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Developing Flexibility: Doing the Splits

Flexibility is just as important to a fighter as strength and speed.  Not only does it prevent injury, but it improves technique quality.  Because of my size, I have always been limited in flexibility, especially when it comes to my legs and kicking.  That is until high school.  I tried a method into improving my flexibility and in 1996, I was able to achieve the splits.

6 Minute Splits Workout

During a few years in high school, I used this method and was able to successfully do the splits before I left for basic training.  Start out by getting into the side split position and go as far as you can and time yourself for six minutes.  For each minute, you should be able to push down a bit more, but listen to your body so you do not overstretch and pull something.  Because of this drill, I can still kick rather high and my kicks are very powerful.  I can attribute a lot of that to flexibility.

Other Methods

Since I have gotten older and have had more experience, there are other ways in doing the splits that are also very effective.  Another exercise I have worked with is similar to the 6 minute stretch, but a bit modified.  Follow the list below on this particular exercise.

  • Start out by doing the side splits and hold this position for thirty seconds.
  • Move your arms and torso to your right leg and stretch for thirty seconds.
  • Now, from this position, move into a front split.  Be aware of balance.
  • After thirty seconds, stretch back down to the middle in the side split.
  • Next, perform the same two-part drill to the left leg and hold.
  • Finally, come back to the side split position as you did in the beginning and push a little bit more.

This drill allows me to work more angles at shorter timed intervals and I actually do see some improvement.  Please remember to stretch carefully and thoroughly.  Always stretch before and after your workout.  Allowing yourself to stretch before any workout will help prevent injury, and after your workout, stretching will help you gain some flexibility.  Train hard so that you can fight easy.

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