The beginner's guide to flexibility

Discussion in 'Health and Fitness' started by Van Zandt, Feb 6, 2009.

  1. Van Zandt

    Van Zandt Mr. High Kick

    A lot of the same questions regarding flexibility development are asked repeatedly, even though many have been already been answered. To save time for newbies (and some oldies) using the "search" function or posting the same questions again and again, I have prepared this thread with answers to some of the most common questions on stretching. Follow the steps in this thread and be prepared for awesome splits and that all-time classic party trick of kicking yourself in the head. The information contained here is not just beneficial to kicking-orientated arts, but to other styles (hip flexibility in particular will be useful to BJJ and wrestling exponents) and to your general well-being also. Hopefully you will find this resource useful. Enjoy.

    Why is flexibility important?

    It makes life easier and saves trips to the chiropractor. Why? Well, sufficiently developing your flexibility means that learning and perfecting athletic skills is so much easier. Even some of the most basic techniques demand a moderate level of flexibility. Many martial arts techniques leave the skeleto-muscular system prone to fatigue and trauma (injuries), therefore being flexible will help greatly reduce the risk of buggering yourself up. "How?" you might ask... Well, if you can't get your body into an optimal position during a technique, you will negatively impact on your coordination. Your body, being the fine machine that it is, will compensate for this by increasing the demands on other available muscles that can be recruited into the technique. I.e. the wrong muscles are being contracted and you're on your way to starring in the "Hunchback of Notre Dame" musical as the title role. As you become more flexible (properly) your strength, speed and coordination will improve. A lack of flexibility will impair these qualities, all of which are fundamental to the correct execution of so many techniques.

    Why will stretching help me?

    It will make you more flexible. Duh! But stretching can also speed up the rate of recovery following an intensive workout. It won't prevent muscle soreness. The phenomenon that causes muscle soreness is no why related to increasing flexibility. But it can have something to do with decreasing flexibility. After training your muscles can be shortened by intense contractions in the epimysium (muscle belly). The average time required for muscles to return to their normal length (that is, their length before training) is 3 to 5 hours. Performing stretches immediately following your main workout can help reduce this time, thus limiting the amount of metabolic damage to the muscle cells. In a sense, it helps speed up recovery. As mentioned above, stretching to increase flexibility will reduce the likelihood of injury. Your muscles shorten after workouts that cause muscle soreness, so imagine how much they shorten following an injury? A heck of a lot. Not only does a muscle heal at a shorter length, the affected muscle is also more susceptible to the same injury. Think of stretching as a preventative measure; it's easier to gain and keep flexibility when you are healthy than it is to regain lost flexibility through injury. Stretching also prepares your body for the demands imposed during the workout; but pay attention to the SAID principle (Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demands). Your stretching must meet the requirements of your workout - that is, it must closely simulate the skill you will be performing. That's where you need to know about types of flexibility and their related stretching methods.

    What are the types of flexibility?

    There are three types of flexibility you should be concerned with, which are defined by the action of the agonist muscle (the one that does all the work during a movement) and whether or not there is an external force acting to hold or increase the range of motion. The three types of flexibility are as follows:

    1. Dynamic flexibility

    "Dynamic" means "vibrant" or "energetic". It is flexibility in motion. You perform dynamic movements through a full range of motion permitted by the joints, for example, leg raises. Dynamic stretching is used to develop dynamic flexibility. You are essentially relaxing the extended (antagonist) muscles while simultaneously contracting the moving (agonist) muscles through a plane of motion. In the front leg raise, the hamstring group (biceps femoris, semimembranosus and semitendinosus) are the antagonists (they relax) while the quadriceps (rectus femoris, vastus medialis, vastus lateralis, vastus intermedius and sartorius) are the agonist (they contract). Dynamic flexibility is fundamental to many martial arts techniques, not least the high and powerful kicks that feature in many combat systems. You can develop your maximum level of dynamic flexibility without doing the splits!

