The beginner's guide to flexibility

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

  1. Smitfire

    Smitfire Cactus Schlong

    Rope, weight and a pulley I think.
  2. fabrizio

    fabrizio Valued Member

    can Isometric stretching be included with relaxed stretching?

    I was always told that stretching different muscle groups should be done in a particular order.

    Isn't doing a isometric side split a risk if you haven't done any other stretches.

    Also is there a limit to the number of isometric stretches you can do. So, instead of doing two can you do 5 or is this a risk as well?
  3. Patrick Smith

    Patrick Smith Tustom Cuser Uitle

    We need a video tutorial for this, but for now I hope this helps.

    Regarding hamstring and adductor pulldowns, this is how you set up to do it:

    1. Find 10-15 ft of strong rope/cord/cable.

    2. Get a strong little pulley that matches the above.

    3. Get some weight plates or dumbbells (maybe two 5lbs, two 10lbs, one 15lb, etc. Enough to mix them around for different weights).

    4. Attach the pulley to the ceiling. Make sure that it is VERY WELL ATTACHED! It should be pretty high too, probably around 8-10 feet high (this is important).

    5. Put the rope through the pulley and run one end through the weight plates and tie it (use a good tight knot, but one that you can undo in the future*). Leave the other end of the rope free for now.

    * Here's a link to a page that shows how to tie some good knots:

    And this is how you do them and adductor flies:

    I couldn't figure out how to explain verbally how to do them so I resorted to making an image! :D

    Attached Files:

  4. zooka

    zooka New Member

    Can adductor pull downs and hamstring pull downs be replaced with lying leg curls and leg extensions? Which are easier to perform, since there will be no need to build an alien mechanism on my sealing. Both of these exercises has the same meaning, which is to isolate hamstrings and adductor, or am I wrong?
  5. Patrick Smith

    Patrick Smith Tustom Cuser Uitle

    No, I'm afraid that you can't replace them with those exercises. However, you can try using an open door (with a few books crammed under it to steady it) as a pulley. Just loop the rope over the door instead of through the pulley. Of course, there could be substantial damage to your door...paint loss, scratches, etc. Adductor pulldowns CAN be replaced with adductor flies, however. Wear ankle weights to increase resistance!
  6. Patrick Smith

    Patrick Smith Tustom Cuser Uitle

    Van Zandt, I'm looking at some of the strength programs of some of the top strength and sports coaches (like Joe DeFranco, Alwyn Cosgrove, Mike Boyle, Louie Simmons, Zack Even - Esh, David Tate, etc.), and I'm trying to figure out how their programs can be used for maximal flexibility as well as strength.

    What I mean is that some of them work the lower body only once per week and use body part splits instead of full body workouts. After reading Cosgrove's manual, I believe that 2-3 full body workouts are more effective then 2-4 body part splits workouts in general, but Joe Defranco and other people like him use body part splits very successfully.

    Flexibility depends on the strength of the muscles involved at their extreme range of motion and overriding the stretch reflex, right? And these workout programs with only one day lower body a week have been very successful at getting people REALLY strong.

    The workout that I'm really questioning is one by Joe Defranco.


    What are your thoughts about this style of training?

    Last edited: Jun 29, 2010
  7. Patrick Smith

    Patrick Smith Tustom Cuser Uitle

    lol! I was editing my previous post and it cut me off because the editing time limit was exceeded! :D


    I have not been getting sore from light isometrics, and my flexibility has increased only very slightly so far (as expected, since I am not using my full body weight). However, my dynamic flexibility has decreased to a certain extent, and it takes a warm up to get me to be able to kick easily. I can kick to the head+ cold, but it doesn't feel safe or easy.

    It's possible that doing relaxed stretching after workouts and isometrics would help with my recovery as well. All I do after my workout (besides isometric stretching) is a tennis ball message on my legs. I'm not a good massager, though, and I don't have a foam roller yet. Are you sure that the cons of doing relaxed stretching after a workout (or any time) outweigh the pro's?

