For anyone who is serious about the martial arts, a leg stretcher is an item that is essential to develop the flexibility required for Kung Fu and other fighting forms. Leg stretchers range from very simple to complex machines, but they all have the same goal; greater flexibility for martial artists. This article will show you, step-by-step how you can build your own simple leg stretcher and begin attaining that flexibility you need right in your own living room.
Things You'll Need
- 5ft X 1 inch Sch 40 PVC x 5
- 5ft X 1 inch pipe insulation
- 3ft flat metal stock w/ holes
- 1 inch PVC Elbow x 3
- 1 inch PVC T x 2
- 1 inch PVC End Cap x 5
- 1/4in X 2in Hex Bolts x 3
- 1/4in washer x 6
- 1/4in Wing Nut x 3
Construct the legs first. It is easiest to build the leg pieces first. Using one piece of 5 foot schedule 40 PVC pipe and the adhesive, attach one T piece to an end of the tube. The pvc cement sets up fast, so be sure to work quickly.
Cut a 3 inch piece of pipe from another of the 5 foot pieces of pvc. This will be the piece you use to cut all your filler pieces from. The remainder of this section will then be used in the construction of the handle of your adjustable martial arts leg stretcher. Attach this 3 inch piece to the upper section of the T you placed at one end of the leg.
Add one of the elbow pieces perpendicular to the T. It is important that this piece is straight, as shown in the image. Cut a two 2 inch pieces of pipe from the same piece you cut earlier remnants. Attach one of the 2 inch pieces to the open end of the elbow and the other to the open end of the T. Using two of the caps, cap both the elbow and the leg piece. This design helps create a secure hold for your ankle that resists slipping while using the leg stretcher to develop greater flexibility in martial arts. Follow steps 1-3 to build the other leg piece.
Adjust the height of the two leg sides. Hold up one of the leg stretcher devices to your side. Mark and cut it at approximately hip height. Measure and cut the second side to the same length.
Trim the remaining PVC pipe to the same length as the two side sections. This will be your handle. Drill a ¼" hole 2 inches from the top. Also drill a ¼" hole 2 inches from the top of each of the leg sections. It is very important that these holes line up perfectly with the foot section, as shown.
Drill seven ¼" holes every 5" on the handle section of the martial arts leg stretcher. Be sure these holes are exactly lined up down the section. Place an elbow at the bottom end of this section. Cut a 5" section of PVC and attach it to the elbow. Cap the end.
Lay the three section together. Line up the holes on the flat iron with the holes drilled 2 inches from the top of the leg stretcher. Leave a space of about 2 holes between each section. Mark and cut two identical pieces of the flat iron. Attach the flat iron to both sides of the device with the wing nuts.
Cut 3 inch sections of foam and wrap around handle, and each leg piece for added comfort while using the martial arts leg stretcher. Secure the foam in place with electrical tape.
Tips & Warnings
- When stretching for martial arts, start slowly to avoid muscle strain.
- Use a grinder or Dremel to avoid rough edges on the flat iron
- Shave rough edges of pipe with a utility knife before adhering into place
- For a better hold, rough up end of pipe with sand paper.
- Photo Credit Photos by: Toni Westberry
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