Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Want to Improve Your Kicking Power?

        Not satisfied with your kicking power? Check your technique first. Without proper technique, your kicks will rarely, if ever, reach their full potential. Check basic things such as whether you are rotating your standing foot enough, your balance, whether you are extending your leg enough, ect.

However, assuming your have nigh-perfect technique, there are always some measure you can take to give your kicks a little more "kick"(pun intended).

Develop Your Leg Muscles!

There are countless exercises to develop stronger leg muscles, such as squats and just running. Here are some you might not know of:

Burpees.  This is an exercise that will fatigue you quickly in a short amount of time and are excellent for building up leg muscles. To do a burpee, assume a standing position. Then move into a squat, shoot your legs back and assume a pushup or plank position. Quickly assume the squat position again by shooting your legs forward. Now jump back up into a standing position. Congratulations, you have now done 1 burpee. In sets of 10 and above these can be highly fatiguing.

Kung Fu Squats: I do not know the proper term for this, but this is what I have heard it called. Assume a standing position with both feet together. Move your feet out with your feet pointed inwards.  There should be a distance of about 3 feet ( 1 meter) between your feet. Keep your back straight as possible and attempt to cease all movement. You should feel the burn fairly soon.

Hopping with jumps: Bounce very lightly on both feet in an upright standing position. Every 5 or so light hops, jump as high as you possibly can. For this exercise to be effective, I recommend getting your knees as close as you possibly can to your chest each time you jump. This exercise develops explosive speed and strength, which is excellent for kicking. To increase difficulty, add less hops between each jump. Continuous jumping WILL wear you out. This exercise should not be attempted with a knee injury or condition.

Develop Your Core Muscles!

Core muscles are important in that they help rotate your body. Rotation in a kick leads to power. 
Once again, there are many well known exercises for this purpose, mostly situps and crunches. Here are some more:

Planks: Assume a pushup position. Now ease yourself onto your forearms instead of your hands. If you form your hands into fists, both should be pointing directly in front of you. Keep your body as straight as possible (like a wooden plank).  Hold this position and cease all movement. I would also recommend looking straight head during this exercise, not down.

Ground drills: There are many drills that can be done on the ground to improve core strength. In this particular drill, lay down on your back. Clasp your hands together above your head. You may not use them in this drill. You may use your feet, but use them as little as possible. Now attempt to turn and rotate your body over and over again...the catch is, you should try to stay in the same location. That means no log rolling on the floor. If you are familiar with grappling, you will notice that your position will often resemble the movement of "shrimping". If you are not familiar with grappling, this drill will get you used to being and moving on the ground.

Situps Into Shoulder Rolls: Exactly as the name implies. SLOWLY do a situp. As you reach the very top, pull a leg back and transition into a shoulder roll. Rinse and repeat. Find an open area to do this drill.

As you may have noticed, the drills above are strictly body weight drills, although some may be done with weight. There are many other drills you can do using weights at a local gym, studio, or at home.

Note: Aside from these drills, a surefire way to improve your kicking power is simply to PRACTICE. I encourage that you do NOT using leg weights for kicking drills. Although endorsed by some, this is highly dangerous and adds unnecessary strain on your knees and can result in long term health applications. 

No comments: