Isometric split progression

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

  1. Van Zandt

    Van Zandt Mr. High Kick

    Do you mean doing your workout at the dojang/gym, and then waiting until you get home before you do your isometrics? Yes, that is fine. You do not need to warm up before doing them, but you can if you want to.

    No, do not do them with your back to the wall. I said that only as a way for learning to rotate your pelvis to prevent hip pain during the side split. Do them away from a wall, with a chair to spot yourself if you wish.
     
  2. Caleb Demarais

    Caleb Demarais Valued Member

    ok thanks. It happened three weeks ago when I was at a seminar with one of our associations korean grand masters. we were doing an axe kick stretch against a wall and he came over and pushed my foot all the way til it touhced the wall. i felt an instant pain and swear I even heard a ripping sound. I'm worried I will lose flexibility. will it be easy to get it back if i do lose it?
     
  3. Hatamoto

    Hatamoto Beardy Man Kenobi Supporter

    Another question I thoguht of when I was in bed coz that's when my mind gets all overworked - when do I start counting? Do I lower myself as far as I can then count, or lower myself, hold until I relax a little, until I can't relax anymore and THEN start counting?
     
  4. lhommedieu

    lhommedieu Valued Member

    Hope you don't mind a newbie question:

    When doing isometric stretches does the stretched muscle have to be straightened out in the stretched position. E.g. if you're stretching your hamstring and you're sitting on the floor with your leg straight do you pull back on your heel as if you're doing a hamstring curl, hold the tension for x amount of time, and then go back into the stretch?

    Why not do a very slow progressive hamstring curl with a heavy weight and put the hamstring through its entire ROM?

    Best,

    Steve
     
  5. Van Zandt

    Van Zandt Mr. High Kick

    It's your choice who you train with, but I make a point of never associating myself with instructors who employ such stupid practices. I do not know who your Korean grand master is and I'm sure he deserves respect for his achievements, and I'm sorry if I offend you with my comments, but it sounds like the man doesn't know a thing about the correct principles of flexibility training.

    Your recovery will depend on your rehabilitation. Are you employing the following?:

    • Sports massage
    • Ultrasound
    • Electrical stimulation
    • Use of mobility aids (e.g. crutches)

    If your grade 3 rupture is severe enough you may need surgery to repair the damage. You need to wait until you are fully healed before you even consider making a return to flexibility training, particularly with isometrics. Understand that you will lose flexibility, perhaps some of it permanently. Contact me when you're 100% healed and I will work with you personally to ensure you can return to your maximum possible level as quickly as possible.

    I wish you luck with your recovery, I really do.
     
  6. Van Zandt

    Van Zandt Mr. High Kick

    This is how I do them:

    1) Slide down as far as you can.
    2) Hold that position for around 30 seconds. [Start counting right away.]
    3) Slide down again, trying to go as far as you can.
    4) Hold the new range for around 30 seconds.
    5) Slide down again, trying to go as far as you can.
    6) Wait a second or two, and then start counting, building the tension up to its maximum of the first 5 seconds. Once you reach your maximum contraction strength (i.e. tensing as hard as you can) at the 5 second point, hold that tension for a further 25 seconds (30 seconds in total).
     
  7. Van Zandt

    Van Zandt Mr. High Kick

    When you say "does the stretched muscle have to be straightened out in the stretched position" do you mean keeping the knee locked out?

    In terms of building flexibility for doing splits, a hamstring curl alone will not suffice. Flexibility is position specific; therefore if you do a hamstring curl in a seated or standing position, the strength and ROM gains won't translate too well into a front split. I don't know if this will interest you, but when my book is released it will show you how to do hamstring curls and adductor flies while in a full split. Talk about uber strength gains. :D
     
  8. Caleb Demarais

    Caleb Demarais Valued Member

    My doctor wants me to go for another scan in a week to see if I do need surgery. i appreciate the offer of help I'll most likely probably need it. Does that mean i get a free copy of your book? :cool:
     
  9. Hatamoto

    Hatamoto Beardy Man Kenobi Supporter

    Thanks dude, will give it a crack
     
  10. takahura19

    takahura19 Valued Member

    Today I did in my basement right after my cycling session 5x1min sets this **** hurts like hell :S:S Is it good I have indoor football shoes on as in basement I have lots of space but cant be without shoes, as its all dirty. And also about knee. Should it be 100% straight or can it be lil bit bend. enjoy ppl
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2010
  11. lhommedieu

    lhommedieu Valued Member

    I'm someone who has never been very flexible so I'm interested in the isometric method that you're describing. However, I'm not sure that I could start from anything close to a split position. If I am reading your posts correctly, for example, if I do the classic hamstring stretch (sitting on my butt with one leg extended, the other bent in the "tailor" position, e.g.) then the should hamstring curl be done with the leg extended and by pulling the heel down through the floor? Or are you advocating starting from a splits position instead of a seated hamstring position because it's easier to maintain isometric tension because it's keeping you in an upright position?

