Side split / abductor flexibility. Zero gains. Got some help?

Discussion in 'Strength & Conditioning Discussion' started by Fishgun, Sep 8, 2018.

  1. Fishgun Orange Belt

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    Long ago I had a comfortable full side split. I could comfortably drop to a full split with hardly any warmup and still had it into my 30s. Because I switched from TKD to more practical self-defense work I let that flexibility disappear. I'm a solid two and a half feet away from full split.

    In those old TKD days I was a head kicker. I competed a lot and now I'm missing that. I want to compete again and I want my flexibility back. The problem is that I'm making no gains at all. If I told you my age you would say that's my problem but I don't give a crap about my age. I'm still fast, I still have skill, I'm willing to work as hard as anybody and I'm not dead yet.

    I'm currently doing dynamic stretching in the mornings and before a workout. I'm doing PNF/isometric stretching in the evenings three days a week and I'm doing static/relaxed stretching during cool down. And, I'm giving reasonable recovery time. Still, zero gain.

    Anybody got some magic that's worked for them? Thanks.
     
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2018
  2. rd2play White Belt

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    Magic is what I need too... I was close to a full split, now my legs are at 90 degrees. Depressing... I watched tons of videos on YT and there seems to be one common thread: it takes time, sometimes lots of time with tiny, incremental progress.
     
  3. Badger67 Taxidea taxus

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    Try bi phasic stretching.
     
  4. Fishgun Orange Belt

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    Checked it out. Looks interesting. Definitely will give it a go.

    Thanks much.
     
  5. Fatman1 Yellow Belt

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    You need to build strength in extended positions.

    Try squatting (bodyweight only, no barbell!) about 1.5x shoulder width. When you can do the full range of motion, try 2x shoulder width. You're looking at about 3 X 10 reps but the focus should be on getting as close to ass-to-grass as possible. When you can do ass to grass, move the feet wider.

    Eventually, your squat will be so wide you'll basically be sitting down and getting up with each rep. A side split is just a very wide squat.

    See Tom Kurz' Flexibility Express instruction for a full account of this method.
     
  6. Sano Silver Belt

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  7. Sano Silver Belt

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    What you can do to get the most out of it is combine methods.

    So in one sessions you'd go:
    Warmup/mobility to get your hips and body lose and warm
    Dynamic + a little static stretching to increase ROM (you can use the rocking here)
    Weightbearing stretching/strength exercises like horse stance/wide squats, lunges, sidelunges and cossack squats. Hold your own weight and move through them slowly towards a deep but tolerable end range. Hold at end range with isometric contractions.
    Perhaps end with static stretching again.

    Try that out. Frequency has to be pretty high as you know.
     
  8. Fishgun Orange Belt

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    Fatman1 and Sano

    Thanks for the detailed suggestions. The frustrating thing for me is that I'm using the Kurz method. Dynamic stretching in the morning, workout afternoon, isometric/PNF at the end of the workout and then some static stretching during cool down. All within reason of course. I'm being careful to not over train.

    Maybe I just need to shake things up a bit and give my abductors a break. I'm thinking I will try the bi phasic for a few weeks and then return to the Kurz method. I know the Kurz method is proven. I've gained strength but zero flexibility gains. Maybe the shakeup will get me back on track.

    Thanks again.
     
  9. Sano Silver Belt

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    Maybe it's a good idea to take a break and try something else.

    When you go back to it, perhaps do it all in succession in one workout and try to up the frequency even more, meaning do it more often. Unless you feel pain or discomfort of course. Also play around with different movements and stretches and stay in them for longer.

    What was your regiment like when you did TKD?
     
  10. Fishgun Orange Belt

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    Upping the frequency is probably a good idea. I definitely avoid training to the point of pain and never stretch injured tissue.

    Back in my TKD days I didn't know anything about Kurz or isometric/PNF stretching. I did all static stretching but I did a tremendous amount more kicking than now. I was single then with no kids so there were more hours available. I kept the full split into my 30s. I know, this brings up the age thing again but I refuse to give into it.

    Thanks again.
     
  11. Sano Silver Belt

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    Going with that, after doing your stretching routines, kicking more (which makes sense because it's control and strength in the extended ranges of motion) might be the way to go as well.

    Good luck man!
     
  12. Fatman1 Yellow Belt

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    There is no good reason why advancing age should account for your problems.

    There is a problem with your training methodology. I do not know what that is, you'll have to reflect on it yourself.

    You say you are gaining strength, but not flexibility. What do you mean by this? Are you doing wide squats like those seen in Sano's video above? If so, once you reach full range of motion and a good level of strength in one position, are you not able to go even just a little wider?

    How is your overall strength in movements like barbell squat and deadlift? If you are quite weak then the problem could be here.

    Could you be overtraining?
     
  13. Fishgun Orange Belt

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    I agree, more kicking would help. Even though I'm kicking a lot now I can definitely kick more.

    Thanks again for your help.
     
  14. Fishgun Orange Belt

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    No, I'm not blaming my age but I expected others to. I just made a little preemptive strike.

    Yes, when I referenced gaining strength I was referring to doing isometric/PNF stretching like in the video above. That kind of stretching is a little new to me as I've been doing it only two months or so.

    I've never been a very strong guy. But, I'm much stronger now than I was when I could sit in a full split as easily as I could sit in a chair. That's why I'm a little frustrated with achieving no gains using the wide squats/PNF approach.

    As for over training, I don't think so. No soreness, no fatigue. BTW I'm ensuring that I get adequate rest and I'm taking in plenty of high quality protein. Also trying to stay well hydrated.

    Thanks for your input. Much appreciated.
     
  15. Fatman1 Yellow Belt

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    Just re-read your previous posts.

    If I were you, I would do the horse stances squats (like the video above) BEFORE your workout rather than after it. After your workout, I imagine you are quite fatigued and this will limit your performance in this exercise. Before the workout, the exercise should be mild enough to not affect your main workout much and might even serve as a decent warm up. Just an idea.

    Also, it's only been 2 months!!! Give it some time.
     
  16. Fatman1 Yellow Belt

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    Also, how are you doing the isometric stretching?

    You said you use the Kurz method. In his earlier works (Stretching Scientifically, etc) he suggests contracting the adductors as though you were 'pinching' the ground with your legs. In his later works (Flexibiliy Express, etc) he suggests using squats like Sano's video above.

    Personally, I have found the squatting method to be more helpful. Though, as Kurz notes, when you get really low (a couple of inches away from full splits), the former method becomes more practical.
     
  17. Fishgun Orange Belt

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    I'm using the old Kurz method. I've not seen Flexibility Express. I'll have to look that up. I'll watch the video again too.
     
  18. Fishgun Orange Belt

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    I was doing my isometric stretching after my workout to avoid injuries due to muscle fatigue. But, you make a good point about fatigue from my regular workout limiting my performance when stretching. I need to think this through a bit. Maybe alternating the order some days would work.

    Thanks again.
     
  19. spin Gold Belt

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    im a professional acrobat, 37, and have had to regain my flexibility a number of times throughout my life.

    there isn't any secret to it, you have to do more of it. treat it like any other skill you would want to acquire, where if you aren't satisfied with your progression or results, spend more time at it.



    if you'd like me to speak more on it i will, but if i say nothing else, that's the important part.
     
  20. Fishgun Orange Belt

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    Thanks for your insight. I'm putting in more and more time and trying some of the suggestions above as well.
     

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