Leg Stretching Devices – Martial Arts Flexibility
Leg stretching machines look like medieval torture devices but are used by some martial artists in order to improve their flexibility. They are primarily used to improve side splits where the legs are extended to the left and right of the body. Martial artists use wider side splits as a means to achieve higher kicks that involve lateral movement (i.e. a roundhouse kick to an opponent’s head). These machines are generally not used to help front or forward splits (i.e. splits used to achieve a higher axe kick).
Leg stretching machines use a crank system or pushing mechanism to slowly spread a martial artist’s legs apart. Some martial artists complain of hip and knee pain/pressure if the leg sections of the machines are spread too far apart and/or too quickly.
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. For additional information on stretches and flexibility training, please visit the main Stretching section.
Examples of Leg Stretching Machines