Tips on increasing knee and hip flexibility.

Discussion in 'Health and Fitness' started by No Life King, Jun 29, 2007.

  1. No Life King

    No Life King New Member

    Hi all. A bit of background info first.

    I started martial arts about 5 years ago. Before MA i was pretty inactive, and
    extremely stiff. I could barely reach below my knees, touching my toes was
    always some unattainable dream.

    However, with diligent practice and stretching, my hamstring flexibility is pretty good. After a good warm up, I can touch the palms of my hands to the floor. Anyhow, my horizontal(?) flexibility (which I think involves hip and groin flexibility?) has not advanced at the pace I would want. Although I can get my side kicks and roundhouses fairly high, I want more.

    So, I turn to you for help. My biggest concern however, are my knees. 5 years on, and I still cannot perform the butterfly stretch correctly. I have not seen any progress in that stretch at all. Why is this? I cannot bring my knees to the floor. I have terrible knee flexibility, any good stretches or exercises? I dont have bad or weak knees, just really stiff ones.

    Thanks for the help and forgive the lengthiness.
  2. Socrastein

    Socrastein The Boxing Philosopher

    Butterfly stretch is for the hips. Not the knees. You don't want flexible knees.
  3. No Life King

    No Life King New Member

    yea, but i can never bring my knees to the ground and that particular stretch hurts my knees. (BTW notice I also stated the hip flexibility issue) For example, it is discomforting to sit on my heels. Another example is when you sit on the ground with one leg extended, and the other leg folded up, with the foot touching the extended leg's thigh. It is supposed to be a hamstring stretch, but when i try to lean forward, if my knee is touching the ground, again, it hurts. Maybe I mistakenly confused this flexibility. Again, any helpful input is appreciated.
  4. El Tejon

    El Tejon MAP'scrazyuncle

    Sounds like a hip flexor stiffness problem. Those two big ropy muscles (psoas and the iliacus which form the iliopsoas) on the inside of your pelvis get stiff if you sit a lot (also causes the titled pelvis that you see among the elderly who complain of "back" problems). The June 2007 issue of Yoga Journal has article on this (page 109).

    The pigeon, one of my favorites, and will help with your splits too:

    Camel is a good one too:

    Warrior is good for hips too:

    Hurts to sit on your heels? Maybe it is your quads? Try reaching back with your hand and grabbing your ankle so your quad stretches when in the pigeon. Lots of other quad stretches.

    Have you considered taking up yoga? May be a good supplement. :)
  5. No Life King

    No Life King New Member

    that was very helpful, thanks a lot, ive done yoga, but never on a consistent basis.
  6. No Life King

    No Life King New Member

    also, when i sit on my heels, it is not the quads that hurt, but rather the upper and middle part of the knees.
  7. spirez

    spirez Valued Member

    Why not? Eddie Bravo has knee stretches in his Rubber Guard book.

    I'd imagine that having a certain degree of flexibility, a la BJ Penn, is going to reduce risk of injury. I believe Kyra Gracie popped her knee out doing rubber guard, probably due to being weak/inflexible?
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2007
  8. kenwen

    kenwen Valued Member

    If you're stretching the knee, you're stretching ligaments which don't have much in the way of elasticity so once stretched, they'll weaken and stay in the stretched position. This leads to loose joints and potential problems associated with that.
  9. Zakotsu

    Zakotsu New Member

    Kenwen is right. it is nice to have flexible joints, but remember the definition of stretch. Stretching can be bad for you if done incorrectly.
    BY THE WAY. I really like that pigeon stretch. I don't feel much when I do it, but that is because I can already pretty much do the splits. And the Camel... o_O that just feels weird, I think it is because of the awkward position. Those are pretty good stretches. I like the pigeon, thats a new fav of mine. Great stretch.
  10. spirez

    spirez Valued Member

    I'm not convinced by that tbh. Flexible knees obviously doesn't mean stretching ligaments as they are not meant to be stretched but there are many muscles that help with knee flexibility ie IT band, hamstrings, calfs, quads, hip flexors etc
  11. kenwen

    kenwen Valued Member

    There's a subtle, but majorly important difference between your knee joint and the muscles that act on it.

    "Stretching" joints = BAD
    Stretching muscles = good for most situations.

    A joint only has a certain range of motion, take it further than its meant to go and you get breaks and dislocates. Deliberately taking it further as a "stretch" means you run the risk of weakening ligaments and connective tissue.
  12. Hapuka

    Hapuka Te Aho

  13. Mikey Triangles

    Mikey Triangles Neo-Ninja

    Eddie Bravo's book "Mastering the Rubber Guard" has a series of excellent stretches that aim mainly at hip and knee flexibility. You should check it out
  14. Budo-Paladin

    Budo-Paladin Genin

    Hello, i am doing Ninjutsu as a martial art and only been doing it for about 11 months so i'm failry new to it, and have much to improve. One of the main aspects in this art is knees, hips and spine. Ironically, these are probanly the weakest parts of my body. I'm having phisio to sort out my back starting tomorrow, but i still need to fix my hips and knees. There is a particular kick that shows something is wrong with my hips; as i bring my foot down, i hear a massive crack in my right side of my hip. And when i'm doing things like squats, my knees are always clicking. Sometimes they will just constantly click while i'm walking. Can anyone give me some advice for these problems. I presume its just infelxability.

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