To become a top martial artist, you will need to condition your legs to deliver fast, powerful kicks to your opponents. To have the best kicks, you will need to focus on three basic areas – flexibility, leg strength, and balance. Here are some exercises to help you improve on each of these areas and develop the best kicks in your martial arts class.
Benefit: Strength, Flexibility
Lunges are one the the quickest and easiest ways to build up leg muscle strength, as well as, give your thigh muscles a good stretch. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Take a large step forward with your right leg while keeping your left leg planted. Hold this position for five seconds before returning to the starting position. Continue switching legs until you have done at least twenty lunges with each leg. Over time, you will want to increase the distance of your lunge, number of reps, and amount of time that you hold the position.
Tip – Remember your posture when doing this exercise. Keep your back straight while doing each lunge.
Benefit: Flexibility, Balance
This is probably one of my favorite leg conditioning exercises. Take a chair from your dining room table and place it directly in front of you. While facing the chair, lift your leg and place it on top of the chair back as if you are frozen in mid-kick. Hold this position for thirty seconds and switch legs. You should aim to do ten reps with each leg. While a chair works fine for beginners, you will likely see your stamina increase and the exercise will become less challenging over time. For this reason, I prefer to use a book shelf for this exercise to help mix up the level of difficulty. You can use a book shelf the same way that you used the chair. Start out with a low shelf. As you become comfortable with that shelf, challenge yourself by moving up a shelf.
Running is a great way to improve your kicks. Not only will this increase your overall stamina, it will also help build up the speed and strength of your legs. This will help you deliver fast, powerful blows to your opponent.
Sit with your the soles of your feet touching each other. Pull your feet as close to your body and bouncy your knees up and down like the wings of a butterfly to relax the muscles in your legs. After a minute or two, place your hands on your knees and press down firmly to give your inner thighs a good stretch. Hold for twenty seconds and repeat.