    2. Static-active flexibility

    You ever seen those awesome gymnasts who hold their leg vertical with seemingly little effort? Well, they're displaying a high level of static-active flexibility. This type of flexibility involves extending a limb and holding it using only the tension of the agonists, while simultaneously stretching the antagonists. If you were to hold a front kick at head height, the quadriceps are the agonists and the hamstrings are the antagonists; you hold the leg up using only the tension of the quadriceps while at the same time stretching the hamstrings. And, yup, you guessed it: you develop static-active flexibility through static-active stretching. This type of flexibility is not necessary for a lot of martial arts styles. Most techniques are dynamic in nature without pausing during the technique or combination of techniques. This does not mean it is not useful, however. It is great for developing strength, and is handy for performing high-grade Tae Kwon-Do forms such as Moon-Moo Tul. It's also handy if you want to become the next Jean-Claude Van Damme as this type of flexibility seems to impress non-martial arts bods more than any other.

    3. Static-passive flexibility

    This is the oldest and most common form of flexibility - taking up a stretch and just holding it. What is the most awe-inspiring stretch you can think of? The splits! (Although some of the more disturbed members will more than likely be thinking of ladies who can lick certain orifices that shouldn't be anatomically possible...) This is the only type of flexibility that doesn't involve stretches that share the same namesake, and is the only type of flexibility that has more than one method for its development. The two types of stretching are: relaxed (also called static) and isometric (also called PNF). If you paid attention to the bit about the SAID principle, you might be asking "Why bother with static-passive flexibility if the techniques in my martial art are dynamic?" The answer: Dynamic and static-passive flexibility share a unique relationship and each has an indirect effect on the other. You can consider yourself sufficiently flexible when your maximal range of motion exceeds the requirements of your sport by at least 20%. The difference between your flexibility and the requirements of your sport is called the flexibility reserve. The range of motion in your dynamic stretching depends upon, and is affected by, the range of motion in your static-passive stretches, and vice versa. Static-active stretching does not feature in this relationship.

    What happens when I stretch?

    When you stretch, the nervous system activates the myotatic reflex. Also called the stretch reflex, this mechanism is your body's natural defence against muscle tears. It is essentially reigning your muscles in when it feels they have gone too far. The good news is that you can train this reflex to fire much later, thus improving your pre-tensile range of motion (i.e. how far you can stretch before your muscles tense up. This equals deeper splits and higher kicks). Research has shown that connective tissues (tendons, ligaments and fascia) also lengthen over many applications of stretches, which can delay the onset of age-related reductions in flexibility.

    Do my genes affect my flexibility?

    Kind of. Trying to understand the factors affecting flexibility is a complicated issue and I have neither the time nor space to go into great detail here. But I will cover the bare essentials for your entertainment pleasure. First off, the anatomy and physiology of your joints affect flexibility, as do the elasticity of ligaments and tendons. Good news if you're female: you have a genetic advantage in the Great Flexibility Race. Females often have a greater amplitude of movement in the hips due to anatomical differences in bone structure. Females have a high reservoir of the chemical Relaxin, which decreases resistance in the flexion of ligaments (for when that baby is due). Females (apart from those who enjoy a cocktail of steroids with their evening meal) tend to have less muscle mass around the joints, thus decreasing the amount of meat they have to lug around in a stretch. Age is possibly the most important factor to consider because it has the greatest impact on flexibility. Small children are, generally, very flexibility, which decreases until puberty, then picks up again during adolescence. Once they hit adulthood, however, flexibility declines with age. This decline can be delayed through regular physical exercise (particularly strength training). It is possible to still perform full splits at any age - even in your 80s and 90s. Your state of mind also affects your flexibility. The simple way to think of this is: happy thoughts = nice splits, unhappy thoughts = bad splits. Don't stretch if you're in a mood. Best to stretch when you're happy. But don't try to stretch when you're in the middle of pleasing your lady/man friend as they won't be too happy if you attempt a front split during fornication. The time of day when you stretch will determine the gains you make in range of motion; you will generally make better gains in the evening than in early morning. The sequence of efforts in a workout have a big impact on how far you can stretch - get it right and you can have full splits and high kicks very quickly; get it wrong and you'll be at the same level five years from now. Strength has a direct effect on flexibility. A lack of strength means your body is not strong enough to support itself in various positions. The stronger a muscle is, the less activation is required to support a given load. The stronger you are, the more flexible you can become. So hit those weights.

