Flexibility training

Post your exercise routines or sequences of exercises that you do during a workout, as well as your questions and tips on such routines.

Flexibility training

Postby Jimmy » Aug 29, 2006 18:27

Hi. I’m a 44 year old Taekwondo black belt (5ft 4”, 60kg) who has been out of the sport for about 12 years and recommenced training about 4 months ago. I am and have always been in good shape and have been doing adductor pull downs and isometric stretches since resuming martial arts training 4 months ago. My strength has improved during this time and my flexibility a little. I want to be able to do high roundhouse and side kicks. I have never been able to perform side or front splits in my past martial arts training. I have copies of the book SS and the video SOS. I just want to check if I’m approaching my flexibility training correctly as progress is slow. My current training schedule is:

Monday – Adductor pull downs followed by isometrics (3-5 sets maximal contraction)
Tuesday – Isometrics (3-5 sets maximal contraction)
Wednesday – Taekwondo training
Thursday – Isometrics (3-5 sets maximal contraction)
Friday – Taekwondo training
Saturday - Adductor pull downs followed by isometrics (3-5 sets maximal contraction)
Sunday – rest

My current resistance for adductor pull downs is 25kg and I do 3 sets of 15 repetitions (2-3 minute rest). This is my limit. I can only get about 2 extra reps per set if I really push hard. Does this seem enough (I am only small)?

I have been gradually easing into TKD training and have avoided high kicks and hard workouts (to avoid injuries) until my flexibility improves. I have no soreness after isometrics or adductor pull downs – just feel slightly stiff around the hip joints. My flexibility has improved – but slowly (110 – 120 degrees). I think I am currently going through the stage where my flexibility is stagnant but it has been at least 6-8 weeks. I am concentrating on trying to hold the last isometric tension longer but cannot hold for 30 seconds yet (about 10-15sec).

Am I on the right track and it is just a matter of time until my flexibility improves or am I doing something wrong? I read about other people (some about my age) achieving splits in several months but I am nowhere near it yet after a similar amount of time. I seem to be training hard but with little gains in flexibility.

Any help will be greatly appreciated.

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Postby DanBor » Aug 30, 2006 03:21


I think you are trying too hard. If I were you I would rest on tuesdays. If you do isometrics with max. contractions on mondays, you definately need to rest on tuesdays.
3 sessions of isometrics per week are enough. You can sometimes perform relaxed stretches instead of isometrics.

You should also work on your dynamic flexibility.

I hope it helps.
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Postby dragon » Aug 30, 2006 05:18

I was out of the game for about 10 years myself due to injury so know how you feel.

The best thing you can do is start an all over body conditioning routine.Adductor pulldowns may help someone achieve the splits faster but only if it's part of a well balanced strength routine.Performing only pulldowns can lead to muscle imbalances that could cause more injury than it prevents.

As DanBor said,you should perform less isometric sessions.Maybe less sets too.I don't know how many different isometric stretches you're performing,but 5 sets of maximal contractions in say,3 different stretches may be too much for your current level of conditioning.

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Flexibilty training

Postby Jimmy » Aug 30, 2006 20:26

Thanks guys for the quick reply. I had my suspicions that I was over doing things. I'll take your advice and have Tuesdays off. Dragon, I have only been doing isometrics for side splits but have added some front split isometrics during the last couple of weeks. I had a hard TKD training last night and am a little sore in the lower back today so I think I should be doing a bit more conditioning for the lower back - early mornings and dead lifts? I'll add some squats in as well. Is it posible to do these exercises in the same session as adductor pull downs or better to do on another day? If another day, can you suggest which day? I was doing early morning dynamic stretches for about 6 weeks until I had a minor muscle strain. Have just started doing them again. It only takes 1-2 sets of 10 to get to maximum range at the moment.
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Postby dragon » Aug 31, 2006 06:04

If i were using your training days/exercise choice here's how i'd do it:-

Monday-Bench press,chin ups,ab work,adductor pulldowns,isometrics
Wednesday-Tae Kwon Do training
Friday-Tae Kwon Do training
Saturday-Squats,adductor pulldowns,stiff leg deadlifts,ab work,isometrics

I understand everyone has different training goals,this is howi'd write out a general program though.

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Postby Jimmy » Aug 31, 2006 19:38

Thanks Dragon. Ironically, I revised my program last night and its close to what you suggest. TKD has to be on Wednesdays & Fridays. My trainig goals are to achieve side splits for high roundhouse and side kicks.

MONDAY: Strength workout (dead lifts, front lunges, adductor pull downs – all 3sets of 15 each leg) followed by isometric side split & isometric front lunge stretches.

TUESDAY: Rest (sit-ups)

WEDNESDAY: Taekwondo training followed by light isometric side split & front lunge stretches.

THURSDAY: Rest (sit-ups)

FRIDAY: Taekwondo training.

SATURDAY: Strength workout (dead lifts, squats, adductor pull downs – all 3sets of 15 each leg) followed by isometric side split & isometric front lunge stretches.


I will also be doing early morning stretches each day.

My schedule obviously has 3 sessions of isometrics. Do you think your suggestion of 2 sessions a week would be better than my schedule of 3? In other words, would 3 sessions develop my flexibility quicker or would 2 sessions be more effective because of the additional rest/recovery time?

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Postby dragon » Sep 01, 2006 05:27

That would depend on your recovery time.

The amount of isometric stretching you were doing before is far greater than you are planning now,so it may actually be easier on your body.

Give it a try and see how you cope.

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Postby Jimmy » Sep 03, 2006 19:17

Thanks Dragon for your help. I'll try for 2-3 weeks and let you know how I go.

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Postby johndela1 » Sep 12, 2006 00:17


I found an article that recommends avoiding split routines. If you care to check it out, you can read it here:


I tend to agree with this article, but am not %100 sure.

I remember times when I stop working out for more than 4 days, I get wore all over again. if I work out every other or every 3rd day, doing similiar moves, I dont' get sore once the initial soreness is gone.

Does your routine of squating once a week make you sore (what I would think of as re-sore) every time?

I think if I waited a week in bewteen workouts I'd be like starting over. I like that with a split routine you can do more or in my case have shorter workouts.

John d
http://jjdev.com - researching for optimal health
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Postby dragon » Sep 12, 2006 05:41

I assume the article came from the Dragondoor forum as it is written by an RKC.
The author doesn't seem to have a problem with split routines per se,as he says......

"Another, more practical, type of split routine, would be to split the lifts -- take a handful of the big, compound, multi-joint exercises and work two or three each time you train. As you will soon see, this type of split can be very effective. For example: squats, pull-ups, and overhead presses one day, deadlifts and bench press another day, and maybe snatches and cleans-and-jerks on another day."


"In my humble opinion, there is really only one type split routine that might be worth discussing -- beyond the lift-splitting example offered in the opening paragraph of this treatise, of course. If you insist on using a split routine, I implore you to consider the upper body/lower body split. This type split was favored by none other than the gargantuan powerhouse Paul Anderson."

I think the author has more of an issue with bodybuilding isolation type routines that are full of exercises that yield minimal results.I agree with him on this.I've never performed leg extensions,dumbbell kickbacks,concentration curls,etc,etc in my life and never will.

To answer your question-I wrote that routine based on what Jimmy was trying to achieve(more flexibility with conditioning).It's similar to routines i've used in the past but not exact(i don't perform adductor pulldowns for example).There may be better routines to use but i can only talk about what i have experience of.

When i did follow this type of routine it didn't make me sore due to the amount of leg work used in my martial arts training.

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