing you don't want to do is to is have that pain that you are feeling. It's possible that you could be causing significant tears in the tendons which may cause scarring. Scarring on your tendon or muscle will actually make it less flexible.

I like the approach that yoga takes to stretching and gaining flexibility. Notice how yoga's stretching always seems to be laid back and relaxed.


Thanks for the reply. I agree I am trying to stretch too far too quickly so perhaps I'll tone it back a bit.
 

Kan Ryu

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No need to rush, be natural. A gentle but consistent effort will generate gradual progress. As you find your flexibility and get to now your body better, you will know how far you can stretch, how much stretching you need to do, how long it takes to generate a certain result, and so on.
 

Kung Fu Wang

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You may try the "door frame" stretching.

- Stand with your back on one side of the door frame.
- Put leg up on the other side of the door frame.
- Use both hands to pull the other side of the door frame to make your groin area to be closer to the other side of the door frame.

Also stretching after 4 miles running is a good idea.
 

lifelongstudent1

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Look for Bill "superfoot" Wallace book on stretching, the best I have found. Mr. Wallace is a legend, and his book helped a lot in gaining the ultimate in stretching "work out".
 
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