Isometric split progression

Discussion in 'Health and Fitness' started by Van Zandt, Sep 25, 2010.

  1. dariodariodario

    dariodariodario Valued Member

    I have round all the answer to my questions
    In the previous post but i have the last one and please respond me what's the brand of you heavy jacket that you use in tour training? Thanks
  2. 126barnes

    126barnes New Member

    Thanks for this, I need something new and changeling. We got a crew of 4 guys doing this 4 times a week.

    Sure hope we bottom out before the added
  3. tae kwon

    tae kwon New Member

    I'm confused about body position.
    Should I be stand upright or sitting down.
  4. Fleets

    Fleets New Member

    Season's greetings and happy new year everyone! :)

    First I'd like to say thank you to Mr.Van Zandt for being so kind and posting his guide to iso-splits for free. I've been following it for about 4 weeks now, and I'm currently on level 9 (5 sets x 1:30)

    I have a few questions though. Since this is an old thread, and VZ might not be able to answer, himself, feel free to give tips, but I'd like to hear from someone who has some experience on the matter.

    1: Changing ancle position in middle splits
    - VZ posted a reply earlier where he said that after a while you should put
    weight on the inside of the foot/ancle in order to prevent injury.
    Since I'm approaching the point where my ancles start to feel like this may be relevant soon, should my toes point 90° to each side, or 90° forward, aligned with the torso (Altough keeping the knees towards the ceiling is a primary focus I've been told)? I feel like it might be difficult to keep the weight centered and balanced if you literally put all the weight on the inside, without shifting the position of your toes.

    Edit: I'm currently pointing my toes linear with my feet, if that was unclear. Not forward.

    2: Let's say I reach the floor early...
    - I was moderately flexible before I started this program, and I've had tremendous progress in a very short time. I'm more or less all the way down in front splits (with squared hips), apart from a small portion of my upper thigh, and middle splits is coming along nicely. Let's say I reach full front splits on level 11, should I hover a bit above the floor if I wish to proceed further down the line, or should I just sit on the floor and tighten all the muscles as I increase the time spent in each position? (How would this work if one starts using extra weight?)

    Bonus q:
    - While this is probably 100% individual, could it be possible to reach cold splits level at level 12, if one sits comforably when warm on 9/10-ish? I've got the impression that most people probably need to go up to 17-20 to be able to do it cold. Just thought I'd throw it in there if anyone has any experience on it. :)

    Again, thank you so much for giving away this information. It's exactly what I've been missing from my workouts, both for functional purpose and more or less nullifying the risk of injury!

    (My apologies for any bad grammar/syntax. English is a second language for me).
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2016
  5. Warriorspirit91

    Warriorspirit91 Valued Member

    Hey guys?

    I see that this is set into levels for example 1 set of 30 then level 2 may be 1 set of 45 seconds.

    My question is how often should you progress to the next level is it recommended to increase the level weekly or monthly?

    Many thanks
  6. Van Zandt

    Van Zandt Mr. High Kick

    You should progress when you feel ready - that is, you don't feel uncomfortable during your current level, or sore afterwards. It should feel "easy."
  7. Van Zandt

    Van Zandt Mr. High Kick

    Side splits are more effective when started from standing, front splits from a kneeling lunge. Isometrics are of greatest benefit when you get enough leverage to put all your weight on your muscles and tense until your sphincter bursts (not literally... hopefully).

    You might want to protect your back knee in front splits with a cushion or roller skating pad.
  8. Van Zandt

    Van Zandt Mr. High Kick

    Think of it like starting on the soles of your feet, just like you do when you're stood upright.

    As your spread your legs apart to the side, there comes a point (usually about 12" or less off the ground, depending on how long your legs are) where you have to roll your feet onto their inner sides. This action prevents you from straining the tissues on the outside of your ankles. Your body will (should) do it almost automatically.

    If you've been making good progress, keep doing what you're doing until you stop making progress. Your goal in doing this program should be to get your legs flat on the floor, not to increase the amount of weight you can hold in the splits (unless you're trying to set some kind of warped world record?) Once you hit the floor, you don't need to keep advancing in the program.

    Being able to display your maximum flexibility 'cold' (drop into the splits instantly, with no warm-up) is something that arrives to people at different lengths of time after first achieving splits. Some people can do it within a few weeks, other people a few months. There are things you can do to push the process along a little bit, like getting stronger (tense harder and longer, or hold weight) and going beyond 180°. Try both: give it time and go beyond 180° (your joint health is fine so long as there's no pain) and see what happens.

    This information is out there for everyone to access, all I did was put it into a bunch of sentences that explain one way of doing it. It's important not to get caught up on the finer details, like rate of progression, the amount of weight you're holding or how long/hard you're tensing. The basic principles are far more important, which are: greatest progress is achieved when you increase flexibility and strength at the same time; results are defined by the feedback your body gives you, not specific details of a particular programme; it doesn't matter what exercises you do, if you progressively add load and increase range of motion, increases in flexibility are inevitable; and if you're not making progress, change what you're doing. Oh, and, "little and often" beats "lots but sparsely". Always.
  9. Warriorspirit91

    Warriorspirit91 Valued Member

    This has improved my flexibility tremendously, only on the 6th level (5 sets of 45) and I am so close to front splits I can almost touch the floor! as for side splits, it has always been something that I have struggled at but ever since I started this training I can get very very low!

