Most martial arts styles concentrate their stretching almost exclusively on the legs. Martial artists want strong powerful arms able to block, strike and grapple effectively, and legs that are fast, nimble and flexible. This rule applies to almost every style including wrestling, grappling, Kung Fu, Karate, Taekwondo even though the application within those styles is very different. When walking into a class for the first time and doing stretching its easy to see how bad your flexibility is and how far behind the rest of the class you are. It’s one of the most obvious things that needs work. Stretching once a week in class is not going to improve things fast and most people will do some stretching at home to help their progression.
At first, body weight stretching is a great option and nowadays the information you can get from the internet is vast, especially Youtube. With time, persistence and maybe going to specific stretching based class like yoga, you may achieve your goals, but this is a lot of commitment for most people. Something like Yoga will give you much more scope in terms of flexibility, and work your whole body and purely for holding static positions. This is not what martial artists are looking for, they want dynamic flexibility, move faster with power and mostly to be able to kick higher.
Therefore leg stretching box splits and front splits, mixed with kicking a lot will achieve this. The kicking part can be done in a class with your instructor or maybe at home, practicing in the air or against a bag, if you can hang one. The stretching is a little trickier. Body weight stretching will only take you so far, and after a certain time the progression can dwindle to almost tiny gains. I have so many people in the shop asking me about stretching and all the stories are the same, they have got to a certain point and don’t seem to be able to get any further. This is the point when you need assistance. Partner stretching works great, but is limited by how often you can find a partner. Also you need a partner you can trust and has a good understanding of your own limits. If a partner pushes or pulls a bit too much at full your full range it can cause injuries, something you want to avoid. Really, stretching daily will achieve the best results and with all this mind it probably time to buy a piece of leg stretching equipment.
The three bar leg stretching devices are great but again will only take you so far and can put unnecessary pressure on you knees over time. They are also unlikely to get you into a full box split. The best option then is this Mechanical leg stretcher.
This Leg Stretching Machine is, in our opinion, the best single piece of equipment you can buy to improve your splits and flexibility, the main focus with this leg stretching machine is for box splits and side splits but you can actually train front splits too. The back rest can fold flat so you can lie sideways in it. The progression is super fast and you'll notice a difference very quickly.
The machine is made from all metal components apart from the soft padded vinyl covered seats to sit in and rest your legs against. The movement works from a mechanical screw or spindle that cranks out the legs from a wheel that sits between your legs. You can move the legs out easily and smoothly but also at tiny increments with no slip at all. This means you can control the stretch without any jumps or sharp movements reducing the risk of jarring your legs past a point of no return thus reducing the chances of injuries.
Other systems exist with levers and wires, but they crank in set increments. Personally, we don’t believe these systems are as good because of the risk of over stretching. Injuries only push your progression backwards so you should to avoid at all costs.
Once at a point of stretch you can sit in the machine and hold for the required time without having to hold it in position. A lot of people choose to do it watching TV or reading a book. You'll love the difference this makes to your flexibility you and the changes in your kicking and stretching. There are four different positions for the leg pads which can be easily moved around to wherever you are most comfortbale. The back support has difference slots so you can adjust to a lean you prefer and it can easily packed down for storing if needs be.
A brilliant piece of kit that is rivalled by no other on the market. Well worth the investment
“Having one of these myself, the improvement in splits is better than anything else I’ve used. There really is nothing better than this, make sure your legs are warm before you start though. Take it easy to start with and enjoy the process. Remember even once you have achieved your box splits you’ll need to keep it up otherwise you’ll lose them quickly and you’ll be back to square one “
Doug Swift – Enso Martial Arts Shop
The leg stretching machine when packed down, but ready for use is:
- 110 cm Wide
- 39 cm Long
- 30 cm High
If you have any questions about the leg stretching machine, feel free to contact us at our shop to discuss it, call (0117) 9425832 or email [email protected]
We have a few different options for posting your items at Enso Martial Arts Shop. Prices vary depending on the overall order, weight, size etc. The checkout page will automatically workout the possible options for you.
We can send your item(s) in the following ways:
Royal Mail 2nd Class signed - Pretty slow service but will get there eventually. We will try and post it the same day the order comes to us, but not always possible for us. More than likely we will post the next day or day after that. Only possible for small lightweight items, as heavy items are more expensive than UPS.
UPS Standard - Order before 12pm and we can pack and post the same day to be with you the next day. If you order after 12pm we can still pack it and have it ready but it is less likely to be collected the same day (still possible though, depends when the UPS man comes) and will arrive the day after that.
UPS Worldwide - For anywhere outside the UK, we can post the same day but delivery times are dependent on the destination. Approximate delivery times are as follows: