The best age to improve Flexibility!

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Don’t panic if you or most of your karate students are older…

What you’ll read in this article shows you what’s the period of life where your Karatekas can have the greatest results in Flexibility development…

… But it doesn’t mean that they can improve outside that age!!!

With proper training, Range-of-Motion can be increased at any age. Yes, at any age, even when your students are older! So, always keep a good and regular Stretching program in all your Karate sessions.

But it’s also important that you know what’s the age where Stretching can be a major part of your students’ training.


So they don’t waste a critical period to develop such a hard skill as Flexibility… And so relevant for Karate!

Let’s start…

Mobility/Flexibility & Youth Physical Development Model

The YPD-Model recommends that Mobility/Flexibility should be a crucial part of any sport. In Karate it’s very important, so your students can have great Jodan Geri, Shiko Dachi, Neko Ashi Dachi, etc. It’s important that your students approximate as much as possible the required maximal Range-of-Motion to each technique.

The YPD-Model proposes Middle Childhood (5-11 years old) as the most important period to incorporate Flexibility and Mobility training. 

Note: It’s important to you to know that this Model didn’t come from an enlightened head that built a fancy theory at his/her home… The proposed ages come out from scientific evidence.

Having this critical information in your hands doesn’t make you rethink your training plans for kids? Between 5 and 11 years old should you replace Stretching by more Punching technical refinement? Can’t they privilege that a few years later? It’s your decision, but, at least, think about it.

Youth Physical Development (YPD) Model For Males
Youth Physical Development (YPD) Model For Females

What is The “Youth Physical Development Model”

Fortunately, the scientific researchers Rhodri Lloyd and Jon Oliver created this model as a practical and easy-to-follow guide to every Sports’ trainer or teacher. And most important, based on the scientific evidence available only 4 or 5 years ago (2012). To our knowledge, since that period, there wasn’t a new model (and so rigorous) being presented.

Nevertheless, we all have to look to Youth Physical Development Model in a dynamic and evolutional way. Because Science is always giving us new knowledge. Don’t you ever forget this!!

YPD-Model is a complete and global approach to the development of young males and females. It gives us the Athletic Development from early childhood (2 years of age) up to adulthood (+21 years of age).

Rhodri and Oliver (2012) expect this Youth Physical Development Model to provide Sports’ coaches, physical educators, and even parents an easy-to-follow tool. A tool that gives you, as a Karate Sensei, an overview of global physical development… And the better part, when and why each fitness component should be emphasized!!

How to Interpret The Youth Physical Development Tables?

As you can see in the tables, training priority is highlighted by a bigger font size. The greater the font size, the more important is to train that fitness quality!

Thank you, Rhodri Lloyd and Jon Oliver. For us, in Karate Science Academy, Science is this: simple, useful and practical tools for all the professionals that work in the field (like Dojos)!

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