The kick is the most prominent weapon of Muay Thai Training. Literally, nothing else is used as much and with greater effect.
We all know that technique is everything in martial arts. But if you want power, speed and endurance you need to train. Hence, your physique is just as important as your technique. Then the question is:
“What exercises are good for improving your kicks?”
You need diversity in your training regime. Now, we are going to cover some great exercise that will help you improve all aspects of your kicking game.
Why You Need Diversity For Muay Thai Training
In fact, when most people think about leg exercises they think squats and lunges. Now, I have to admit… squats are awesome. They are a full body exercise and can really push you to the limit in a short period of time. However, considering that all your exercises need to be appropriate.
You’re in Muay Thai training, so make sure that your training gives you benefits that will reflect in your Muay Thai.
Of course, being super muscular doesn’t help in the sport. A huge part of fighting in itself is endurance. Muscle makes you powerful but tires you out quickly. At the same time, it wouldn’t be to helpful if you have the body of a traditional triathlete. Skinny with hard muscle, capable of working for hours on end. In reality, a Muay Thai training bout is a 15-minute affair, not a 3 hour marathon. It’s your job (not your coaches) to make certain that your approach is balanced and appropriate.
Now, let’s get to the exercises!
Running (All Kinds)
All kinds of running are the traditional way to train not only for endurance, but for leg strength. Many times running is used as a bench mark for how long you can last in a fight. Besides, jogging at a good pace non-stop is like a minimum requirement in every martial art.
In additional, sprinting is excellent for your kicking power. You activate your ‘short twitch’ muscles which produce explosive movements. While it gets you used to generating a lot of force within a short period of time.
For you, it’s best to create a balance between long distance and short distance running. Jogging for thirty minutes on a Monday and Sprinting for 15 minutes on a Thursday is an excellent way to even out your training.
However, it’s my personal opinion that you shouldn’t run more than twice a week. That might have something to do with the fact that I hate running. In fact, I just don’t like being too tired to actually train in the gym, so I take it a bit easy in general.
If you don’t like running, skipping rope is an excellent alternative. Just as affective and even more in some cases, it offers a completely different feel. Even, you don’t need to be good at skipping rope. You can just jump up a down like a lunatic. And this is actually one of my favorite exercises.
Just like running this is very much a full body exercise. It also helps you build a bit of a bouncy rhythm which is good for your footwork. Your legs will get significantly stronger over time. Especially, your calves.
I find it easier to recover from skipping rope than most endurance exercises. Try it out and see for yourself.
It would be a travesty to not include some sort of squatting exercise in this article. As a class of exercises the squat is likely the most useful. The jumping squat is like the big brother of the normal body weight squat. More importantly it forces you to generate quick and power movements. Finally, they are everything we need in a good kick.
In case you’re wondering how to do one of these, you squat down and then jump upwards. It’s really that simply. Just don’t compromise your form. If you aren’t fit you won’t be able to do more than 10 repetitions of one set. It’s incredibly draining. After doing the first five, you’ll feel your heart pounding. Don’t push yourself to hard.
Remember that stretching counts as exercise. Yoga is a system of exercise that works completely of stretching, and it can work wonders for your body. The split is the basic leg stretch. It has many different variations that address your legs muscles groups in different ways.
More importantly you never ‘outgrow’ the split. There is always a way to take it to the next level. If you’re crazy flexible, do a split on two chairs like Jean Claude Van Damme used to do.
What most people don’t understand is that stretching increases your strength as well as flexibility. Lifting weights essentially creates micro tears in your muscle. These tears get healed by producing more and stronger muscle. Stretching will actually tear your muscles apart in a similar way if you do it right.
This exercise helps you generate speedy and accurate kicks, which can strike at longer and higher distances.
Kicking Something (preferably not a person… yet)
I had a great coach who was also a good friend to me. He once gave me a rant on the stupidity of all the fancy exercise we do nowadays. His philosophy is simple, if your intention is to get better at kicking than you should actually be kicking.
Kicking is a physical motion, why would you neglect that and concentrate solely on other exercises?
At the end of the day, the most effective exercise for better kicking is punishing something with your legs. Pro Thai fighters won’t walk out of the gym without having kicked the bag at least 1000 times… with each leg! By that way, they will harden their shins, and they will become their fatal weapons.
That might kill mortals like you and I, but I’m sure you get the point. The heavy bag is an excellent opportunity to gain power, speed, endurance and mental toughness. In conclusion, kicking by itself should be your number one exercise.
Wrapping It Up
Hence, there are a lot of really useful exercises out there that improve your Muay Thai training kicking ability. The ones we’ve given you here represent a balanced way to go about improving yourself.
- Kicking Endurance – running, skipping rope, kicking something
- Kicking Power – jumping squats, kicking something
- Kicking Accuracy and Distance – splits, kicking something
Make these part of your routine and you’ll definitely see positive results.
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Robert Sterling // Author
The kick is the most prominent weapon of Muay Thai. The question is :“What exercises are good for improving your kicks?”. Technique is everything in martial arts. But if you want power, you need speed and endurance.