Quick flexibility help?
I want to know a few good ways to work on flexibility so I can manage to pull off decent axe kicks, high kicks, etc, etc. You know, useful stuff. :P
I'm completely new to working out as I have the metabolism of a hare, so I never really had a reason to just tone up or work out for the sake of it, combined with the fact I always played some form of sports growing up so I was never unfit. But now I want to work specifically on my legs and back to become that bit more flexible!
Any decent guides or anything you can give me would be really appreciated, I've tried searching but most of what I found looked to be coming from people who had no idea what they were even talking about. :P
Thanks in advance Bullshido!
Kick high to develop high kicks. A lot of people think of high kicking as only related to flexibility, but its your muscles that'll actually get your leg up there. So, to kick high, you shouldn't just be stretching a lot; you should be kicking high. Plus, if you're not used to actually putting power into your high kicks, then your high kicks won't be feared, and when they're not feared, they're a liability instead of an asset. High kicks should also be accurate, and only hitting targets with them will cause that and the correct distancing before the foot leaves the ground. I think neglecting to actually develop these things is why a lot of MA tournaments have head-kickers that miss their target by a foot or more.
Use dynamic stretching to develop your kick height, and save your static stretching for after your workout, not before, like I've seen lots of people doing. Focus on stretches that will help you opening up the hips- I've seen a number of folks do a million variations of a hamstring stretch instead of focusing on a more well-rounded routine, but they don't develop the flexibility they want.
Posture and stance can help or hinder high kicks. The reason I thought of this was seeing Keysi in your style field. From what I've seen, they kinda fight from a crouch. To kick high properly, you'll need to avoid crouching/ducking in your posture as you kick, to get the correct alignment, whether its a side kick or roundhouse kick. Bending over at the waist will rob you of power and correct followthrough, and make it more difficult to get your kicking hip at the right angle to kick high. So, even if you fight from a crouch, don't insist on kicking high from that crouched, covered Keysi stance.
Basically, you should be following good kicking principles and then add height. Don't cut corners in order to kick higher than you could do correctly.
As far as actually stretching goes:
It may take you a good while to develop the flexibility to kick the way you want. I'd say try to stick to a routine that stretches a good variety of muscle groups rather than, say, just focusing on doing the splits or something. You don't want to be super-flexible in one area and tight in others- that sounds like a recipe for something tearing or hyperextending.