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I'm using a hip adductor machine to stretch my legs for splits. I set the angle selector to 3rd position from maximum, set weight to 65kg, and allow it to apply pressure to stretch my legs for 2 minutes while slightly vibrating my legs by flexing leg muscles. Then I rest and switch to 95kg load and repeat. Then I set angle selector to 2nd from max (since my legs can already stretch beyond the angle of 3rd position) etc... I also apply additional gentler pressure with my arms to further stretch my legs. I don't risk going beyond 105 kilograms of machine weight to keep control.

I've had a lot of martial arts training when I was 13-22 (10 years ago), that included stretching, though I never reached full splits. My body is in good shape in terms of muscle tone and cardio. I've been doing this kind of stretching for a month and it looks to be working, while not causing any issues.

Does this stretching make sense? Are there any known dangers for this particular stretching?

  • You're not going to get much benefit from 2 minutes, there have been a few studies that show no real benefit beyond 30-40 second reps for a couple of sets. Other than that, there are several machines that do the same thing with a crank. The biggest risk is that you cramp and end up tearing something. – JohnP Jul 3 '18 at 16:22
  • I do 5 sets 2 minutes each. – Ivan Koshelev Jul 3 '18 at 21:10
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You're using a machine for partner stretches. This isn't a bad thing; but, you need to be careful.

When you say, "Ah! Too far!" a person will stop. The machine only listens to its mechanics and gravity. If you reach a point that is too far, you'll most likely not be able to stop the machine from causing injury since you're at one of the muscle's weakest mechanical points.

The other thing you are (almost) doing is Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF) Stretching. This is where the person stretching, while at the end of the current stretch's range of motion (ROM), contracts the muscle for a few seconds to relax. This can sometimes allow your muscle to release a little more providing a deeper stretch.

*I use the term "almost" because bouncing is not recommended for most deep stretches. You are more likely to go past a healthy ROM and injure yourself accidentally.

Taking the stretches slow while gradually adding force is the right way to go about the stretch. Try to relax as much as you can. Mild discomfort is okay, pain is bad.

NOTE: THIS LINK IS A PDF DOWNLOAD The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) states holding stretches for 30-60 seconds is sufficient for older adults while 10-30 seconds is sufficient for most adults. While 2 minutes seems excessive for most stretches, I would ask someone with martial arts knowledge to fill in this gap.

  • 1
    I am a 5th degree and you are correct on all counts start to finish. Great answer. – JohnP Jul 3 '18 at 20:44

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