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.
Master Morris in action.
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.
Summit Martial Arts will be closed December 24 to January 3 for the holidays. Classes will resume Monday, January 4 after this short holiday break. That said, we do not want to lose all our training momentum over the holiday season. So, what can you do at home to keep on track? Here are some ideas:
1. Stretching: we all know how important our stretch is for martial arts. If you find yourself watching a movie or some television, use this time to work on your stretch. Get the whole family involved! We would love to see the pics of our SMA families stretching together.
2. Cardio Training: holidays are for getting together with friends and family to celebrate. Keeping up your cardio will be key over the break. Plus, it will help burn off all the turkey and treats! Try some of these ideas:
- Go for a walk – take the dog, kids, grandma, who ever is home!
- Run stairs – stairs are an excellent cardio activity, no need to leave the house
- Skiing – do you like to ski? Downhill? Cross country? Awesome leg/cardio workout!
- Jump Squats/Lunges – try 30 second intervals for 10 minutes – now your legs should be burning!!
- Go for a run – depending on weather, a quick 20 minute run does the body good.
- Sprints – 30 second sprints, 30 second rest for 10 minutes = GO!
3. Push ups and Crunches: how many for your next belt test? Work on sets of 25 to keep you on pace for your next belt test. Even our Little Monkeys show their push up skills at a belt test. It only gets harder as you move up – remember the black belt test?
4. Kicks, Punches, Stances and Forms: all these can be practised at home over the holidays. Do you have your curriculum for your next test? If you do not have your sheet, email Mrs. Morris and she will send it to you.
5. Squats and Lunges: any where, any time. Sets of 10 (each leg for the lunges) – try 10 rounds = 100 reps!! Want a challenge? Add some dumbbells for extra weight. Don’t underestimate the power of a lower body workout.
6. High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is going to give you the best bang for your buck. It’s quick, easy and effective – 20 minutes will do the body good. There are a number of great interval training apps you can download. Program the timer for 20 minutes, pick a variety of exercises, and get movin’. Try these (pick a few, not in any particular order):
- Push ups
- Jumping Jacks
- Mountain Climbers
- Jump Lunges or Jump Squats
- Leg Raises
The holidays can be exhausting, regular exercise can keep your energy level up and help you burn off those extra calories consumed. We hope every one has a safe and happy holiday season! See you all in January!!