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Stretches to Avoid in your Martial Arts Training

Posted on April 10, 2010

Certain stretches should be avoided as part of your martial arts stretching routine as they have a very high risk of injury to your muscle and connective tissues, nervous system or even your skeletal system. Torn muscles, sprained tendons or damaged cartilages are no fun and can delay your progress by weeks or months. Sometimes the injury can be so extensive as to prevent the study of your martial art at all. Following are several methods and stretches that are better left out of your martial arts stretching routine unless you are under the direct supervision of a certified physical therapist, certified yoga instructor or professional trainer that you trust explicitly.

The Ballistic Stretching Method

Ballistic Stretching Method Butterfly Stretch

Ballistic stretching utilizes bouncing or bobbing rhythmic motions to extend the stretched muscle group beyond the normal range of motion. The risks of damage from over extension is too great and the limitations presented by the stretch reflex limit the potential for gains in flexibility.

Inverted Stretching Methods

Inverted Stretching

Any exercise or stretch where you hang upside-down can be risky. Remaining in an inverted position for any length of time can increase your blood pressure to dangerous levels and can result in popped or ruptured blood vessels, loss of consciousness, or even stroke.

The Standing Full Backbend Stretch

Standing Backbend

This stretching exercise is performed by placing your feet flat on the ground and arching your body fully backwards until your palms are flat on the ground behind you. This stretch results in compressed spinal discs and could induce pinched nerves, compressed discs, or other damage to the spine and neck.

Straight Legged Toe Touches

Standing Straight Legged Toe Touch

Whether you are performing toe touches from a standing or seated position it is important to bend the knees somewhat to relieve pressure to the lower vertebrae and lumbar and prevent hyper-extension of the knees. When performing toe touches you should concentrate on rotating only at the hip and minimize the stress to your back.

Dynamic Torso Twists

Dynamic Torso Twist Stretch

Fast and/or intense twisting of the torso can result in injury to the lower spine and lumbar and strain the ligament tissues in the knee joints. The momentum of intense  rotational movements results in torsion to these joints is beyond their capacity of their structural capacity.

The Hurdler’s Split Stretch

Hurdler’s Split Stretch

You perform this stretch by sitting on the ground with one leg bent fully behind you and the other leg reaching fully forward as you attempt to reach your forward toe. This stretch puts considerable strain on the lower back and can result in hyper-extension of the knees.

The Yoga Plow Stretch

Yoga Plow

To perform this exercise you lie flat on the floor with your arms resting on the ground at your side and proceed to raise your legs and torso up and backwards over your head until your toes touch the floor behind you. This position places extreme strain on your lower back and lumbar region. In addition it can compress your lungs and heart and can make it difficult to breath properly.

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