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Kicking is an essential part of both Muay Thai and kickboxing, two very similar, yet different combat sports. Although both of them utilise other body parts, especially the hands, the kicks are the most important offensive asset in them. Effective kicking in these two sports opens up the possibilities of a successful MMA career, which is something that kickboxers and Muay Thai fighters usually want at some point in their lives.
Tips to increase kick speed:
- Go slow
- Strengthen your core posture
- Use ankle weights
- Training for specific muscle fibres
- Kick! A lot.
Tips to increase kick power:
- Focus on technique
- Do core exercises
- Learn to breathe correctly
- Train leg muscles
- Use heavy bags
So, since the kicks are so vitally important, today we are going to present you a brief guide on how to improve two of their aspects – the power and the speed. We hope you’ll find out advice useful.
How to Improve Kick Speed?
Speed is of the utmost importance in most sports and especially so in martial arts and combat sports. A quick reaction might save your fight or even be a decisive moment that will win it for you. So, in order to effectively stand in a fight and even have a fair advantage, you’ll have to make your kicks faster and luckily for you, we have some advice on how you should do it.
- Start slowly – the key to quickness is going slow. Namely, in order to achieve a quick and effective shot, you have to master your technique. Your kick needs to be perfect from the moment you raise your foot to the moment when you bend your knee. Everything has to be in perfect order and fully coordinated. And that level of symmetry is achieved only by going very slow and approaching it with a lot of patience. You’ll have to perfect your movements and you can achieve that only by going slowly at it. With slow, patient moves you’ll perfect your technique and once it’s perfect, you’ll be able to improve your speed and be unstoppable.
- Strengthen your core posture – whether it’s speed or power you’re going for (or both), your posture is essential. You cannot successfully gain neither speed nor if your core posture is not firm and strong. Only then will you be able to have the optimal balance and posture for a perfectly timed, strong and fast kick. So, in order perfect all of that, you need to train your body as well as your technique. There are a lot of work out techniques you can do strengthen your core, from regular sit-ups and planks, which are some of the more basic methods, to a series of advanced core techniques that will help you get where you want to be very fast.
- Ankle weights – these little contraptions are very handy when it comes to improving your kicks. Although they improve the power of the kick as well, they are more beneficial for improving speed. The physics behind it is quite simple – the weights pull you and create a counter force, thus pushing you to use more force to achieve the same speed. You will instantly increase your power, but also your speed because once the weights are removed, the extra force used will remain, but there will be no counter force to slow you down.
- Special fibres – our muscular system has special fibres called twitch muscle fibres. The name says all about their function, but it is important to stress out that they are essential to generating quick, explosive movements with out body. It’s not just martial arts, these fibres are important in athletics, weightlifting and other sports that require almost instant speed and strength. In order to develop those fibres, one should pick exercises that require a lot of movement, like sprinting, plyometrics, agility training, etc. Such exercise is not beneficial not only for the afore mentioned fibres, but also for the coordination and general movement.
- Kicking – when you’ve successfully completed all the above-mentioned drills, you are ready to train your kicks by, well – kicking. When you have completed and built the necessary fundamentals, you can start using putting them to the test. The best way to ultimately ameliorate your kicks is by kicking, but not just randomly; you have to practice high-volume, timed kicks. Start off with 30 seconds and see how many kicks you can do. Then slowly increase change the time so that, after some time, you’ll be able to do as many kicks as it’s possible in one second. Your speed will increase, your agility, your coordination and your reaction time and you’ll have done one of two things necessary for a good fight.
How to Improve Kick Power?
The second aspect is power. Sometimes, speed is just not enough. You can be the quickest, but if your kicks do not have the power, the force they need to have, a stronger opponent will easily deflect them and might, with just one strong, perfectly placed shot knock you out. Elevating offensive power also increased the defensive power so it is essential to balance out your speed and your power. Some of the techniques overlap, but there are some workout methods specifically aimed at increasing power. We shall present them all:
- Mastering the technique – everything said above related to speed also goes for power. In order to have a well-powered kick, your technique has to be perfect.
- Balance and core – what was above discussed under core posture can also be applied here. The same exercises and the same goals are applied when training to increase the power of your kicks in kickboxing.
- Breathing – although it might not seem like that, breathing is exceptionally important for a perfect kick. A strong kick is also a relaxed kick and in order to relax, you need to learn how to control your breathing. Nothing is more fatal to a powerful kick than holding your breath and that is why it is absolutely necessary for you to master your breathing. There’s a lot of physiology behind all of this, so trust us when we say proper breathing is more important than you think it is. Luckily, there are a lot of breathing exercises out there that can help you to control your lungs and your respiratory system in a fight, thus enabling you to use your moves efficiently.
- Leg muscles – well, this one’s rather logical, isn’t it? To have a powerful kick, you have to have powerful legs. And to have powerful legs, you need to have strong leg muscles. There are a lot of workout techniques out there that are designed to strengthen your leg muscles and you can increase that aspect quite easily. All you need to do is be determined and organised and you’ll have cleared this prerequisite very soon.
- Using bags – the last thing you should do to increase your power is train your kicks on heavy bags. They are specially designed training utensils for martial arts and combat sports, literally heavy bags filled with sand or some other material and are used for punching and kicking. Since they are heavy, they demand power from you and are thus a good utensil to increase your strength. A 10-minute session with a heavy bag can do plenty of good. Just imagine how much a 20-minute session could do?
And that’s it for today, guys. We’ve covered all the essentials for improving your kickboxing skills and we hope you’ll find our advice useful. If you are interested in our series of articles on kickboxing, be sure to check them out. See you next time!