View Full Version : Need more flexibility now!!

09-14-2000, 09:00 AM
I heard reference to a stretching technique called PNF, or PNR, or something similar. Anyone know what it is?

My goal is to become more flexible relatively quickly. I don't mind some pain, I have a pretty high threshold.

BTW, for your average 6'6" guy who never made it a point to be flexible, about how long before he could do a side split? His attempts now get his legs to spread just beyond the 90 degree mark. Two months, 2 years?

I am excited about what I am learning, but have found that my poor leg flexibility is really getting in the way of properly executing the moves. My leg strength is above average, but I can't get the leg around the way it should.

Dumb Question: Is the scene in Kickboxing with Van ****e where the master ties ropes around his ankles and pulls his legs completely open a fantasy? Or is that based in part on truth. (not that I want anyone to force my legs open like that. Unless she's real cute /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif )

09-15-2000, 08:55 PM
I have been exercising for YEARS. I even studied Yoga for awhile.

Sorry, but there are no safe ways to attain flexibility quickly. Tolerance for pain has nothing to do with it. You will still damage your muscles. You see?
Your tolerance for pain is mental...your physical body cannot necessarily endure as much damage as you mind can.
If I stab you with a knife, you may be able to endure the pain...but your body is still damaged and bleeding. You see what I mean?

So, it is a very bad idea to spread yourself really far even if you can endure the pain...because you muscles and connective tissues are still going to get damaged. Some damage heals...some does NOT.

As far as how long it takes...actually, some of that depends on genetics. Personally, I have never been able to do the splits in my life! That is just the way the tendons and ligaments in my legs are...they are very short and tough. I COULD do the splits eventually...but it will take me a very, very long time to grow those tendons & ligaments out (like a couple of years). Other people seem to be able to scratch the back of their heads with their feet! Go figure.

As far as Jean Claude is concerned. Remember that what you saw was a movie...he was already flexible enough to do the splits BEFORE he filmed that scene! He did not GET flexible IN the movie. He is an action movie hero...just like Stallone or Schwarzenegger. The movies have to make him look unusually tough...a super hero. They put on these shows of EXTREME military type training to make him look tough. In reality, he was already able to do that stuff BEFORE the movie was made.
I would not try the rope trick.

If you tear a ligament or tendon they will heal but you could have some permenent damage. Tendons connect muscle to bone. Ligaments connect bones to each other. Ligaments are less flexible than tendons and if you tear a ligament...it might not heal all the way. You may need surgery and might lose partial movement of the limb.

The best thing for you to do is to start stretching out DAILY starting right now...and realize that you are just going to have to take your sweet time with it. It might take monts...it might take a year or two. There are no safe, quick ways to do it that I have EVER heard of.

Besides, exercise should feel good. If you are in pain you are not going to like to do it...and eventually you might get discouraged and quit. I stretch for about an hour or two. I do it so long because it like it. It makes me feel good...and now I am more flexible than I was months ago.

Take your time and enjoy it...that's my 2 cents worth. /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

"There is only ONE karate"

09-15-2000, 11:35 PM
Man I hate Van Damme.Notice that he throws 99% of his kicks with his right leg.The guy is a one legged kicker!Also,I saw a picture of him recently,he looks terrible!I guess his severe drinking and drug use caught up to him,but he looked very skinny and wrinkled on his face.
Hows that for an off topic post?sorry /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

Jaguar Wong
09-16-2000, 04:51 AM
If you do a search on PNF stretching, or Tom Kurz, you can find a lot of information about it. The goal is to work at your own pace. Don't force your body to do what it can't. You'll just end up causing damage, and then you'll have to recover before you can start stretching again. Totallyfrozen is right, pain tolerance has nothing to do with the ability to gain flexibility faster.

Jaguar Wong
www.superaction.com (http://www.superaction.com)

09-17-2000, 05:40 AM
It really depends. How is your physical condition?

My motto is, if it hurts and you know the pain isn't supposed to be like that, then don't do it.

Stretch progressively further every week. Make a goal for yourself to stretch all your muscles when you wake up in the morning, before you engage in training, and before you go to sleep.

Remember, if you lift weights always stretch before and after you lift, especially after. If you don't your muscles will bunch up and it will get worse.

Underaged Drunken Monkey

09-17-2000, 06:28 AM
There may come a time when you feel pain in your joints when stretching(or doing any other exercises). The thing to do is to not go back to stretching in that area of pain. When you feel pain in your joints it could be a number of things causing it. Over working of a certain area without giving it a day or two to rest will fatigue that area. This will put your joints in the position of trying to pick up where your fatigued muscles temporarily failed do to lack or rest. Resting your body is the best training of all. Over working it will only hurt you later on, then you will have to take needed time from training to heal. Believe me, I know what that kind of pain feels like and it ain't good son!;)

Oh by the way. PLEASE do not try to be like Jean Claude! The world does not need another ego driven jerk like him. Sure, he can do high kicks and all. However, just like jimmy23 said, "Notice that he throws 99% of his kicks with his right leg.The guy is a one legged kicker!" Think about this, if your right leg is fatigued and you know that you are weak in you left. What are you goin to do then? If you train for 1hr w/ you right leg, you should train 1hr w/ your left leg.

