Kung Fu is a popular form of martial arts that’s steeped in history, but to improve at the sport it’s best to increase your flexibility. What’s more, being flexible will help you to prevent injuries and progress faster. While it may seem like a hassle and something you’d prefer not to do at first, Kung Fu stretching will help you become more limber and can even feel good to your muscles and joints. Proper stretching will also aid in the healing and repair process while you’re getting stronger.
Types of Flexibility
The object of stretching is to increase three primary types of flexibility: static passive, static active, and dynamic. Static passive flexibility will help when it comes to mastering splits. As with any new technique, you will want to gain progress slowly as not to injure yourself. If you to increase your split range too quickly, you could get hurt and be off the mat for weeks. While static active flexibility will aid you in holding extended poses with ease. This has less impact on your system, and you can push these methods a little harder.
In order to get high kicks and obtain flexibility while in motion, you’ll need to improve dynamic flexibility. Dan Tian kicks, side kicks, hip rotations, squats with stretches, and sitting stretches are examples of exercises that will help you improve your flexibility and skill. Be patient with yourself, and allow your body to advance at it’s own pace.
Warming Up and Cooling Down
Many think it’s a good idea to do a long and elaborate stretching routine before beginning a Kung Fu session, but that’s not typically the best route to take. For one, you want to concentrate on doing stretches related to the specific type of moves you’re training. Also, deep stretching before martial arts workouts incorporating ballistic movements — such as high kicks — will leave your muscles more prone to injury.
Keep it light and do slow, controlled stretches before you work on your Kung Fu skills. After your workout, opt for deep static stretches to cool down. You may want to also try doing only dynamic Kung Fu stretches before performing dynamic moves.
To obtain maximum flexibility, it’s best to regularly stretch before and after your workout. You don’t have to spend long periods of time doing it, but consistency is key. Taking just five minutes to stretch at least five times per week will yield significant improvements. Over time these methods will become a part of your training, and you won’t mind them at all.