We spend a lot of time developing great technique and fitness during our martial arts training. The more we train the stronger we get but it is important to remember that flexibility plays an important role in our health and well-being!
Physically, increased flexibility will improve our range of motion in our joints and musculature allowing us more freedom and subsequently enhanced ease of movement.
Intellectually, kids these days have tons of homework and spend countless hours studying to improve their academic performance. Sometimes they get tired or have difficulty focusing after extended periods of time. TAKE A BREAK! Take a quick “focus” break and stretch, using these easy suggestions that parents can do along with their ninjas!
Seated Hamstring stretch (Perfect for developing higher front kicks!)
Sit with your legs straight out in front of you. Take a deep breathe in and reach down to your toes while exhaling. If you cannot reach your toes then grab your shins and hold for 7 seconds. Repeat this 2-3 times.
Butterfly Stretch (Great for hip flexibility)
Sit with your legs in front of you, and then bend your knees to bring the bottoms of your feet together. Hold onto your toes, apply slight pressure with your elbows downward onto your knees to help lower them to the ground, and exhale while reaching your forehead down towards your toes. Hold for 7 seconds. Repeat this 2-3 times.
Seated Straddle Split (Great for improving range of motion in the hips and lower back)
Sit with each leg straight and out to the side. Exhale out and reach to your left foot while keeping your knees straight and toes pointed up. Hold for 7 seconds. Repeat this to the center and then to the right foot. The goal is to do this towards each position 2-3 times.
Inverted Middle Split (Great for gaining higher round & side kicks)
Lie on your back and scoot your bottom up to a wall. Place your heels up on the wall and allow your legs to gently fall away from each other. You should be “seated” on the wall. Next allow gravity to do the work, all you have to do is keep your knees straight! Stay here for as long as you like, this is a great time to read a book or watch TV!
Our team here at On The Mat is experienced in many stretching techniques so if you find results when taking “stretch” breaks, ask us for more suggestions! We would love to share!