Three Simple Steps to Flexibility
The Three Aspects of Flexibility Training:
Some say the best things in life are free but I have my own opinion. I think the best things in life are simple. In fact, the simpler the better.
It applies to flexibility training just as much as everything else. And not only to flexibility training but to all martial arts training.
There are only three simple steps to becoming flexible and getting the splits.
Before you stretch it is important to warm up your muscles and get some fresh blood to them. You need warming up just like your car does on a cold day; you have to go out there and let your car run for a few minutes before you can drive.
Warming up gets fresh warm blood to your muscles which acts as lubricate and oil. Thus causing them to become more like elastic and stretchy like a rubber band.
The importance of properly warming your body up before and stretching, workout, or physical exercise cannot be stressed enough. It is important to keeping yourself healthy but also to getting the maximum result out of training. Not warming up before your training would be like using a computer with half its power.
Now that you’re warmed up, you need to make those muscles stretch. All you have to do after you’re warmed up is go through your stretching program and hold each position for a minimum of 15 seconds. Make the muscles get tense to where it’s uncomfortable—not painful but uncomfortable. It shouldn’t be hurting.
You’re warmed up and you’re all stretched out. Now you need to make that muscle stay stretched. How you do it is very simple. Hold it there.
Yes. Just hold it there. The longer you hold the stretch the more the muscle will get used to being that long and you will thus become more flexible. The idea is less about making the muscle stretch and more of making the muscle learn to relax and allow itself to stretch.
One of the best things you can do to improve your flexibility is to get into a split (or as close as you can get) and hold it there for 10-30 minutes. I only do this after I’ve finished my entire stretching program. When I’m done, I just get into a split (or as close as I can) and stay there for as long as I can. Maybe only 5 minutes, 10, or 15. The more time your muscles spend stretched, the more natural it will be for them.
I understand that this will get boring quickly but I have a solution for you. All you have to do is read a book, watch a movie or TV or if you’re a student you can do your home work. Why not stretch while doing those activities?
I do all my splits sitting on the floor. I just sit down and little by little I push my left (or it can be your right) foot out while keeping my other foot where it is. I lean back on my hands. I’m very relaxed because I’m just sitting on the floor in a split position. It sounds hard but it’s not, really. I like to read a book, watch TV or a movie while doing it. Time flies when you’re having fun.
- Warm up. Lubricate those muscles. Make them warm, relaxed and stretchy.
- Start stretching. Do whatever stretches you do and go as far as you can. You should feel uncomfortable but it shouldn’t hurt. If it’s hurting, you’re going too hard.
- Hold the stretch for a certain amount of time.