    How do I arrange my stretches in a workout?

    Dynamic stretching first (during the warm-up), isometric stretching after the main part, followed by relaxed stretching. It's that simple. So many people get this wrong and still wonder why they are sore after every workout and see little or zero progress after years of training. Here is a more detailed explanation:

    1. General warm-up. Start with rotations to loosen up the joints, then follow this with light cardiovascular exercises. Marching, jogging on the spot and skipping rope are great examples. Don't do strength exercises here. Lay off the press-ups, sit-ups, squats, burpees and other callisthenic exercises until the strength portion of your workout. And don't do jumping jacks. Ever.

    2. Specific warm-up. Now is the time to do your dynamic stretches. Follow these with milder versions of the skill you will be attempting in the main part. If you're throwing high kicks in the main part, your specific warm-up should consist of dynamic stretches followed by low- and medium-height kicks.

    3. Main part. Do technique before speed. Do speed before strength. Do strength before endurance. Always.

    4. Cool-down. Do isometric stretches followed by relaxed stretches. Did isometric stretches yesterday? Lay off them today and do only relaxed stretches. Isometric stretches are a strength exercise and should be treated as such. Leave at least 24 hours between applications.

    What if all I want to do is increase flexibility?

    Skip the specific warm-up and just do dynamic stretches, static-active stretches, isometric stretches and relaxed stretches in that order. Take out the ones you don't want/need.

    My coach makes us do static stretches at the beginning of a workout. Why not now?

    Change your coach. No offence, but any "instructor" who makes you do static stretches before dynamic actions has no clue about correct principles of sports training. Static stretching decreases strength by impairing activation of the stretched muscles for up to five minutes following the stretch, and contractile force for up to one hour. If the goal of your workout is to display high, powerful kicks, then why would you want to do stretches that temporarily reduce force production, enhance drowsiness, and do not adequately prepare you for the skill in question? The methodology of your training must change to adhere to the correct principles of sports training if you want good results fast.

    I buggered various body parts in my last injury. Should I still stretch?

    So you're sore, huh? If you want to increase flexibility, don't stretch. You'll only compound the problem. Face up to the fact you're injured (I know, it can be a hard pill to swallow) and focus on relieving pain and preventing excessive loss of flexibility. Follow the advice of your doctor/physician until you are sufficiently healed, then get back on the right track and train properly and sensibly. Keep your chin up and you'll soon be well again.

    The least you need to know:

    - Dynamic and static-passive stretching are essential if you want to be great at kicking and other skills.

    - Dynamic stretching, static-active stretching, isometric stretching and relaxed stretching, in that order.

    - Don't do isometric or relaxed stretches before your main workout.

    - Your genes will not prevent you from doing the splits.

    - Be happy = greater gains in flexibility.

    - Maintain correct alignment, or you may end up with your big toe in your ear.

    - Strength is essential for flexibility.

    - Flexibility will be greater later on in the day.

    So how do I do dynamic stretches?

    Dynamic stretching involves moving your limbs while gradually increasing the velocity and range of the movement. It doesn't involve stopping or holding the limb in the stretched-out position. You do not bounce or jerk. The movement should be controlled throughout the full plane of motion. Russian researcher Matvyev (Matveev) explained that 12 repetitions is the optimal number per set. Do enough sets until you reach your maximum for that stage of training. A decrease in height is an indication to stop. Don't do dynamic stretches when you are sore or tired. Doing so will reduce your dynamic flexibility, which is something I'm sure you don't want. The following guide has proven useful to many people in achieving maximal dynamic flexibility:

    Set 1: knee height / 25% maximal velocity
    Set 2: waist height / 50% maximal velocity
    Set 3: chest height / 75% maximal velocity
    Set 4: shoulder height / 85-90% maximal velocity
    Set 5: head height / 100% maximal velocity

    Dynamic stretching is very convenient. It forms part of your warm-up and only takes 15 minutes tops to develop an increase in flexibility. The optimal frequency is twice a day, every day. It is possible to display your maximal dynamic flexibility in just 8-10 weeks of applying dynamic stretches. Do them in the morning upon waking (before breakfast) and at the beginning of your workout in the evening. Dynamic stretches do not fatigue; if you get tired doing them, you're doing too many (use the guide I outlined above) or you need to see a doctor! The morning routine helps reset the nervous regulation of the length of your muscles for the rest of the day. You don't need to do actual combat techniques (such as kicks) in the morning workout. You also don't need to do a cool-down. If you have time, do relaxed stretches after your dynamic stretches. Personally, I don't bother because once per day is the optimal frequency for performing relaxed stretches (more on that later). But if it makes you feel better, then do them.

