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I don’t train my legs, it’ll make my kicks slow.

I heard this from a well respected local kickboxer and doorman. He was referring to his weight training regime.

Here’s a guy that will spend plenty of time doing upper body work with to thought to how it may slow down his punching or reduce his shoulder flexibility. But somehow if he trains his legs he’ll loose speed and flexibility in his kicks.

And you know what? He’s not alone in thinking this.

Most of this mindset is a brought about from a misinformed bodybuilder standpoint. While I have the utmost respect for anybody that trains hard and pushes themselves, I don’t think there has been a single sport to have promoted as much misinformation as bodybuilding.

Here’s a thing. I am a practicing martial artist but I don’t spend much time practicing high kicks. Except that is unless it’s squat day. I just can’t help myself on squat day. It’s rare that I attempt to get my leg above waist height, yet after a set of heavy squats I have the urge to kick up to head height. And often I get even higher!

The legs and hips are so stimulated from the squatting, warm and engorged with blood. It’s about the only time I’m able without an hours stretching beforehand.

I read a report that talked about flexibility and weight training. It said that Olympic lifters are the second most flexible athletes in the games. And they regularly put double bodyweight over their heads. Many martial artists, myself included, struggle to perform a Powerlifter style sumo squat to parallel, why? Flexibility, or lack of.

Intelligent leg training is vital for any combat athlete. Bodybuilding style training will likely leave the legs to wrecked to train in your sport effectively. Instead try lower reps and a more strength (versus hypertrophy) method. Include mobility work and stretching in the workout. In other words, squat deep and stretch afterwards.

If you add in deadlifts, squats and lunges you’ll notice that your lower body will become significantly stronger, meaning the kicks become significantly more powerful. Hip snap will increase, you will be more injury resistant and due to the increased muscle strength, faster.

Train the legs. You will not loose speed, power and flexibility, in fact you’ll do the opposite. And your opponents will feel the difference.

Just remember, you’re not a bodybuilder.

Wild Geese / / every cause but our own

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