  8. Coges

    Coges Valued Member

    Hey Patrick,

    What about substituting with bands? You could potentially loop them around a beam, door, etc and the other end around your ankle. This may save on damage. I know you probably won't get the same resistance that you will with weights but I do know some bands can be quite resistant.
  9. Patrick Smith

    Patrick Smith Tustom Cuser Uitle

    Hi Coges,

    That could work but I don't know how you could gauge your strength with it and it sounds a little hard position. Personally, I think it would be easier to just:

    A) get a little pulley and some rope or
    B) go outside with a few weights and rope, attach the rope to one of your feet, throw the rope over a thick tree branch (height doesn't matter as long as it is higher then 7-8ft), and tie weights on the other end.
  10. proteinnerd

    proteinnerd Valued Member

    I've tried bands in the past, the big problem with them is the resistance changes depending on how stretched the band is...the further along with ROM of the exercise the more resistance there is. In either of these two exercises they would offer the least resistance where you want it most, it would be better than nothing and there is a youtube video from Elastic Steel for this.

    [ame=""]YouTube- SPLITS STRETCHES EXL[/ame]

    I found it a bit awkward but luckily I have easy access to a pulley weight stack so can use that, this would probably be your second best option though.
  11. Coges

    Coges Valued Member

    Guys, any substitute for flyes and pulldowns? I don't use a gym and won't have access to any form of pulleys. I deadlift, squat, lunge, etc so I have most bases covered. Side lunges, GHR, reverse hypers or something like that? I'm actually not that far from the splits but want to maximize my ability in this area.
  12. Patrick Smith

    Patrick Smith Tustom Cuser Uitle

    Why can't you do adductor flies, Coges?

    Either way, the exercises you listed are great exercises, however, it's hard to substitute for adductor flies/pulldowns. If you can't do adductor flies (?) then try holding a horse stance for 2 sets of 3-4 minutes. That will activate and strengthen the adductors. Van Zandt once told me about somebody that he knew who got the splits just by doing squats and horse stances. Try it.
  13. righty

    righty Valued Member

    Get yourself a thighmaster!
  14. Coges

    Coges Valued Member

    Sorry. Flies I can do. I was thinking more of pulldowns.

    Haha. I'm sure a thighmaster would be a great addition to the arsenal.
  15. takahura19

    takahura19 Valued Member

    OK VAN ZANDT I NEED UR HELP!!! As u know I am cycling and taekwondo. Before I was doing a lot relaxed streeches now I stoped sometimes I do them if I feel sore after cycling. So really I plan now to go to train taekwondo at Keimyung university in korea in februar so I shld improve a lot flexibility of my hips and I have to train hard so I can resist their workouts like 3-4 hrs a day. As I cycle only hils I started to use lighter gears so I make more rounds per minutes and I figured out I became little bit more flexible. Can you just tell me what to do after my taekwondo and cycling workout(cycling morning or afternon, taekwondo in evening) I usually hold my kicks in air and do relaxed side kick. When shld I incorporate isometrics as I have workouts every single day for 3-4hrs and I dont feel that much fatiuge as last time I work a lot on my stamina on cycle and not on power and strength. When shld I do isometrics after my strength cycling or after taekwondo lesson??? really I need some advice and help as only flexibility is ruinign me to desired goals as I am otherwise physical very fit. Now I climb mountains like 14km uphill (1200m altittude) in 1 hour 10min and also at taekwondo I am one of best just need better kicking technique. reagrds
  16. Patrick Smith

    Patrick Smith Tustom Cuser Uitle

    Van Zandt is away in the U.S. right now, and won't be back until August some time I think. In the meantime, maybe I can help you.

    It's hard to get a feeling for what you do every day or what your weekly training program looks like from what you've written (a big wall of text...). It would help if you organized it better.

    It looks like you're doing a LOT of cycling, and since cycling doesn't strengthen the hamstrings in the full ROM it's going to have a negative effect on your hamstring flexibility. If you do isometric stretches 2-3 times a week (with 1-2 days between) and relaxed stretches directly after your cycling, that should help. Honestly, I think you should decide whether you want to cycle or do Taekwondo, because you're doing a LOT of cycling and no matter how you look at it cycling will take away from your Taekwondo training. You don't have to get rid of all of it, but 3-4 hours a day of cycling is too much for anyone not training to be a cyclist (cycler???) in my opinion.

    I'll be able to help you more if you answer these questions.

    • Exactly how many hours do you cycle a day and how many days a week?

    • Exactly how many hours of Taekwondo training do you do a day and how many days a week?

    • What do your Taekwondo sessions include? Please describe in an organized manner.

    • What are your goals in Taekwondo?

    • What are your goals in cycling?

