Stretching is an essential component to any sports training program. This is especially true for martial arts as it requires an extreme range of motion for many of the kicks. The explosive nature of Tae Kwon Do also requires flexible muscles and joints. It is very important that we are stretching properly and frequently to avoid injuries and gain greater flexibility.
Here are some important considerations for stretching:
1. Stretching on your non-training days: by stretching at home in between classes, you will see a much greater improvement in your flexibility. If you only stretch when you come to class, you flexibility will be slow to improve. Studies show stretching first thing in the morning gives greater benefits than stretching later at night.
2. Stretching helps prevent injuries: stretching allows our us a full range of motion when we are preforming techniques without pulling or tearing at the muscle.
3. Helps to improve technique: stretching allows you to put your legs in the proper position without straining. If your muscles are too tight, you simply will not be able to get in the proper position. Incorrect form can lead to injuries.
4. Greater flexibility increases your speed: increased flexibility allows your muscles to be less resistant to the movement thereby increasing the speed at which you are able to perform.
5. With increased speed comes greater power: in our martial arts training, we try to direct our power with precision. Increasing your flexibility and range of motion will improve your overall performance both in speed and power.
Stretching is one of the most powerful techniques for improving athletic performance and preventing injury. Stretching is simple and effective. Don’t overlook this important tool in your martial arts training.