my flexibility is really bad

Discussion in 'General Taekwondo Discussions' started by vietthanhnguyen, Mar 22, 2014.

  1. vietthanhnguyen

    vietthanhnguyen New Member

    Hi everybody, i am 17 years old, 180,5 cm and 78 kg. I have started Taekwondo for 3 months, my problem is is i can't do the roundhouse kick, after i can do the front kick well, i learned the roundhouse kick, but when i turn my waist to do the kick, my hip is really low, after turning my waist, my thigh only make a 50 degree with the floor (step 4 house kick.jpg). i think one factor that make me hard to do the round kick is that my thigh is really weak. Is their any exercise to make my hip become more flexible and become higher when i do the roundhouse kick? And can i become flexible enough to train taekwondo and kick to the head if i am 17 and really not flexible? Hoping for some advices, thanks a lot.
  2. teagentleman

    teagentleman New Member

    Hi, I can definitely relate to this. Flexibility (especially for guys) can take a very long time to develop. I too once wondered if head kicks were really possible for me. It took a while, but I got there in the end. You will too.

    In terms of things to do, things will of course improve simply by patiently practising the kick as much as possible. I am assuming you can actually do it (even if it is rather low)? To speed things up, you should also do some stretching at least once a day. Do the ones you normally do in class (make sure to do some sort of warmup first, but no need to go nuts), or look on youtube for some (I can recommend <

    in particular).

    Finally, double check you have got the technique fully correct. In particular, strictly speaking, the non-kicking foot should rotate almost 180 degrees by the end of the kick (you can see this in the images you linked) and if you are not doing that properly it will make things much harder.
    vietthanhnguyen likes this.
  3. canadiankyosa

    canadiankyosa Active Member

    Actually, no it doesn't. A person who not extremely inflexible can have the full splits in 6 months or less with the proper routine. 89%, probably, of martial arts instructors do not teach the proper routine and their knowledge can cause more harm than not.
    An extremely inflexible person may get close, but never do the slits, but they can come close enough.

    The info you give is half correct.
    vietthanhnguyen likes this.
  4. canadiankyosa

    canadiankyosa Active Member

    1) Do a joint warmup, ending with the feet and ankles because the last joints to do are the ones used in the main workout.
    2) Do three dynamic (NOT ballistic) kicks until your present maximum range of motion is reached. Dynamic and static stretching can be done anytime during the day without any warmup, just take a little more care on the static.
    3) Do a warmup of almost anything, involving the legs, that will get you sweating lightly, at a minimum (avoid excessive jogging or bicycling for warmup to stretching).
    4) Do not do pushups or any other strength training for the legs or hips.
    5) Crunches and "Superman" flyes (on the stomach)need to be done for a strong midsection and lower back before any other lower body strengthening. They must be done before the dynamic kicking or after the stretching is done.
    6) This whole part of the routine is 10-15 minutes.

    1) Get the video for Tom Kurz's and learn martial arts stretching, not the gymnast stretching that 99% of martial arts schools try to teach. (I hope mentioning bittorrent is not improper as I am a Canadian, not American). There is more info than can be put on here.
    2) Sitting on chairs is a useless show of adductor strength and adds nothing to a martial artists ability in kicking.

    I hate to say this, but it needs to be. The guy in the video is NOT following proper procedure or proper stretching mechanics, so I would not trust him. He is one those 90% I mentioned. Get Tom Kurz's book, Stretching Scientifically, and, especially, video (StretchingExpress, I believe is one of the three he has out)
    vietthanhnguyen likes this.
  5. teagentleman

    teagentleman New Member

    Apologies, I should have expressed myself more clearly. I said "can take a very long time to develop" not "will take a very long time to develop". Some people are inherently more flexible than others (you allude to this yourself with the pre-requisite of not being extremely inflexible, so I think this is a misunderstanding).

    As for the chairs, I am pretty sure he doesn't actually do that in the video, I don't know why it's in the thumbnail, he also at one point says not to do it the gymnastic way. If you haven't watched it then please do as I would interested to hear your opinion.

    And why not pushups or leg strength training? Do you think never ever, or not for this particular kick?

    Otherwise, I think we are really on the same page here...
    vietthanhnguyen likes this.
  6. canadiankyosa

    canadiankyosa Active Member

    There are 3 dynamic stretches and 3 static passive/static stretches you need are for the hamstring, adductors, and the hip flexor.

