Stretching provides the following benefits that enhance martial arts training as well as other athletic activities. Stretching routines should be done before and after martial arts training in order to maximize the benefits of stretching. All stretches and exercises should be supervised by a trained martial arts instructor in order to prevent injuries and to ensure the proper technique is utilized. You should also visit Black Belt Wiki’s main Stretching section for detailed instructions for a wide range of stretches (i.e. hamstring stretches, shoulder stretches and calf stretches).
What are the benefits of stretching?
- Increases flexibility and range of motion. Stretching helps martial artists to achieve higher kicks (i.e. axe kicks) or more difficult grappling positions.
- May reduce the potential for martial arts injuries by loosening tight muscles and allowing greater range of motion (which in turn hopefully reduces over-extension injuries).
- Possibly speeds the recovery time from injuries. Physical trainers often use gentle stretching after an injury in order to help restore flexibility and strength.
- Reduces muscle soreness after an intense martial arts workout.
- Potential for improvement to athletic ability (i.e. punching power or kicking power) due to a wider range of motion and limb flexibility. This can result in a greater wind-up and thus more potential power.
- Increases blood flow to your muscles and thus may enhance potential muscular development.
- Improves coordination and balance given the different positions and muscles utilized during various stretching techniques. For example, a standing quad stretch is a great stretch that also works on your balance.
- May provide potential stress relief as you loosen tight muscles and relax after a long day at work.
- Can enhance mental focus as you concentrate on the stretch prior to beginning more intense martial arts training. Some martial artists use the stretching segment of training almost as a meditation session in order to mentally prepare for their training sessions.
Mayo Clinic – Benefits of Stretching
Martial Arts Stretching
- Mayo Clinic, Stretching: Focus on flexibility, http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/fitness/in-depth/stretching/art-20047931
- About.com Orthopedics, Groin Strain Treatment, http://orthopedics.about.com/cs/sprainsstrains/a/groinstrain_2.htm