Building flexibility for kicks

Building Flexibility for High Kicks

 

Disclaimer – Exercise at your own risk

 

Martial Arts flexibility

Only picture ever taken of me throwing a kick above waist height

Things to note:

– Mobility and dynamic flexibility are different and are achieved differently to static flexibility

– Mobility work is a good idea before training and competing, and static stretching is best done post-workout/training

– Unless you are doing gentle mobility exercises, I’d always recommend being warm before stretching. Even if that means just having a hot shower before stretching in the morning (a bath would be ideal), or doing a few laps of jogging before doing pre-training dynamic stretching

– It is much easier to kick high if you lean backwards (although this can slow the kick down and put you off balance slightly)

– It is easier to kick high with a roundhouse style kick, if your standing foot is rotated and toes point away from opponent

 

Exercises for Hip Flexibility:

– Sumo squats – keep your head up, try and bend with legs only. You can hold a weight to stretch further but be careful and make sure you are warmed up

flexibility

– Dynamic  side-to-side groin stretch

high kicks stretching

– Over the gate hip mobility and back-over the gate

hip mobility

 

hip mobility exercise

– Leg swings – sideways – back and forth, continually for 10 reps:

leg swing hip mobility

hip swings

 

and forwards & backwards

leg swings hamstring and hip flexor stretch

leg swing martial arts exercise

 

– Single leg, stiff leg deadlift (try holding on to something to begin with, and get someone to check your posture – shoulders back, head up, back leg straight, body inline and not rotated laterally)

Hold for 5 seconds, then return to standing position. Repeat 5 times on each leg.
Be careful not to lose balance and damage your standing knee

stiff leg dead lift with 1 leg

– Lateral, single leg, stiff leg deadlift (I kind of made this one up, so be careful)
From standing, lift one leg out to the side until it is parallel with the floor.
Move back to standing straight away.
Repeat 5 times, then change standing leg, repeat another 5 times

side single leg deadlift

 

There are also some good exercises here too:

 

Use a lacrosse ball and a foam roller before stretching, ideally for 10 minutes before stretching and 10 minutes everyday in addition to this. When you find a knot/trigger point, hold the foam roller in place and don’t move for 1 minute.

Other random factors can hinder flexibility…well, factors that people don’t consider anyway. Anxiety and cortisol/stress levels make a huge difference, which is why it’s a good idea to remain calm and not hyped-up before a fight. Caffeine can reduce mobility and magnesium deficiencies can too.

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