    1) A good hip flexor stretch to start with is the butterfly stretch. Sit as if cross-legged, but put the soles of the feet together. Keep the back straight through the whole motion or you stretch the lower back (and that could be bad here). Pull the feet in secondarily stretched by bending at the hips (how to roll your hips forward) then arching the back, slightly, by looking upward. Now, bring the torso upward and the, down keeping the same posture. Your butt should be noticeably sticking out with the hips ahead.

    Just thought of it, but read through this. Anything said here can be better said in-depth by a sports medicine/kinesiologist specialist. Kurz has been doing this for almost 30 years, at least.

    I hope everyone who reads the article on roundhouse kicks picks up on one very important factor: practicing kicks extensively before good, not great, flexibility is obtained can be very damaging
    vietthanhnguyen likes this.
  7. canadiankyosa

    canadiankyosa Active Member

    I have watched most of, but not all, of the video so far.

    To do strength exercises before stretching confuses the muscles. Strengthening shortens the muscle fibres. To fully stretch them at the same time is detrimental to flexibility rather than good for them. The same as isometric stretching (flexing the muscles while stretching) is considered a strength exercise. The only stretch after strength exercises to do are the light, static stretches to help prevent alleged "lactic acid burn".

    For martial arts, there are only about 6 strength weight training exercises needed.

    1) "Supermans" (lie on stomach and lift the legs and chest off the floor) for the lower back (these exercises must be done competently before any of the above. You can also do these and crunches on the end of a bench for a more profoundly heavy final burn.
    2) Cunches (most have no idea how these are done)1) leg curls (front and rear)
    3) squats
    4) Adductor flyes (100 reps with no weight them add 2-5 pds for 30 reps)
    5) Deadlifts
    6) leg curls (front and rear)
    7) Lunges for the knees (good slow repetitive kicking can do this, too, somewhat)
    ) Isometric exercises (try doing all of you forms with slow movements with the muscles flexed the whole time (legs, arms, torso, set). Believe my, you will get very good workout and you will be sore if done properly. It is a great way for toning the muscles.
    vietthanhnguyen likes this.
  8. Cameron Taylor

    Cameron Taylor New Member


    Lots of good comments made on this so far - From the images it looks as you might have a limited range of motion though your hips - Tight hip flexors are a common problem caused from spending too much time sitting down.

    Static Stretchering and Dynamic Stretching will both help but adding some strength training to your routine is key for fast improvement. Strength and Flexibility go hand in hand and you will need strength at the end ranges of motion.

    There are many exercises that benefit a martial artist but for you three I would definitely do to help increase your range of motion though your hips are

    - Lunges - Focusing on being able to lunge very long and deep then add weight.
    Set two markers out about 10m apart and try to get between them in the least amount of lunges possible.
    After a few weeks of this grab some weights and hold them by your side.

    - Cossack Squats same as lunges make sure you have a full range of motion then add weight.

    - Single Leg Hip Thrusts

    Start with a dynamic warm up leg swings, arm circles ect then a few strength exercises and a few sets of the mobility exercises above and finish with some static stretches.

    This is a great one for hip flexors,

    Other strength exercises and core training are also important ( On a side note I don't think most people should do sit up - there are a lot better core exercises out there) of course as is practising technique will help you to get a better kick :)

    Best of luck,
    If you want more tips check out my blog - I try and post weekly :)
    vietthanhnguyen likes this.
  9. canadiankyosa

    canadiankyosa Active Member

  10. canadiankyosa

    canadiankyosa Active Member

    Just on a quick read, I have some thoughts on what to avoid.

    1) Static stretches are good at anytime when cold, but otherwise they take 3 times as long and are for gymnasts and ballet dancers and such. Isometric stretches are best after warmed up. The 4 dynamic leg swings are second only to isometrics

    2) Strength training, of some sort, is needed but not before or after stretching. Especially isometrics. Tired muscles are very difficult to stretch and, therefore, strength training and isometrics do not work together. Do them on 2 separate days and use the static or static passive stretches right after.

    If there are no issues from the forum admins, I will attempt to upload the stretching vid clips from Tom Kurz. I know not the file size limit, though. Under 5 megs, it seems.
  11. Cameron Taylor

    Cameron Taylor New Member

    Personally I have no problems feeling a stretch after warming up or working out including strength workouts. You may have a increased range of motion and be able to stretch further than if you were not warmed up this may lead to a more effective stretch but there is no greater risk of injury and the stretching will still be effective.

    Isometric stretching such as PNF stretching is great but again I have no problem with doing it after a heavy weights workout and regularly do.
  12. Gnarlie

    Gnarlie Well-Known Member

    I think people express views too strongly regarding stretching. Current sports science and peer reviewed research reveals how little we actually know about the neurophysiology of stretching.

