The guidelines Siam gives are generally good. You will
get a variety of answers to questions on fitness
and conditioning because people have different ideas
and tend to favour what works best for them.
Most of your strengthening and endurance should be
done explosively provided they are safe and you are
relatively injury - free. You do not have to be
explosive all the time - some slow speed strength
training is OK but too much is not so good.
A high level of post - exercise soreness should be
expected if you are new to explosive type training.
Not only is the calf muscle important for kicking, but also some schools of thought block with the toes up. This has it's bad points but it is a stronger block then toes down. A strong calf can *help* stop kicks cold. Also it promotes fast foot work while moving around. And some of Thai kicks bounce before the kick is launched. More advanced there is no real bounce but the energy is so similar that a beginner could be taught to bounce first.
Even the energy from punching can come from the floor. This isn't all the calf exactly but the whole leg working as a unit but working those areas are similar.
Working the calf I would encourage running, running in place knees high, and lots of jumping rope with intermitant squats, to strengthen the knee. Also any jumping where your body leaves the floor, squat jumps. Just like most working out you need the power stuff too. Biking but using the straps to pull your feet up instead of concentrating down. And of course, doing the kick but paying attention to using the calf as if your exploding off onto a race.
Theres not much to stay away from. I saw a football player running in front of my building the other day all with small steps, stabbing the ground with the ball of his foot. He would dodge this way and that. He looked silly but he was ripped and his calves were ripped. Try to enhance your cardio and higher heart stress leves at the same time. Maybe use jumping jacks as a low intensity and switch to high intensity with running in place.
Hey, I was wondering if working calf muscles improve your kicking, whether it be power or speed. Any comments? thanks!
Depends upon the kick. But, in almost every kick that I can think of, the calf helps in the initial "launch" of the kick from the floor.
so strength exercises should be done explosively?
Right on Khun Kao,
The Calf muscle group is one of the most important
muscle groups in the initial "launch" of almost every
technique (ie standup techniques).
I would not recommend too much strength work for this
muscle group (ie calf raises etc.) because these
exercises are generally done at a slow speed and the
slow movement will not transfer into your training. I
think some strength training is OK - but you should
focus on more dynamic exercises as well as aerobic
conditioning so your calves do not "blow out" half way
through a fight / training.
For aerobic conditioning, running is probably the best
For a combinaion of aerobic conditioning and dynamic
movements, skipping is a common and effective choice.
For pure speed / power, you need to do some
plyometrics. This involves exercises like hopping on
one leg, jumping up steps, jumping on and off a box
or bench, etc.
There are some excellent web sites on plyometrics if
you care to do a search which have clear explanations