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

    "Bad" for you is a bit of a misnomer. Relaxed stretches alone can give you the flexibility you want, just much slower. They can also lead to a decline in strength and joint instability if not accompanied by other exercises. And if not done properly, they don't give you permanent flexibility.

    The only person who can recommend the best stretching method for you, is you. Your body will respond differently to stretching than other people, just like strength training or cardio work. You need to experiment and find the combination of modalities that gives you the progress you're after. Probably not the answer you wanted, but hey ho.
  2. Van Zandt

    Van Zandt Mr. High Kick

    Keeping your "legs" flexed as you slide down refers to locking out your knees, which is different to voluntarily contracting your adductor muscles (visualise this part by trying to slide your feet back together or "pinching the floor").

    You might find strapping your knees helpful (I do it).

    Try sliding down with straight legs and in horse stance and do the one which works best for you.
  3. Top Gun

    Top Gun New Member

    Thanks for your reply RedCoat Ninja. I am using the programme on this forum -flexibility for beginners. Leg swings twice per day followed by relaxed stretches, isometric stretches after strength training. Sometimes when I get up to do my leg raises I feel that I have less flexibility than other days, do you think that is down to a strength weakness and I need to do more squats, deadlifts etc? Advice please.
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2014
  4. BiGF00T

    BiGF00T New Member

    So I flex the muscles around the knee while sliding down to keep it stabilized. The Isometric part is the flexing the Adductors as hard as I can for some time after sliding down. Then I relax the adductors again (not the stabilizers of the knee) and continue sliding, etc., right?

    What do you mean by strapping the knee? Wear some kind of stabilizing fabric thing? I'm no native speaker so I don't know the term for this thing. You could post an image link.
  5. Top Gun

    Top Gun New Member

    Tight hamstrings after isometric stretches

    Hi, can anybody help.

    I found after doing strength exercises and isometric stretches, the next day i find that I have less flexibility/too tight .

    Can anybody help.
  6. Van Zandt

    Van Zandt Mr. High Kick

    There could be several factors at play here.

    1. Athletic form oscillates. Your flexibility might be worse tomorrow than it is today, simply because stiffness is a part of your body's recovery process. This is why I advise people to measure their stretching gains on a weekly or even monthly basis, rather than every day.

    2. People tend to be more flexible later in the day. For the people I work with on a regular basis, the window of peak flexibility is between 2pm and 5pm. My own window is between 9pm and 11pm. It's different for everybody. You should practice your flexibility routine at different times in the day to find your sweet spot, then stick to it.

    3. Strength (or lack of) could very well be the culprit. Lift weights for a few months and see what results you get.
  7. Van Zandt

    Van Zandt Mr. High Kick


    Athletic knee straps.

    They are commonly seen in weight lifting.
  8. Van Zandt

    Van Zandt Mr. High Kick

    Related to your earlier post (which I already replied to), but strength exercises* tax your muscles. Stiffness (and sometimes soreness) are not uncommon symptoms the day (or two) following strength training.

    *Isometric stretches are strength exercises too.
  9. Ero-Sennin

    Ero-Sennin Well-Known Member Supporter

    Sometimes I go through the health/fitness section and read what has been going on in threads like this. It always makes me laugh a little when questions with what would seem like such obvious answers to those familiar are asked.

    Find me somebody who thinks the health/fitness profession is overrated, and I'll find you 5 people who don't know where their front deltoid is xD.

    Awesome stuff when people are interested and ask stuff.
  10. Van Zandt

    Van Zandt Mr. High Kick

    Your front deltoid is British.
  11. Top Gun

    Top Gun New Member

    Thanks Red coat ninja for your advice much appreciated and I will try it.
    One more question if you don't mind. When I stretch to the left leg I feel fine however, when I stretch to the right in a straddle, front split or single leg, I get this feeling at top of my thigh that feels like that it is digging into my thigh or that there is something across the front of the bone that stops me from getting my chest to my thigh. Hope it makes sense. Can you help please
  12. Van Zandt

    Van Zandt Mr. High Kick

    Try internally rotating your thigh a bit more (keep your toes turned in, not out).
  13. Top Gun

    Top Gun New Member

    Thanks Red Coat Ninja. I gave already tried your suggestion (turn/rotate the toes in) work and now I can go as low as my left leg. Great stuff many thanks
  14. Van Zandt

    Van Zandt Mr. High Kick

    No problem and good luck.
  15. seiken steve

    seiken steve golden member

    aaahhhh redcoat is VZ, i was getting confuzzled.
  16. Van Zandt

    Van Zandt Mr. High Kick

    C'mon Steve, keep up!
  17. Top Gun

    Top Gun New Member

    Hi Redcoat Ninja or Superfoot if I can call you that. Need your help again please.

    This forum is a fantastic place for info, however, I have read so much that I am suffering from information overload.
    Basically I am trying to create a weekly plan but I just get all muddled up with all the stuff that I have to fit in and all the if's and buts that I get frustrated and lose the motivation and another day goes by without getting on with it. Looking to make a fresh start in the new year but I need a good plan to help me.

    my classes are on Tuesday and Fridays 7-8.30 pm.
    so how do I create a plan to the how's and when in a effective way and not waste my time.

    Dynamic stretches - leg swings
    relaxed stretching
    strenght exercises
    horse riding stance-isometric-strenght exercises
    upperbody strength
    cardio- I have been doing interval training to keep fit and keep weight off
    speed work-bag pad work
    syllabus stuff - form/techniques etc

    by the way I like the thought of doing front split one day and side splits next day but would you do leg strength exercises on both days?

    sorry for the long message
    your imput is much appreciated and valued
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2014
  18. Gunner

    Gunner Valued Member

    I started wide squats today. My adductors are very weak. No wonder I've been stuck at 100° side split for months. I can do almost full front splits, but have made very slow progress on the side split. I'll let you know how I'm doing a month from now. Thanks for the information!
  19. Van Zandt

    Van Zandt Mr. High Kick

    Dan will do.

    That was probably my fault for giving people more than they probably needed.

    I use simple rules when it comes to placing stretches in a workout:-

    1. Dynamic stretches at the start of a workout.
    2. Isometrics at the end, after any other strength work.
    3. Static stretches at the very end, after everything else

    I do a three day isometric split (lol @ pun):-

    Day 1: Side Split
    Day 2: Left front Split
    Day 3: Right front split.

    On day 4, I go back to the Side Split. I don't do any other strength work for my lower body (I can hear Fish of Doom and zaad cursing my name) so each muscle group has enough time to recover before its next workout. It means I get weaker in my squats and deadlifts, but I get results faster. It's a satisfactory trade-off because I'm a martial artist, not a power lifter.

    If you want to do strength work, you'll have to only do isometrics on your strength days. That probably means you're only going to be working three days a week, so you should do all three splits on those days to get maximum progress.
  20. Iga-chan

    Iga-chan New Member

    Hi Redcoat Ninja,

    Just wanted to thank you with more than a button for this fabulous thread. And add that I have been studying your posts Friday night, and somewhere between Saturday and Sunday started stretching according to your instructions and I ALREADY (as of Sunday night stretch and morning Monday routine) see progress! This simple sequence of "DIR" got me over my plateau so much faster than I expected.

    What a good feeling. And in terms of
    Your detailed info got me hooked on this forum! I just registered :D

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