    It comes down to this: there's conflicting research out there. Choose what works for you, listen to your body, and read up on how to avoid injury. There's much more reliable research available on avoiding injury through stretching than how to stretch. Look for peer reviewed research and don't trust what people say online or in person just because they might have rank in MA.
  13. vietthanhnguyen

    vietthanhnguyen New Member

    I have read all of your comments, they are extremely useful. Thanks all of you :)
    Can you show me some core exercises that are more useful than sit up- the only core exercises i often do.

    i would be really appreciate if you can upload the vid from Tom Kurz :)
  14. canadiankyosa

    canadiankyosa Active Member

    Maybe some clarification here. Stretching warmed up is always more effective. Thing of plasticine (remember Play-Doh?). When it is cold, it is somewhat malleable. Now warm it up. Cold stretching can be done, but warm stretching is more effective. Injuries are not prevented by increasing range of motion because an injury is caused by going past your range of motion.

    PNF, in itself, wouldn't be isometric. Flex your muscles during the PNF and then it become it. It is also the second best, (to some) method of stretching. I am not a heavy proponent of PNF because if there is a possible overstretch, then it is too late once the partner releases the other.

    I am 46 and stretched, the way taught in 90% of martial arts classes, for over a year and had about 2 inches gain in that year. With Kurz's method (it is not the stretches that are really different except how to get to the side splits), I have gained 3-4 inches out to the side and my legs are almost 3 times my shoulder width apart for a "straddle" stance (similar to a horse stance) with the thighs parallel. If I keep this up, I can have the splits in 2-3 months. And, I usually do them while watching tv or anything where I am not moving around.

    Most people (under 20) who stretch cannot reach the splits within 2-3 months are:

    1) very inflexible due to the muscles not being relaxed (relaxing a muscle is really all "stretching" is)
    2) do not have the proper hip alignment or physiological capability for it
    2) are taught improper routines/stretches
    3) do strength exercises on the same day as they do their stretching routines. You can do it, but tired and/or sore and shortened muscles are more difficult to stretch so the returns are much less and injuries can occur much easier so are not recommended.
    4) do too many stretches for the same group of muscles
    5) Do not follow the same order every time they stretch.
    6) Do not do dynamic stretches 2 times a day
    7) over-train
    8) and other reasons
  15. Gnarlie

    Gnarlie Well-Known Member

    Kurz's method is PNF. PNF is isometric. You have to flex your muscles on and off during PNF, that's what makes it PNF. The contract and release cycle facilitates overcoming the stretch reflex from the Golgi tendon and uses the principle of reciprocal inhibition to acquire extra ROM in the stretch. PNF may or may not use a partner.

    It might be a good idea to check your facts before dispensing advice online that could lead to injury.

    Everyone: do your own research, don't be lazy and listen to other people's advice. Stretching is something that people feel strongly about without good reason; there's little actual science to support most of the points made here.
  16. canadiankyosa

    canadiankyosa Active Member

    I have studied it and understand it. Kurz is 100% against partner stretching and he does not bother calling it PNF which I recalled after typing but could not edit at the time of writing. He also broadens and clarifies that stretching the legs out to the side is not a fully static stretch. It is a static active stretch. Doing the same sitting on the ground with the legs spread is a static passive stretch.

    Injuries could occur passing on isometric stretching to an children or up to even even many 17 year old, as well. Our club has always taught the exact same stretching routine to all students. This was done with a master who had 45-50 years and a partial sports medicine degree. Our 4th degree also had a full sports medicine degree and, I hate to say it, did not do much properly. I may not call isometrics and PNF the same because the name is irrelevant to me, in the long run. Using the proper method and technique is relevant and I teach it.

    There is tonnes of research and science about stretching. There are more contradictions about what is the best method. I have followed the traditional, gymnastics static martial arts clubs use and found it does little for a mid-level inflexible 46 year old. I support Kurz's method because he supports his method (and it works better than any I have found so far) with anatomy, kinesiology, and other research, not just his own. Plus, he is not just a sports medicine kinesiologist graduate who graduates with basic knowledge of his biased instructors. His method also focuses on martial arts stretching. In a week, I have gained 3-4 inch wider split, a straight-legged "Charlie Chaplin stance" that I could not do a week ago, and the ability to chamber my knee for a side kick, ala traditional Shotokan karate, with knee at about solar plexus height and the foot beside the knee and coming up at an angle from said knee. This I could not do a week ago. The stretching has been done cold. I do do warmups at all so it takes longer. Oh, well. Again, the stretching 90% of the clubs do would take many months for someone to get where I have. I will see more as it goes because I have introduced his method into our club and everyone can have the same flexibility (if they stretch at home, too) where the physiology allows.
  17. Gnarlie

    Gnarlie Well-Known Member

    PNF and partner stretching are two completely different things which can but mostly don't overlap.

