Are you crushing your CORE DE FORCE workouts? How are your kicks? Are you wanting to kick higher? I get this question all the time, to which my response is always, “You have to stretch!” I’ve personally been working on my flexibility for years and it’s been a work in progress, but the good news is progress can be made if you keep working at it! Here are some stretches that will improve your flexibility and have you kicking like Jericho…well, on your way in that direction anyway.
The Warm Up
Warming up your muscles before deep stretching is essential in improving flexibility and preventing injury. The purpose of the warm up is to increase blood flow to the muscles and to decrease muscle stiffness. Since we are focusing on kicks, we will be warming up the lower body as well as the core. Each warm up exercise should be performed for 30 seconds, with no breaks in between. You will then go directly into stretching.
Start with your feet slightly wider than your hips, arms slightly bent, rotate torso side to side by lifting your heels as you twist, warming up your core and back.
Alternating Front Lunge With Torso Rotation
Starting with your feet hip width apart, step your left leg forward in a long stride, bending both legs to form a 90 degree angle in both legs, keeping your front knee behind toes. With your arms in front of your chest, rotate your upper body towards the left. Repeat on right leg and right side.
Step your feet out into a wide stance outside shoulders, turning your toes out to the corners of the room. Press the weight into your heels and bend your knees, keeping them in line with your toes and chest staying lifted. This exercise will warm up your hamstrings and glutes.
Start with your feet right underneath your hips, bring one heel up towards your glutes with a flexed foot and repeat on the other side. You can kick this move up a notch by adding in a light jog, warming up your hamstrings and quads.
Alternating Side Lunge
Starting with your feet directly under your hips, step your right foot wide to the side coming into a lunge, keeping your chest and arms lifted. Remember, your right knee shouldn’t go beyond your toes and weight in your heels. Push into your right foot to return to standing, then repeat the other side.
With your feet underneath your hips, arms at your side, lift your heels slowly and squeeze your glutes warming up the calf muscles and bringing heat into the back of the legs.
As soon as your warm up is complete, make sure you go straight into your stretches to take advantage of your warm muscles.
The following exercises are static stretches to elongate muscles, promote flexibility and aid in recovery from vigorous workouts. You will be holding each stretch a minimum of 30 seconds, on each side. These stretches should be challenging but not painful, make sure you are staying safe by easing into the moves.
With soft knees bend at the waist and relax your head and back, reaching for your toes. Reach as far as you can and let gravity take over. This stretch will increase flexibility in hamstrings and lower back.
Starting in a wide stance outside your shoulders, bend at the waist with arms folded above your head. Relax your head and back, letting gravity take over. This stretch will increase flexibility in hamstrings and lower back.
Begin on your hands and knees and bring the left knee in, resting it on the floor between your hands, keeping your toes facing the front. Straighten your right leg out behind you and let your upper body fall forward as far as comfortable, while keeping your left glute on the floor.
Start in a standing lunge position, bend your front knee keeping your back leg straight, lifting your back heel off the ground. Squeeze your glutes and press your hips forward to feel the stretch in your hip flexor.
Start in a standing position, step your right leg behind you pressing the heel into the floor. Keep a bend in the front knee and focus on stretching the back of your right calf.
Start in a high plank, and position your right leg outside your right hand, putting the full foot on the ground. Bend your left knee and lower to the floor, pressing the hips down towards the floor. Depending on your flexibility you can lower down onto your elbows. This stretch adds mobility to the inside of your legs, the hamstring and the hip flexors.
Seated Saddle Stretch
Extended both legs wider than your hips with your toes pointed up. Reach your arms forward, place them on the floor and let gravity take over. This stretch adds mobility to the lower back, hamstrings, and glutes.
Bring your heels together and place them as close to your body as you can, your goal is to get your legs to lie flat on the floor. This stretch works the hip flexors. Get more out of the stretch by leaning forward towards your feet.
From your hands and knees, extend your right foot out to the side and place both hands (or forearms) on the floor in front of you. Try to straighten the right knee and lean your body forward while relaxing your hips.
Seated Toe Touch
Extend your legs straight out in front of you, reach towards your toes. You can grab onto your calves, ankles or toes to help hold your body deep in the stretch. This move stretches your hamstrings, lower back and calves.
Follow this stretching routine after your workouts and/or on your rest day to improve your kick height and overall flexibility in the body. Listen to your body and be patient, but with enough dedication you will see improvements in your kicks, taking your Badass level up a notch!
Keeping it real,