If you have been training in martial arts for a period of time, you will probably have encountered certain training partners with certain peculiar - and even annoying - physical attributes - such as remarkable flexibility.
Genetic advantage? Sometimes, that is the case. A former background in other sports such as yoga, gymnastics, or dance, can also play a part.
Annoying as it seems, you know that in some way, good flexibility can be helpful in overcoming certain movements in your martial arts practice. However, you are currently as flexible as a wooden board. Does this mean you are doomed to your fate forever?
In our previous blog post, we had our FaMA Fit coaches Kirstie Gannaway and Jerel Louie, as well as physiotherapist and FaMA student Conor McHugh, share more about flexibility, how it comes about, and how it helps in one’s martial arts training.
Today we discuss further on how you can incorporate certain new habits into your routine to improve your flexibility for martial arts.
1. Busy Lifestyle? Add Movements to Your Day
For most of us, sitting at a desk for hours each day is unavoidable. Conor advises adding simple movements to your day such as standing up, sitting in different positions, or going for a short walk to stretch the legs. “Break the pattern of static positions and you will feel better.”
2. Help the Process with Simple Tools
Got a tennis ball at home or at work? Targeting it on a tight muscle can reduce muscle tightness, body tension, and develop range of movement. You can also go a step further by getting yourself a foam roller to roll out the sore muscles before bedtime. Your body will thank you for it.
3. Don’t Forget to Stretch!
“Stretching contributes to muscle tissue health, which plays a big role in a person’s mobility somewhere down their workout and training journey”, Coach Kirstie says.
She recommends dynamic stretches, which involves poses and movements to work on increasing flexibility in particular areas. These are different from static stretches, which can be quite the challenge for those who are not that flexible yet.
Dynamic stretching get the blood circulation going, which allows soft tissue to be stretched with more ease. This could include movements as simple as walking lunges, arm circles and leg swings.
Still unsure of what kinds of dynamic stretches you can do to improve your martial arts movements? Then be sure not to skip warm-ups at the start of class. ;) The movements in warm-ups include good examples of dynamic stretching, and will be beneficial to you in the long run.
Coach Jerel adds that a good time to improve on your flexibility is after training. This is when your muscles are warm, and you can go deeper into your stretch through longer held poses. Stretching after a hard workout also minimises body aches and helps your muscles to recover faster.
4. Add FaMA Fit to Your Training Regime
All of the above components are included in our FaMA Fit curriculum, which also includes locomotive patterns and mobility drills to improve motor control and flexibility. At FaMA Fit, coaches also apply Muay Thai and BJJ - inspired movement concepts to work on flexibility and mobility. Examples include knees, kicks, hip escape variations, bridges, and rolls.
At the end of the day, flexibility is something to be worked on with patience and consistency, just like in your martial arts training. Don’t expect overnight results, but be encouraged that changes will take place over time, as long as you are committed to your habits!
FaMA - Fitness and Martial Arts Established in 2016, FaMA is a world-class martial arts training facility located in the heart of the Central Business District in Singapore. Walking distance from the Clarke Quay MRT station, FaMA’s main goal is to help people improve their lives through martial arts regardless of age or athletic capability. Each program is led by experts in their respective fields. Whether it is weight loss, a fun workout, camaraderie, competition training, or just to break a sweat, FaMA has something for everyone.
An all-in-one fitness class suitable for everyone, FaMA Fit incorporates moves from Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Muay Thai, Boxing and Kickboxing together with functional training to help develop flexibility, mobility, strength, balance, and stamina. For beginners who are just starting out, the FaMA Fit Fundamentals class is an entry-level program that will work the entire body. FaMA Fit and FaMA Fit Fundamentals classes are run by professional athlete Coach Kirstie Gannaway.