Photo credit of Stacey kicking: tdphoto.com
Do you practice drilling kicks on your own and in classes but, find there is little or no progress and it is painful? The only issue is clearly a lack of the correct flexibility exercises for martial arts. Once you have tapped into how to get more flexible for martial arts your overall performance will immensely improve.
*Do not drill kicks without being warmed up. This is dangerous and counterproductive.
*After going through a comprehensive flexibility program and the body is warmed up is the time to implement (a swinging motion) of leg kicks on the floor using ankle weights or my Stacey Stretch Strap for resistance. Then practice this standing.
* Have back against the wall to practice holding leg up
*Standing up use a bar or countertop to hold onto while you drill high kicks. I have included some free video links below on how to do this.
*The key to remember is to lift knee up first as high as you possibly can while being mindful of not letting it drop down at all, because wherever the knee is pointing will be the exact height of the kick. Drill this very slowly while holding a bar or countertop using light ankle weights or Stacey Stretch Strap. This is how to immediately improve kicking flexibility because this drill creates new muscle memory
*Exhale on the effort of the kick this will not only shoot the leg up higher and faster but, give it power.
*Use walls to hold leg up and lean on chair for balance
*When going into new territory of establishing core strength, balance and leg going higher introduce the new move come out of it then get back in rather than forcing and straining the new position. Introduce pull out, let it process and go back in!
*Good posture is essential to not lose balance while kicking If practicing hunched over it will reinforce serious alignment issues that may result in setbacks and injuries. I wear my Stacey Posture Strap while kicking to keep good balance and protect my shoulders while kicking. Here is a routine I did for Kung Fu Magazine to accompany the article:
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Benefits of Increasing Flexibility
Flexibility is key to working
out at your highest level because it increases the range of motion. Most injuries are due to a lack of flexibility.
Stretching is a critical tool in anti-aging because by increasing flexibility one loses that hunched-over posture and appears more youthful -- gaining the ability to perform kicks with fluidity and ease.
Doing just one or two stretches is not enough because everything is connected. Stretching and strengthening the entire body will create balance that will leave you feeling free and open. It's sad how many injuries, unnecessary surgeries and use of pain medication could be prevented if people only knew how to properly stretch themselves.
The Stronger You Get the Tighter You Get.
Stacey in Kung Fu Magazine Photo : Greg Lynch Jr.
When martial artists perform the side kick, it is not natural to the body to turn the hip over this may cause the low back and outer hip area to get tighter and tighter. Which can lead to pain and limit your training. Most people don't know how to thoroughly stretch those locked areas. Once you know the proper routine of stretches the pain leaves and the kicks go even higher and with more ease!
It's important to know that practicing stretches in a specific order can help the body to open faster. For example, before you can effectively stretch the hamstrings and the line up into lower back, one must stretch the feet and calves thoroughly first.
My mission in is to show you exactly how to improve flexibility for martial arts in my online courses. When I work with clients or produce a course, I show how to increase leg flexibility for martial arts in the perfect sequence needed to transform your range of motion:
1. Upper body (It's important not to forget about stretching the chest, shoulders, upper back)
2. Lower legs/Calves/Feet
6. Inner Thighs/Groin area
8. Straddle Stretch
10. Backbend (for the more advanced)
Now you are ready to safely drill kicks