Hip And Posterior Chain Mobility Techniques For Taekwondo
Taekwondo made its debut in the Olympics as a fully medaled sport in the Sydney 2000 Olympics. The aim of the sport is to strike your opponent and win points whilst guarding yourself from your opponents strike. There are different points systems for specific strikes and different parts of the body. Both punches and kicks to the body score one point, kicks involving a special technique like a spinning kick will score you two points, kicks to the head score three points and a technical kick to the head will score you an extra point.
With this scoring system it is clear to see that kicks to the head are the most valuable strike that could award you three or four points depending on the kick. With this in mind, taekwondo athletes require very mobile and flexible hips to be able to kick their opponent in the head. Taekwondo requires active flexibility in the hip to transfer power into the leg, this means actively being able to extend the leg into a range and having control of it rather than just being able to swing your leg as you kick. To do this, you need to have both the range in the hip and the strength to pull your leg into that range. Here are two movements we can use to improve our flexibility and our strength whilst in a split position much like you would see in a high kick in taekwondo.
Sit on the ground in a straddle position with a barbell in the arch of your foot, If you cant get into a full straddle yet this is fine just take your feet apart as far as you can. Reach for the centre of the bar with your hands and pull yourself over the bar, you should feel a stretch in the groin area and in the hamstrings. Pull yourself over towards the bar as far as you can and hold for 30 seconds, all whilst trying to actively spread your feet as wide as you can.
If you cant quite reach the bar, tie a band around the middle and pull the band towards you, remember to pull your feet apart as much as you can.
We have increased the range within our hips with the straddle stretch, now we need to create the strength and control within this range. Sit on the ground in the straddle position and place your hands just behind your hips. Raise your feet off the ground and spread them as wide as you can, flutter your feet up and down for a count of 10 reps ensuring that you are pulling your feet apart. For an easier version, place your hands further back and lay back further. To make this harder, place your hands on the in side of your thighs and press into the ground. This will be much harder on your core and requires more strength and control than putting your hands behind you, just remember to pull your feet apart.
These two movements will improve the range in your groin area and will build strength and control within that range. A free example lower body warm-up has been included so that you can easily add these movements to your training.