How to Do a Perfect Side Kick - From Poor Side Kick to Great Side Kick

Dear Friends, In the Past 12 Years I have written numerous articles focusing on the Kinesiology and Biomechanics of kicking. Over the years many people have asked "Why".

Why does my kick look like this and my Master's kick look like that? In the next series of articles I will answer these question. 

The ElasticSteel Method

If you never heard of me and my work, my name is Paul Zaichik. I am the founder of ElasticSteel Method of Athletic Conditioning, EasyFlexibility,  and probably most importantly for you (since you are reading about kicking) ESKMS (ElasticSteel Kick Mastery System). 

So let's dive in. Take a look at the two pictures below

elasticsteel kicking paul zaichik side kick poor good


Both are side kicks. Yes, the left picture looks like a back kick. But it's how many people throw a side kick. The picture on the right is actually an animation of my own kick. And by the way before you say it, the left picture is years away from the right one. Cheer up! with right training, the two side kicks are just few months away from each other. Again, With Correct Training! 

This is a program for the kicking height for all 3 side line kicks

The Supporting Leg

So let's look at the supporting leg. Why is the kick on the left look like a back kick? Look at the left side of the pelvis. Do you see it is dropped. That is why the kick looks like that. Why is the kicking side of the pelvis not up? Because the medial rotators are too tight. In this case the medial rotators are also the adductors. This means:

  • Adductor  Longus
  • Adductor Brevis
  • Adductor Magnus
  • Gracilis


elasticsteel kicking side kick paul zaichik muscles adductors

Medial Hamstrings are also the medial rotators and being short there, will prevent proper hip turnout. 

elasticsteel kicking side kick paul zaichik muscles medial hamstrings


To a lesser degree pectineus can prevent an outward rotation as well in this position. 

So now we know why the torso is looking down. Because of the lack of rotation in the supporting leg. 

The Height of the Kick

The next obvious question. The height!!! Everyone wants a high kick. The height of the kick has a lot more to do with the supporting leg than with the kicking leg. 

Tight hamstrings (More Medial), together with Adductor Magnus, the ischial component is what prevents the kicking side of the pelvis to rise up enough to throw the kick high.

In other words, the Abduction combined with the lateral rotation is missing from the supporting leg. 

How to Use This Info?

At this point you are probably wondering... You just threw a bunch of muscle names, and joint actions at me. But how can I use all this info. You can find the stretching techniques for those specific muscles that are preventing a good kick and do those. OR you can just do the ElasticSteel Kick Mastery System (ESKMS) and get great kicks that way. 

The Kicking Leg


elasticsteel kicking side kick paul zaichik muscles quadratus femoris

Alright now. What about the kicking leg? Well having flexible adductors (Inner thigh muscles) on the kicking leg helps. How in the medially rotated position, the range is very small. Also remember that Quadratus Femoris is also an adductor and medial rotator. So that muscles must be taken care of as well. 

The Torso

And Finally The torso. Have you seen someone throw a very high kick, just to drop their torso so low, that the head almost touches the floor? 

This is a program for the kicking height for all 3 side line kicks

Does that look good? Well, you tell me. Also if you want to spar or fight in that position, be prepared to spend valuable time, dropping the torso and than raising it, during each kick. I rather keep mine up. 

To do that all the lateral flexors on the non-kicking side must be flexible. That's Rectus Abdominis, Obliques, Psoas Minor and Major, Spinal Extensors, Quadratus Lumborum. 

Torso Flexibility


elasticsteel kicking side kick paul zaichik muscles rectus abdominis obliques torso

A flexible torso is really what makes a difference between a high kick and a beautiful high kick. An easy to see kick and a hard to see kick. Think about it. If you see the head dropping, you know the kick is coming. Flexibility in the core allows you to throw that kick without sending a warning signal first. 

elasticsteel kicking side kick paul zaichik muscles spinal extensors quadratus lumborum


What's Next

In the next article we will talk about the muscles that need to be stronger to convert the kick on the left to the one on the right. And remember with right training, it takes very little time. "Keep kicking till you get better" is an old, outdated way. See what we offer instead.


Previous article How To Do A Perfect Side Kick. You need two different types of Strength.
Next article Flying Side Kick


Kat - June 26, 2018

What I’ve seen looks good…but I’m going to provide a bit of feedback:

I realize that you might cater to men, mostly, but I think you’d benefit by adding a training section for women, especially us women who are shorter than average (5’0" to 5’4"), and thus have proportionately shorter legs. Not only do I fit in this category, I have something of a swayback, and I’m not sure if this has any bearing on the lack of flexibility in my hip muscles. If it doesn’t, great. I’ll celebrate that by working on my hip, core and leg flexibility regardless.

This said, being of short stature, not being able to kick as high as someone whose legs are longer can be something of a discouraging thing, and I’m not the only short woman in martial arts. It’d be a miracle if I were able to get up to someone’s head, but I’m not sure if I’ll ever get there.

Add to this the fact I’m overweight, which doesn’t help matters. It’s why I’m in Tae Kwon Do—for the fitness aspect. But gee—I’m one of those people who’s competitive with themselves and so I’m on the hunt for anything I can learn outside my “home dojang.” LOL!

So what I’m saying is: there is a market you’re missing out on—the short female with short legs who really would like to get some high-kicking on, but isn’t sure she can just because of her height and leg length. LOL!

Dr Utpal Das - July 17, 2017

After years of being a martial arts enthusiast & practitioner I have at last found the right kineosiologically based kicking techniques in a graded manner

ElasticSteel - April 18, 2017

Hello, Gregory!
Our programs has no limits in age matters. Of course, if you feel you are not athletic enough, you can always start slowly. The key is the will for progressing, in this case, on a regular basis. If you want to learn and stay healthy, don’t let time goes away while you can.
Please speak to our chat reps Mondays to Fridays from 9am to 5pm EST for a customized recommendation! Stay tuned!

ElasticSteel - April 10, 2017

Hello, Sabhajeet!
We got our team on your request. Please check your email in a little more.
If you have any questions, feel free to contact us.

Sabhajeet - March 5, 2017

Would like to have and learn

Gregory Exantus H. - March 4, 2017

Any tips for a tubby,rolly,polly man in his early forties like myself.

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