How to Stretch for High Kicks and Flexibility

How to Stretch for High Kicks and Flexibility

So, I made a video called, Flexibility Without
Stretching, and in that video, I admitted I really don’t stretch that much. But people still ask me all the time, “How
do I improve my flexibility so I can kick higher?” So, today, I thought I’d share a technique
that I used to use back in my Taekwondo days. It worked really great for me back then and
I’m sure it will work really great for you today. Let’s get to it. Okay. The technique is called proprioceptive neuromuscular
facilitation or PNF stretching. Don’t worry about that. That’s just a fancy way of saying squeeze
and release. So, there’s a couple different ways you
can do it, but I’m going to show you my favorite. Let’s say you just put your foot up. I’m going to pretend like I’m doing a
front kick here. Now, the idea is to push down with your heel
as hard as you can and squeeze all the muscles in your leg for 10 seconds. All right? That will be the squeezing part. So, let’s do it. Here we go. Get yourself into good form, feeling strong,
and then go. 1… 2… Hey, while we’re waiting, if you’re interested
in a workout idea that you can do on a staircase, whether you’re at the office, at home, or
on the track, check out my video, Stair Workout for MMA. That’s a good one. 9… and 10. Now, right now, no more squeezing. Relax your leg. As you do that, almost magically, you’ll
find you can slide up a little bit farther. So, now, I’m going to reset and do that
for another four or five sets. Either slide your leg up a little bit more
or bend your supporting leg a little bit more just to widen out your stretch. After I do my right leg, I would do my left
leg. But don’t stop there. That’s just the hamstring portion of this
kind of stretching. If you want to be better at all your kicks,
now I’m going to roll it over into a side kick position so I can work on my groin muscles
as well as my hamstrings. But I wouldn’t stop there, either. If you’re super smart, I would apply your
PNF stretching, or squeezing and releasing, to every stretch that you do. Keep in mind, I’m not a doctor. My understanding of PNF comes from my own
personal experience. But here’s how I think about it. You know how when you’re stretching, you’re
pushing everything out to the limits, and then suddenly, your body tightens up. Well, believe it or not, that reaction is
designed to protect you, not to hurt you. Why? Because your brain has never seen you do a
full split before. So, when it sees your feet going farther and
farther apart, it says, “Whoa, big fella- I’m gonna stop you right there.” But here’s the funny thing–if you got knocked
out cold by an attacker or if, God forbid, someone killed you– it’s not all bad. The good news is you’d finally be able to
do that full split. That’s because when your brain is turned
off, your body just becomes a big bag of blubber. The trick is figuring out how to stop your
brain from stopping your body when you’re alive and awake. And one way to do that is to voluntarily tense
up your muscles. Make sense? I don’t get it, either, but it works, so give
it a try. And here are three tips to make sure you do
it right. One: Warm up. Always! Stretching a cold muscle is just asking for
trouble. So, always make the time to break a sweat
and get your blood going before you stretch. Two: Be patient. If you drop into a full split right now, there’s
a good chance you’re just going to injure yourself. That means it’s going to take even longer
to reach your goals. So, take it slow and steady. Three: Give yourself time to recover. PNF technique is pretty intense, so make sure
you’re eating right and sleeping right. And remember—if you come into a workout
and you’re still sore from last time, well, that means your muscles are still healing. So, it’s okay to loosen up and still practice,
but save your deep stretching for another day. And that’s your tip– squeeze and release. If you liked this video, I’d appreciate a
thumbs up or, even better, hit subscribe. But to keep up with everything I’m doing,
find the link to sign up for my free email updates. Until next time, feel the burn, my friend,
and keep fighting for a happy life.


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