Martial Arts Training Drills – Part Four

Judo training drills begin with stretching. We looked at sitting, prone, and supine stretching in the last part of our series. We move now to kneeling, squatting, and standing stretching.

Kneeling Stretches

Kneeling stretches can be done on one knee or both knees. They are helpful in engaging your body’s core as well as muscles in your legs, arms, chest, back, and neck. You do not need to do all of these stretches before working out with a partner. Select the ones you find most helpful and combine them with other stretches you enjoy from the other stretches we’ve described in this series.

Place both knees on the floor and stretch both hands above your head .. slowly bend your body back as far as you can comfortably and hold for five seconds .. slowly move from that position to bend your body forward as far as you can comfortably and hold for five seconds .. bring your body back to an upright position, lower your hands to your sides, and relax for ten seconds .. repeat the backward/forward stretch ten times

Place both knees on the floor and stretch both hands above your head .. slowly bend your body to the left as far as you can comfortably and hold for five seconds .. slowly move from that position to bend your body to the right as far as you can comfortably and hold for five seconds .. bring your body back to an upright position, lower your hands to your sides, and relax for ten seconds .. repeat the left/right stretch ten times

Place your left knee on the floor with your hands on your hips .. stretch your right leg straight back and hold the stretch for ten seconds .. then stretch your right leg to your right side and hold the stretch for ten seconds .. next, stretch your right leg forward and hold the stretch for ten seconds .. return your right knee next to your left knee .. repeat the stretching combination with your right leg five times

Place your right knee on the floor with your hands on your hips .. stretch your left leg straight back and hold the stretch for ten seconds .. then stretch your left leg to your left side and hold the stretch for ten seconds .. next, stretch your left leg forward and hold the stretch for ten seconds .. return your left knee next to your right knee .. repeat the stretching combination with your left leg five times

Place your right knee on the floor and stretch your left leg straight in front of you so that your right heel is touching the floor .. bend forward at your waist and place your right hand on the floor and your left hand on the toes of your left foot .. stretch forward as far as is comfortable and hold for five to ten seconds .. repeat the stretch ten times

Place your left knee on the floor and stretch your right leg straight in front of you so that your left heel is touching the floor .. bend forward at your waist and place your left hand on the floor and your right hand on the toes of your right foot .. stretch forward as far as is comfortable and hold for five to ten seconds .. repeat the stretch ten times

Place your right knee on the floor with your right hand on the floor .. raise left hand above your head while you raise your left leg straight out parallel with the floor .. hold stretch for ten seconds .. lower left hand and leg and relax for ten seconds .. repeat stretch ten times

Place your left knee on the floor with your left hand on the floor .. raise right hand above your head while you raise your rigt leg straight out parallel with the floor .. hold stretch for ten seconds .. lower right hand and leg and relax for ten seconds .. repeat stretch ten times

Place left knee on the floor with your right leg stretched behind you touching the floor .. make a fist and raise your hands in front of your chest .. slowly walk across the ground/floor/mat on your knees (alternate knees) with your hands in front of you .. take ten knee steps forward .. reverse direction and take ten knee steps backward .. relax for 30 seconds .. repeat knee-walking stretch five to ten times

Place both knees on floor and sit back on your heels with hands on your legs .. slowly move knees as far away from each other as is comfortable .. hold stretch for 30 seconds .. bring knees back together and rest for 30 seconds .. repeat stretch five times

Place both knees on floor and sit back on your heels with hands on your legs .. slowly move knees as far away from each other as is comfortable .. bend at the waist as you reach forward until the palms of your hands are on the floor .. bend forward as far as is comfortable (the goal is to eventually touch your forehead to the floor) .. hold stretch for 15 seconds .. return body to upright position and bring knees back together and rest for 30 seconds .. repeat stretch five times

Place both knees and both hands on the floor (palms down) about shoulder width apart (knees and hands) .. arms are straight, but elbows are not locked .. move your feet on the floor so your toes are pointing outward at a 90 degree angle (right toes pointing right, left toes pointing left) while keeping your heels touching the floor .. stretch your hips back slightly as if attempting to sit (slightly, don’t overstretch) while breathing in, then stretch forward slightly while breathing out .. stretch back and forward ten times .. relax for 30 seconds .. if you feel okay, do another set .. if not, that’s fine

Squatting Stretches

[Squatting places a lot of pressure on your knees .. if you have knee problems or weak knees, you may want to modify or even skip these stretches so that you don’t strain your knees]

