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Orange Belt
Orange Belt

Joined: 09 Feb 2016
Posts: 173
Location: It varies
Styles: Matsubayashi Shorin Ryu, Muay Thai

PostPosted: Mon Jan 10, 2022 5:18 pm    Post subject: Specific exercises and stretches to improve kicks? Reply with quote

Coming to the TKD section for this one of course.

Iím 26 years old and only started stretching around 21 years old. Iíve made great progress since then! However, Iíve found a plateau in my kicking techniques, particularly the round kick and side kick. I can do them, sure. But I love thinking of that scene in a Bruce Lee movie - someone walks into a room where heís working out. Bruce is holding his leg up in the air after doing a side kick, and just turns around to face the guy entering the room - leg still up in a flawless side kick position.

If not that, Iíd like to have a great round kick (head level) that I can demonstrate for my students. The highest I can round kick with good looking form is probably belt/solar plexus level. The highest I can kick (Muay Thai style, not what I teach so not what Iíll be demonstrating for my students) is probably shoulder or neck level.

If thatís my ultimate goal, or at least heading in that direction, are there any stretching/mobility/kicking routines that have helped you? Iím looking for specific exercises if you can. Iíve tried kicking, kicking, and kicking some more, which Iíll continue to do, but I really think I need some accessory exercises to help me improve.

What worked for you?

And yes, Iíve googled and youtubed this topic quite a bit. I found a bunch of great ideas, but thereís so many out there, itís hard to buckle down on what I can realistically add to my routine and continue to practice.

Thank you in advance!
May the force be with you.
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KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 31 Mar 2006
Posts: 29100
Location: Hays, KS
Styles: Taekwondo, Combat Hapkido, Aikido, GRACIE

PostPosted: Sat Jan 15, 2022 10:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you want to increase your flexibility, you need to stretch at the very least after each training session, and probably some in between, too. What we used to refer to as the "Chinese" splits, getting your legs spread out to each side and resting on your heels with the toes pointing up is a good stretch, and then "American" splits to both sides. Butterfly and hurdler stretches are good, too. Standing stretching, using a ballet bar or something else, are helpful because you can get into the kicking position and stretch that way.

If you have a partner, you can do some PNF stretching. Have your partner hold your leg into a stretch position, either supporting the leg on your shoulder or something like that, and they stretch you up as high as you can go. After holding for 15 or 30 seconds, you should contract your muscles and try to pull the leg down against the resistance. Do this for about 10 seconds, then relax, take a breath, and have the partner take the stretch up higher. Repeat a few times.

Now, leg strength is just as important as flexibility. You may be able to do the splits, but if the muscles aren't strong enough to hold the leg up, then you have a different problem. I do barbell squats myself. 3 sets of 5 at least 2, if not 3 times a week, adding a touch of weight each workout until you can't anymore. Stretch after you lift. Also, spend time using a wall or chair for balance and do "concentration" kicking. Chamber a side kick, extend out slowly, hold it for about 10 seconds, then rechamber nice and slow. The more you do it, the more time you can add.

Lastly, you must remember body mechanics. Make sure you have your body aligned properly and you properly pivot your base foot when kicking. This maximizes the efficiency in kicking, whether slow or fast.
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