Aside from delivering super high kicks, flexible joints also allow Nak Muays to use less energy for the same movements. With flexibility comes a lowered risk of injury, quick muscle recovery, and better blood flow.
- Stretch early
As soon as you get out of bed, try to knock some push-ups out to shake the rust off those joints and then go in for AM stretches. Make this a daily habit.
- Don’t bounce
It is common to see someone holding a deep stretch and bouncing while holding. Don’t do this, this is how people injure themselves and negate the benefits of stretching.
- Hold it
When you feel yourself “maxing out” on a stretching movement, hold it for 30-seconds. Then rest and repeat for 3-5 repetitions. This position you stop at should not be painful, but it might be a bit uncomfortable. *Young people whose bones are still growing should only hold stretches for up to 10-seconds.
Splits are best attempted after some cardio like jumping rope. When you slowly lower into a splitting position, be conscious of your hips and hamstrings. Hold the deepest split you can for at least 30-seconds, rest for 20-seconds, and repeat up to five times. Do not attempt splits if your hips or legs are sore! Remember, you are not an Olympic gymnast so if you are 10-inches off of the ground, that’s okay. Take your time!
- Touch your toes
Get the most out of a toe touch by sitting with legs stretched out straight in front of you, feet together. Grab your toes or shins (whichever you are able to reach) and pull your body closer to your legs/toes. This stretch is more impactful than a static toe touch while standing.
- Leg lifts
Most people don’t even realize that when you are doing a leg lift, you aren’t just strengthening muscles, you are improving your range of movement. Try this dynamic stretch by practicing the “hold method” from #3 at various heights from the ground.
- Order counts
When stretching your body, it is important to move outward and then inward. For example, stretch your calves and arms, then move into the hams and chest. With your torso, do side stretches and then move in to stretch your upper and lower back.
- Partner stretching
Kick as high as you can, have a partner hold your leg at its highest point for 10-seconds. Rest. Repeat. Try this stretch every 3-days.
- Slow motion
Practice techniques you know that you will go over in class before classes, in slow motion. Lift your leg up as high as you can and hold for as long as you can. This will improve balance, strength, and flexibility.
Dehydrated muscles and joints are prone to injury. Period. Drink water, cut the sodas and other high-in-sugar drinks that can contribute to inflammation.
- Use it or lose it
Have parts of your body that you’d like to use into old age? Don’t neglect those parts. Sit at a desk all day, 5-days a week? Try these helpful office stretches.
Steel sharpens steel! Get the latest in Muay Thai techniques by watching our YouTube channel. If you are local to Northern Virginia, stop by T.A.G. Muay Thai and take advantage of our FREE 14-day trial.