Training Exercises with Muay Kicking Pad – To Destroy Your Opponents, Not Your Legs

February 17, 2018

muay kicking pad

Kicking pad is an important part of Muay Thai training. Whenever it comes to the match, a fighter with strong kicks usually has the advantage of distance. Muay Thai is usually about good clinching and strong punches. But don’t you think a complete fighter has the advantage over somebody who constantly goes forward, punches, and tries to clinch up and throw knees?

Kicking has become dominant during the last 20 years. Low kicks were known in the earlier stages of Muay Thai. Today, you have a whole arsenal of kicks which is allowed in Muay Thai. There are many kicks that come from other martial arts, like Tae Kwon Do and kickboxing. But their appliance in fights made us think how big distance could be your advantage. When you talk about Hassan Kasrioui, Steve “Superkick” Vick, Cyrus Washington, Anderson Silva, Anthony “Showtime” Pettis, Serkan “The Turkish Samurai” Yilmaz, Raymond Daniels and many others, one thing is in common – the brutality of the kick. Not only their kicks are lightning fast. They are very strong and you have a feeling a baseball bat hits your face or body.

When the kick is performed properly, your leg may hit the body or the head of your opponent at an extremely high rate of speed. In the moment of collision, it can be even around 20-25 m/s. It is enough to break the ribs, damage internal organs, break the jaw, or make your opponent lose consciousness.

The importance of training with a kicking pad

1. Strength of the kick

The most important thing when it comes to kicking pad training is the strength of the kick. You may kick as much as you want at the muay thai heavy bag, you will get the power. But the target is moving. The main purpose of the Muay Thai fight is to kick the opponent that moves as hard as you can. If possible, you should knock him out with one strong kick. That is the reason why kick pad is an irreplaceable part of each Muay Thai training session.

2. Hitting the opponent with the proper part

Another very important factor is hitting the opponent with the proper part of your leg. If the opponent is too far, you may hit him with your foot or even miss him. This risks injury and wastes energy. The main goal of the fight is an effective kick. You must hit the opponent who is moving. Never mind whether your shins are rock solid. When you miss, the strength of your kicks lowers. When the opponent comes too close, the knee initiates the contact. The knee is tougher, but the kick becomes weaker. The lever is shorter. When you learn the proper distance, there will be fewer chances of missing at the most important moment of the fight.

3. Each kicking pad for each situation

Kicking pad training strengthens your legs. Kicking pads are usually made of leather and filled with tougher materials. If it is curved, it simulates the opponent who receives the kick. Straight kick pad simulates the opponent who was unable to avoid your strikes. It might even simulate an opponent who receives the strike. The feel of the kick is built with time. But various kick pads can cover almost all of the situations in the ring.

4. Good kick pad increases your speed

You can increase the speed of your kicks. Good kick pads are useful when it comes to fast single leg kicks or combinations. You can take a look at this video – these legs are fast!

5. Kicking pad training spares your energy during the real fight

In the end, kicking pad training spares your energy during the real fight. You get the feel of the distance and timing. It is never easy to know how and when you should react. Catching the moment when an opponent goes forward or loses balance is tricky. But good counter kick is twice stronger. Remember the third Newton law. On the other hand, taekwondo counters are the most brutal kicks in the world, especially spinning heel kick and spinning back kick. If you apply it in Muay Thai fight properly, your opponent can go down before the fight has even started.

Exercises to improve kicking techniques

Kicking techniques can be improved in many various ways. Don’t think you should only kick to improve your kicks… there are many other things which can apply to positive transfer to your kicking skills!

1. The Proper Technique

The proper technique is a must for the ones who want to kick hard. Many techniques have been described. For example, diagonal kick and high roundhouse kick require a step to the side to improve the power. Or your knee has to go higher. To be able to master the technique, training in front of the mirror is very important. You will be able to notice even the smallest errors and make your technique perfect. You can be a super strong fighter but irregular technique leads to weaker kicks. It definitively won’t be that powerful.

2. The Core Training

Core training is extremely important. Here is the description of core muscles. Whenever you want to start the kick, unless it is a kick that requires spinning, the main muscle that starts the movement is the muscle of the pelvic floor, musculus iliopsoas. Good strength of this muscle will lead to the explosive first phase of the kick. This will generate more power. Other very important muscles are oblique muscles, musculus rectus abdominis, lower back muscles and musculus transversus abdominis. When you spin, back muscles are very important. Their main role is stabilization and higher power of spinning back kick. Make sure to work an exercise faster if you want to develop quicker and explosive kicks for the competition, and slower when your goal is a stronger strike.

Here are some extremely important core exercises which can develop your Muay Thai fighter into a wrecking machine:

Feel free to add your own core exercise!

3. The Explosivity Training

muay thai kicking pad

Explosivity training comes to the fore when you need to improve the first phase of your kick. Actually, everybody can kick hard. But kicking hard, fast, and perfectly timed is an art! A resistance band is a great choice to improve this quality. You can use resistance band on your legs or body.

4. The Reaction Training

Reaction training is not only about hard kicking. The coach gives you the signal, which can be auditive, sensory, or visual. In most cases, the coach claps his hands or yells. For example, the coach holds the kicking pad and says left diagonal kick, setting up the kicking pad. The fighter kicks as fast as he can, trying to perform the kick as fast as possible after the signal is given.

5. Single Kick Training

Single kick training is good when you want to put all the power you can into one kick. You can train the strength of your kick and make it stronger. However, it is risky to perform it too often in the ring, because this type of the attack wastes a lot of energy. A curved kick pad is definitively better for a strong single kick. It minimizes the chances of injury.

6. Plyometrics Training

Plyometrics training is a great way to combine jumps and hops to improve some aspects of your kicks. There is generally one rule – do not apply plyometrics training session unless 48 hours have passed from the previous plyometrics training session! Here are some examples. Remember – the contact with the ground must be as short as possible!

7. Leg Training

Leg training is extremely important for the strong kick as we also mentioned in the article about leg exercises. The most important exercises are the ones who strengthen your quads and simulate movements which are similar to the kicks in the real fight. However, if you want a strong kick, determine your 1 RM (repetition maximum), perform 4 sets, 6-8 repetitions, on 80-85% of your 1 RM. What is that mean? For example, if you lift 60 kilograms on leg extension, 80% is 48 kilograms. Perform 6-8 repetitions to 50 kilograms.

Here is the list of the most important exercises for hard kicking power:

You can perform leg extension into every training session in the gym in the end. At the beginning, perform 2 exercises (for example, combine seated leg press and Jefferson squat or sumo squat with semi-squat). Do not perform all types of squats on the same day!

Wrap it up

Good kicking doesn’t mean that you should only use kicking pads and best heavy bags in every training session. It is a lot more! Combine your training aspects, strengthen your legs and core muscles and improve your technique.

Kicking pad training is just a part of a puzzle. Super strong fighter needn’t have super strong kicks. The fighters who aim world-class kicks combine training sessions. The constant improvement is important – the perfect combination of kicking pads, gym and explosivity will make your kicks brake every guard!

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