    I'm also interested in applying the method to other muscle groups. If I wanted to increase quadriceps flexibility (for example, sitting on my heels and then leaning backwards to stretch the quadriceps as an alternative to the "hurdler's stretch") how would I create isometric tension in my quads? Do something like trying to extend my leg? Or would it be something similar the splits routine that you are describing but look something like a front lunge?

    Best,

    Steve
     
  12. proteinnerd

    proteinnerd Valued Member

    Yeah thats what I meant, once you can already do the split, just holding a weight while you basically sit on the floor seems redundant.
     
  13. liero

    liero Valued Member

    Just finished my first workout. I started on level 5, and got through it okay, it burns! Particularly the last contraction!

    I did side splits. Should I do front splits as well? If so which stretch should I do first and how long should I break between them? I rested fo 2min 30 sec as suggested between each contraction. I was thinking a good 15 mins before doing front splits might be nice as legs are left a little sore, is this appropriate?
     
  14. Patrick Smith

    Patrick Smith Tustom Cuser Uitle

    Not necessarily. If you've watched many artistic gymnastic demonstrations, you may have seen a gymnast raise himself off the floor from a side position using only the strength from pinching his legs together. Naturally, your floor will not be so smooth and you will not be wearing a full-body suit, but all the same, you may eventually become so strong that you can raise yourself off the floor without additional weight holding you down. But I doubt that will happen unless you actively seek it.

    Bleh, I sound confused. :p
     
  15. proteinnerd

    proteinnerd Valued Member

    If you are going for side and front splits on both sides, would you do the prescribed number of sets for each split?

    Damn that's a lot of isometric work!!

    Also would you still bother with adductor pulldowns and flies? or would this volume and progression be enough strength work?
     
  16. Van Zandt

    Van Zandt Mr. High Kick

    Experiment with different footwear and on different surfaces to see which yields the greatest gains for you.

    Ideally you should focus on strengthening the muscles which stabilise the knee joint before attempting split training. When you have strong knees and can do front and side split exercises without pain in your knee, it becomes an entirely personal choice whether you keep your knee fully locked out or have a slight bend. I prefer to keep my knees straight, but there are times when I'll bend my knees slightly to "wiggle around" in the split. You will find that you may also bend your knees when increasing the stretch as it helps take the weight off the target muscle(s) and relax.
     
  17. Van Zandt

    Van Zandt Mr. High Kick

    You don't have to start this routine six inches off the floor in a split. If you were that low already you'd hit the floor in less than a month. For front splits you could start from a kneeling lunge position:

    [​IMG]

    For side splits you could start from a horse stance position:

    [​IMG]

    I refer mostly to splits because that is what the majority of folks aim for. But if you're not interested in splits you can play around with other positions until you find one which gives you sufficient leverage to make steady gains using this isometric method.

    For quadriceps you could do the front split with the knee down:

    [​IMG]

    ...and focus your tensions in the front thigh area of the back leg. Alternatively you could play around with different positions until you find one which works well for you. I advocate the splits for athletes who don't need them because they are ideal for isometric tensions due to being able to place all your body weight (and more, as seen in the later stages of the routine I posted) down on the target muscles. The key to breaking through training plateaus is to increase the intensity of your contractions and upping the amount of weight your supporting is a great way to do this.
     
  18. Van Zandt

    Van Zandt Mr. High Kick

    Ah, I see. You can do as Patrick Smith suggested and try to lift yourself off the floor by tensing the target muscles. Or you could work your way up to the suspended split, but I would advise that you train using phone books or mats instead of chairs to begin with:

    [​IMG]

    You can even go for the oversplit (perfectly safe):

    [​IMG]
     
  19. Van Zandt

    Van Zandt Mr. High Kick

    Depends on how you feel. I prefer to do front splits on Mon/Wed/Fri and side splits on Tue/Thu/Sat with Sun as a day of complete rest. This works for me because in the front split I'm working the hamstrings and in the side split I'm working the adductors, so it's fine to work different muscle groups on different days. Remember, if you're always sore afterwards you should reduce the intensity of your workouts (go to a less intense level).
     
  20. Van Zandt

    Van Zandt Mr. High Kick

    Yes, that would be the prescribed number of sets per side/exercise. So if you do the front split and side split in the same workout, you would do 15 sets in total (if you've reached five sets).

    Yup, a lot of isometric work, which is why it works :D

    Most of the people I worked with stopped using pulldowns and the like when they started adding significant weight to their splits. Again, see how you feel. If you prefer keeping your pulldowns and flies, and it doesn't make you overly sore, then keep them.
     

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