  17. takahura19

    takahura19 Valued Member

    Thx for your kind reply. I will explain u in organazied way.
    Cycling workouts:
    winter- no cycle as snow and cold, maybe few times a week easy ride or hiking hils
    spring- 4,5 times a week overall less than 10 hours a week
    summer- lots of cycling, every day. Now I have a plan of stamina workout that means easy rides in hills lower than 170 bpm hear rate, wit the program of
    one day 2h, next 3h, next 4h day off and again like this for 2 weeks, than some intervals next 2 weeks, so that means around 15-25hrs per week of cycling
    Goals: hmm. Doing it just for pleasure and as I'm boreda t home, becoming better and better climber on hills and mountains

    Whole year 5 times a week 1 hour.
    Taekwondo session: warm up, some streeching than mits kicking, or technique or sparing, and end also some streching or push ups and so.
    Taekwondo goals:Huge confusion. Now I plan to train hard taekwondo as I wanna go to korea on exchange in februar 5 months to train there like 3-4hrs a day of taekwondo. I cant train it here more as we rent a place so I can be just 1 hour in gym. I would like to compete on olympic games but I dont like competitons as u can get seriously hurt and injured, so I realy dont know wheter to compete or not I just like it as sport, of scoring points but not hurting opponents.
    So I would like to combine both sports to get better and better but I give more priority to taekwondo. So with cycling I got great stamina and speed, only what is lacking is flexibility but even bofore I wasnt flexible as I am 186cm tall now I have 71kilos as I lost 4 kilos since winter. all the best Hope u will help me
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2010
  18. Patrick Smith

    Patrick Smith Tustom Cuser Uitle

    You're welcome, my friend. I'm glad to help you, but it is hard to when you have so many misspellings and lack of organization. Still, it's an improvement.

    In my opinion you are doing way too much cycling. I am not a cyclist, but I do not see how you could cycle for two hours a day and then do an hour of Taekwondo training that evening every day without some sort of recover issue. If you're already doing five hours of Taekwondo training a week, then I suggest you cut down the cycling to an hour per day max, and increase your Taekwondo specific training.

    Your Taekwondo sessions don't seem very intense if you can do 1-2 hours of cycling before without difficulty.

    • How intense are your Taekwondo sessions
    • How intense are your cycling sessions
    • Do you ever feel too tired to go to class
    • Do you get tired easily at class
    • Do you ever train when you're sore?

    The main thing is that if you want go to Korea to do a lot of TKD training you need to do a lot of TKD training now (or at least prepare for it). I'm not saying more, necessarily, since more is not necessarily better. However, if you take away most of your cycling then you will probably get better results from your TKD training. The important thing to remember is that you will not improve if you do not recover from your sessions. You don't get better from training, you get better from recovering from your training.

    Last edited: Jul 11, 2010
  19. takahura19

    takahura19 Valued Member

    Well last time I started to do very intesive on my taekwondo workouts and as I said my cycling workouts are now under level of lactact producing tht means below 170 heart rate what is for increasing ur stamina. I am sore many times but usually I take days when I just cycle very easy to recover my muscles and clean my body. I would love to do more taekwondo but really I can't as coach rent place so I can do just one hour a day. I am used to such tempo for almost 2 years now so I dont have that much problems with soreness or maybe I am just so overtrained I dont feel it anymore. I am working cycling with a plan professional cycling coach gave me. I think I shld talk with the pro who is familar with both sports but really I would like to take day off but I cant I am so bored at home and its so hot now I live in small flat hehehe. My workouts are not that intesive as I dont like intesive workouts they are to demanding. enjoy
    Sometimes I come my taekwondo lesson I can barely stand I am all tired because of sun, but at the end of workout its better. THat day I dont work intesive on taekwondo
  20. Patrick Smith

    Patrick Smith Tustom Cuser Uitle

    I don't know much about you, so the advice I can give you is limited. However, as I said earlier, I suggest you decide what you want to do. Is it Cycling or is it Taekwondo?

    If it's cycling, then research how to train for cycling and if it's Taekwondo, research how to train for Taekwondo, however, whichever you do, focus on that one thing. Cycling and martial arts are very different, and what works for one will not often work for the other.

    There are many things you can do at home to practice for martial arts. You don't need to go to the dojo or training area to train. Strength training can be done at home, speed training can be done at home, technique training can be done at home, balance training can be done at home, etc. You can practice and train for Taekwondo from home and alone, easily.

    Good luck

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