A few issues - advice sought

Discussion in 'General Taekwondo Discussions' started by ssiidd, Apr 22, 2013.

  1. ssiidd

    ssiidd Active Member


    Just wondering if I can get some advice on challenges I face in TKD. I have read quite a few posts with similar queries raised and answered but felt I needed to still ask

    I possibly lack in every aspect of fitness required for average TKD practice whether it is strength, flexibility, burst speed or endurance ... yup it is that bad and worse for someone inching closer to that black-belt dream o_O

    Flexibility ...
    Probably the most common issue that those in the 30something bracket face. My flexibility is zero at best, are there any techniques that have worked for you? (exercises, diet etc). How frequently should one stretch and how long for and what specific exercises. Any suggestions would be appreciated

    Strength and burst power/speed
    Currently working on this twice a week. Focusing on building my leg muscles (glutes etc) but at the expense of flexibility ... not to mention my knees have been a bit achy and seem to be bending inwards, I have healthy arches so this could just be in my head lol.

    Trying to start incorporating this in my 2x a week gym sessions this week. Two minute run, two minute jog for 15mins to start with.

    Are there any other ways? Should I consider ankle weights and a skipping rope?

    I have competed once and I couldn't last two minutes being out of breath and having no life in my legs ...

    Finding the time ...
    I work weekdays and work is very demanding (7-7). I am trying to do two TKD sessions a week in addition to two gym sessions so on the days I train I only manage about 4-5 hours of sleep. Saturday/Sunday I prefer to keep free but given my present situation will have to consider doing some exercise these days.

    Above pretty much summarises it all. I feel a bit embarrassed posting this here but am desperate for advice. More than willing to put the effort in but it just seems achieving optimum levels to perform TKD will take years.

    I would go to my seniors/instructor for advice but I don't want them to think less of me or that I am coming up with a bunch of excuses for my lack of skill etc :(

    Thanks in advance.
  2. Fábio França

    Fábio França New Member

    Hi there :D
    First, is normal to encounter challenges, they are part of the journey, making it more interesting. As for stretching if you do some exercises everyday, you will see that it will improve a bit, simple things will be enough :) Also try to jog at least for 30 min a day, that will improve you situation. A good night sleep is essential, keeps your energies recharged :D
    I think you should talk to your masters\teachers, after all they are the ones who are guiding you into the next levels (that black belt you talked about), and explain the how do you feel. Plus Taekwondo requires some effort in order to achieve good results, and if you dont feel prepared to advance into the next level dont go for it. We should be always humble.
    Some tips:
    Jog at least for 30 min a day.
    Stretch after you jogged
    Do some exercises for a period of time, kick during 5 min or other similar exercises you do in the gym
  3. Joseph

    Joseph New Member

    Hey there - there was a link to this that got dropped on twitter. I've been in the martial arts now for about 15 years, and so I signed up here to try and lend you a hand where I can as one fellow martial artist to another :)

    lets address these things one at a time:

    Flexibility: This is probably the easiest thing to work on based on your time frame. In your earliest phases of flexibility development, you will want to work on the butterfly stretch (sitting, place feet together, pull feet in towards groin, lean down towards feet), the straddle, and the sitting straddle. These are very important to developing hip-area and knee-area flexibility. Not doing these enough and attempting to work your speed drills could be the cause of your knee pain (but I'll hit that in a minute). You should run a stretch before and after any speed or strengthening drills on your legs. The "before" stretch will loosen you up to avoid injury. The "after" stretch will train the muscles to stay flexible by stretching them after they are warmed up, and will make stretching easier for you as time goes on. Only doing a "before" stretch actually does very little for you in the long run, especially after the age of 18-20.

    strength and burst speed: Again, if you run a stretch after the workouts your doing, performing these exercises should not diminish your flexibility. If your knees are hurting, its probably because the stretch isn't quite there yet, since you've stated that your arches are fine. If you feel as though you're turning inward on your knees, I would encourage you to videotape yourself and see if you are. It's possible you have weak knees in some way (and you may want to consider an MRI before you continue, just to be safe. You could be experiencing micro-tears). Remember, being informed about your body is your best weapon against pain :) It could also be possible that youre returning your kicks without un-switching your hips, etc causing a turn-in. A good video shot and the advice of your instructor should really help you narrow down this issue (and some good stretching!)

    speed/stamina: I cannot emphasize enough: Do Not Put Weights On Your Legs. They hardly help you strengthen, and in the end will do a lot more damage than good, especially if youre kicking with them on. The velocity combined with that weight pulling on your knees and hips is a sure-fire way to get strains, torn cartilage, etc. It's really, really not a good idea and I would not advise it to anyone, ever. Bikes are very low impact on your legs (something you want, since youre kicking is enough beating as it is) and can be very beneficial to your stamina; ultimately though, I have found swimming to be the best solution to a low combat stamina (something I suffered from for a long time). Swimming works all of your muscles and is a fantastic cardio workout - to me its the closest thing you'll get to sparring, making it ideal for combat training. Just doing a series of simple strokes for 15 mins a day can make a huge difference.