Bon chance!

"Darkness has come. May the darkside of the force be with you."


Jaguar Wong
09-17-2000, 07:47 AM
Another thing about gaining flexibility. Your body does better over all if you stretch for flexibility gain after working out. That way your muscles are already warm, and they retain any stretching flexibility better. It's always a great idea to warm up with some light cardio, and stretching, though. You will still gain flexibility, but you'll get the best results if you stretch after a good workout. (whether it's martial arts, or weight training, etc.)

Jaguar Wong
www.superaction.com (http://www.superaction.com)

09-17-2000, 04:25 PM
I am a certified Hatha Yoga instructor (Check out my site:Dragon Studios (http://www.dragon-studios.net))and I can tell you without hesitation that if you try to hurry your stretching along you will cause SERIOUS MUSCLE TISSUE DAMAGE. If you are looking to improve you splits and reach, you need to stretch your hip flexors. These are the strongest, yet the weakest muscles in the body. Strongest because they resist simple actions like sitting cross-legged and being able to put your knees on the floor, and weakest because one finger can defeat a side kick by knocking the leg down. The best Yoga routine to stretch your hip flexors is called Rowing the Boat.

As for Van Damme, I heard he had his groin tendons cut and lengthend shortly after he started his film career, as he wasn't spending as much time training, and was losing his flexibility. By cutting and artificially lengthening his tendons, he has taken all power out of his kicks.

Finally, throwing a kick to somebody's face takes a lot to master. Better to kick them in the knee. They'll stop bothering you if you take out their knee. /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

Without going outside,
you may know the whole world.
Without looking through the window,
you may see the ways of heaven.
The ****her you go, the less you know.
--Lao Tsu

Hiroshi Tanaka
09-17-2000, 08:28 PM
When I started ninjutsu about 5 years ago, I had the same problem. Althought in ninjutsu you don't have to be flexible at first, but I wanted to get flexible as soon as I could. Well, I started with the everyday "soccer" or budo stretches, and I did them for about 6 months. After that I started to do horse stance, from 1 minute to 30 minutes. I also did about a hundred high-kicks everyday, and I took me about a year to be able to do a split. So try and do the same, if you think one year is fast enough. /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gifnull d:hullua!ninjavar ..... I wonder if it works......

Anything you wish for can be reached, but be careful what you wish for

09-17-2000, 10:37 PM
you want to warm up first. stretching cold muscles isn't nearly as beneficial. you can do some low kicking to work up a sweat and some leg swings. to do a leg swing you keep your leg straight and swing it back and forth as high as you can (while keeping your leg straight and not causing pain). try to do 10 each leg without putting your foot down. also do them to the sides.

the best way to stretch is very very slowly. it will take awhile to finish all your stretches but it's well worth it. legs alone should take about 15 mins if you can devote the time to it. breath out the entire time you are going into the stretch. when it gets to the point where it is about to hurt stop and hold that position for a minimum of 10 seconds. 20 to 30 is best. remember to breath while holding the stretch. shallow breaths are best. you should do 3 to six reps of each stretch. let your first stretch be your ***** stretch . . . hold it where there is only a slight hint of tension.

i hold my first stretch for 10 seconds, second for 20, and third for 30. i am fairly flexible though, and this is adequate. you may want to start out holding every stretch for 30 seconds.

muscular contractions are good too. while in the stretch, slowly tense up the muscle to completely straighten the leg as you breath out and relax it as you breath in. in order to do this you can not be stretched too far, so it's also a good guild line to make sure aren't overstretching. over stretching will make your flexibility goals take twice as long at best.

slowly release the stretch and switch legs. go back to the same leg and try to make it down a little further than you did the first time as it is warmed up. if it hurts don't go any further at all. after you have stretched daily for a couple of weeks you can press your limits a little further. your body will be more tuned to what is mere tension pain and what pain is being caused by overstretching.

remember that getting impatient and bouncing into the stretch, or not taking enough time to hold it, will not only cause injury, but will greatly increase the time it takes you to attain the flexibility that you desire. i doubled my flexibility in about 2-3 weeks doing this. the first week i didn't notice much difference, but i kept up on it. that is also a very important factor in flexibility as it will leave you very quickly if not practiced. you should start by stretching every day. everyday is always best, but if you cant manage because of time constraints, do it daily at least until you are at a level you are satisfied with. after that 3 times a week would sustain that level, but may not allow you to gain flexibility very quickly if at all.