    Do dynamic stretches to the front, side and to the rear, on each leg. Alternate sides between sets, i.e. do leg lifts to the front on your left leg, then on your right leg, (or vice versa if you want to be pedantic), before doing lifts to the side and rear. Note that I said "lift". You start the movements slowly and gently, gradually increasing the height and velocity of the stretch. You do not throw or force them! Keep your breathing as normal as possible. If you're breathing like a thirteen-year old kid watching his first ever porno, you're doing them too hard and/or too fast. I'll say it again: Start slowly and gently. After the first couple of sets you should have nearly reached your full range of motion. When you reach this point, begin increasing the velocity of the movements. The last few inches will be less controlled but they should never be sudden. Stretch at no less than 75% maximal velocity used in your actual skill after the first few sets of dynamic stretching.

    Demonstration of the front lift: [​IMG]

    Demonstration of the side left: [​IMG]

    Demonstration of the rear lift: [​IMG]

    The least you need to know:

    - Dynamic stretches are easy and convenient.

    - You can develop maximal levels of dynamic flexibility in a short time, and the time needed to maintain these levels will gradually decrease.

    - You don't need to do a warm-up for the early morning dynamic stretching session. Joint rotations, dynamic stretches and (if you have time) relaxed stretches are sufficient.

    - The sooner you do them, the sooner you see results.

    Cool, I got the dynamic stretches down. How do I do isometric stretches?

    Ah, isometrics. The fastest method for increasing static-passive flexibility. In fact, they're 267% more effective than relaxed stretches. They're beautiful. No really, they are. They not only improve passive flexibility but active flexibility also, as well as strength in concentric, isometric and eccentric actions. They can cause longitudinal growth of muscle fibres and you don't have to do them every day! Down side is, they hurt like hell if you're not used to them. Only attempt them if you regularly train strength for the muscles you wish to stretch.

    Isometric stretching is easy. You add strong tensions during static stretches, which induce a post-contractive stretch reflex depression and allow you to move into a greater range of motion. All you do is stretch, tense, relax and stretch again, repeating this up to your maximum. Not surprisingly it's also referred to as Contract-Relax Stretching. It's also known as Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation, which if you can spell then splits should be easy! PNF stretches were developed as a rehabilitation technique for stroke patients to recover normal functional movement. But here we'll refer to them as isometric stretches because you apply isometric tensions.

    Do isometric stretches two to three times a week. Once you achieve your desired level of flexibility you need only do them once per week for maintenance. Isometric stretches are great for breaking through plateaus, which usually occur at 10-12 inches from the floor (in the side split). Only do isometrics when you are ready. I'm psychic so I already know what you're going to ask. How do you know when you're ready? Try them. If you're sore the day after, you ain't ready. You should be able to squat a load equal to your own body weight and run 2 to 3 miles without getting sore before you ready to REALLY do them. Don't do them if you're a child or going through the growth spurt. If your body isn't ready for them, you will get sore. If you're really unlucky, you can cause a complete tear in the muscle - something you definitely don't want. Preparation will take time, I know, but suck it up and do the job properly or you'll never get your splits. Better to take you time and get it right than rush things and end up going to the physiotherapist for a year, right?

    If you're really, really, really sore (i.e. for 3 or more days) then strength (or lack thereof) is the issue. Hit the weights and try isometrics after two or three months. It's a trial-and-error thing. It's something we all had to go through (unless you're a mutant), so think of it like a rite of passage. If you're sore for more than 7 days, you're injured. Go see a physician.

    Right now you're probably thinking how you build strength for isometrics, eh? See, told you I'm psychic. Ideally you want to build strength through a full range of motion. In your workout do basic exercises such as the squat, lunge, deadlift and good morning, followed by dynamic-strength exercises such as hamstring/adductor flies and pulldowns.

    Do isometric stretches at the end of your main workout (ideally straight after your strength training). A solid session of isometrics should take 30 minutes tops, which isn't all that long if you think of the rewards you're going to get (lovely, lovely splits... ooh, I just love the splits). Stretch as far as comfortably possible (don't worry, comfort will end soon) and tense up the stretched muscles. Tense for about 5-7 seconds, gradually increasing the tension until about the third or fourth second when you reach your maximal tension. The last one or two seconds should be held at 100% of your maximal voluntary contractile strength. Then release the tension and immediately (i.e. without delay) increase the stretch. Don't wait more than a second after releasing the tension before increasing the stretch; waiting longer than five seconds means you're wasting your time. Repeat the process until you reach your maximal limit for that stage of training. When you're at your maximum hold one final tension for 30 seconds. Come out of the stretch, rest a few minutes, then repeat for 3 to 5 sets.

    Eventually you will hit a plateau. When this happens, tense harder, or longer, or both. Eventually the strength gains you make will translate into a greater stretch. And remember: never, ever do isometric stretches when you are sore. You only need one exercise per muscle group so front splits and side splits will do. Here are photographic examples:



    Without the chairs, obviously.

    Get a pain in the top of your hips when you do the side split? Rotate your pelvis more. That pain is you jamming the top head of your femur (thigh bone) into your acetabulum (hip socket). Bye bye cartilage, hello hip replacement! Seriously though, you got to rotate your pelvis if you want to touch your crown jewels (if you have them) to the floor.

    The least you need to know:

    - Do isometric stretches at the end of your workout following your main strength routine, and leave at least 24 hours between applications.

    - Never do isometrics when you are sore.

    - If experience soreness for several days following every application of isometric stretches, you are tensing too hard, too much, or both, or you are not yet ready for them.

    Great, so how do I do relaxed stretches?

    Simple - just don't tense up when you stretch. Focus on complete relaxation. Stretch as far as comfortably possible then wait patiently until the tension dissipates. Then "pick up the slack" by moving into a greater range of motion. When you start to fidget (a sign you're not relaxing) or get muscle spasms, slowly get out of the stretch. Relax and repeat once more. The optimal frequency for relaxed stretches is once per day. Hold the stretch at its maximum for thirty seconds, or a minute if you like. No need to hold it for longer because it achieves nothing. Important point alert! Waiting out the tension on the way to your maximum can take several minutes. So as long as you feel the tension start to disappear after 30 seconds and the stretch becomes easier to hold, you're doing fine. If the tension doesn't start to fade after 30 seconds, you start to sweat or your muscles start to tremble, hit the big red ejector button and get out of the stretch.

    Do relaxed stretches in place of or after isometric stretches. Relaxed stretches are slow so you must do them every day for them to be effective. But, you can them any time of day without a warm-up and they do not make you tired. Remember to be patient with relaxed stretches, during applications and over the longer term. You only need one exercise per muscle group - the front and side splits demonstrated above should be sufficient.

    The least you need to know:

    - You can do relaxed stretches any time, any where and without a warm-up.

    - You must be patient when doing relaxed stretches - don't time yourself!

    - Never bounce in any type of stretch.

    - Do relaxed stretches at the very end of your workout(s).

    - Once per day is the optimal frequency for relaxed stretches.

    - Rotate your pelvis to prevent pain occurring at the top of your hips.

    How do I develop static-active flexibility?

    It is difficult to develop static-active flexibility to the level of your dynamic or static-passive flexibility. The best way to develop this type of flexibility is to use a combination of both isometric tensions (isometric stretching) and dynamic strength exercises (hamstring and adductor pulldowns, flies, etc). One example is you can continually raise and lower your leg to the side in one slow continuous motion, followed by holding your leg at the maximum height for 5-10 seconds. Your level of static-active flexibility depends mostly on your static-passive flexibility and static strength.

    To perform these stretches simply extend your leg to the front, side and rear and hold it for as long as possible. I'm not going to insult your intelligence by including pictures. Don't use your hands to support the stretch. Remember you're trying to build the strength of the agonists (the muscles at work) so by using your hands you will be cheating yourself out of a good workout. It's tough, it's designed to be tough for a reason - because only those who try hard and put in the work will reap the rewards. There are no shortcuts to achieving great flexibility.

    The least you need to know:

    - You don't need to do static-active stretches if all you're interested in is high kicks and splits.

    - Holding your leg to the side can stress the vertebrae of the spine. After every set of holding your leg to the side do some forward bends to release this build-up of pressure.

    - For a decent-enough static-active flexibility workout all you really need to do is three sets of holding your leg to the front, side and rear, for 10 seconds per set on each side.

    How long will it take me to achieve the splits?

    That depends on your initial levels of strength and flexibility. It can take anywhere from 2 weeks to 6 months, but it definitely takes less than one year to display full splits. If it takes longer than this, then your method of stretching is wrong.

    My hip pops when I do leg raises. Why is that?

    Increased flexibility may cause greater frequency of joint clicking or popping, resulting from an enhanced leverage of the joint's bones. Painless clicking or popping is usually harmless, especially if followed by the feeling of release of tension and by increase mobility. If in doubt, consult a qualified medical practitioner.

    What books or DVDs do you recommend?

    Stretching Scientifically (book) or Secrets of Stretching by Thomas Kurz. That's where I got all my information from. You really will not find a more qualified authority or extensive resource on the science of stretching.

    Should I use a stretching machine?

    You don't need one. But, they can be useful for performing relaxed side splits (toes-up version) if your knees are too weak to support your body weight in the toes-forward side split. I explain how and why in the article that can be found by clicking on the following link:

    My martial arts instructor insists on doing static stretches during the warm-up. What should I do?

    Find a new instructor. One who knows the correct principles of sports training.

    Is it possible to display a full split without warming up first?

    Yes. This usually occurs one to two months after you first achieve a full split. Eventually you can work your way up to a hanging or suspended split between two chairs.

    Should I use partners in stretching?

    No. Partners do not know when you have gone too far in a stretch. By the time they respond and ease off on the stretch, it might be too late. Anything you can do with a partner or machine you can do just as well (sometimes better) with a nice, solid floor.

    Well, there you have it folks. A beginner's guide to flexibility and (hopefully) the most common questions answered. If you can think of any questions not raised here, feel free to post and I (and others) will do our best to answer. Promise we'll lay off the sarcasm. (Well, at least a little bit.)
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2009
  2. Gary

    Gary Vs The Irresistible Farce Supporter

    Seriously good stretching post, stickied. ;)
  3. Omicron

    Omicron is around.

    Great post! :D

    And props for recommending Stretching Scientifically. My personal favourite stretching book, as well. Consider the recommendation seconded ;)
  4. This might be a VERY stupid question....
    but - why no star jumps?
  5. Van Zandt

    Van Zandt Mr. High Kick

    There is no technique in sports that is similar to and can be improved by doing jumping jacks, but what is more important jumping jacks can neurologically disorganize a person. Jumping jacks, even for normal persons, can cause regression to an out-of-sync, homolateral pattern of locomotion (left arm swings forward with the left leg, right arm with right leg) and a vague feeling of confusion. An instructor who makes athletes do jumping jacks shows ignorance of exercise physiology, proper methods of training, and pedagogy. Jumping jacks raise the blood level of lactate before the main part of the workout and they are not a lead-up exercise for any technique.
  6. Worth knowing.
    Thanks for all the information in the OP.
    Time to start thinking about things differently...
  7. Interestingly despite most people slating TMA classes as not following any of these priciples, my TKD classes used to follow this general plan.

    1. General warm-up. Loosening exercises followed by light cardio.
    2. Dynamic stretches - leg raises. Front, side mainly.
    3. "Main body" of class.
    4. Cool-down. Isometric stretches, followed by relaxed stretches.
  8. Van Zandt

    Van Zandt Mr. High Kick

    Then yours is one of the few! Lucky you ;) :cool:
  9. bphan002

    bphan002 Valued Member

    Hi Superfoot,

    I know a million of people are going to argue with me about jumping jacks being bad for you and I've been trying to find a source with proof. Do you have it by any chance?
  10. Van Zandt

    Van Zandt Mr. High Kick

  11. Patrick Smith

    Patrick Smith Tustom Cuser Uitle

    Hi. I watched Tomas Kurz's DVD about stretching and apparently it works very well. Most customers get a full side and front split within 2-3 months.