    Kurz ackowledges PNF, CR, CRAC, and many others in his writings.

    Injuries occur as a result of taking bad advice from under qualified people, and not moderating good advice to suit one's own physiology.

    What works for you may not work for others.
  18. canadiankyosa

    canadiankyosa Active Member

    Muscles are muscles. If it doesn't work, it comes down, mainly to the angles and changing alignments due to the bone structure more than anything. Take a side kick as example. Some people, aka children, can kick with the leg straight out to the side. Adults must do one of two things: rotate the hip forward or back depending on the structure of the hip. For the average person, aka pre-existing injuries, pain caused during stretching is caused bad angle and alignment (and people with many injuries can change these and do the close to the splits. I am not talking about soreness, either.

    Kurz's stretching is, as he acknowledges, hardly different from any others (except his side splits). It is, mainly, the order of how that sets it apart. The exercises and stretches work for all and there is no "better for one than another". As I said, too, 99% of martial artists teach exercises the way they were taught and the ones who do have a degree do not analyze the movements (aka kinesiology) to know how the body works so they end up teaching their students bad movements. Even Kurz modified his side splits stretch in the last 27 years. If I do not have an answer, I ask a friend of the family who has the full sports trainer degree what her opinion would be. Also, many of the issues that I had from being taught improper stretching for 7 years are no longer an issue because his Q&A cured those issues. Examples: I no longer bend over to put my palms on the floor and I do not do full leg raises. Every single person who had my issue no longer has is because these two exercises are not healthy to do. Yet, most certified sports trainers and coaches still teach people to do them. having a degree (think black belt, as well) does not guarantee a thing when it comes to proper exercising (including Kurz but I five him much more credit). I think most get a degree just to make themselves sound qualified. Self-study is just as good and I support Kurz because he supports all he states with science, references and the abilities he learned over the years. He will also reply to any question about it that a person feels like asking. His book has 50 pages of Q&A by itself and, I can almost guarantee the question on here has been answered by him, a qualified professional,

    I suggest anyone start with his book and videos and that stance will not change at this point. His program will work for all and if it doesn't, go see a doctor that specializes in kinesiology.
  19. Gnarlie

    Gnarlie Well-Known Member

    I would also list his book as essential reading on the topic. However, the information you're putting forth here in many cases contradicts what both Kurz and peer reviewed research suggests.

    Even taking into account musculoskeletal structure, there are a million other factors that might affect flexibility. We understand a few of them and how stretching results trend in proportion to extreme variation of those factors, eg hydration, stress level, limbic stimulation level. To say that 'muscles are muscles' and people react in the same way to stretching is folly.

    I'm not suggesting that a degree makes a person correct. I am suggesting that peer reviewed papers in medical and sports science journals are the most reliable sources of information available on the subject, and even those are based on sample group testing and often the results are inconclusive and open to interpretation.

    To form an overall impression requires more than just Kurz's view.

    To be in a position to give reliable advice online requires a profound understanding of the subject, which isn't evident in any of the posts here.

    That's why I would recommend people doing their own research rather than trusting single source advice: you never know the source, or how their agenda, understanding or communicative ability may have twisted the information.
  20. ssiidd

    ssiidd Active Member

    Very good advice overall. I agree with Gnarlie on people doing their own research and developing a program. You know your body and if you don't, learn to listen to it, understand it and tailor your training. A person who has been horse riding for years will require a slightly different plan to a swimmer for example.

    The only thing I would add to the discussion is, the fundamentals remain the same regardless of which exercise you perform. For instance, you need to be warmed up before attempting any exercise, particularly stretching. Your body needs to be appropriately replenished as well so not only do you perform the activity without starving yourself out but also can recover quicker afterwards.

    People often talk about workouts but fail to consider the element of diet. Plenty of water and greens are essential.

    If you are new to martial arts, your body is getting used to it anyway so take your time easing into things (3-6 months on average). You discover muscles you didn't know existed and you need to allow your body to adjust. Don't push yourself too hard. Personally I found basic yoga exercises useful as they helped me understand my limitations. I did a few sessions for 6 months, with some research I now roughly know how to approach my flexibility issues.

    Like most I have found Kurz's suggestions helpful, and will be using some in my own plan (it has even made me question our conventional training in the dojang)

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