The 3 Best Stretches for Kickboxing

Improve your kickboxing and minimize injuries with 3 of the best kickboxing stretches.

by Brad Walker | First Published March 6, 2009 | Updated March 28, 2019
Kickboxing was brought to limelight by Tadashi Sawamura and by televised matches. In the US the karate practitioners in the 1970’s agreed on a full contact version and safety measure were put in place.

Head-guards, mouth guards, gloves, groin protectors, shin guards and kickboxing boots were introduced and the early matches were contested in open areas before moving to a regular sized ring. The fight between the proficient American and the Japanese fighters started international kickboxing. Bruce Lee, Chuck Norris, Bill Blanks, Joe Lewis, Bill Wallace are some of the famous kick fighters.

Kickboxing Stretches and Flexibility Exercises

Muscles used in Kickboxing

Kickboxing requires good endurance to fight through multiple rounds. The use of the legs for kicking and the upper body for various strikes and blocks requires good flexibility and strength in these areas. Agility and quickness are also essential to the kick boxer.

Strength in the hips and legs is important to provide a solid base and good balance. A strong upper body is important for delivering powerful blows and absorbing the blows of an opponent. Core muscular strength is also important to protect the body from the blows during a fight.

Kickboxing requires the use of the following major muscle groups:

  • The muscles of the shoulder girdle; the pectorals, the latissimus dorsi, the teres major, and the deltoids.
  • The muscles of the upper legs and hips; the gluteals, the hamstrings, and the quadriceps.
  • The muscles of the forearm and upper arm; the wrist flexors and extensors, the biceps, and the triceps.
  • The core muscles; the rectus abdominus, obliques, and the spinal erectors.
  • The muscles of the neck and the trapezius.

A kick boxer must follow a good strength and conditioning program to prepare the body for the rigors of a fight. Good strength to protect the bones and joints, cardiovascular conditioning to make it through the entire fight, and good flexibility to be able to move and strike at various angles are all essential to the kick boxer.

Most Common Kickboxing Injuries

Kickboxing, even with the many safeguards and extensive safety equipment, can be a dangerous sport by nature. The body is subjected to various violent blows and the intent of the contest is to knock the other fighter to the ground, or render him unconscious.

Acute injuries are common in kickboxing. The different strikes to the head and body can lead to many injuries including:

  • Concussion, rib fracture and broken nose;
  • Muscle bruises and contusions;
  • Sprained ankles and wrists;
  • Shoulder tendinitis and dislocation;
  • Lower back and neck pain; and
  • Shin splints.
Stretches for kickboxing

Injury Prevention Strategies

A good overall conditioning program and practice in proper form and technique will keep the kick boxer performing at peak levels and reduce injuries.

  • Fighting in sanctioned fights with a referee and in an approved ring will cut down on the chances for severe injury.
  • Good instruction from a qualified instructor and practice of proper technique will also reduce the chance of acute and chronic injury.
  • Always warm-up properly prior to training and especially competition.
  • Allow an adequate cool-down period and perform after training/competition stretching.
  • Proper cardiovascular conditioning will prevent fatigue and other overuse injuries.
  • Muscular endurance and strength are both essential to the kick boxer to reduce fatigue and protect the body from the violent impact of the many blows endured in a fight.
  • A solid stretching program will improve flexibility and prepare the muscles for the demands that will be placed on them during a fight. A flexible fighter will be able to move better to avoid strikes and get into position to deliver blows, as well.

The 3 Best Kickboxing Stretches

Kickboxing stretches are one of the most under-utilized techniques for improving athletic performance, preventing sports injury and properly rehabilitating sprain and strain injury. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that something as simple as stretching won’t be effective.

Below are 3 of the best stretches for kickboxing; obviously there are a lot more, but these are a great place to start. Please make special note of the instructions with each stretch, and if you currently have any chronic or recurring muscle or joint pain please take extra care when performing the stretches below, or consult with your physician or physical therapist before performing any of the following stretches.

Instructions: Slowly move into the stretch position until you feel a tension of about 7 out of 10. If you feel pain or discomfort you’ve pushed the stretch too far; back out of the stretch immediately. Hold the stretch position for 20 to 30 seconds while relaxing and breathing deeply. Come out of the stretch carefully and perform the stretch on the opposite side if necessary. Repeat 2 or 3 times.

Stomach and core stretch for kickboxing
Rotating Stomach and Core Stretch: Lie face down and bring your hands close to your shoulders. Keep your hips on the ground, look forward and rise up by straightening your arms. The slowly bend one arm and rotate that shoulder towards the ground.
Hamstring stretch for kickboxing
Standing High-leg Bent Knee Hamstring Stretch: Stand with one foot raised onto a table. Keep your leg bent and lean your chest into your bent knee.
Groin and adductor stretch for kickboxing
Squatting Leg-out Groin and Adductor Stretch: Stand with your feet wide apart. Keep one leg straight and your toes pointing forward while bending the other leg and turning your toes out to the side. Lower your groin towards the ground and rest your hands on your bent knee or the ground.

Want more Kickboxing Stretches?

While the recommendations on this page are a good place to start, you'll get a lot more benefit when you add the right stretches to your training program. With the Ultimate Guide to Stretching & Flexibility you'll...

  • The Stretching Handbook, DVD & CD-ROMDo away with stiff, tight muscles and joints;
  • Improve your freedom of movement;
  • Get rid of injuries, aches and pains;
  • Improve your sporting performance; and
  • Take your flexibility to the next level.

You'll get 135 clear photographs and 44 video demonstrations of unique stretches for every major muscle groups in your body. Plus, the DVD includes 3 customized sets of stretches (8 minutes each) for the Upper Body; the Lower Body; and the Neck, Back & Core. And the Handbook will show you, step-by-step, how to perform each stretch correctly and safely. Plus, you'll also learn the 7 critical rules for safe stretching; the benefits of flexibility; and how to stretch properly.

If you want to improve your flexibility and loosen up stiff, tight muscles fast, check out the Ultimate Guide to Stretching & Flexibility for yourself.

Research and References

Brad Walker - AKA The Stretch CoachAbout the Author: Brad Walker is often referred to as the "Stretch Coach" and has even been called the Stretching Guru. Magazines such as Runners World, Bicycling, Triathlete, Swimming & Fitness, and Triathlon Sports have all featured his work. Amazon (author page) has listed his books on five Best-Seller lists. Google cites over 100,000 references to him and his work on the internet. And satisfied customers from 122 countries have sent 1,000's of verified customer reviews. If you want to know about stretching, flexibility or sports injury management, Brad Walker is the go-to-guy.

Disclaimer: The health and fitness information presented on this website is intended as an educational resource and is not intended as a substitute for proper medical advice. Please consult your physician or physical therapist before performing any of the exercises described on this website, particularly if you are pregnant, elderly or have any chronic or recurring muscle or joint pain.

Finally, an amazingly effective way to loosen up stiff muscles fast, even if you feel like your muscles are made of rock!
Claim your FREE copy of my Stretching Tips Cheat Sheet and discover how to get loose, limber and pain free in less than 10 minutes a day.

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