View Full Version : best stretching machine?

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01-12-2005, 12:47 PM
im looking at the type that have the steering wheel in the middle and push your legs back.
are those any good for flexablilty relating to aikido?
I have been bodybuilding for 10 years and have become stiff and non flexable, especially in the legs, i cant even touch my toes!!! LOL
also what brand/type of stretching machines are the better ones? i know i have seen them in gyms and martial arts dojos.


01-12-2005, 01:22 PM
Stretching machine? You don't need to be able to touch your toes to be able to do aikido. If you feel a need to be more flexible, I'd suggest you learn how to stretch yourself safely. Try hanging from the top of a door, it will help to stretch your back. Lie on your back, hugging your knees, and roll around. This will help loosen up your back for rolls.
None of the black belts in my dojo have any flexibility at all.

Mark Jakabcsin
01-12-2005, 01:23 PM
Best stretching machine is gravity. If your muscles can't move there on their own do you really want a machine that forces them to move there? Do you thinking forcing your muscles in to a position will increase or decrease the accumulated stress in the muscle? Shouldn't proper stretching be healthy and thereby decrease stress?

My suggestion is to avoid the machines. Join a soft yoga or pilates class and take your time. You didn't get stiff over night, hence you won't become flexible overnight. Take your time and increase your range of motion naturally.

mark j.

Ian Watkinson
01-12-2005, 02:10 PM
Most of the experts in flexibility agree that machines don't work but are advertised by people who can already do the splits. I agree 100% I purchased 1 years ago it wasn't one with a wheel but a hydraulic pump action.As far as I know you only need limited flexibility for aikido but to do the full splits (even between chairs) the only book you need is "stretching scientifically" by Thomas Kurz it isn't easy and hurts alot but persevere, follow the book and you should be able to do box splits in around 6 months.If it was easy everyone would be able to do it. Don't waste money on machine check ebay there's a couple of books on at this moment.

01-12-2005, 02:57 PM
ok, thanks, i guess. i just thought I would be able to adapt to aikido techniques better if i started stretching before my classes started.
i dont care if i can do the splits or touch my toes, i was just pointing out the extremity of my unflexibility. i am currently 5' 7" and weigh over 200 pounds with a background in wrestling. getting up on a door is not going to happen and gravity stretching doesnt work that well for me.

thanks for the info.

01-12-2005, 03:17 PM
I was avoiding suggesting that you supplement your aikido with something more aerobic, like walking; and take a yoga class for supervised stretching. However, I can't think of any better way to get more flexible.
Just about all the stretching exercises I have learned in 40 years as a Dancer involve gravity, however.

Sean McNamara
01-12-2005, 03:20 PM
A book I'd like to highly recommend is:

SOMATICS by Thomas Hanna

This is a very gentle, but extremely effective way to re-awaken awareness of your body. Hanna was a top student of Moshe Feldenkrais and Functional Integration, so the work is directly derivative of that. I think if you follow the exercises outlined in the book, you'll start to find your flexibility increasing along with gaining a whole new perspective on what it means to be aware of your body. I think this has a direct relationship to technique on the mat.

The Kurz book, however, is excellent if you want to do some hard-core PNF stretching. Similar to that is the Pavel Tsatsouline book "Relax into Stretch." Not as technically complete as the Kurz book, but has nice pictures if you are a visual learner.

Regardless, you don't need to wait for your flexibility to improve. Start training (keeping things within your limits) and you'll see your flexibility improve as your practice grows!

If you feel you need more work on flexibiliy, certainly adding some Yoga to your training routine will bear some fruit.

Janet Rosen
01-12-2005, 03:39 PM
The Kurz book, however, is excellent if you want to do some hard-core PNF stretching.
I was going to say, if you find gravity alone doesn't work for you (and I wonder if you have ever had anbody show you proper stretches?), then PNF stretching surely will. Best done initially not from a book though but with somebody who can do it to you then show you how to do it yourself.
or yoga.

01-12-2005, 04:39 PM
if you Must use a book, at the very least have a stretching partner and take turns reading the instructions to each other. Personally I wouldn't reccomend trying to look at a diagram at the same time as trying to make my body do something new.
But Sean is right, as soon as you start training, your body will start to adapt.

01-12-2005, 04:44 PM
I have one of those stretchers you are talking about, its like 3 poles and the middle one has a curved end you can hold on to. You stick it in between your legs and push it out (yeah it sounds nasty) using the middle stick. I use this for my karate as I can't kick as high as i want to. This is only good for side kicks and i can't see how it would benefit your aikido in any way.
I was like you very stiff and unflexible, sitting in seiza was agony for me. I've played football all my life so my legs are very unflexible. However since i have been going to aikido as much as possible i have become dramatically more flexible. My only suggestion to you is to not bother with stretching machines and to just focus on the stretching your aikido sensei has taught you. I try to do mine at least once or twice a day when i'm not doing aikido.
Hope this helps.

01-12-2005, 06:37 PM
thanks for all the good advice guys and gals