Park's Champions Taekwondo
A Place Where Champions Are Made!!!
Stretching is undoubtedly one of the more frustrating aspects of martial arts. Many think that doing splits is the holy grail to proper technique. Doing splits can help. But splits alone are only part of the story: you also require proper strength at your maximal range of motion. Follow these steps to help achieve splits and also to build strength.
- Every morning, within 15 minutes of waking, perform dynamic stretches.
- Before your workout, begin with light cardio exercises, followed by dynamic stretches.
- After dynamic stretches, you can move into your workout.
- After your workout, you can go into the cool-down, or you can perform isometric stretches.
- After your cool-down, perform static stretches.
- No part of your workout should include ballistic stretches.
- Never use stretching machines unless you are already well-conditioned.
- Never use stretching partners except for some static stretches at the end of a workout.
- Never perform static stretching before your workout. You'll not see results, at best; you'll injure yourself at worst case.
Dynamic Stretching - This is where you stretch your muscles up to - but not exceeding! - your normal range of motion. Leg lifts are good, but not leg swings. Lift in all directions using your muscles, not momentum.
Isometric Exercises - This is where you apply resistance during a stretch. Stretch bands and ankle weights are helpful here.
Static Stretching - This is where you use one set of muscles to stretch another set of muscles. For instance, toe touches, butterflies, and splits are static stretches. And these are not the kinds of static stretches that should be performed at the end of class - you need to do runner's stretches, like calf, quad, and hamstring stretches. This will help eliminate lactic acid buildup in the muscles, which would cause soreness later on.
Ballistic Stretching - By definition, ballistic means to rely on momentum to achieve a stretch. Ballistic stretches should be avoided because they are neither safe nor are they useful.
Be careful of the difference between dynamic and ballistic stretches; they can seem similar, but they are very different.
Some useful links:
- Martial Arts Planet
- Run The Planet
- TC Taichi (note author incorrectly defines dynamic=ballistic)
- IFA Fitness
Weightlifting is a good exercise for martial artists, but if done incorrectly, then your technical skills will degrade very quickly. Follow these steps to make the most of your weightlifting and martial arts training.
- Weightlifting should be done plyometrically. That means, do sets of reps in a timed fashion. For instance, do pushups as many as you can in a minute; then rest a minute; then repeat for 3 or 4 sets. Your goal for the workout is to maintain the same number of reps as the first set. Your goal for your next workout is to increase the reps in each set by 1.
- Weightlifting should focus on one muscle group no less then every two days. For instance, do all upper body on day 1, then lower body on day 2, then go back to upper body on day 3. etc.
- Abdominal muscles recover quickly. You can do them every day.
- When exercising the abdominals, counter the weightlifting by exercising the lower and middle back. If you don't, your lower back will use compensation muscles, and you'll develop muscle pains elsewhere.
Diet plays an important role in your health as well as making the most of your workout. Have you noticed that sometimes, you come to class and you just want to plod along? Maybe you have butterflies in your stomach? Maybe you feel jittery? Follow these tips to help take the edge off the effects of some foods.
- Be sure to eat a light to moderate breakfast in the morning. Studies show that a heavy breakfast doesn't help. It's fine if you do strenuous work all day, like farming, construction, etc. But since the vast majority of us don't have such a workstyle, we don't need to take in the calories.
- For lunch, be sure to avoid complex carbohydrates, like pasta and pizza. You'll start to feel sleepy by 3:00, and that throws off your metabolism by 7:00 for your class. Rather, eat a high-protein diet with moderate carbs. A sub or sandwich is fine. Substitute milk for juice, and nix the sweets.
- For supper, eat very lightly. Eat no sooner than 2 hours before your workout, and eat something light. A sandwich and milk is fine, despite the lunch-time repeat.
- After a strong aerobic workout, a protein shake should help take the edge off any hunger. But since a 7:00 class ends around 8:00 or so, and you really don't want to eat within 3 hours before bed, then what you eat should be very light.
Having difficulty remembering your forms? Try these ideas:
- When you are first taught the form, remember the shape of the form.
- For most forms, when you turn, you turn to the inside of the form. There are a few exceptions, so be careful.
- Practice your forms every day, even if you do each of them only once.
- When you just learn the form, and are practicing them at home, focus mostly on the sequence of techniques, and no so much the quality of the techniques. The idea is to fix technique later on, so that you can focus on not forgetting the techniques.
- When you know the form, and are practicing them at home, focus mostly on proper technique. This necessarily means performing the form ultra-slow.