As a kid in the 80’s I would go down to the local newsagency and pick up my martial arts magazine. While studying it intensely trying to learn new techniques, I had come across an ad with a guy doing the side splits on a chair, while he was holding a kid. I remember thinking, damm I want to do that! And 20 years later I finally buy his book.

Stretching Scientifically by Thomas Kurz, this was a revolutionary book in its time on different types of stretching, as he states in his book his main theory is “tense your muscles prior to relaxing and stretching them and tense them every time you want to increase your range of motion during a stretch”.

Now i’ll let it be known that I still cannot do the side splits, which is another story all together. However, I still use his theories and techniques on dynamic stretching.

My earlier years of training would involve a lot of static stretches during the warm up at the start which I felt never did me any good. Only at the end of a training session when I was pumped did I feel like I was getting somewhere with my stretching.

Kurz’s ideas on warm ups were that they should blend with part of the workout you were doing and the process would be as follows:-

1. Rotation of the joints
2. 5 mins aerobic activity
3. Dynamic stretches

Dynamic flexibility is the ability to perform dynamic movements within a full range of motion in the joints. This kind of flexibility depends on the ability to combine relaxing the extended muscles with contracting moving muscles.

The prescribed routine should be twice a day, once in the morning and the other before a workout, however for me, I do mine before a workout. After my light aerobic workout I especially like the basic throwing the leg up touching the hand, because as a martial artist we have to train the nervous system so that we can have maximal speed at the moment of contract even if it is close to the maximal reach of movement.

Anywhere from 5-15 reps 2 to 3 sets will do. I personally have reached a level of doing 2 sets of 6 to get to the maximal range of motion.

Stretching Scientifically by Thomas Kurz was a great read and influenced me to practice stretching in a new way. More information can be found on the web when you search ‘Thomas Kurz’. If you want to experiment with your stretching and possibly reach some new flexibility goals, Google away!

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