what is the best place to find out about PNF stretches? I used a book by Thomas Kurz to get good flexibility, if you ever buy black belt mag, he's the guy doing the full splits on chairs with a couple of girls sitting on his legs. Got excellant kicking height from doing them.
I've seen Tom Kurz video. I like it and found flexibility is high maintenance, and time consuming. Constant warming up and stretching.
The things I've found is that if you are very flexible or become very flexible you need to be constantly aware of stabalizing yourself. Too many times have I seen people who are very flexible land from a technique improperly and crumble into long periods of injury recovery. Landing on anything that is not flat ground or slipping due to a sweaty floor or sippery surface Or, if not fully warmed up, tear muscles right off the bone. So if high levels of flexibility are a goal there are down sides. If you are trying to become more flexible you need the strengh behind it to make it worth your while. Too many times have I seen gumby girls come into class and through effortless high kicks but with no real impact behind it. The PNF stuff is great. When I go into flexibility training I like to use that. I have been taught by my
instructors to take it a bit further.
1) Standing facing your partner toes pointed forward hips straight in front of your partner, back against the wall or something that can be held onto when turning.
2) Parter puts stretchee's leg on shoulder keeping aware the supporting foot stays pointing forward. Raise leg until slightly uncomfortable.
3) Stetchee pushes down on leg 10 seconds. Stetchee then stops pushing and immediatly just flexes the quad. While the stretchee tightens the quad the stretcher/partner gently raises the stretchees leg until the stretchee says stop. Relax everything for 5 seconds or so then repeat the sequence two more times.
4) When at the limit of the hamstring part of the stetch the partner keeps the leg at that height. As the stretchee does a full 180 degree pivot with their suporting leg, this encourages a flexible transition from one posture to another. A secret to a good transition is the holder will have to move the foot he/she is supporting back towards himself/herself, being carefull not to allow that foot to drop too far. Hard to describe when writing. This side position repeats the process of the front.
5) This isn't really a step but what the partner needs
to keep in mind to watch out for. during this entire pnf strech the supporting leg and the stretching leg both needs to be straight as much as possible. If not then your cheating the stretch, like the forhead to knee thing not the chin to toes thing. The first part the stretchees hips need to stay paralell to the partner. Then they have to stay purpendicular.
Sometimes you tell the stretchee to turn that hip over
so much that they are pointing the hip to the floor and rotating the knee upwards.
Stretchees hips in the second position will be like in a Tae Kwon Do side kick. To promote the Thai round kick its encouraged to keep the leg rotated upwards towards the ceilling. Don't overdo this part, remember, the point is flexibility in the legs and hips while promoting stength at the same time. Another important secret is promotion of flexibility in the back. In this second position people have a tendency to drop their head to the floor when they enter this second position. Encourage to keep the head and torso up, flexibilety here promotes balance when doing a high kick. In other words the student wont throw a kick and in the process have his/her torso become a counter weight to the kick having to fight for balance after the technique is thrown.
6) After the side is complete the partner will have the stretchee turn towards the wall. Now the stretchee's hips are parallel again but facing the wall. Hard to keep the stretching leg straight here but do the best you can. This time you don't do the pushing and raising as in the previous steps but just stech out the back part as much as possible still keeping the torso straight. If in a ring the stretchee can walk his/her hands to the bottom rope and the partner holds the leg as if the stretchee was in a front split. Still not done :)
7) When done with this part, when the student is ready after 10-30 seconds of this frontal split, the parther keeps the toes high and the stretchee turns all the way forward facing the partner again. If in the ring or not both need to coordinate the return turn at the stretchees pace. In fact everything including height is at the stretchees pace. This is an extremly communicative drill and if done improperly people will hurt each other.
8) When facing the front and stretchees back is again against the wall the partner pushes the leg as high as the stretchees will allow for only a breif second. The stretchee cross's his/her arms in front of chest and partner slowly lowers leg until stretchee can hold leg as high as possible with their own muscles, no help from anyone. The partner "Taps" the top of the foot exactly towards the floor 10 times. Stretchee has to use their own muscles to keep those toes as high as possible. The supporting leg is straight and the stretching leg is straight. If you want to be a little sadistic you can keep tapping until they are full out of strengh when their foot is at the ground. he he :)
8) Lastly the stretchee allows the partner to shake out, gently the leg, and place the stretchees heel on the same side hip of the partner bending the knee and walking close to the partner, Knee upwards-walk out then back in doing left side- then again right side. it's a little extra non exerting stretch good for the leg and hips. The partner puts the foot on the floor. gently.
