Taekwondo Strength Training Exercises
To excel at Taekwondo, you must not only improve your flexibility but also your Taekwondo strength. This page deals with exercises that can improve your overall Taekwondo strength – resulting in better breaks, harder kicks and stronger punches! Focus on doing many repetitions versus just one rep at the maximum weight. You want strength & endurance. These Taekwondo strength training exercises concentrate on your lower body, upper body & arms and core/abdominal area. Remember to first check with your doctor before starting any exercise program.
You should also visit our section on plyometric exercises if you want to develop more explosive kicking and punching power. For improved endurance (i.e. sparring endurance), you should read our section on Taekwondo stamina.
For stronger & faster Taekwondo kicks, you need to work on areas such as your quads, hamstrings & calves. Here are number of exercises that can improve your kicking power.
- Calf Raises – After I tore my calf muscle, I have been religiously using calf raises in order to strengthen my calf muscles for Taekwondo.
- Hamstring Exercises – Given that people suffer numerous hamstring injuries in Taekwondo, I have also created a hamstring exercise page with numerous hamstring strengthening exercises (such as leg curls). This will help you to achieve higher & more powerful kicks (with hopefully less self-inflicted injuries).
- Lateral Jumps – Lateral jumps are also a great conditioning exercise.
- Leg Extension Exercises
- Leg Press
- Lunge – The lunge exercise helps your leg strength and flexibility.
- Plyometrics – Plyometrics provides advanced training for explosive Taekwondo kicking power.
- Squat Thrusts – Squat thrusts help to build explosive leg power as well as working on other areas of your body (i.e. chest). This is an exhausting exercise that I “enjoyed” in the Marine Corps.
- Squats Without Weights
- Step Ups
- Other Basic Exercises
- Barbell Squat
- Barbell Step-Up
- Barbell Lunges
- Calf Press
- Deep Knee Jumps – Be careful with your knees. Don’t bend too much if you have knee problems.
- Horse Stance – Just widen your legs, bend your knees and HOLD IT. This stance will work on endurance and leg power. FYI – This is a common stance in Taekwondo.
- Knee Extensions with Ankle Weights
- Leg Lifts – A single leg lift is safer than a double leg left. Double leg lifts can put excessive strain on your back.
- Single Leg Squat
For more explosive punches or Taekwondo kicks (i.e. spinning hook kicks), you need to work on your torque or twisting power in order to have more powerful “wind-ups”. You will need to exercise areas such as your stomach, lateral obliques (side muscles) and lower back. Here are a number of useful Taekwondo “core” exercises. Also you will need to perform a variety of these exercises because you need to work all of your core muscles.
- Bicycle Crunches – Bicycle crunches are one of the very best core exercises for fast improvement to your core strength.
- Crunches – This page provides instructions for traditional crunches.
- Reverse Crunches
- Leg Raises
- Plank Exercises – Plank exercises are one of my favorite Taekwondo strength training exercises! For a more advanced plank exercise, you can try to lift an arm and an opposite leg (i.e. right arm and left leg) when you are in the plank position. The “instability” of this advanced plank makes the exercise even more effective.
- Russian Twists
- Side Plank Exercises
- Sit-Ups – Yes, the standard sit-up that you learned in school is a solid core exercise. However, be careful and do not pull on your neck when doing this exercise. A safer method is to cross your arms on your chest versus holding the back of your head. Also keep your knees bent (versus your legs being flat on the ground).
- Superman Exercises
- Other Basic Exercises
- Incline Sit-Ups – Incline sit-ups are a more intense form of sit-ups. Buy an incline board and use gravity & your body weight in order to create a more challenging core exercise (versus standard sit-ups).
- Bicycle Exercise
- Bird Dog
- Captain’s Chair
- Crossover Crunch
- Crunch with Heel Push
- Exercise Ball Crunch
- Long Arm Crunch
- Oblique Crunch
- Plank Exercises
- Segmental Rotation
- Vertical Leg Crunch
For more powerful Taekwondo punches & blocks, you need to strengthen areas such as your triceps, biceps, forearms, shoulders and back.
- Pull-Ups – Buy a pull-up bar & place it in a door frame and do this exercise at home. This is an excellent Taekwondo strength exercise.
- Push-Ups – There are a wide variety of different push-ups (i.e. traditional, triangle/diamond, elevated and plyometric) that you can use for Taekwondo strength training.
- Other Basic Exercises
- Bench Press
- Bicep Curls
- Lat Pulldown – Needs an exercise machine.
- Triceps Extensions
- Triceps Kickbacks
- Bent-Over Row with Dumbbells
- Dumbbell Flys
- Chest Dips