    Time of day: I have a deep respect for people like you, who love the art enough to spend a good portion of their day training, so kudos to you. But, sleeping less hurts your flexibility (true story!) So, you may want to consider revising your schedule a little bit. Perhaps work your body (for maybe only an hour) during the week and technique over the weekend, where you can dedicate several hours to learning. That would be my opinion on the time matter; but, of course I don't know your schedule! So, this is something you will have to work out on your own I think.

    I hope this advice has served useful for you! Sorry it was such a long read; I always want to see fellow martial artists succeed, and I wish you the best the whole way.

    Happy training!
    Fábio França likes this.
  4. John Hulslander

    John Hulslander Active Member

    Flexibility- www.stadion.com is run by an MD who is also a black belt with years and years of experience. You can get a lot of good information out of him.

    Burst speed- Plyometrics is the way to go. I posted our workout in one of Bowlies threads. It is difficult but it builds burst type speed as well as the stamina/endurance. Running is good, but not sufficient for what you want in TKD. I am not saying don't run, just include HIIT type sessions. Another great workout for burst and endurance is the jump rope. Work it like a boxer.

    Strength- I can't agree more with the above. Using weights when practicing does not help the way you want. IMO strength training is the most lacking I see in myself and in our club.

    Edited to include link to our plyo workout...

  5. Jon Sloan

    Jon Sloan Member

    If you can help it, try not to short yourself on sleep/rest. Remember if you push yourself too hard, it can start to backfire on your progress!
  6. ssiidd

    ssiidd Active Member

    Hi All,

    Thanks so much for your responses *Kyung Nae*. Some very useful information and tips that I will try to include in my exercise routine (swimming for instance and I might swap running with cycling ... I get bored really quickly when running)

    @Joseph - first, welcome to the forums. The thread was not long and even if it was it was all valuable advice, thank you. On time of day, just want to quickly mention the routine I went through yesterday (currently Tuesdays are a bit crazy, I hope to find a more sensible balance). For general conditioning I signed up to PT lessons at my local gym, got there 15 mins earlier and did simple stretches, a 10min jog/run and some more stretches. The PT session was very intense, mainly because my fitness levels are not quite there. My PT made me do some kettle-ball exercises to strengthen my legs and get the muscles used to some burst energy, worked on my glutes and made me do some pulley weights to help work on my core. I then did my usual Tuesday TKD session (it is generally 2 hours) with lots of kicking drills. I think 3 hrs of training after work was probably an overkill. Couldn't get more than 4 hours of sleep afterwards my mind was too active strangely.
    I have a 2hr TKD session today and potentially sessions similar to yesterdays on Thursday.

    Apologies, I am just trying to provide some context so hope I am not getting everyone bored.

    I plan to do the butterfly stretch daily and will try add a few more to it. I guess there is no set routine to this I just need to figure out what works best for me ...

    @John - Thank you for the link, it seems to have quite a few resources on it that seem useful. Any particular that you would recommend?
    Read yours (and bowlie's) workout. Yes it does seem though but I would like to give it a try once I have build some strength and endurance. Thank you for sharing the link, saved me searching time. Like the suggestion of the jump rope, have just ordered one.

    @Jon - A very valid point, I am trying to work on this aspect but proving difficult at the moment :)

    Thanks again for your help and advice so far.
  7. Debi

    Debi New Member

    Hi ssiidd,
    After reading your post and all of the very helpful comments you received I felt that there was one more piece of advice I could offer.

    I am a 50 + year old woman who just passed my black belt test, it took 8 years! I have dealt with all of your issues and then some. I've pulled calf muscles, suffered a torn meniscus and countless aches and bruises.

    The one thing that has kept me going through all of this (besides the stretching, practicing, etc.) is that I just didn't give up and you should not either, it is worth all the pain and strain in the world.

    If you set your mind to it you can do anything! That is the main thing our Sabumnim teaches us and that is my advice to you. Mind over Matter!

    Good Luck on Your Journey!
  8. ssiidd

    ssiidd Active Member

    Debi, thank you for your advice and encouragement. I really appreciate it and congratulations on your black belt! :)

    All the advice has certainly boosted my morale which I was in need of, now working on the various issues step by step.
  9. Aidan84

    Aidan84 New Member

    On the flexibility front, it's something I've always struggled with. I do subscribe to a couple of methods.

    First, regardless of what exercise you're doing, if your legs are warm, I do a few leg swings (ten each leg, front, side and back) and try to gain a little height each time. Some days will be worse than others, and some days I've found it a bit uncomfortable (I stop on those ones. If it hurts, it's your body's way of saying "clear off". That said it does depend on the type of pain, but I'm referring to joint).

    Second: TV is a wonderful thing. You can settle into a gentle stretch and watch your favourite programme. That said, you probably won't be as warm, so don't be heading for the burn here. When I say gentle, I mean you should feel it.... you shouldn't be pounding the floor in pain!

    I'm not the most experienced person on here, so don't take my word as gospel, this is just what I've found helps me.

    Regard to the burst power etc; try a good circuit training class or boot camp if you can find one. They tend to be pretty effective at boosting fitness in this way. Doesn't hurt to do those leg swings after either just to keep loose. :)

    As for putting weights on your legs.. please don't. It's ok for things like power walking, but if you're trying to do a kick with them on, your poor knee joints will be knackered in no time at all!
    John McNally likes this.

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