    My only problem is that I don't want to build so much muscle mass... I want to get the flexibility and the strength but if I can, I'd prefer to avoid as much muscle mass as possible.

    My questions:

    Can I do his entire routine without developing so much muscle mass?

    Can I do his stretching routine without using so many weights? or without weights at all?

    Can I do his stretching routine even if I have weak knees (I'm trying to strengthen them with Hindu Squats)?

    Can I possibly do his stretching routine without all the workout?



    These people did Kurz's routine but apparently didn't get all the bulk...




    What did they do differently? Sorry...I'm very confused right now...
    Last edited: May 28, 2009
  12. Van Zandt

    Van Zandt Mr. High Kick

    Yes. In fact, it is near impossible to significantly increase muscle mass with the program Kurz offers (high rep, low weight). Note that strength does not necessarily mean size, and vice versa.

    Yes. You can achieve maximum flexibility through body weight exercises alone.

    Keep up with the Hindu squats and you will be fine.

    Yes, but don't expect quick progress.
  13. Patrick Smith

    Patrick Smith Tustom Cuser Uitle

    Superfoot to the rescue! :)

    Good. Then I'll do his program completely.

    Great! I'll do all his exercises without weights for now. I don't think my knees simply aren't up to it.

    The arch supports in my feet have collapsed some and that caused my knee to get twisted out of it's natural position. That's why I'm cautious about doing any knee intense exercises.

    My doctor gave me some shoe inserts (that I wear in my training shoes as well as regular shoes) and that's stopped it from getting any worse. It's also corrected most of the twist. I'm using Hindu squats to hopefully build them back up.

    I actually have two questions about Hindu squats: should I do more then 100 a day, and when I do them, should I let my heel come off the floor or not? I've heard both ways are right but also that letting your heel come off the floor is bad for you knees... ?

    Back to Kurz, does his book have a written routine for the average workout? His DVD had so much stuff in it that I was a little overwhelmed..
  14. Van Zandt

    Van Zandt Mr. High Kick

    This video should help:

    [ame=""]YouTube - Hindu push-ups and Hindu squats[/ame]

    He starts doing squats around the 3:00 mark.
  15. Mitlov

    Mitlov Shiny

    Great thread, Superfoot. I learned a ton already.

    A question about side lifts. It's not clear to me from your illustration whether the torso should be tilted slightly forward or kept vertical in that direction. Also, whether it should be tilted slightly to the side (away from the lifting leg) or kept vertical in that direction. Finally, should the toes of your standing foot be pointed forward (in the direction your navel is pointing), away from the lifting leg, or halfway in between?

  16. xie zhenwu

    xie zhenwu Valued Member

    Hi Superfoot,

    Ini thread baru berguna. This is a useful thread.
  17. Van Zandt

    Van Zandt Mr. High Kick

    Xie Zhenwu,

    Terimakasih. (Thanks :D)
  18. Van Zandt

    Van Zandt Mr. High Kick


    It's inevitable your upper torso will want to lean over when you do side lifts. This is fine,. However, try to lean back (away from your leg) rather than to the side.

    Regarding pointing your toes of the supporting foot: short answer, "whichever direction is most comfortable for you." As long as you're not in pain or fall over when you do the lifts, where you point your feet doesn't matter all that much.
  19. Ninja Monkey

    Ninja Monkey Valued Member

    how to get last 3 or 4 inches on center split how to incress the height of my side kicks just follower the stretch plan?

    i wana do teakwondo and Hung gar and gymnastics
  20. Van Zandt

    Van Zandt Mr. High Kick

    In your isometric stretches tense harder, longer, or both. Wear a rucksack containing weights. Do strength exercises through the full range of motion. Focus on the strength gains; in time this will translate into greater flexibility.

    For increasing the height of your kicks do dynamic stretches twice a day.

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