Stretching is a massive part of fitness and wellness and extends through almost every sport, martial art and discipline. However, it is also rife with myths and misconceptions. There are a lot of them to cover but I'm going to start with the 5 Biggest Stretching Myths for Martial Arts.
1) Stretching and strengthening are always done separately: FALSE
There are many stretches techniques that are actually known more for strengthening. Stretches such as squats are a great example of this.
2) Stretching is always static passive movements: FALSE
Many people think all stretches are just positions that you hold and stay for various amounts of time. However, there are stretches that are active that work just as well. The trick is knowing how to use various stretching types in order to optimize your flexibility routine.
3) Stretching makes you weak: FALSE
Being overly flexible, or hyperflexible is definitely something to look out for as you can very easily hurt yourself. However, knowing which stretches you should do to also be strengthening your muscles at the same time is vital. Knowing which types of exercises to do will definitely keep injuries away.
4) If you get the splits, you can kick high: FALSE
Yes, you will probably learn how to throw your leg up in the air. However, this motion is not considered an actual kick, it is a leg raise. Leg raises are an active, dynamic stretch that helps warm up your legs and does help you become more flexible. But in order to throw a proper kick at any level, you also need to be working your strength and kicking technique.
5) You’re too old to start becoming more flexible: FALSE
Although there are some limitations due to potential issues in health, prior injuries, arthritis, etc. that does not mean they are too old to start. Stretching is an exercise that is truly for everyone. The individual will need to follow their own regime and start at a level they are comfortable. Training flexibility with a proper coach is vital for all ages.