Body kicks are the most consistently scoring technique in all of Muay Thai, yet the average hobbyist or beginner competitor struggles consistently with kicks. Kicks take up a lot of energy and many are left completely exhausted after only one round of pad work.So how can we improve our fitness and conditioning to kick for 5 consecutive rounds? Today I will take you through some simple (but gruelling) kick conditioning exercises. First we begin with a warm up.
Before any kicking session it’s essential to warm up with dynamic stretches. By swinging your leg through various planes of motion, you train the muscle to stretch while in motion. This is preferable to static stretching such as the splits, as while the splits are helpful for overall flexibility, it’s not suitable for a warm up. Over doing it with static stretching will cause your muscles to fatigue and relax too much while training and open the door for injuries.
Place your hands on a wall or hold the ring ropes and while facing that wall, swing your leg from left to right, rotating the swinging leg to ensure that you get the maximum amount of movement. Do this for 30 seconds then change sides.
Next stand with one hand on the wall facing forwards and kick your leg as high up in the air as you can. Do this for 30 seconds and change sides.
Your body/ muscles should feel more loose after doing this exercise.
Glute bridges are a simple but important exercise. It trains you to engage your hips and glutes in the same way you would when throwing a round kick or a knee strike. This is only a warm-up to get your body engaged, so one set of 30 should suffice.
The final warm up exercise is to place your kicking leg on a waist high surface, be it a table or the top ring tope. With the support of this leg pivot on your standing leg and turn your hip over in the same way you would if you were kicking.
While you kick, remember to either swing your arm back and forth for momentum or keep it out in front of you, as if obscuring an opponent’s guard. Either one is correct, and which ever one you choose is just preference.
This exercise will get your body moving along the same plane as it does when you throw a kick, and helps you develop the mobility and co-ordination to turn your hip over into the round kick. Hop back and forth for thirty seconds, then change side.
Speed will come first for this workout, as it’s easier to train speed while fresh rather than when you’re tired. Using either a heavy bag or a very generous pad holder – you should aim to for 50 kicks each side in as short a window of time as possible.
Keep a timer and see what you get! Do this for three rounds on each side. Aim to beat your time next time you do this drill. Even a second less in time is an improvement, so don’t worry if you’re slow to speed up.
This will be the main bulk of your session. For three rounds of three minutes, you should aim to hit the bag or pads with as much force as possible on every kick. Old school Muay Thai is about having maximum power on every shot.
This will be a test of endurance and cardio as each kick will progressively get weaker. There is no secret, cheat code, or mystery technique; you just need to power through and make every shot count.
You also need to land at least 50 kicks in each round. This gives you time to prep in between kicks, but forces you not to take too much time off in between them. Otherwise it can become very easy to kick, then wait ten seconds and kick again.
By the end of the third round, you will have thrown 150 kicks. Next weeks session you should aim for 160 kicks, and add ten kicks each session. Eventually it will become impossible to add any more, and you will have to add a fourth round.
By the end of your first attempt of this workout you should have thrown in total 460 kicks. That might not sound like much, but consider that if you do this routine twice a week you’ll have thrown 3680 kicks that month. In a year you will have thrown over 44,000 kicks. As we all know, Bruce Lee said he feared the man who practised a single kick 10,000 times. In one year you’ll have practised your left and right round kick double that amount.
To put this into perspective, this is only the training that you’re doing to specifically condition your body to be better at throwing kicks. It’s not including general training and sparring.
The beauty of Muay Thai is it’s simplicity, and with Thai boxers training twice a day, six days a week, it’s no wonder they develop into kicking machines so very quickly. While it’s a tall order to keep up with the Thai’s – I think it’s possible if you put the work in and practise.
Best of luck.
Muay thai techniques, Fitness, Muay thai boxing, Muay thai
Black Belt Magazine
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