Stretching question

Yoga, Pilates, Body Balance and variations, general stretching and flexibility discussion.

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Stretching question

Postby WhoCaresWins » Tue Sep 09, 2008 6:09 pm

Hi,

In the past I have done quite a lot of (Iyengar) Yoga. At the moment I am doing kickboxing, weights and conditioning/GPP.

I am really keen to improve my flexibility. I have read on this site that it's better to do dynamic stretching to improve high kicks. And I have been following this site's advice.

I suppose what I am wondering is whether I should persevere with this sort of thing, or go back to doing yoga. Part of me knows it would be great to fit in some yoga - but there are only so many hours in the day and at this point in my life powerful high kicks are my goal!

WCW
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Postby wannalift » Wed Sep 17, 2008 4:04 pm

get this: http://www.stretchaflex.com/

as an ice hockey goalie, i highly recommend it.
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Postby 238128schade » Wed Sep 17, 2008 7:30 pm

I think all kinds of stretching are effective! But if you want to improve flexibility you have to stretch A LOT and be in every stretch for a long time. And also learn to feel when it hurts in a good way, and in a bad way. If it feels like the muscle isn't answering to the stretch, that it's just stiff, then you can do this method where you tense the musle as much as you can for about 10 seconds, or until the muscle feels really tired, and then when you relax you go deeper into the stretch. And repeat it 3-5 times or so. I think it would be really good to do a long stretching session, 1-2 hours, after some kind of acitivity that made the whole body really warm. I have never tried kickboxing but I feel that for example running doesn't make me warm in a way that is needed for stretching, but i think things like dancing, capoeira, some kinds of yoga (have never tried Iyengar, how is that?) and taekwondo (haven't tried much, but) is good.
And also, some days it's feels like it's just impossible to stretch. I don't know why. So i guess that those days you should just leave it.
To get high kicks i guess depends on the hamstrings. There are really a lot of hamstring stretches and I think that they all feel different. So try many and try to understand them, some of them might work for you and some might not. Yoga is not the only way to be more flexible, and if it's mostly the high kicks that you want, then it's a waste of time do to a whole yoga class instead of stretching the hamstrings. And also i think it's helpful to do this high kicks 1000000 times, and really throw the leg. It doesn't help if you're flexible as hell if you're not able to kick/throw the leg because of weak muscles.
I also think it's important to breath a lot during stretching, and to be really relaxed, and to really feel the muscle that is being stretched.
My favourite is to stretch after bikram yoga, then the whole body is cooked spaghetti and everything is possible :)
I hope something was helpful, this is just what I know works for me.
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Postby WhoCaresWins » Thu Sep 18, 2008 6:48 am

Thanks 238128schade - I know the method you mention - it's called PNF stretching I think.

I am basically doing lots of stretching. Mainly dynamic with some PNF and Isometric stuff. It does seem to be working!
WCW
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Postby draco880 » Tue Apr 07, 2009 3:44 am

I used to do Tae Kwon Do, which is mostly kicks. Stretching all the time will do it, but I think there are some other methods which can be mixed in to get you there more quickly. There's a methodology called Somatics that works on getting your muscles to fully relax first, and I find that doing this before normal stretching helps a lot. There are a bunch of websites on this, and one is probably as good as another. These days I do very little stretching, really, but I can still kick over my head with no problems.
Oh, also, bear in mind that it's not just your hamstrings interrupting a high kick. A frozen lower back or hip girdle muscles can keep your kicks waist-high forever if you don't get them loose.
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