Chamber Exercises for More Kicking Power and Accuracy
If you want to learn how to kick with more power and accuracy, try these simple chamber exercises. After all, if your chambers are floppy and sloppy, your kicks will be floppy and sloppy, too!
Watch the video or read the summary below. Then get up and give them a try! I mean, if your doctor says it’s okay. 🙂
Chamber Exercises for More Kicking Power and Accuracy
In my video, How to Kick Faster, we looked at getting your foot up off the ground. Now, let’s take a look at the the second part of a kick— the chamber.
There are at least three good reasons why lifting your knee to chamber a kick is a good idea…
- First, when you bring your leg up, you’re recruiting the big muscles of your thigh and glutes to line up behind your kick. That means more power.
- Second, a raised knee allows you to kick at any level— high, middle, or low. A low knee is more restrictive and, from a strategic point of view, more predictable. When raise your knee, it’s difficult for the other guy to read where you’re going to kick.
- Third, a chamber is the guidance system of a kick. Wherever you aim your knee, the foot will follow. Therefore, the better you can control the chamber, the more accurate you can make your kick.
I can’t stop now. Here’s a fourth reason…
4. Leading your kick with the knee makes your leg feel lighter. A straight leg is powerful, but can sometimes feel slow and heavy. My advice is to practice kicks both with and without chambers.
Make sense? Great! Let’s get to the chamber exercises…
KNEE UPS. No, I don’t just mean running in place. I mean bringing your leg up to touch your shoulder.
Should you always chamber this high? NO! But as a drill, if you can get your leg up this high, you’ll give yourself more options.
WARNING: Some people cheat this move by bending over to lower their shoulder… and then they smash a knee right into their own face! Which is hilarious! Unless it’s you. So, don’t let that happen. Keep your head up.
KNEE HUGS. A simple way to make Knee Ups more challenging is to catch your knee and give it a hug.
Hugging your knee isn’t just good for developing your balance, it also develops a habit of keeping your chamber close to the body.
Sure, sometimes, I have a need for speed and I throw my foot out directly, bypassing the chamber. But if I can make the time to bend my leg first, I usually will.
So, be a lover and a fighter… give your leg a hug.
HUG AND KICK. An even better drill is to hug your knee before you kick. Bring up your leg… find your balance… then let your foot fly.
This makes an easy 3-count drill: Up > Hug > Kick. Call me crazy, but this almost feels like pulling a bow and shooting an arrow.
KICK AND HUG. If that’s too easy, I’ve got something else for you, hotshot! Try catching your knee after you kick, too. So, Hug > Kick > Hug.
You can alternate legs back and forth, or even trickier, try throwing 10 kicks with one leg only, catching your chamber each time. Don’t put your foot down. Not so easy!
Please note that you can practice catching your chambers with almost all of your kicks. But training these chamber exercises with your front kick, side kick, and round kick is a great start.
MOUNTAIN CLIMBERS. If you can’t quite get your knee up to touch your shoulder, let me give you a little tip… use your lower abs and hips, not just your leg. A chamber is a whole body movement, not just a leg movement.
If I keep my back straight and just raise my knee, it will never reach my shoulder. But if I crunch my core, my hip curls forward, which allows my knee to swing higher.
You can get the same feeling when you perform good, old-fashioned mountain climbers. But don’t be lazy!
Some people just drop their head and tap their toes on the ground. That kind of climbing won’t get you up the mountain!
Instead, keep your head up and try to get your foot between your hands… or as close as possible. You’ll feel your lower back and abs working hard to get that knee close to your body. That’s what you want!
LEG RAISES. If the Mountain Climbers are a bit much, don’t worry! My friend Kai Morgan over at Budo Inochi reminded me that you can develop the same feeling of a full chamber while lying safely on the ground.
NOTE: If you haven’t checked out Kai’s thoughtful articles about the martial arts, I highly recommend you do so!)
First up, lie flat on your back and bring your knees into chest. That’s right—a double hug! You can also roll back and forth to warm up your lower back.
Next, try raising one leg at a time and giving it a hug. Practice crunching your core and relaxing in the “chambered” position, so your body will know what it should feel like.
Hey! While you’re down there, throw in a few straight leg raises, too. Slide your hands under your butt and round the small of your back into the floor. Slowly raise and lower your legs using the same core muscles you’ll need to swing your leg up once you’re back on your feet.
All warmed up? Great! Now, let’s put it all together…
FREESTYLE CHAMBERING. My favorite way to warm up for kicking is shadowboxing. Or shadowkicking, I suppose.
But before I throw any kicks, I practice setting up my kicks. That means shuffling around throwing punches and chambers.
Remember—if your chambers are floppy and sloppy, then your kicks will be floppy and sloppy, too. So, spend some training time focused on making your chambers as strong and precise as possible.
That’s the big idea—approach your chambers as a separate skill set. If you practice even one of these simple chamber exercises, I’m confident your kicks will be stronger and more accurate than ever.