My goal is to be able to do a slow, controlled side-kick movement significantly above waist level (ideally, head-height).

Is there any evidence-based training program that would lead to that? I have seen many flexibility guides out there, but no evidence that they are effective for what I want to achieve. Is it actually possible?

At the moment, I can lift my leg to the side about 4/5 of the way to horizontal, with a lot of struggling. I’m not even sure how it would be possible to lift past horizontal. I’m 6’4”, so it may make it more difficult due to longer levers. The best I managed to achieve over years of training and stretching is being able to throw a high kick, quickly - i.e. dynamic flexibility - but not with the best form, control or power, occasionally injuring myself in the process as well.

If it is a strength issue, it seems like some kind of progressive resistance program with adequate recovery would help, and relatively quickly. Yet I have not seen anyone recommend ankle weights or low-rep exercises for this (like, e.g., 3x5 sets for barbell presses 3 times a week, with linear increase in weights + large calorie intake). Martial arts training seems to focus on lots of reps instead and little focus on recovery, and I have had little success with that.

So, is this goal achievable? If so, how? Any examples of anyone actually achieving it, where they started from a similar place to me?

  • It's not only flexibility, but the strength in the muscles as well. I'm in your boat, I can throw all kinds of kicks at speed at head height (I'm 53), but only slightly above waist level for slow or kick and hold. I had a training guide for it that seemed fairly well thought it, I'll see if i can locate it in my archives. As for possible, yes. There are a lot of instructors I know that can do this in their 40s and 50's.
    – JohnP
    Jul 15, 2020 at 19:06
  • @JohnP I just wonder when they got the ability, and if it matters. Is it a lot easier to maintain than to obtain? I just find it odd that in the age of youtube, I cannot seem to find any before/after or timelapses.
    – rinspy
    Jul 16, 2020 at 8:46


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