Leg Stretcher Advice

Discussion in 'Health and Fitness' started by crushing step, Sep 30, 2008.

  1. crushing step

    crushing step Valued Member

    Hey All-

    I've been having a general flexibility discussion over in the new user introduction sections here:


    First of all feel free to say hi to Dommo7 over there!

    I also wanted to take the conversation public a little bit, and I do apologize if stretching machines have been covered before. Our conversation was meant to be broad, from my point of view, but I also think some specific examples form others who have successfully used a stretching machine will better answer his questions. Such as:

    How many times a week to use a leg stretcher
    How long did it take for you to see results

    I of course recommended light stretching every day, especially since he is also playing high school football. My general advice for the machine was to do 2-3 days per week of the machine, to allow time for your muscles to repair.

    Now if there is anything more specific, if you agree or disagree with my advice, or if you have any personal testimonials for or against the leg stretching machines, please post!
  2. Van Zandt

    Van Zandt Mr. High Kick

    Hi Crushing Step,

    I see you joined only recently - welcome to MAP! :)

    You will get a lot of people saying that stretching machines are worthless. Experts in the field of flexibility development, such as Thomas Kurz, ask "What is the point in spending so much money on a machine to perform exercises that can be done without a machine?"

    I personally love stretching machines. I've tried several and I have experienced varying results. Without doubt the most effective is the Versaflex from Century Martial Arts. I use it twice every day (to supplement my dynamic, relaxed and isometric stretches off the machine). It is great for me because it means I can work on my flexibility while relaxing in front of the TV or games console. It's important to relax when stretching because, as any expert will tell you (including Kurz, Tsatsouline, Zaichik and Wallace) the key to overriding the stretch reflex (i.e. getting more flexible) is to relax. With a device such as the Versaflex you don't do anything except sit there in the stretch; there's no forcing and pushing, just sitting down and relaxing. It's great!

    As far as definitive results go, after my first attempt at using the Versaflex I went from around 120 to 145 degrees within a few days. After a couple weeks I was up to 165 degrees. I can now hit 180 without discomfort and hold the stretch for a long time (although not as long as Bill "Superfoot" Wallace - he once sat through an entire game of Trivial Pursuit at 180 degrees on the Versaflex!). The machine actually stretches to 190 degrees so it is handy if you want to develop your oversplits (also called negative splits).

    I hope you find this information useful.

    Good luck in your future training and I hope you enjoy MAP.




    Sorry, I forgot to add the routine I use. I normally do five sets as follows:

    Set 1: increase the stretch as far as comfortably possible. Hold the position for ten seconds. Increase again. Repeat five times. [5 x 10 seconds.]

    Set 2: same as set 1. [5 x 10 seconds.]

    Set 3: increase the stretch as far as comfortably possible. Hold the position for thirty seconds. Increase again. Repeat three times. [3 x 30 seconds.]

    Set 4: increase the stretch as far as comfortably possible. Hold the position for ten seconds. Increase again. Repeat ten times. [10 x 10 seconds - arguably the most uncomfortable set!]

    Set 5: same as set 1. [5 x 10 seconds.]

    This was the number of sets and repetitions as advised by Bill Wallace in volume 1 of his "Superfoot's Secrets to Success" DVD series by Century Martial Arts.

    Please note that between sets I "actively rest" by stretching my hamstrings.
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2008
  3. crushing step

    crushing step Valued Member

    Sorry I took so long to reply...

    I actually haven't had practical hands on use of one of these since 1989! But now that I've lost some flexibility with age, and hey I'm still in my 30's and not over the hill yet, I will probably get one of my own soon.

    Thanks for the info Super Foot. I was hoping for a few more responses from other users, anybody? (I'll prob also use the search function)
    sparkyparky likes this.
  4. TKDjoe

    TKDjoe Valued Member

    I agree with Superfoot, I love my versa-flex, it has really helped with my hip flexibility. I use it 1-2 times a week. I can now get to 175 with a good warmup and I'm 52yrs old.

    Kurz has some good ideas, but some of the things he recommends , I think are dangerous, ie.... walking down into a side split is very bad for your knees.
  5. Van Zandt

    Van Zandt Mr. High Kick

    sparkyparky likes this.
  6. creedt

    creedt New Member

    hi guys and gals
    im a newbie here, a shotokan black belt who returned to training after a 20 year absence
    at 53 my flexibility was poor even though im very fit, cycling etc
    i looked at mechanical stretching machines but i thought them expensive so i decided to make my own, the essence of the machine is mostly wood, 2 pulley wheels , clothes line rope and the cranking machine i use is also a clothes line winder/cranker
    it took time to get it right but i probably built it for 60euro, and it works! ive definately improved my flexibility in about a month
  7. creedt

    creedt New Member

    regarding breathing yes i agree that when you are holding a stretch breathe deeply, and stay relaxed and then stretch a little further and breathe deeply again, somehow when you do this you forget about the stretch and things work better
  8. Van Zandt

    Van Zandt Mr. High Kick

    Seven years later and my perspective on stretching machines has changed a bit.

    They're useful, but only necessary for people who can't stretch normally for physiological reasons (e.g. chronic injury).
  9. tyciol

    tyciol Valued Member

    Obviously because it can be easier, and possibly safer to do it for longer periods, and gives more exact control over the angles.

    Isn't this kind of logic sometimes used to bash strength training on machines?
  10. Van Zandt

    Van Zandt Mr. High Kick

    Kurz makes a fair point though, unless you're loaded. But money is a consideration for lots of people.

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