Post-Workout Static Stretching (Wall Stretching)
There’s quite a bit of confusion about what kind of stretching ought to be done when. Generally speaking, performing static stretching only lightly prior to kicking followed by dynamic stretching will loosen you up without risk of pulling a muscle. Hard static stretching should be saved for your post-workout cool down stretch. Stretching while standing in the same position as the kicks you are practicing serves to develop functional flexibility. You can focus on proper body alignment, foot position, and allow your body weight to pull you into increasing deep stretches.
The keys to static wall stretching:
- Focus on the two primary body alignments, the front and side kick positions. These are really all you need to improve all around flexibility as relates to kicking (and just about everything else)
- Maintain a straight spine. In martial arts, this is a fundamental principle of not only power and speed, but also of mental and physical health. Don’t push the stretch to the point you need to compensate by arching your back.
- Stretch within your limits. This type of stretching can be uncomfortable at first. Don’t force a stretch. Stretch to moderate discomfort, hold, relax, and breathe into the muscle with long deep breaths until it lengthens, and then push a little farther.
Front Kick Stretch:
- On the frontal stretch, keep both legs straight, and the base foot as forward facing as possible (though in the beginning, it may help to turn the toes out a bit).
- On the frontal stretch, bend from the waist, don’t try to pull the shoulders and head down.
Side Kick Stretch:
- On the side kick stretch, maintain a 180 degree pivot on your base foot.
- Make sure your shoulders/chest are in side alignment with the kicking leg.
- Have the foot of the kicking leg flat, or turned down slightly, not turned up. This will ensure the groin is properly stretched, and will pave the way for a true side kick.
- The primary stretch here occurs in the standing leg, so make sure that it is straight, with the body kept as upright as possible.
- Don’t bend your kicking leg to gain height on the stretch. This is not a true stretch.
You’ll notice at the end of each of these static stretches I add about 10 seconds of tension, taking my leg off the wall and holding it at its peak. This provides strength and balance at your fullest range of motion. And it makes for viscous kicks.
More Stretching Videos.