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Martial Arts Flexibility

Martial Arts Flexibility
Most martial arts designs require some level of flexibility and consequently improving flexibility for martial arts will help you develop to new heights in your practice while nonetheless remaining secure from injury. While some individuals appear to have a natural ability to be flexible the majority of us need to work at enhancing our level of flexibility for martial arts. This article provides you a fundamental introduction of the kinds of info and training which professional martial artists carry out.

Performing stretches properly will improve your flexibility but if they are done incorrectly you are able to actually trigger more harm than good. It’s essential to remember that a sizable portion of injuries skilled in martial arts are caused by flexibility problems, mainly simply because the individual doesn’t have versatile muscles or fails to stretch the muscles correctly prior to carrying out methods.

So to obtain more flexible we require to learn how you can do stretches correctly. The basic point concerning stretching methods is the fact that they are able to be either dynamic (involving motion) or static (those that involve no motion). The six main types of stretching which incorporate these are listed and discussed below.


Improving Flexibility for Martial Arts

First lets start by examining the different methods of stretching.

  1. Ballistic Stretching
  2. Dynamic Stretching
  3. Active Stretching
  4. Passive (or relaxed) Stretching
  5. Isometric Stretching
  6. PNF Stretching


Ballistic Stretching

Here you attempt to use the momentum of your weight to stretch beyond your normal comfort zone. Ballistic stretching involves bouncing to the end of your all-natural stretch and using the momentum of your weight to force you beyond your normal range of motion. An example of ballistic stretching is when you bounce up and down on your toes by bending your knees and stretching your hamstrings, then using the stretch to bounce back upright. In general Ballistic stretching is not considered helpful and may really decrease your flexibility by not allowing your muscles to stretch into or relax in the stretched position.


Dynamic stretchingDynamic Stretching

This involves moving your body and limbs while gradually increasing both the speed and range of each movement. By skirting along the edge of your limits you use the warming from the muscles to gradually and gently improve the range of these movements. Dynamic stretching should only be used until the muscle starts to become tired. Tired or overworked muscles won’t be able to maintain the maximum stretch and the result will be less flexibility.

A martial artist when carrying out dynamic stretching to increase flexibility might perform techniques such as kicking, starting a low kick height, working up to a much higher height with every kick. This is illustrated in the picture (right).


Active Stretching

This type involves assuming a pose and then holding it through nothing but the strength of your muscle tissues. True active stretching poses can usually be assist for only 8 to 10 seconds. The tension from the muscle tissues working to hold the pose allows them to stretch. Active stretching is common in many Yoga poses.


Passive stretchingPassive Stretching

Also called relaxed or static stretching this involves assuming a pose then holding it with the assist of some other part of the body, the aid of a partner or some other apparatus. In terms of a martial artist using this sort of flexibility coaching, the picture may help. The martial artist may begin the stretch a muscle by moving their limb either with some apparatus or with their own bodily force, however upon holding the position of stretching the muscle, the actual muscle being stretched is relaxed.

Slow relaxed stretching such as this can be useful in releasing pain in injured muscle tissues and is also very good as a cooling down after a work-out to avoid muscle fatigue and soreness.


Isometric Stretching

This type of stretching is also a static stretch in that it doesn’t involve actual movement. Rather it uses the flexing of muscles to stretch and lengthen them. This type of stretch is one from the quicker ways to increase flexibility and strength from the flexed muscle tissues.

A common way to perform isometric exercises is to manually apply resistance using your own limbs.

Isometric stretchingAn example would be holding onto your toes as you attempt to bend your foot forward using your calf muscle. Or pushing against a wall even though you know you can’t move it. Another great example is when you place the palms of your hands together and push creating flexing and stretching of your arm and chest muscles.

To do this type of stretching make sure that you have first used dynamic stretching to loosen the group of muscle tissues that you are wanting to work. Then assume whatever position will allow you to create resistance on the chosen muscle. Flex the muscle for 7 to 15 seconds then relax it for at least 20 seconds.

Realize that a full set of isometric stretching creates a big demand on the muscle tissues you are working so should not be carried out much more than once a day.


PNF Stretching

PNF StretchingThis is currently considered the fastest most effective way to improve flexibility. PNF is an acronym for proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation. It is actually not a way of stretching in itself but rather a way to combine passive and isometric stretching together in order to achieve maximum benefit. PNF was originally designed to assist stroke victims but also works just as well for anyone else trying to increase their mobility.

Here is one way to use PNF. This technique is called hold-relax. In this technique you first passively stretch the muscle you want to work then isometrically contract the muscle for 7 to 15 seconds, relax for a couple seconds then passively stretch the muscle just a little further than your first stretch. This final passive stretch should be held for 15 to 20 seconds after which you release, pause for a few seconds and continue.

PNF stretching is a way to quickly strengthen and improve the flexibility of your muscle tissues.


How often should I stretch for martial arts?

The answer to this varies from person to individual depending on how far you wish to push yourself and also how far you need to push yourself. Keep in mind, every time you undergo a stretching session, very small tears in the fibres of your muscles occur – they’re so small that you probably will not feel them however it is important that you allow your muscles to recover. Unless you feel your muscle is in pain then it should be secure to stretch almost every day. However it is important not to stretch every single day to allow that redevelopment of your muscle fibres.

If you are a martial artist looking to have excellent flexibility, you should be looking at undergoing a stretching session twice a day, almost every day. Whilst this may sound like a lot of work , the much more supple you become, the less time you require to dedicate to each session. Individuals with excellent flexibility require only spend 5 mins per session. It’s the frequency, regularity and efficiency of each session which directly afffects your flexibility


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