Let’s be honest, you could use some help with your flexibility.
What if you could do rubber guard like BJ Penn?
What if you had the hip dexterity to do kick like Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson?
What if your back was just more flexible, so it didn’t hurt so much?
What if your shoulders had more mobility so you didn’t tap so fast on an Americana or Kimura?
What if you could finally do the splits?
What if you just felt better before you went to sleep each night?
All this is possible with the correct flexibility training. But, the simple fact is that many martial artists just don’t do enough (or any) flexibility training. Not only is that not helpful to your skill development, it eventually will lead to serious injury.
Let’s go over some basics:
1. Never stretch when you are cold.
2. Stretch in a warm room when possible.
3. Start with a foam roller to release the fascia for better results.
4. Do dynamic stretching prior to a workout (passive or active movement, not static stretching). This activates the body to be loose while moving, not just static.
5. Start with general, basic, easy movements to increase core temperate and release synovial fluid in the joints to improve lubrication.
6. Include dynamic stretches that mimic movements you need to improve in your martial arts.
7. Experiment with different breathing techniques. We are all unique and may respond differently than others do to any particular technique or method.
8. Be loose and relaxed.
After your training is complete:
1. This is the time for more static stretching.
2. This is the time to slow down and stretch deeper.
3. This is the stretching that will help next-day recovery.
Yes, we can all improve flexibility. We should.
You can also think of it from a long-term perspective.
Look at any aging martial artist. What is the one thing you notice most?
They don’t move as well as they used to. Some of that is from injury. Some of that is change in muscle power output. Yet, a lot of that is simply from being “tight” and not feeling great. The simple and easy solution is to maintain and even improve flexibility throughout your martial arts career and life. It really is that simple.
Thanks for reading.
The MMA Conditioning Association Team