A few years ago, there was a seminar in Toronto on dynamic stretches for kendo. Most of the time we use this dynamic stretching routine at the start of each practice. I haven’t seen other clubs doing these warm ups, but I’m not surprised. Traditions are resistant to change. We do the traditional warm up from time to time mainly so everyone will know what to do when we go to other clubs 😉

Dynamic stretches combine stretching and warm up. They help promote blood flow and can help maintain flexibility. Not only are you working your muscles, but you’re also moving your joints through a greater range of motion. By being better warmed up and and your body moved through its range of motion limits, you’ll reduce your risk of injury.

Static stretches are great – AFTER a workout. Studies have shown that static stretching before a workout can have negative impacts on explosive movements. While static stretching is really valuable to improve your flexibility, joint range of motion, and blood flow to your muscles, it’s best done post-workout.

Here are my notes of the stretches from that seminar.*

  1. Skipping with arm circles – first with arm circles forward, repeat circling backward
  2. Carioca (grapevine) – keeping core stiff – no hip swinging
  3. High knees x 20
  4. Walking lunges – 10 per leg
  5. Buddhas or knee hugs with knee dip – 10 per leg
  6. Lawn bowling – 10 per leg
  7. Calf raises – feet straight, internally rotated, externally rotated, 10 times each way
  8. Hip rotations – internal and external rotations – 10 times per leg each way
  9. Hip swings – 10 per leg, front to back, side to side
  10. Cat-Camel stretch – 10 times
  11. Front plank – 20 seconds
  12. Side planks – 20 seconds per side
  13. Pushups – 10
  14. Calf hops – 30 times – try to make the last 10 higher than the first 20
  15. Shinai strikes with impulse – 30 times

This was the order these techniques were presented in. Perhaps in a future post I’ll provide a video of how each of these dynamic stretches for kendo are done.

*Note: some exercises were to be done 8 times, others 10 times. For standardization, I’ve used 10 as the common number.