Everyone loves a powerful kicking KO, but do you know what the single BEST leg exercise for developing kicking power is? If you’re a fighter and you’re looking to enhance leg strength and power, you should try this simple calisthenic drill.
It’s all about the KICKS! Just think about your favorite MMA fights and you know it’s true. When you are watching live fights, movies, or competitions, everyone gets the biggest shouts or wows from the impressive kick finishes. Review the biggest threads online, and the talk is always about the spinning kick KOs and how they showcase the most impressive skill and power.
I’m not saying that kicks are the only important part of martial arts training, far from it. Especially if you are in grappling based martial arts like Judo and Jiu-Jitsu (those that don’t allow any kicks at all, and where it’s more about the submissions and throws). But if you also think about those martial arts, in order to have impressive throws in grappling you’ll need the same power and strength that you’ll need for kicking power.
So that means that if you are doing leg exercises to specifically raise your kicking power, which will work your hips, your quads, your core, hamstrings and calves, you will also be improving your throws, takedowns, sweeps and all of your rotational attacks.
But what is the BEST leg exercise to raise your kicking power? Because not only do your kicks need to be fast and accurate, they also need to be strong as well, especially if you are doing leg kicks or kicks to the body.
Your leg exercise should envelop not just one part, but should be a compound exercise that will develop strength, mobility, and balance at the same time. There are loads of exercises that develop parts of this requirement, but I have found one that really helps develop it all at once… AND that you can progress through to engage even more muscles groups, as well as work on your agility while you’re at it.
Squats and Lunges are some of the best leg exercises for building strength, so this combination exercise not only helps with that, but also helps build rotational strength, mobility, isometric core stabilization and increases your metabolic rate. Even though this isn’t a fast-based exercise your heart rate will increase.
Here are 3 different variations of the the Rotating Squat-Lunge depending on your fitness level as well as what type of workout you want to do.
To start this leg exercise get your legs double shoulder width distance. Keeping your chest and head straight/up, then drop down into a squat (try and get to a 90 degree angle with your legs). Then without getting up rotate on the balls of your feet towards your right into a lunge. Hold for a couple seconds, then rotate back into the squat, and then rotate on the balls of your feet to your left into a lunge. Continue rotating back and forth staying in the squat/lunge position for roughly 30 seconds.
Start in the same position you did for the Base Variation. While in your squat do 3 small pulses before rotating to the lunge, then rotate and pulse 3 times in each of the lunge positions. Continue moving through the squats and lunges while adding in the pulses. Try and do this for 30 seconds to start, then move it up to 60 seconds.
Start in the same position as the others, then do a Jump Squat. Once you lower back down into the squat immediately rotate into the lunge, the do a plyo lunge, and continue through. Keep the same amount of time during these, making sure each time you land from the jumps you land into the squat or lunge through the balls of your feet.
These variations will really add to your leg strength, agility, flexibility and mobility. Rotational strength is a great thing to work on for hip strength that really leads into powerful kicks.