    I am sure I will be hitting both splits in 2 months max!

    Many thanks Van Zandt!
  10. Van Zandt

    Van Zandt Mr. High Kick

    That's great to hear buddy. Keep it going. :)
  11. Ninja01

    Ninja01 Becky

    I've read a lot of your posts Van Zandt, although I couldn't read through every single one, that would take all day. So I apologize if my question is redundant, or if this would even be the right section for this question.

    I can already do the splits, however I know I haven't reached my full capacity. I can do high kicks without any problem, however I want my body to get to the point where I can do a kick straight up and hold it there with both legs completely straight. When I do, say a round house as high as I can, it still isn't completely vertical, and I'm not sure what to do to get to that point. I hope this makes sense, lol.
  12. Van Zandt

    Van Zandt Mr. High Kick

    It's cool brother, always happy to answer any questions.

    The difference between your static flexibility (splits) and active flexibility (kicks) is called your 'flexibility reserve'. Generally speaking, your dynamic-active flexibility (full-speed kicks) is about 15-20° less than your static flexibility; it's about 30° less for your static-active flexibility (holding your leg up in the air).

    So for you to be able to hold your leg straight up in the air (essentially a 180° standing split), you need to be able to do splits with an angle between your thighs equal to about 210°. These are also called 'oversplits' and they are achieved the same way as normal splits - PNF/isometric stretches with feet suspended between two elevated platforms being particularly effective.

    Check out this video for some oversplits inspiration:

  13. Ninja01

    Ninja01 Becky

    I'm actually not a guy, lol, I probably should've used a different username when I signed up here.

    Anyway, thank you for your reply, that makes a lot of sense.

    One other question, I've been told that kicking, or holding that 180 degree position can actually be bad for your back later on. Is that true? And to what extent? I'll be 30 this year, and I've been doing martial arts for about twelve years, and I am starting to feel the toll that constant training has on the body, negatively. Nothing major by any means, I'm still faster then the black belts younger then me at my school, however I do want to train smart.
  14. Van Zandt

    Van Zandt Mr. High Kick

    My bad, sister. I shouldn't have assumed you were a dude. :eek:

    Regarding damaging your back: Kicking (where the leg is raised to the side, like in roundhouse, side and hook kicks) can increase compression forces upon the spine, but you can alleviate that stress by doing a few standing forward bends (touch your toes with a rounded spine) after your kicks. This movement creates space between the vertebrae and minimises the risk of things like herniated disks or pinched nerves. Keeping your shoulders facing the same way as your hips (so you don't excessively rotate your torso while raising your leg to the side) is another key factor in protecting yourself.

    Don't let your age or time-in-training worry you. I know people in their sixties and seventies who have been kicking longer than you or I have been alive (put together, in some cases), and they have no long-term health complications. Most issues arise from doing too many marathon kicking sessions, or by not fixing faults (such as bad technique, poor posture, or lack of flexibility), or by not training strength. You will be fine if you kick well, eat right, lift heavy and rest plenty. :)
  15. Ninja01

    Ninja01 Becky

    It's no problem.

    I see what you're saying, that I will definitely do. Any "age related" pains I may have is from full contact sparring consistantly every day or close to, for a few hours a day. I don't spar as much any more.
  16. KevFen

    KevFen New Member

    Looking forward to trying this out... I think. No pain no gain i guess.
  17. JTG

    JTG New Member

    So...For using the weights I'm a little confused. Are you talking about doing the splits up in the air with the weights pushing down or something else?

    Thank you!
  18. matveimediaarts

    matveimediaarts Underappreciated genius

    Where can I get an apparatus like that in the video?^^ It looks so useful!! :D
  19. Nick B

    Nick B New Member

    Using weight in isometrics

    Hi Van Zandt,

    I recently started doing this. Having done similar type of training I entered in at 4 sets of 30s and have also now done 5 sets of 30s. A few questions if I may:

    (1) For strength exercises (e.g. squats, lunges etc) which are used solely for the purpose of enhancing/progressing side splits I'm not sure whether to use hi rep or low rep frequency in sets. Any advice welcome.

    (2) Kurz recommends training for side splits from horse riding stance as opposed to the straight legged splits position. I can see pros and cons in both methods but wondered if you have any views on this or a preference? I personally find it harder to build isometric tension to "pinch" the floor in the horse stance position

    (3) Could you,realistically, do a session once per week an still see progress (albeit it slow, progress)? Or is additional frequency key?

    (4) I was just wondering, for the later levels that involve using additional weight, you recommend a rucksack with plates but could you not just hold a dumbbell in front of you or is there some disadvantage to doing this?

    Many thanks

  20. Van Zandt

    Van Zandt Mr. High Kick

    Put more weight on your muscles to increase the strength of contractions. The greater the contraction, the greater the post-contraction stretch reflex depression - and the greater the increase in range of motion.

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