ART OF STRETCHING!
Preparing your muscles for the strenuous kicks and exercises that Kick Boxers endure is no easy task. However, one of the most important things one can do to prevent unnecessary injury is properly stretch his or her muscles. Stretching comes very easy for some and very difficult for others. I was one of those people that stretching did not come easy for. I clearly remember a period when it was Difficult for me to touch my toes. I quickly realized that I wasn't inherited with the "natural stretch," I had to work extra hard at it. In the beginning stages of my Karate training, my instructors put me on an extensive stretching program. I increased that program to one even more rigorous. A good stretching program should be done at least five days a week ( if not every day) and three times a workout . The results were rewarding for me. More flexibility increased my power, speed and focus. Here is a portion of my stretching routine that provided me with the flexibility I enjoy today.
General Stretching Tips:
* Stretch at least five days a week, if not everyday.
* You should hold stretches, not bounce or jerk.
* Do each stretch with an eight or ten count. This will give you consistency in your routine.
* You should hold until the stretch is slightly uncomfortable. You should not feel a burning sensation.
* Stretch before, during and after each workout.
* Neck and Spine should remain aligned in most if not all of your stretching.
1. Standing head to knee stretch. (A) Standing with feet together toes even- bend forward and grab ankles with both hands, pull chest toward knee until slightly uncomfortable. (Remember to keep neck aligned with spine.) (B) Hold this position with a ten count. Release and repeat.
2. Cross leg stretch: (A) Standing, cross right foot over left, keep toes even. (B) bend forward and grab both ankles hold with ten count.
2b. Hip rotation: Legs should be approx. two shoulders widths apart. Feet flat on floor and pointing forward. Hands on hips. Push hip to right and in full circle, repeat on opposite side. Note: you should feel this stretch in the hips and inner thighs.
3. Straddle Stretch (A) Spread legs approximately two to 2 1/2 shoulders widths part, keep toes even. (B) Bend towards leg- grab ankle (C) Head to knee hold and ten count.(D) Repeat with opposite leg. (E) Grab both ankles and pull to center ( neck and spine straight.)
4. Side Stretch (A) Repeat Ill. A in frame 1. ( B) Right foot at 45 degree angle and bend knee towards direction of foot.(C) Bend your upper body back towards the extended leg. Note: You should feel this stretch in your inner thigh area. This is a great stretch for the side kick.
5. Side Heel (A) Repeat Ill. A in frame 1. (B) Turn left foot on heel - point toes upward. (C) squat in sitting position, putting most of your weight on right leg. (D) Repeat with opposite leg. Remember to keep extended leg straight. note: This is a great stretch for muscles used for the front kick.
6. Side Toe(A) Repeat Ill. A in frame 1 (B) Turn left foot on toes - heel upward. (C) Bend right leg, slightly lean forward, tilt upper body back slightly.(D) Repeat with opposite leg. You should feel this stretch in the extended leg/ thigh area.
7. Standing Straddle (A) Begin with legs approx. two to two and half shoulders widths apart (B) Grab right ankle- hold for 10 count and repeat to left and center holding both ankles.
8. Sliding Straddle (A) Slide leg apart until it is comfortable to put both hands flat on floor (B) continue to slowly slide them apart until it becomes slightly uncomfortable (C) Hold position with a ten count. Note: The angle of your foot (soles or heels) will greatly determine what part of the legs will receive the greatest benefits.
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Copyright by Johnny Davis, 1995