How To Kick Higher: Tips & Tutorials

We have all had our generational Hollywood martial arts icons. From Bruce Lee to Chuck Norris to Jackie Chan to Jean-Claude Van Damme. When you see them in movies, you cannot help but wonder: "How do I do those awesome moves?" Whether it is learning how to throw lightning-fast combos or finding out how to kick higher, these idols always have the flashiest strikes.

In this article, we share with you the facts and information you require to be able to kick higher.

You don't need a black belt in martial arts or extreme natural flexibility to be able to kick as high as others can. All you would need is patience, the right guidance, and regular flexibility stretches and flexibility exercises.

What You Need to Increase Kick Height

Increasing kicking height is not as straightforward as you might think. Some kicking moves require years of practice and several stretching techniques (each stretch can improve a particular muscle).

In this section, let us break down exactly what you need to increase kick height.

Knowledge and Awareness

First of all, you have to understand that there are several different ways to improve your kicking ability and kicking height. There is no one true way to master all kinds of kicks, but there are a few common guidelines, exercises, and stretch workouts that you can do to improve strength and flexibility.

Second, you have to be aware of your own capacity and the time it would take to actually be able to kick high.

Factors such as weight, fitness level, and age can be significant factors with regard to how fast you can learn how to execute the proper kicking technique. Doing basic balance and mobility tests can help you determine your current level.

Proper Guidance and Technique

Not everyone learns the same way. Some individuals are visual learners (those who find video tutorials more effective) while others are verbal learners (those who can understand instructions that are written or said out loud). Some require a hands-on coach or mentor while others can do away with the coaching and strictly follow the guides and techniques online.

Regardless of how you learn, we would always recommend that you understand the proper technique and have the proper form of guidance. This article, along with video tutorials online, can really help you internalize what it takes to kick high.


In relation to awareness, patience is an absolute necessity.

You would need patience in doing flexibility and stretch workouts on a regular basis. You would need the patience to master the different types of kicks. Ultimately, you need a great amount of patience to be good at kicks.

Be conscious and deliberate with every stretch and exercise you do, and understand that this process will have to be slow and steady but very rewarding once kicking high is mastered.

Gear and Equipment (optional)

If you have the budget to spend on certain gear and equipment, then we recommend that you purchase flexibility and stretch-related items.

Although not as necessary as the factors mentioned above, simple things such as a yoga mat, compression shorts, a set of dumbbells, or stretch bands can truly assist you and help speed up the process to master the high kick.

Best High Kick Flexibility Exercises

There are hundreds (if not thousands) of stretch workouts to increase flexibility. We understand if the sheer number of exercises has overwhelmed you.

This is why we have prepared a list of three basic exercises you could easily learn and do to improve your kicking skills.

Forward and Side Leg Swings

These exercises fall under the dynamic stretch category and are effective at ensuring that you are properly warmed up for kicking motions as it essentially goes through the same ranges of motion that kicks do.

Side swings increase the flexibility in your hips (helpful for side kicks) while forward swings focus on improving your front kicks and spin kicks/roundhouse kicks.

Butterfly Stretch

This exercise is one of the most basic static stretches, so it does not require a high skill level to successfully do.

This stretch focuses on loosening up your hips and improving the overall flexibility of your lower body.


Another basic exercise you would learn in your high school or college PE classes, the lunge is an excellent exercise to tone and condition one leg at a time, particularly your hamstrings, glutes, and quads.

Make sure to do a lot of lunges as this type of exercise has several practical applications beyond kicking.

Which is Better for High Kicks: Dynamic Stretching or Static Stretching?

There is no definitive answer to this question. Under ideal scenarios, it would be best to do both types of exercises.

Dynamic stretching is effective for gradually increasing the range of motion, which is a necessity for performing kicks at different heights and from different angles.

Static stretching, on the other hand, is a better type of stretching in terms of actively performing the motions/movements required to kick high.

We recommend a mix of both static and dynamic stretching for better results in kicking.

Does Strength and Weight Training Affect the Ability to Kick Higher?

how to side kick higher

Contrary to popular belief, strength and weight training (if done properly) do not affect your flexibility and ability to kick.

Most agility-based and flexibility-based sports require a certain amount of strength and weight training, and for good reason.

Lifting weights is proven to improve endurance, increase muscle mass, and condition the body to handle stressful situations.

As long as the strength and weight training exercises are done properly, you should not worry about a negative effect on your ability to kick.

The Three Kicking Styles and How to Perform Them Higher

There are three major classifications of kicks: the Mae-geri (front kick), Mawashi-geri (spin kick/roundhouse kick), and the Yoko-geri (side kick).

