In the realm of martial arts, lightning fast kicks never fail to impress. For the ancient art of Muay Thai, multiple sets of speed kicks on the pads or heavy bag is a common practice in training. This is because it is almost pointless to possess a heavy kick without any speed behind it. After all, having speed will enable you to land better and even increase the overall power in your kicks.
Want to start kicking faster and better? Evolve Daily gives you 5 Ways To Improve Your Kicking Speed For Muay Thai:
1) Practice slow
To kick fast effectively, you first need to have the single most important factor: perfect technique. With this, you will not only be able kick fast, but also land more effectively and generate more power. However, the only way to achieve this is to practice your kicks slowly.
Performing and shadowing your kicks in slow motion will help refine your technique so that when you do kick fast, you will still be able to maintain good form. This is also a great way to develop your slow twitch muscle fibers, which increases your endurance and ability to sustain a lasting, rhythmic pace – exactly what you’re going to need for speed kicks!
2) Work on your core
Another important factor in kicking effectively regardless of whether you’re kicking fast or just kicking hard, is posture. However, without a strong core, you will not be able to maintain balance or a good posture for kicking.
Strengthening your core will also enable you to be more explosive, which will help add bone-crushing power behind all your speed kicks as well. From regular sit-ups and planks to more advanced core workouts, you’re going to need to start adding core workouts to all your training sessions. If you need some good core exercises for martial arts, click here.
3) Train with ankle weights
If you’re looking for a foolproof way to increase overall strength and endurance in your legs, then strap on some ankle weights and start training away. However, it is crucial that you do not kick or do anything at full speed or force with weights on as doing so might cause serious damage to your knee and ankle joints.
To start off, you can simply just go about your usual day-to-day activities with ankle weights on. Once you’ve gotten used to the weights, take a light jog or practice your kicks very slowly in them. After training for a few weeks with the weights, you’ll feel much lighter and faster on your feet and in your kicks once you take them off.
4) Develop your fast twitch muscle fibers
Your fast twitch muscle fibers play a huge role in helping you generate quick explosive movements and develop power rapidly. Whether you’re a sprinter, weightlifter or martial artist, the quicker you can call on these muscle fibers, the faster and more powerful you’ll get.
There are numerous ways to develop fast twitch muscle fibers but for martial arts, try to pick workouts that require more movement. This is because such workouts will not only develop those important muscle fibers; they will work on your coordination and movement as well. Sprints, plyometric training, circuit training, and agility drills are some methods that are more suitable for martial arts.
5) Timed, high volume kicks
Once you’re ready to put your speed kicks to the test, start performing sets of timed, high volume kicks. Whether it is on the pads or heavy bag, this particular drill is a staple of not just Muay Thai, but any form of martial arts training that requires kicks.
You can start off with a set timing of 20-30 seconds. Your aim is to clock in as many kicks as you can within the allocated time. Once you’ve set the maximum amount of kicks on your first attempt, come back the next day and try to break your own record. By doing this, you are constantly challenging yourself to be faster and quicker; a sure way to improve your kicking speed.
Remember, as it is with all martial arts, hard work and practice is key to improving any aspect of your game. Be sure to be patient and not get ahead of yourself. And before you know it, you’ll find yourself generating almost two kicks per second!