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Stretching for Tae Kwon Do

In order to perform to the best of your ability during any workout of sporting event it is best to do a five minute warm-up followed by dynamic stretching. Several studies have shown that athletes perform best when they have warmed up and done dynamic stretches prior to performing. Following the workout or sporting event you can do static stretching.

Dynamic stretches are movements that are similar to the movements that your body will be doing. You should do dynamic movements for all the joints and muscles that will be used. Dynamic stretches are held for only 1-2 seconds and should be repeated 8-12 times for each joint or muscle. Dynamic stretches done properly before exercising or performing will improve your flexibility, balance, coordination and strength.

These stretches will help improve your range of motion, help to prevent injuries and reduce pain. Static stretching is a stretch that you hold for 10-30 seconds or more.After your workout or in the evenings you should do static stretches.

Below is an example of a dynamic stretch routine to use prior to taking a Tae Kwon Do class.

neck rotation

Side Neck Rotation

Slowly move head left until you feel tension, slowly move back to center and then move to right side and back. Repeat at least 8 times on each side.

Benefit - You will improve your range of motion in your neck.

This motion is used for all spins.

Progressive Arm circles

arm circle stretch

Then do medium size circles, followed by largest circles. Start with arms out doing 5 circles forward and then back.

Used for all hand techniques and blocking.

Benefit - will improve shoulder mobility.

Wrist Circles

Start with elbows at 90 degree angle make loose fists, slowly rotate your fists inward 10-12 times and then reverse for 10-12 times.

Benefit - will improve blood flow to area and improve range of motion. This motion is used for all hand techniques and blocks (the twisting motion at the end).

Walking Knee Hugs

Lift your right knee, grab it with both hands pulling towards your chest

Knee hug stretch

as you rise up on your left toes.Slowly release your knee and step forward.Continue alternating legs for at least 8 reps. Hold for 2 seconds.Repeat with the left leg.

This motion is used for kicks and stances.

Benefit - will improve range of motion in hip flexors and lower back.

Inch Worm

Start with feet shoulders width apart, and bend down to touch the

inch worm stretch

floors (bend your knees if necessary). Slowly walk your hands out to plank position. Hold for 2 seconds, then walk your hands back to your feet. When you need to bend your knees then walk them back out to plank. Repeat 8-12 times.

Benefit - great for improving mobility for the back side (back, hamstrings, calves, and shoulders).These muscles are used in all TKD moves.

Hamstring front leg swing

Swing right leg forward and then back.Switch legs and repeat for 8-12

hamstring leg stretch

times. Repeat for 8-12 times. Start in a left front stance.

This motion is used in front kicks and moving from one stance to another. Benefit - improves elasticity in the legs.

Open the gate

Start with feet shoulder width apart.Bring right knee up towards left chest.

Open the gate dynamic stretch

Repeat 8 – 12 times on both legs. Swing outwards and back down.

This motion is used for round kicks, crescent kicks, and hook kicks.

Benefit - warms up hip flexors and groin.

Close the gate

Close the gate TaeKwonDo Stretch

Start with feet shoulder width apart. Bring right knee up and out under right arm. Swing inwards toward left side and back down.Repeat 8 – 12 times on both legs.

Benefit - warms up hip flexors and groin.

This motion is used for round kicks, crescent kicks, and hook kicks.


Roberts, Melanie, Idiots Guides to Stretching, New York, NY, Penguin Group, 2013

Kovas, Mark, Dynamic Stretching, Berkley, CA, Ulysses Press,

Lists of Martial Arts Stretches,

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