Basic soft stretching

Without any pretense of completeness, in this article, we want to share a basic full body soft stretching session ideal for 6 Dragons Kung Fu.

Important premises:

  • This kind of practices are good for flexibility intermediates before starting an intense workout (after a small warm-up, read How to correctly perform warm-up)
  • This kind of practices are also good for flexibility beginners (after a warm-up or after an entire training session, read Basic warm-up)
  • Every kind of stretching exercise involves more than a single muscle / muscular groups (the subdivisions in this guide are purely organizational)
  • To know how to properly perform the exercises we are going to describe refer to the article How to correctly perform stretching (safety, times, common errors, effectiveness, etc.)
  • Depending on what we are going to do let’s give more importance to the muscle groups involved in the activity we want to perform after

Head, torso and neck:

  • From standing, we gently let our head completely fall forward; without exerting any force we let it go forward and then slowly completely back (5-25 times)
  • From standing, we gently drop our head towards the right shoulder (if it’s not an effort we can touch it) and without exerting any force we move it on the opposite shoulder and vice versa (5-25 times)
  • From standing, we gently drop our head to the right and without exerting any force we rotate it at 360 ° to dead weight in one direction and then in the other (5-25 times per direction)
  • From standing, let’s place our hands on our hips, let’s raise our left arm bending it until the back of our hand is over our head and let’s bend to the right (5-25 times to the right and the same, symmetrically, to the left)
  • From standing, let’s open the arms outstretched sideways (palm facing down), let’s bend the elbow to bring the hands in front of the pectorals and let’s push the elbows backward

Shoulders, fingers, wrists and arms:

  • From standing, we bend the torso forward and with the arms outstretched we try to touch the ground (initially, for those who are less flexible, it is good to just to touch knees, ankles or even better feet)
  • From standing, we open our arms sideways, we stretch our elbows, we open the palms of our hands without stretching our fingers, we bend our wrists so that our fingers become perpendicular to the ground and we stretch also our fingers (each arm must push outwards)
  • From standing, we stretch our arms upwards, we cross our fingers with the palm facing upwards, we look at our hands and push our straight legs downwards, our head downwards and our hands upwards and backward
  • From standing, we put our hands behind our back with crossed fingers, our arms straighten up and push upward (we can also bend our back forward if it does not cause effort)
  • From standing (or in Ma bu stance), we bring our hands (clenched as fists) to the sides facing upwards (the elbows are well directed backwards), we rotate the torso to the left and stretch the right arm as if to wring a side fist (we repeat the elongation, symmetrically, on the opposite side)
  • From standing, the right hand grasps the 4 fingers of the left hand facing upwards (thumb excluded), it bends the fingers back until we straighten the elbow of the left arm forward and bring it parallel to the ground (this is also a Chin Na technique, we repeat the elongation, symmetrically, to the side opposite)

Ankles, legs, knees, buttocks and toes:

  • From standing, we place both palms on a wall, we bend the left leg and, without lifting the soles of the feet, we stretch the right leg backward (it is straight) by stretching the ankles (we repeat the elongation, symmetrically on the opposite side)
  • From standing, without raising the soles of our feet, we crouch down in a natural way (the feet are directed outwards), we join hands as for prying and we push the knees outwards with the elbows
  • From standing (or in Ma bu stance), we spread our legs apart, we bend our torso forward and we stretch our arms inside our legs as if we want to look behind us
  • From standing, we open the left leg sideways, the leg must be straight, it touches the ground only with the heel (the foot must be perpendicular to the right one), we lift the toe of the foot (90° with the leg), we rotate the torso to the left and with both hands we try to grasp the toe (we repeat the elongation, symmetrically, on the side opposite)
  • We sit on our knees on the ground (with our heels under our buttocks), we freely open the legs and we keep our back straight (who is able can go backward by resting his hands, forearms or his head on the ground)
  • From standing, we close the fingers of the left foot, we lean them on the ground and we gently rotate the left knee first in one direction and then the other (symmetrically 5-25 times per foot and direction)
  • From standing, we bend the left knee backward (trying to make it attached the buttocks), we keep the balance on one foot, we grasp the left toes with the left hand and, in the meantime, we bring the hand of the other arm on the nape pushing the elbow and the shoulder upward

It is fundamental to stress that:

  • This is not power stretching, relaxation, regeneration, Qi Gong or other
  • This is not a warm-up nor a stretching for 6 Dragons Kung Fu’s advanced practitioners
  • This is only an introductory practice to Kung Fu flexibility (read Physical conditioning: how it works), useful even in normal life
  • There are a lot of other exercises complementary and alternatives to these ones (with future tutorials we will be more specific)
  • With these exercises, we do not directly gain a real fight flexibility (read Conditioning check for flexibility) but they are fundamental to obtain it

Author: Master Kongling

Founder of 6 Dragons Kung Fu.

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