Isometric split progression

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

  1. takahura19

    takahura19 Valued Member

    hehe it was just kick now is my hand fine. Been to tkd competition today, just watching , I cant call it sport as ppl are hitting u everywhere :D Otherwise yesterday I recognized what was my mistke in side splets I was forcing it and didnt tense my muscles and thts wrong. Yesterday I did different and no sorenes today. Is it ok f I do only side, or shld I also do fronts. Can u reach fronts just with side. all the best :D
    P.S Sorry for misthread previously
  2. Van Zandt

    Van Zandt Mr. High Kick

    There is no law saying you must do both front and side splits. :)

    Do you mean can you reach a front split using just side split stretches? No. If you want something, you must train specifically for it.
  3. mskreis

    mskreis Valued Member

    Were any of your clients 47 years old?
  4. Patrick Smith

    Patrick Smith Tustom Cuser Uitle

    For what it's worth, I have been supersetting a basic static kick exercise with my isometric work. It saves time, and since they each use different movement patterns (closing legs, opening legs), they superset very well.

    This is what I do:

    A Isometrics - 5 x 45 sec.
    B Static Side Kick - 5 x 30 sec.

    The second set A is finished, I get up, shake my legs out, do hip circles (which never takes more than 20 seconds), and then proceed on to set B. I rest 30-45 sec. after set B. Then I repeat for a total of 5 sets of each.

    I do one side at a time (I do side/front split isometric variation), alternating the side side I start with each workout (I do both sides in a workout, though). I tend to do 100-200 various kicks at 1/4 speed afterwords.
  5. Rajveer

    Rajveer Valued Member

    I've been doing isometric stretching now for a couple of weeks following this guide...

    and I love the pain :evil:

    Seriously though awesome guide! I stopped martial arts around 2 years ago due to an injury which will hopefully be sorted out soon, and I'm just getting back into it. I'm starting on strength and flexibility before I go back, and I don't think I've been as flexible in my adductors since...ever.
  6. tyciol

    tyciol Valued Member

    Could there be some carryover? Like the hamstring length acquired in a front split, since we flex our hips before abducting them for the side split, and since people bear weight on the hamstrings if doing them toes-up suspended, I wonder if it could help.

    I think there are also some muscles that might get stretched in both, like produces both flexion and adduction of femur so either extending it (rear leg in front split) or abducting it (side split) is going to stretch that muscle, right?
  7. ArthurKing

    ArthurKing Valued Member

    Couple of questions VanZ, not unrelated to some of those above:
    i've reached Level 6 (i'm 46 years old) and no problems so far, i think i can honestly say my legs have never been so strong or flexible, definite gains and i too am starting to like the (isometric) pain. Thanks for that!
    Is there an optimal time of day for this workout? Im currently doing it at night, usually an hour or so before going to bed, this is simply the easiest regular slot for me to maintain. If i did it am, then it's unlikely to be so regular.
    When i do side splits, it's much more comfortable for me to lean down, elbows moving towards the floor, pushing out my bum, rather than remain upright, it also seems to create less soreness with my hip joints generally. Is this a problem, should i try it with back vertical?
    As this is a 'strength' workout, should i be increasing my protein intake, to allow for any increase in muscle mass?
    Should i also be thinking about foods to help the working of the joints generally- i dont know much about this, just wondered if particular foods might help with maintaining/building ligament/tendon strength etc Creatine??
    My friend (who's a vet) reckons potential flexibility can be dependant on your collagen type- have you heard of this?
    Thanks for your efforts, i'm feeling pretty confident at the moment that as long as i can keep it up, this system is doing the job- man if i could do the splits before my 1st Dan, i would be ecstatic- and get on with the book, i want it!
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2010
  8. axelb

    axelb Master of Office Chair Fu

    I've been doing this for a few weeks now, and have to say my side split flexibility is best it has ever been. On level 6 now for front and side splits.
    I used to be able to do front splits so assume that will be re-achieved relatively quicker then full side splits which I've never achieved before.
  9. EtherGK

    EtherGK New Member

    Mr Van Zandt, I don't think this is right, I've been doing front splits isometrics and everytime I do it I get a sharp pain...