Stand with your feet shoulder width apart .. squat down until your knees are straight out, also reach forward with both hands .. return to a standing position .. repeat the squatting exercise ten times .. relax for 30 seconds .. repeat the stretch five to ten times .. you can increase the stretch by placing more weight on the front of your foot (toes and ball of foot), but I recommend you wait to do that until regular squatting with feet flat on the floor is easy to do

Stand with your feet shoulder width apart .. step forward with your left foot into a squatting position .. rise and step forward with your right foot into a squatting position .. continue across the floor ten times, then reverse direction and move backward ten times .. relax for 30 seconds .. repeat stretch five times

Move into a squatting position with toes on both feet pointing outward about 20-30 degrees .. place your hands on your legs or outstretched in front of you .. walk forward across the floor in a squatting position .. reverse direction and walk backward across the floor in a squatting position .. stand up and relax for one minute .. if you feel up to it, repeat the squat walk .. the goal is to eventually repeat the squat walk (forward and backward) five times

Move into a squatting position and stretch left leg to the left and hold for ten seconds (your weight will be on your right leg) .. bring your left leg back into a squatting position and stretch right leg to the right and hold for ten seconds (your weight will be on your left leg) .. repeat ten times .. stand up and relax for one minute .. if you feel up to it, repeat the squat stretch .. the goal is to eventually repeat the full side-to-side squat stretch five times

Move into a squatting position with your hands on the floor in front of you .. move more weight to the front of your foot (toes and ball of foot) .. move forward in a frog-like posture by changing weight from hands to feet as you move .. move forward ten times, turn around and move forward ten times .. stand up and relax for one minute .. repeat moving stretch five times

Standing Stretches

Stand with your feet close together and your knees bent slightly .. stretch your hands above your head (eyes follow hands), then slowly lower your hands toward the floor (reach downward as far as you can comfortably, some people can place their fingers on their knees while other can place their fingers on their shins or toes, the key is to make the stretch comfortable, you will find that your ability to stretch farther will increase over time) .. hold stretch for five seconds .. slowly raise your body and your hands above your head, then slowly lower your hands to the floor .. hold stretch for five seconds .. repeat ten times .. stand and relax for 30 seconds .. repeat stretch five to ten times

Stand with your feet apart (two shoulders width) .. raise your rands above your head, then reach backward so that your back is bowed .. hold stretch for five seconds .. reach forward so that your back is rounded .. hold stretch for five seconds .. repeat stretch ten times .. relax for 30 seconds .. repeat stretch five to ten times

Stand with your feet shoulder width apart .. slowly raise your right foot behind you and grab the top of your foot with your right hand (the goal is to eventually place the heel of your right foot on your bottom, but don’t push the stretch, make it comfortable) .. hold for five to ten seconds (place your left hand on a wall in front of you if balance is difficult during the stretch) .. repeat stretch five to ten times

Stand with your feet shoulder width apart .. slowly raise your left foot behind you and grab the top of your foot with your left hand (the goal is to eventually place the heel of your left foot on your bottom, but don’t push the stretch, make it comfortable) .. hold for five to ten seconds (place your right hand on a wall in front of you if balance is difficult during the stretch) .. repeat stretch five to ten times

Stand with your feet together .. bend your knees slightly .. place hands on both knees and slowly rotate knees in a circle to the right .. repeat ten times .. reverse direction and slowly rotate knees in a circle to the left .. repeat ten times .. relax for 30 seconds .. repeat stretch five times

Stand facing a wall .. place your hands on the wall (palms forward) .. move into a strong forward stance with your front foot fully on the floor and your back foot with toes on the floor and heel up .. gently push forward with your back foot toward the wall while resisting the push with your front leg and hands .. hold stretch for ten seconds .. change feet and hold similar stretch for ten seconds .. continue changing feet ten times .. relax .. repeat stretch five times


Resources

Stretches for Judo will also work well for other martial arts (e.g. BJJ, Aikido, Karate, Kung Fu), though each of those arts have some stretches unique to their system. Judoka stretch at the beginning and ending of each class. Other martial arts may do less stretching and more warmups as part of their system.

While the best resource you have is your instructor, here are a few good online resources to supplement. Keep in mind that you want flexibility, speed, and strength for Judo and other martial arts.

GMA Black Belt Study Guide (pages 9 – 10)

Stretching and Flexibility for Judo

Stretching Routine for Judo (Video)

Warm Up Stretches for Judo (Video)

Next Time

We will share strengthening drills in the next part of our special series.

Enjoy!

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