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Increase Kicking Power: Stretch Adductors

Do your kicks just not have the power you want?  We all like to hear the whomp, whomp sound indicative of a good kick, but some struggle trying to get the right technique.  Your struggle could be due to tight adductors.

What are the Adductor Muscles?

Muscles-of-the-Medial-Thigh-Hip-AdductorsThe adductor muscle group is located in the medial compartment of the thigh or the inside of the thigh. There are actually five different muscles that make up this muscle group: gracilis, obturator externus, adductor brevis, adductor longus and adductor magnus.  All of them are responsible for adduction, which means bringing your legs together.  Picture this.  During warm-up sometimes we have you lie on your back, hands under your lowerback and raise your feet 6 inches off the ground and hold.  Then, we say “Apart-Together-Apart-Together”. When you are bringing your legs “Together” you are using your adductors. The adductors also help rotating and flexing the leg, which helps you kick, because you have to lift your leg and rotate your hips in order to kick properly.

I Want to Kick Harder: What Stretches Can I Do to Improve My Flexibility?

You need flexibility to enhance your speed, movement and power.  Flexibility is the difference between just lifting your leg and kicking hard.  Increasing your flexibility of your adductors will also help decrease your chances of a groin injury while training.  Here are two stretches to help improve your kicking ability and help you become a better kicker.  You really should add both to your stretching routine because they focus on different muscles in the adductor group.  The butterfly stretch targets the shorter adductors, whereas the forward stretch with straight legs apart from each other targets the longer adductors.  In both cases, it is important to keep your back straight.
Butterfly StretchForward Straight Leg Adductor Stretch

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Both of these illustrations came from the Encyclopedia of Pilates Exercises by Vicky Timon

 

About

Jeanne started her martial arts training later in life and has been training at SMAA for over 10 years. She likes all aspects of the martial arts from the physical challenges to the spiritual pursuits of martial etiquette and virtue. She has a master degree in marketing and is currently working on her MBA.

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