Isometric split progression

Discussion in 'Flexibility Training' started by Van Zandt, Sep 25, 2010.

  1. Gunner

    Gunner Valued Member

    I finally broke down and bought one of those mechanical leg split machines. If nothing else, it saves the torque on my knee ligaments.
     
  2. Van Zandt

    Van Zandt Mr. High Kick

    For exercises that prepare you for the more intense movements, you can get good results doing several sets of 15-30 repetitions, or single sets of 100-200 repetitions. Such exercises include sit ups for the hip flexors, crunches for the abs, and hyperextensions for the low back. It's important to have good endurance in these body parts first so that premature fatigue does not become an issue in heavier exercises like squats and deadlifts; weak supporting muscles is a significant cause of form breakdown and injury potential in heavy lifts. It is also probably the single biggest barrier to effective isometric stretching.

    For big lifts, sets of 1-3 reps should suffice, although this depends on whether your focus is primarily getting stronger through a full ROM, or building some muscle also. If you want some muscle too, go have a read of Stronglifts 5 x 5.

    A strict horse stance is really just a starting position that helps protect weak knees (but being able do a couple sets of 100 Hindu squats first should resolve most knee problems). If you are finding it difficult to activate the muscles of the inner thighs in a narrow horse stance, try to focus more on squeezing your knees together rather than "pinching the floor." As your stance widens over time, you will naturally progress to pinching the floor.

    Realistivally, the only way you can answer this is to comparethe results of 1x a week against 2x and 3x a week. But in my experience, 2x a week seems to be the minimum for developing strength and flexibility. You can usually maintain your splits with just 1 or 2 workouts a month however.

    The format of these workouts is entirely up to you. I would rather people focus on the principles offered in my original post instead of finer details. Those principles are: tense your muscles when you want to increase range of motion in a stretch. To simultaneously develop strength and flexibility, tense your muscles while they are fully stretched. As your strength in stretched positions increases, so does your range of motion. To keep increasing strength in stretched positions, and therefore keep increasing range of motion, tense harder, or longer, or both. To tense your muscles harder, put more weight on them.

    A rucksack offers the benefit of being able to spot yourself with your hands should you need to suddenly get out of the stretch. However, do whichever format you prefer.

    Good luck.
     
  3. Nick B

    Nick B New Member

    Many thanks for the detailed reply it's very much appreciated. I've been doing this stuff for a little while now and thought about using your method to try and break a plateau I just can't seem to get past by focusing on increasing strength in the end range of motion - hence some of my questions on strength. I like the way your method provides for a structured route of progression.

    In terms of frequency, I thought at least two times per week would be the answer. I'm hoping that upping the reps and going a little lighter on strength exercises will mean I can up the frequency without fatiguing the legs too much. I need to also fit this round kick boxing training so over training is a potential issue for me and I'm trying not to repeat past mistakes!

    I have not thankfully experienced any knee trouble as yet in extended side splits position as opposed to horse stance and for the sets I have done so far have felt quite solid in the position so I will persevere with this. Having said that I think the Hindu squats are really good so thanks for that recommendation.

    Many thanks again for taking the time to respond.
     
  4. taffironcobra

    taffironcobra New Member

    stretching

    how can i purchase your book?
     
  5. Simon

    Simon The Bulldog Admin

    Sadly I don't think Van Zandt ever got around to writing his book.
     
  6. taffironcobra

    taffironcobra New Member

    Has he passed away then?
     
  7. Simon

    Simon The Bulldog Admin

    What makes you ask such a question?

    He's busy, that's all.
     
  8. taffironcobra

    taffironcobra New Member

    Just way you said unfortunately he didnt have time my bad :(
     

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