To do this proper warm up is required, get the blood circulating. Any kicks done after this stretch are encouraged to go easy then build up as you go until full power is comfortable. Little stretches are encouraged before this feat. Only do this 1x per week for beginners, in this stretch, 2x intermediates and 3x for advanced and whenever possible for experts. My flexibility improves greatly after time with this, strengh and power can be generated better, and balance can be achieved with being concious to what the torso is doing. This does take about 15-20 min to complete both legs and both the partner and stretchee. Once atleast one of two are competant with this instruction you can spawn lots of students with this drill so you won't have to deeply keep explaining this too much. I've known champion fighters that can't even touch their toes. Flexibility is not the most important thing. It does promote speed and power but also uncontrolability, and a faster propelling for injury. Be carefull with flexibility. You need to be concious of what your body is doing all the time.
Sorry all, for above, first post no paragraphs. Live and learn.
I'm hearing you with the glute tightness CC.
Mine currently are causing me great distress, there's
a two step stretch:
Lay on your back, keep one leg out straight. Your
partner grabs the other leg, which is bent at the knee
at @90 degrees. Your partner then slowly pushes that
bent leg downwards and across. So it comes towards
your chest as you lay on your back, but towards your
opposite shoulder. Ie right leg comes down & across
towards left shoulder. Keep your hips & other leg flat
on the floor.
You perform the PNF stretch as I have outlined.
Some people (inc. myself) find that this does not
get a real good stretch. So to intensify it, once
your partner has pushed the (right) leg down to where
the stretch begins, grab your right leg down low
towards the ankle, and pull it towards you so you
are applying some "twist" to your leg. You may want to use one hand to pull your lower leg a little closer,
and the other hand to push upwards gently on your knee
to ensure the upper leg rotates.
You should find that this gentle twisting motion
brings on a better stretch in your glute / hip
area. It stretches the rotator muscles which work
together with the glutes and are very important
when throwing roundhouse kicks.
I know the explanation is not the same without a
diagram or demo but I hope you can work it out.
Man I've done PNF stretches.
I have never been so sore in my life.
I gotta get my wife to start helping me stretch, I miss that kind of pain.
You need to engage in a particularly effective method
of stretching called PNF (Proprioceptive Neuromuscular
You need a partner to do it best:
You get your partner to help push you into the stretch
(some Eg's below) just until you feel the muscle tense.
Then hold for ten seconds.
After holding static for ten seconds, you push back
against the stretch firmly, your partner resists your
push and just holds it in that same position. You
should maintain your "push" for about five seconds.
Then you relax, your partner eases off the stretch for
a short break, and repeat three - four times. You
should be able to stretch a little bit further each
time. You should always be well warmed up before
doing this and never push through pain on your stretch.
To stretch Hamstrings: Lay on your back. Keep one leg
out straight on the floor. Your partner lifts the other
leg up, holds it by the ankle and pushes towards your
head. You must keep your leg straight and your back
side / pelvis flat on the floor. Perform the PNF
stretch as outlined above.
To stretch groin / adductors: Sit facing your partner
with your legs out straight, spread as far apart as you
can get them. Your partner sits in front of you, grabs
your hands, and uses his legs to slowly push your legs
wider apart. He should place his feet around your knee
area, and just push slowly so your legs slide apart a
bit further and you feel the stretch on the inside of
your thigh / groin area. Perform the PNF stretch.
I'm sure you get the picture - you can do this with
lots of different stretches, and to kick high you need
to work on the flexibility of all the muscles around
your hip and lower back. Hamstrings, groin, glutes etc.
You should try to stretch every day intially, then two
or three times a day - you don't need to do PNF every
time you stretch.
What kind of PNF stretchs do you do for your glutes Goong?
I'm a bigger guy but I'm not totally unflexable, I can get my feet to my forehead with little trouble, but I can't high kick for crap. I was wondering what anyone recommends stretching wise to get my flexability up.