In Taekwondo you learn to be coordinated, to be fast and to hit hard. And to achieve this you need to achieve the one thing that is common to them all: flexibility.
First let’s understand what is that which we call “flexibility”: By definition, it refers to the absolute range of movements achievable on your joints and muscles in order to perform a specific movement.
So, now you see why is this critical for taekwondo. In order to be coordinated, you need to train your body on how to move in harmony and speed. And speed is the second thing you need to learn to do in Taekwondo. To be fast you need to train your muscles to go to their maximum limits and more.
Flexibility also plays a key role when defending yourself as you need to be able to move quick and in a variety of ways in order to either block or evade a punch or a kick from your opponent.
So, how do I do it?
There are several routines you can use in order to make your muscles and joints more flexible, but before we get into them, please remember that you need to have a trainer in hand that guides you and helps you go step by step to avoid injuring yourself.
You can achieve flexibility by practicing stretching exercises, this kind of exercises are designed to help a joint or a muscle to increase its range of movement and be more flexible.
There are exercises called “passive stretching” this is the basic form of training your muscles and basically, means, do it while the rest of your body is at rest. The idea is to stretch your muscle or joint to the point where you feel a little pain. Remember, don’t try to forcé your body, you can get hurt.
Another way of training is called dynamic stretching and in this one you actually stretch your muscles while you move, this is what you normally see done prior to a competition, this helps to warm up too, but once again, you need to be extremely careful when you perform these techniques as you can get hurt severely.
Kick practice normally includes some stretching as you gradually get your leg up until you reach your desired height and a bit more. You both get your leg muscles warmed up while at the same time you stretch them.
One of the most important things regarding this kind of exercises is that you need to perform them slowly, never fast, this is because you can be in complete control of how far you can get your arms and/or legs with each movement, doing them fast will only result in injury.
Remember that you can and should perform stretching exercises both before and after a competition in order to keep your muscles from injuring. Also, remember that you need to be careful. Don’t overdo it and don’t try to go further tan what your body allows you to.