by Thomas Kurz
Here is a question someone asked me recently:
I was wondering what schedule would you recommend for me as a college student. I really don’t have that much time to have a dedicated stretching schedule, but I do want to increase my flexibility. I want to be able to do the side splits, front splits, and high front kicks when doing TaeKwondDo forms. We also have TKD practice every M, W, F. It’s also just that isometric stretches take a long time when doing a lot, so I just need to find out the best stretches for limited time. And also a good schedule. Thanks!
And here is my reply:
First a question from me: How knowledgeable about physical exercises is the person running your TKD practice that you need to ask me about such elementary matters as increasing flexibility?
Anyway, to answer your question:
Effective flexibility work or stretching doesn’t take much time—with my method only 11 to 30 minutes twice a week.
There is no need to do a lot of isometric stretches either. But you are right that doing only the best stretches (or best exercises) saves time. You will find those best exercises on Flexibility Express DVD and on Secrets of Stretching DVD. Secrets of Stretching also has detailed info on scheduling workouts for technique, speed, strength, and endurance and how stretching exercises fit with those workouts. Flexibility Express doesn’t give info on scheduling because its exercises are less strenuous than those on Secrets of Stretching and are easier to combine with typical strength workouts most athletes already do on whatever schedule suits them.
To put it briefly, the best time for static flexibility exercises, such as those for splits, is at the end of a strength workout. If you are serious about your sport, you will do strength workouts, and that schedule dictates your stretching schedule.
Note that maintaining your splits takes much less time than achieving them—about one minute, two or three times per week. See video 1-Minute Side Split and Front Split Flexibility Maintenance Routine:
If you have any questions on training you can post them at Stadion’s Sports and Martial Arts Training Discussion Forum