Have you ever wondered how to improve your flexibility and mobility? Even if you don’t consider yourself flexible, daily stretches can help you to kick higher.
Muscle flexibility is the ability of a muscle to lengthen and allow joints to move through a range of motion. There is some debate about the effectiveness of stretching, however stretches are commonly carried out before exercise as they can improve muscle flexibility, prevent injury and enhance performance. Stretching can be very valuable as a martial artist, especially if you’re not naturally flexible.
Static stretches are the most widely used as they are easy to understand and implement. A static stretch is performed by placing muscles at their greatest length and holding that position. For example, with a quad stretch, you bend your knee, lift your foot and push your hips forward, which elongates the muscles.
To increase flexibility, you need to stretch regularly and push the stretch, but never rush and push stretches too far, as this can lead to injury. Other injuries may be prevented by stretching both after warm up, and after training finishes. This is because muscles are loose for the training session and are also less likely to seize and stiffen after training.
It is important to stretch corresponding muscles. For example, if you stretch your quad muscles, you should also stretch your hamstring. By flexing your quad, your hamstring extends, so by stretching both muscles you are less likely to make some muscles compensate for others.
Stretching is an important pillar in Martial Arts which is often overlooked by some practitioners. It’s not only practiced for the sake of delivering spectacular kicks! But there is no need to make full splits, you use pelvis (plural pelvises) and hips powers in kicks and is important to improve our hip and leg flexibility.