Martial Arts Training – 3 Stretching Routines to Increase Flexibility For Martial Arts Enthusiasts

Flexibility enhances the range of motion of the muscles. Martial artists perform many techniques that require them to bend into unusual positions. Stretching the muscles creates the flexibility needed so to not sprain or tear muscles. Flexibility also aids in balance, speed, strength and power.Flexibility and stretching exercises should be performed before and after each workout. Warming up the muscles before using them aids in not tearing a muscle. Hold the stretch for a minimum of thirty seconds. As your flexibility increases push the stretch for a greater range of motion. Never bounce the stretch. This could cause a sprain or a tear.The Hamstring (or Hurdler’s) Stretch
Sit on the floor with the leg to be stretched extended straight out in front of you.
Place the bottom of the opposite foot against the inside thigh of the extended leg.
Take a deep breath.
As you exhale, lower your chest toward the extended leg.
Stretch your arms and try to reach your extended foot.
In the beginning, you may not be able to get your chest all the way to your leg.
Lower your chest only far enough to where you feel the stretch in the hamstring muscle (in the back of your leg).
Do not allow the knee of the extended leg to bend during the stretch.
Do not bounce.
Hold the stretch for a minimum of 30 seconds.
Repeat the stretch with the opposite leg.
The Pectorals (or Chest) Stretch
Extend your arms to the rear and interlock your fingers.
Gradually and slowly, raise your arms until you feel the stretch in the pectoral (or chest) muscles.
Hold the stretch for a minimum of 30 seconds.
This exercise stretches the muscles of the chest (pectorals) and front shoulder (delts or deltoid).
Flexibility in these muscle groups will enhance all hand and arm techniques.
The Shoulder-Girdle Stretch
Extend your arms to the front. Interlock your fingers and turn your palms outward.
Push forward with your hands and at the same time push your shoulder blades to the rear.
This exercise stretches the muscles surrounding the shoulder blades (the Teres, the Latissimus Dorsi, or lats and to some extent the delts) and enhances all hand and arm techniques.
Even if you do not participate in martial arts self defense training, these stretches will add flexibility to your muscles. Any physical activity you perform will be enhanced when your add flexibility. Try these stretching routines for the next few weeks and notice if your range of motion increases. Make it a routine before beginning your favorite activity to warm up the muscles to prevent injury.

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