Hip Pain During Side Line Kicks Causes and Explanation

Today I would like to talk about injuries during kicking. If there were no injuries, a lot more people would have enjoyed their  martial arts practices.

There are several reasons for injuries and here are the main ones.

  1. Lack of Proper Range of Motion
  2. Lack of Proper Conditioning
  3. Insufficient Warm Up
  4. Incorrect Technique
  5. Not enough recover time between sessions

Beside those, there are many others such as mental stress, lack of proper nutrients, lack of sleep, congenital weakness (such as hernia), etc.

Today we will address the first one.

There are many instances under which a martial artist can get injured in respect to lacking proper range of motion for a given kick or group of kicks.

Sometimes, an athlete took time off from training. When coming back to training, he expect the body to have the same range of motion that he is left with. This is often not the case.

In some cases, even time off from training can be compensated with long, careful and thought out warm up. Such as the ones presented in ESKMS (ElasticSteel Kick Mastery System)

While many muscles can be effected, the video is talking specifically about the Upper Adductors/ Inner Hip Flexors. This area is a common site of injury.

To extend a side kick (Or back kick, or hook kick, etc) these muscles must stretch. Not only so, they must contract toward the end of the kick, do decelerate the kick and pull it back. The higher the kick, the more they are stretched. (Please see the supine abduction test in the video)

There is one method of training the kick that is particular dangerous and prone to injury. That is kicking at full speed without hitting a target.

When striking a target, the leg does not extend all the way or if it does the target helps to decelerate the kick. This helps the muscles in question and protects them.

When doing slow kick without a target, the muscles may not extend all the way and the kick will simple lack last few degrees of extension. If however the kick is forced to extend all the way, the lower back will curve and compensate. (This can place the strain on the lower back, but that's another issue)

However, when the kick is thrown at full speed without a target, the lower back usually won't hyper extend. The reason for this is because gluteus maximus will be activated as an extensor of the hip. Contraction of this muscle, keep the back hyper extension in check and if anything flattens the back. This puts all the hip deceleration stress on the muscles in question.  (In ESKMS level 1 On Line Kicking Seminar, we spend a lot of time developing and adjusting the core/hip relationship specific to kicking techniques.)

The last paragraphs underlines the fact that just because you can do a slow kick and have full range of motion, does not mean that you can now try to kick at full speed. Take the test, while on your back as shown in the video. 

Ideally developing the kicking leg should take place even before a single kick is thrown. However that’s not possible for most people. Everyone who lands on this page, has already thrown kicks.

How to understand your kicking leg

To understand the kicking leg, think of a barbell push jerk. That’s when you hold the barbell on your upper chest, in standing position. You use a short leg push to accelerate the bar up and extend the arms over your head.

The little leg jerk is done because the arms are not strong enough to press the weight with assistance. The arms, in this case, is the kicking leg. Would you try to do a push jerk or even a basic shoulder press, if you can’t lift your arms all the way up to vertical position, because you lack shoulder mobility? Of course you would not.

What if your shoulder was not strong enough to even hold your arms there, would you add additional weight? Of course not. And yet people kick without having proper range of motion or strength.

There is no way a proper technique can ever be developed. Never an optimum power, or speed or accuracy. Why? Because your body is more concerned about you not getting injured, than about “mastering” the skill.

Requirements for a proper Side Kick

A proper side kick performing leg, requires flexibility in the muscles that prevent abduction (lifting the leg to the side) and prevent medial rotation. (Abduction and medial rotation is what your kicking leg is doing, during side line kicks.) While the medial rotators and adductors need to be strong.

But, not just generally strong. They must be strong in short range. (Short range is where muscle is completely flexed) Also strong hip and knee flexors (to have a good chamber). A beginner who starts kicking, can’t possibly have this.

Unless it’s a new generation of beginners, who now train with various certified instructors in ElasticSteel method. 

Do you need this Program?

At the end of the description. For this program I am going to take an educated guess and say that 95 percent of people need it. If you never used this program, you probably need it. I have met and trained with many good kickers and they all needed this program.

Not a single one had all 3 factors that this program works on, fully developed:

  1. Full active chamber (without hand assistance) and neutral back.
  2. 35 degrees active medial rotation of the hip.
  3. Active Extended kick with 45 degree hip abduction and horizontal foot position.

And the other factor pointing to the necessity of this program, is that every single person who tried it even 2 rounds for the first time (All 4 levels), was sore the next day. If muscles are already used to producing force in these ranges, they would not be sore, after a quick run through the exercises.

I am looking forward to meeting people who can do this program and not be aching the next day. I would be very interested to know how they train. So far haven’t met even one. So the program is very simple.

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