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Is this 30$ leg stretching machine any good??

by admin on November 23, 2009

I am VERY stiff, and its killing me in my karate class. I’m only 21 years old and in good shape but my stretching is just horrid. Is this cheap leg stretcher any good?

http://www.amazon.com/Tiger-Claw-Steel-Leg-Stretcher/dp/B0000CA2PA/ref=pd_bbs_sr_10/105-7110106-9762855?ie=UTF8&s=sporting-goods&qid=1192154216&sr=8-10

Also, when I try to touch my toes, my back REFUSES to arch over if I have my legs locked. Why does this happen!!! Why cant a stretch like a normal person!

As far as the leg stretcher goes, I wouldn’t recommend it. I picked up one of those exact same kinds a couple of years back, thinking it would be a cheap alternative to the $100-$200 leg stretcher machines you see, but it seems like a poorly constructed waste of money to me. There’s no place to properly seat yourself, and it’s difficult to balance/brace your legs to stay on the bars. If you’re too tall or too short, there’s no way to adjust the length to suit your legs. The bolts at the base wear on the plastic holding and cause the three bars to start to come apart after only a bit of use. Plus, you have to manually move your legs apart by swinging the bars out, which since it’s so hard to balance on the bars in the first place, makes it almost impossible to stay on while you try to swing your legs out wider. And I honestly have no clue whatsoever what that funky bar with a handle in the middle is used for. Maybe pulling yourself forward when you’re doing the splits? I don’t know. Overall, it’s one purchase I have long regretted making.

As recommended above, finding some regular yoga classes would be very very helpful. Make sure they’re not too intense with their instruction, just ease your body into it and stretch a little bit more each time. I’ve had similar flexibility problems for the longest time, and something that’s helped me out tremendously is getting a book on martial arts fitness that had a chapter on stretching, called "Complete Conditioning for Martial Arts." I’ve taken to doing those stretches(or trying to) for thirty seconds each every morning. That helps a lot, though you should probably start with perhaps fifteen or twenty seconds and work your way up more and more. At my best, I was holding each stretch for forty-five seconds. I shortened it back to thirty because I rarely have time to stretch for that long in the mornings with my school schedule. When I’m in a big hurry, I only do twenty seconds each. But the morning time is one of the best times to loosen up, since your muscles are the most cramped after not being used all night while sleeping. Doing it in the evening before you go to sleep helps a lot too, since you’re the most limber at night before bed and it helps keep the muscles looser during the night.

I hope these suggestions help. Just work it through bit by bit and flexibility will come in time.

Leg Stretches

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