Flexibility and Strength Working Together
So many people in the Dojo think that improving kick height boils down to simply stretching. Few realize that the ability to kick comes from flexibility, balance, and strength. At Innovative Martial Arts, we know that kicking higher won’t happen overnight, but with dedication and practice…you can reach your goal and enhance your skills.
Kick Height is More Than Just Flexibility
An excellent high kick is more than simply lifting your leg high into the air; it’s also about control and accuracy. Flexibility is an essential part, but strength also plays an important role. Specific muscles are required to deliver a particular style of kick, and if you struggle to move your kick beyond your waist, it may be an issue with conditioning. Understanding that flexibility and strength go hand-in-hand to target the specific muscle groups needed to kick higher is crucial. When your muscles work in harmony, you can reach a full range of motion.
Biomechanics of Martial Arts
You must be honest and mindful about your technique when you deliver a kick. Therefore, it is imperative to slow down and analyze each step of the process. Biomechanics can help with your high kick journey and is a great way to better understand your full range of motion.
Biomechanics is a detailed analysis of your movements to minimize risk and improve performance. Through biomechanics, you can better understand a specific movement and analyze what you are doing correctly, and what needs to be fine-tuned. While a detailed biomechanics approach to sports requires special equipment, the fundamental principles can be completed at home.
The first step in understanding the basic principles of a high kick is analyzing your current form. To do this, film yourself completing your kick with no adaptations. Don’t be judgemental in this stage — just let your body do what it naturally does in the Dojo. When watching your footage, use a critiquing mindset and think about making your technique more efficient. Ask yourself:
- What is your current position in the kick?
- How can it be improved?
- What can be changed to create the proper range of motion?
Make sure to film yourself throughout the entire high kick journey. With each session, you will begin to better understand how your body works and operates.
Strength Train, Stretch and Repeat
Having a strong core is a critical component of a quality high kick. While your upper and lower body should not be neglected, your core is the center of every movement. As your core strength improves, so will your balance and ability to transfer that strength into each movement. Remember: your core is more than just your abs; it’s the inner and outer core. By training both areas, your balance and movement will increase over time.
Stretching is another critical piece of a high kick because it allows your body to become more fluid throughout the kicking motion. From static to dynamic, most successful athletes make stretching a part of their daily routine to reach maximum flexibility.
Tips from the Sensei
- When stretching, don’t go to your maximum extension! Instead, extend your range of motion progressively.
- Breathing correctly during strength training will help you produce the movements. Exhale during the portion that requires the maximum effort, and inhale when the exercise is less intensive.
- Take your time on your journey to a high kick, and be patient with your learning. Embrace the curriculum. Connect with the core and stability. Allow freedom with your flexibility.
- Alternate between flexibility and strength training to gradually build your control.
Try A Class!
At Innovative Martial Arts Academy, we’re all about FAMILY and FUN. Our Martial Arts training offers men, women, and children the opportunity to challenge their bodies and minds without the threat of injury and intimidation. Take on the best training in disciplines like Kenpo Karate, Kali, and Aikido, and build your skills one day at a time with the help of our dedicated instructors.
We are proud to serve families across Wake Forest, Wakefield, and the surrounding area with a rewarding experience that can set you or your child up for success in all aspects of life. If you’re interested in learning about our martial arts program, contact us at 919.562.4663, or visit our website.