    Attached Files:

  10. Patrick Smith

    Patrick Smith Tustom Cuser Uitle

    Ether, stop isometric stretches for now. In fact, avoid ANYTHING that causes pain. If it is not already, it could become very serious. I suggest you see your doctor about it as soon as you can.
  11. Rajveer

    Rajveer Valued Member

    Hey got a quick question - how do these isometric stretches actually translate into higher kicks?

    With the old methods, it was believed that gains via static stretches allowed you to do dynamic stretches in those ranges of motion safely, and as dynamic stretches mimic the activity (kicking here) it translated. Since flexibility and strength are specific to position, speed, and just about everything else, how do isometric stretches for front/side splits help with higher kicks?
  12. EtherGK

    EtherGK New Member

    I was afraid of that. You got it sir I won't stretch till I get checked.
  13. Patrick Smith

    Patrick Smith Tustom Cuser Uitle

    I hope it's nothing serious, but sharp pains should always be taken very seriously. If you do something stupid now, it's very likely you'd end up injuring yourself and you'd never get the splits and high kicks. :confused:

    First thing first, stretching and flexibility are not the same. Stretching is simply one method (and the most common one) of achieving flexibility (range of motion/ROM).

    Isometric stretches are not so much stretches as they are strength exercises. They are meant to strength the muscle in the extreme of its ROM. You could do the exact same thing for your shoulders or wrists, but most don't need to.

    Isometric tensions increase strength at the end of a joint or muscles full ROM which accomplishes two things:

    1) strengthens the muscle, and
    2) decreases the Myotatic (stretch reflex) reaction that occurs when your body's safety programs detect hazardous movements of ROM. For example, if your legs are very strong, but you still don't have the splits, it's because your body doesn't feel safe allowing your joints and muscles to move into that ROM. A good example of this is when someone throws something into your face or claps close to you. Your eyes automatically close, your hands come up, and your face turns away to avoid damage to your eyes. You can override this reflex, but it takes time.

    The difference between a flexibility routine oriented around strengthening the muscles and overriding the stretch reflex, and a flexibility program that orients around just overriding the stretch reflex is quite simple. The first actually, really and truly, makes it safe by making the muscle strong. The second just tricks the stretch reflex into doing something that it, deep down in its heart, knows could be very, very dangerous. :p

    Your question: "How do isometric stretches increase kicking height?"

    The answer is very simple. Isometrics increase flexibility, and flexibility allows you to kick high (assuming that you have done kicking strength drills and the like).

    As I already said, static and dynamic stretches are just two ways of achieving flexibility. Flexibility gained with isometric stretching will be able to be turned into "dynamic flexibility" just as easily as flexibility gained with static stretches.

    Personally, though, I do not subscribe to any of the extreme philosophies (no offense intended towards Dan, his method definitely works). I use isometric stretches in my workouts 2-3 times a week with Dan's isometric split progression (which is great), I do adductor pulldowns 3x8 with 40-45lbs, use static stretches a few hours after workouts and throughout the day, and use careful dynamic stretches for warm ups after 5 minutes of tissue prep. My position is a little different than most, I think, since I am unable to perform full adductor isometric stretches (knee injuries for the past) and am forced to use semi-side stretch while kneeing on pads. Because of this, I get less benefit from isometrics. This is why I use other methods of flexibility training to achieve my flexibility goals. They're just methods, and you have to find out what works for you (while avoiding injury!).


    By the way, as someone else here said very wisely, don't try to strengthen your legs with just isometrics. Having weighted exercises like adductor/hamstring pulldowns or flies makes a HUGE difference.
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2010
  14. Rajveer

    Rajveer Valued Member

    Sorry I took a while to reply, but thanks a lot of that really useful information :) A follow up question though (think I'm still confused):

    If we were to use just static stretching, which fair enough wouldn't actually make it safe but would still trick the stretch reflex to think it were safe, then why would we still need dynamic stretches to "translate" the flexibility into high kicks? When the same doesn't need to be done with isometrics?

    Is it that if we take the static stretching on it's own route then the stretch reflex is only "tricked" in the position that you do the stretch in, whereas if you actually make the muscle stronger then the range of motion becomes position independent?
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2010
  15. proteinnerd

    proteinnerd Valued Member

    I know I've read the answer to my question before somewhere but cant for the life of me find it now I need it.

    Long story short, by following Dans progression program, it means that on 2 days of the week I will have to perform the isometrics on the same day I do my Hapkido class. The problem is they finish really late. I just don't have time to do them after the class.

    Seeing as that cant be changed, what is the minimum amount of time I should leave between doing the isometrics and then doing the class later in the day/night?

    I know its not optimal but like I said, it cant be done the "right" way on 2 days of the week.
  16. shamalla

    shamalla New Member

    hamstring stretching problem

    Hello Van Zandt,

    I am new to this forum and as I read through I saw a post from you some while ago (June 2009) in which you gave a lot of good advice to people about proper stretching.
    I got a few stretching problems too. After being unable to continue tae kwon do because of a recurring pulled muscle I dedicated a lot of time to stretching and rehabilitation (PNF method). While doing this, I found out that I cannot stretch my hamstrings when I sit straight with both legs in front. As I read in this forum, other people seem to experience this too. So you suggested to stretch the hamstring by doing the front split. Which is fine with me. Another problem I have though is to do the other split. As I cannot sit straight I cannot bring my pelvis in such a position that it feels comfortable. Thus I also experience problems when trying to do the other split.
    A doctor I went to told me that not being able to sit up straight is due to a shortened and tightened muscle that is located round the sciatic nerv. So when one tries to sit straight the sciatic nerve is impeding that the hamstring muscle can be activated during the stretch. He showed me a stretching exercise to improve my flexibility of this muscle. I´ve been doing the exercise for a while now and I got the feeling that it gets better and I can already sit. Still I doubt that I can ever sit so straight and move my pelvis forward to comfortably do the other split ( I cannot do that at the moment, … I have the feeling of falling back when I try to do this split).
    Have you any suggestions for me how to proceed? For me it is really important to reach a good level of stretch because I really want to start martial arts again :)


  17. ArthurKing

    ArthurKing Valued Member

    Van Z, am i right you're around again after a short absence? Hope you are good.
    As for me, i managed to hold onto my feet whilst doing sitting, front, 2 legs forward stretch for the first time in my life last week and yesterday i was millimetres off touching my elbows to the floor in side splits/stretch. This is big news for me.
  18. toakungfu

    toakungfu Valued Member

    ok just so i know that im not doing anything wrong.

    i stand in a horse stance, and go out with my feet untill i feel a tension. then i wait it out in 30 secs. then again and again. and now im at my currently "max extention" then i hold this for x period of time. tensed up. (flexing for 3 mins? damn) all depending on at what stage i am.

    and do this 5 times.

    the position im in (im going for sidesplits currently) is a vertical upper body position. means not leaning forward but straight body position. and legs ofc to the sides.

    so the weight will go down on my legs.

    am i correct or ripping myself to pieces? :)
  19. proteinnerd

    proteinnerd Valued Member

    Sounds right to me but even though your upper body is vertical, you have to make sure your pelvis is tilted forward.
  20. Achilles NZ

    Achilles NZ Valued Member

    First of all id like to say awesome training regime!!.

    Iv been ding this for about 4 weeks now. and im about 2 inches from the floor.

    But i have a question. it does not seem like im getting closer to dropping to the splits cold.

    Infact my first isometric hold of every training day is awlays barley more than 90 degrees before it starts to pull? then after the first iso hold is complete im way down there! ??

    MY flexibility has def improved via this method but my cold flexibility seems to have become worse??

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