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I'm 41, regular gym visitor for one year, general fitness level "OK but not great". Recently I started to enjoy a kickbox aerobics course at my gym. I realized I hardly ever trained such rapid movements (except in soccer), but I'm improving.

However, during the workout I cannot make the roundhouse kicks parallel to the ground without losing control, let alone make high kicks. What should I do to improve that?

  • Focusing on the muscles in the legs
  • focusing on the core
  • becoming more flexible in general (I know, only slight improvements possible)
  • all of the above.

I think the answer is "all of the above". But how to start? Any suggestions for a good compilation of exercises on the gym machines or choosing a supplemental course? What to avoid?

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

I would think it's more of a combination of hamstring and hip strength and flexibility...I would recommend step ups, squats and dynamic stretching - here's a link to some:

The steps to success here are: technique, speed and then power...

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Care to summarize some of the excellent exercises in your link? Now users just have to trust you that it's worth to follow ;-) – Ivo Flipse Mar 14 '11 at 12:58
thanks. the exercises in the link seem to be pretty good (photo pic quality, not so much, though) – knb Mar 14 '11 at 14:10
note: the link to 7-dynamic-stretches... now gets redirected to a different text-only-page on the same site ... a custom 404 error (page not found) I guess... – knb Jul 30 '11 at 12:24

Most often when I see this it's not a fitness issue at all, it's technique.

One particular technique issue: you must turn your hips as you kick (so that if you stopped at the high point and just put your foot down your be facing 90 degree from your original heading).

Once you're doing that you should have better balance in the kick. Then if you want to stop and recover the kick, you'll probably need more core strength.

// Yes, there are systems that teach round kicks wihtout the hip turn. I even see value in kicks executed that way. And I'd still teach them this way at the start.

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I think it's just all practice. You just need to let your muscles work on muscle memory of the particular routine.

You had two issues:

  1. Working on Balance: This is typically a common problem when taking Tae Kwon do (a predominantly kicking oriented martial arts). Remaining balance and stability is just working your coordination and timing.
    • Practice Grasshopper. Your dedication is needed to perfect a roundhouse kick.
    • Break it Down: If you work on various parts of executing a roundhouse kick into smaller pieces and work on specific parts.
  2. Height: This comes from merely flexibility and strength. @meade provides some good advice.
    • Dynamic Stretching: It is highly recommended to work on dynamic and static stretching. This will allow you greater flexibility and this all takes time.
    • Working on your the height of your jump (if you want maximum height you can include jumping and a round house kick) There are some great threads on this: How can I improve my vertical?

I would also look into taking a tae kwon do class. It's really fun, works on focus and you do a lot of dynamic stretching.

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I have learned several things now: 1) maintaining good posture during the kick is more important than height. 2) good warmup brings some extra height 3) turning the heel of the standing leg is crucial 4) the kicking foot should turn be turned a little bit more to the ground than the heel – knb Jul 30 '11 at 12:31

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