There is a method of training that increases your strength, performance, and balance, all while reducing aches, pains, and your chances of getting injured. Its called flexibility training, and it will ensure your ability to train long term, which is crucial not only for fighting, but for all aspects of life.
Ever notice that the first thing you feel when waking up in the morning is stiffness? Without flexibility training that stiffness will lead to the hardening and shortening of the muscles, tendons, and ligaments, making poor mobility, and injury almost certain. This is especially true as we age.
However, flexibility training is the "grease" that keeps our bodies moving. You should train flexibility before, and after workouts, as well as a stand-alone workout on its own day (i.e., Yoga day).
There are three different methods of flexibility training you should use:
Warming up before workouts should include active-isolated stretches. These are range of motion movements that you would perform for 5-10 repetitions and hold for only 1-2 seconds. An example of an active-isolated stretch is the supine biceps femoris stretch.
Cooling down after workouts should include static stretches. Like the name infers, these are stretches that you are going to hold for a period of time (static). You would perform these stretches for each exercise with a 30 seconds hold. An example of a static stretch is the kneeling hip flexor stretch.
For advanced folks with no flexibility issues, dynamic stretches should be done after active-isolated warm up stretches. You would perform these stretches for 10-15 repetitions, for about one second each. An example of a dynamic stretch is leg swings.
Below are quick instructional videos of the exercises explained above.
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Until next time, Stay Fit!
Author, The Short Fight
Supine Biceps Femoris Stretch
Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch