Martial arts flexibility can be improved through stretching exercises. Flexibility is a simple, yet often overlooked aspect of martial arts training. In order to maximize the benefits of such stretching and improve range of motion for martial arts moves such as high kicks, these exercises must be done on a consistent basis. Each stretching position should be held for long enough intervals of time to allow the muscles and tendons in the body to adjust and eventually adapt to these sometimes unorthodox positions. Finally, in order to improve flexibility and increase range of motion, stretching exercises should also be done at a level designed to tax the muscles and joints without causing injury.
Adhering to a consistent training routine that incorporates stretching exercises can not only aid in joint flexibility, such a regimen can also improve martial arts performance. The body constantly changes based on the extraneous factors it encounters. Consequently, if muscles, joints and ligaments are stretched on a habitual basis, the body will become more limber. Conversely, if a sedentary lifestyle is adopted in place of stretching or exercise, the body will quickly adjust, resulting in decreased range of motion and muscle loss. Most health and fitness experts suggest stretching at least three times a week in order to improve martial arts flexibility and maintain the positive benefits of a stretching routine.
If the poses associated with stretching exercises are not held for a long enough period of time for the body to recognize the change, the stretching will be of little benefit. Most poses should be held for roughly 15-60 seconds. Unlike most exercise routines that might overwork the muscles if done for too long, when doing stretching exercises, the longer one maintains the position or pose he or she is in, the more relaxed the muscle or joints will become.
Another factor that is key to martial arts flexibility is the intensity of the pose or stretch. Each pose should be done in a controlled and careful manner. If stretching exercises are performed too fast or the ligaments are stretched too far, the muscles might contract, causing tightness, dislocations or even tears. The stretching routine, however, must also be taxing enough on the muscles to force the body to adapt and become more limber. Finding a proper balance between these two extremes is difficult but also might be the most important factor in increasing martial arts flexibility.