11 Flexibility Influences For Combat Sports
What is Flexibility?
Flexibility is the proficiency to drive your muscles and joints through their complete range of motion. In the matter of martial arts, the range of motion necessary for advanced movements frequently calls for above-average flexibility. One of the foremost things you discover as a martial artist is how to stretch your muscles to improve your flexibility. While some individuals discover that their flexibility advances on route with their progress in the arts, others encounter flexibility as a continuous source of disappointment.
Your flexibility relies on several elements.
Some of the things you can adjust are:
- Frequency & intensity of stretching
- Selecting the proper routines and completing them the right way
- Developing strength with flexibility
- Your general conditioning
Some things you cannot alter are:
- Your genetics
- Physical structure
- A severe injury or handicap
- Your age
- Your gender
The good news is that a regular individual can make significant improvements in flexibility through a standard stretching regime.
Studies have revealed that flexibility is not a common trait that a person has but is distinct to each location of the body. For instance, you might have significant upper body flexibility but not in your legs or vice-versa. In reality, numerous martial artists actually discover that their right hip is more flexible than their left permitting them to inherently kick higher on one side than the other. It’s kind of ironic, that once you start to prefer one leg over the other, the more flexible leg will strive to evolve becoming even more flexible and the other side might begin to drag farther behind.
Possibly one of the explanations that flexibility is not an innate biological characteristic is associated with how it is attained and lost. The greatest way to improve your flexibility is by targeted physical training that extends the muscles. On the contrary, the idleness of those exact muscles generates a continuous loss of flexibility. Stretching is not a thing you can do for six months and then ignore it. It’s required and needs to be accomplished for every training session for as long as you continue learning martial arts and, preferably, for the remainder of your life, in some shape or form.
Why Increased Flexibility Can Make You More Powerful And Quicker
As a result of something dubbed the stretch-shortening cycle, your physique has the capability to momentarily hold and employ the tension produced by instantaneous muscle stretching. An extremely straightforward explanation of the stretch-shortening cycle compares it to an elastic rubber band. When you extend the band, it becomes tight and prepared to burst back with power when unleashed. The more flexible the elastic object is and the further away you can stretch it, the more power it will render when fired.
In your muscles, the method is a little more involved, though established on the exact principle. When a muscle extends quickly, it accumulates a supply of potential kinetic energy, which can then be supplied much more efficiently and with less consumption of work than a basic concentric squeeze.
Visualize the movement of a baseball pitch. The pitcher extends his arm to a nearly superhuman position, then at the greatest moment of the stretch, he tightens his muscles to thrust the ball. Now suppose how much less effective his pitch would be if he just raised his arm gradually behind him, stretched, and then tossed the ball with a basic concentric squeeze of his arm muscles. The ever-changing essence of the pitch would be lost. By attaining a full stretch and activating the stretch reflex of the opposite muscles to start the propulsion of the ball, his flexibility boosts his strength and speed of motion considerably.
Many competitors, as well as combat fighters, use plyometric (speed & force) training as a component of their workout to take benefit from the stretch-shortening cycle. Even if you select not to use plyometrics, your improved flexibility will donate to the speed and strength of the moves of your fighting style.
Impacts On Flexibility
There are numerous elements that affect a person’s flexibility:
Flexibility decreases as you get older, but a lot of this reduction is connected to a decline in physical exercise. With normal stretching and training, much of the age-related drop in flexibility can be stopped or even changed. If you are ancient and have been stagnant, in the beginning, it might initially take you more time to see improvements in your flexibility conditioning, but adhere to it. Soon enough, you’ll reach the exact level of flexibility as your classmates in their twenties and thirties.
As a general rule, women are better at flexibility than men, especially in the hips, spine, and thighs. Moreover, due to a dissimilar bone form in the hips and spinal region, women have more elevated levels of estrogen and progesterone, which assist in maintaining flexibility, while men have more elevated levels of testosterone, which is more fit for constructing and toughening muscles. At the same time, men generally have more powerful upper bodies, specifically in the shoulders, arms, and abdomen. This allows specific supported and dynamic stretches more comfortable to perform. Another thing to mention, stretching can relieve the aching and pain that women undergo during menstruation.
Flexibility is site-specific, signifying that it needs to be worked in each region of the body separately. For instance, a professional baseball pitcher can have an incredibly flexible pitching arm, while his other arm may have the flexibility of an average player. Some joints have a higher possibility of flexibility. The shoulder, for instance, is flexible to the point of jeopardizing itself while the hip is robust and far less exposed to overstretching.
#4 Activity Level
A more vigorous individual will inherently be more flexible than a stagnant person and an individual who has a long-lasting habit of athletic history will be more flexible than a person starting a combat sport late in life. One of the essential elements in growing and retaining flexibility is constant action.
When your body temperature is increased through action, like a warm-up, your body will become more flexible. As the body cools down, flexibility diminishes. If you take a timeout in the middle of your training and your body cools down to how it was before starting, take a couple of minutes jogging in place or doing some additional minor aerobic exercise to increase your body temperature before resuming your workout.
#6 Strength Conditioning
The proper strength conditioning workouts improve, instead of lowering, flexibility. Select weight or resistance conditioning exercises that develop muscles that use a full range of motion.
During pregnancy, a woman’s body emits a hormone named relaxin to relax the joints and ligaments to prepare for giving birth. In the course of this time, women need to be extremely cautious when doing stretches or other workouts that put excessive pressure on the joints.
#8 Intensity And Regularity Of Stretching
In simple terms, the more you give in stretching your body the better the outcome. That’s with anything you do.
#9 Training Preference
Selecting a dozen exercises that work the muscles you’ll be utilizing in your workout is much more adequate than accomplishing thirty badly targeted workouts. Recall, that you want to increase flexibility which directly correlates to your combat sports style and skills.
#10 Specialized Execution
Each stretching drill must be accomplished correctly to have the expected result. If you are defrauding yourself on a hamstring stretching exercise so you can touch your toes, you may feel more pleasing in the short term, but your hamstring flexibility will not improve greatly, regardless of how frequently you stretch. Concentrate on accomplishing each exercise accurately, even if it indicates beginning with novice variations or gaining only a minimal stretch at first.
#11 General Conditioning
Acceptable general conditioning will donate to exemplary flexibility and adequate flexibility is a significant element in preserving an optimal martial arts training level.