Here at SciFighting, we’re constantly being asked questions by our readers on a slew of different subjects, most of which are combat sports related. Recently, one of our readers who trains kickboxing wanted to know some additional tips to help him increase the speed and explosiveness in his kicks.
Whenever I think of explosive kicks, Mirko Cro Cop comes to mind. If you asked Cro Cop how he’s able to kick so fast, he’d probably tell you that he’s been training vigorously for the past thirty years. That’s probably true. But unfortunately, lots of us don’t have thirty years to train every day. Even so, there are still some exercises you can do in addition to your regular training routine that will help increase the kicking speed in your legs.
1) Stretch…A Lot
Stretch, stretch, and keep stretching. Loosening those muscles in your legs will allow increased mobility and speed. It’s hard to kick fast if you’re so stiff you can barely lift your legs off the ground.
Stretch your legs (obviously), your hips, and your core. Additionally, you should do dynamic stretches as well as static ones. Many athletic trainers have added dynamic stretching to their routines due to their proven benefits of increased flexibility and agility (Please don’t try to imitate the above picture; you might hurt yourself, thanks).
2) Train with Ankle Weights
Jog, do plyometric exercises, and practice kicking with five pounds of extra weight on each leg. It doesn’t sound like much, but you’ll immediately notice a difference. Keep in mind, you should NEVER kick at full speed while the ankle weights are on. Kicking at full speed with ankle weights could cause serious knee injuries. So just kick lightly and focus on technique.
3) Jump Rope
Jumping rope is one of the most effective plyometric exercises for building speed and explosiveness in your legs, especially your calves. It will make you lighter on your feet and do wonders for your footwork. Practice jumping rope as part of your warmup before your workouts. Then, do it again after your workout. Boxers, kickboxers, wrestlers, and mixed martial artists all jump rope regularly. If you haven’t already incorporated this exercise into your workout routine, now would be a good time to start.