In this section, we teach you the basic movements required to perform the three kicks and what specific stretch workouts or exercises you can do to perform them better.

Mae-geri (Front Kick)

How It is Done

  1. Assume your stance - Place one leg behind the other.
  2. Shift your weight - Shift most of your weight to your front foot.
  3. Lift your back knee - Lift it high and point it in the direction of your target.
  4. Snap your leg up - Snap up by quickly extending it.
  5. Strike the target.

How You Can Make It Higher

Standing Hamstring Stretch
  1. Stand up straight with your spine assuming a neutral posture.
  2. While keeping your back straight and without bending your legs, lean forward and place your hands as low as possible.
  3. Hold the stretch for 10 counts.
Lying Knee Pull Stretch
  1. Lie on your back on a flat surface or mat.
  2. Gently raise one knee toward your chest.
  3. Wrap your hands around the back of your knee or hamstring.
  4. Hold the stretch for 10 counts.

Mawashi-geri (Spin Kick/Roundhouse Kick)

How It is Done

  1. Assume your stance - Place one foot behind the other.
  2. Shift your weight - Shift most of your weight to the non-kicking foot.
  3. Bring your knee up and to the side - You can lift the kicking leg with it folded at the knee or slightly extended.
  4. Swing and snap your leg up - As you lift your leg up and to the side, swiftly snap your leg and swing it in the direction of your target.
  5. Strike the target.

How You Can Make It Higher

Seated Adductor Stretch
  1. Sit on a flat surface or mat, with both legs extended out in a 30 - 45 degree angle.
  2. Slowly extend your arms and reach forward to each foot (right hand goes to right leg, left hand goes to left leg).
  3. Hold for 10 counts.
Hip Flexor Stretch
  1. Kneel on one knee, and place the foot of the other leg directly in front of you.
  2. While keeping your torso upright, move your hips forward and place your hands on the floor or mat.
  3. Hold for 10 counts.

Yoko-geri (Side Kick)

How It is Done

  1. Assume your stance - Stand sideways to the target.
  2. Shift your weight - Shift most of your weight to the leg behind.
  3. Lift the front knee up - Lift the front knee up in the direction of the target.
  4. Drive your knee out and extend fully - As you lift your leg, quickly extend it fully.
  5. Strike the target.

How You Can Make It Higher

Side Lunge Stretch
  1. Assume an upright stance, and slightly spread your legs, shoulder-width apart.
  2. As you bend over and position your hands on the floor or mat in front of you, slowly assume a lunge position to the side.
  3. While keeping the extended leg straight, point the foot upward or to the ceiling.
  4. Hold for 10 counts.
Frog Stretch
  • Position yourself on the floor, with your knees and elbows in contact with the surface or the mat.
  • Slowly open your knees as far apart as possible.
  • Bring your hips and pelvis as close to the ground as possible.
  • Hold for 10 counts.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How can I learn to kick higher?

Aside from practicing and attempting to kick, we recommend that you look up guides and videos online, similar to this article. The ability to perform high kicks is difficult to do, especially when you are not familiar with the right techniques (such as kicking exercises and stretches for high kicks) to improve your kicking height. Make sure to learn how to do a high kick the right way, whether you are trying to know how to front kick higher or just be a better martial arts practitioner overall. Review this guide often and look for tutorials online to properly improve your kicking height.

2. How do you do a higher side kick?

To do a higher side kick, you need to familiarize yourself with the warm-ups, techniques, and stretches for kicking, as well as have a decent amount of flexibility. Stretches for higher kicks can really improve your strength and flexibility. Every time you stretch, you are conditioning your muscles and joints to slowly be capable of reaching a greater kicking height. Dedicated martial arts practitioners and coaches could also teach you how to side kick higher slowly and carefully.

3. How do you get a roundhouse kick higher?

To do a high roundhouse kick, you would need flexibility, especially in your hamstring and groin, as well as proper experience in martial arts such as Taekwondo or Kickboxing. A basic high kick requires a lot of experience and flexibility exercises. It would require a lot more dedication to master a roundhouse high kick. It may take several months to master but as long as you are observing the proper technique and constantly working on stretch work, flexibility, strength, and conditioning, you will be able to do a high roundhouse kick.

4. Does strength and weight training affect flexibility of kicking higher?

Contrary to the common notion that strength and weight training negatively affects flexibility, new studies have shown that heavy compound movements that increase muscle mass and overall strength are actually beneficial to flexibility. Weight training exercises that strengthen the muscles in the feet (left foot and right foot), the legs, and the core (abdominals and lower back) will help you kick higher.

5. How to increase leg flexibility for high kicks?

To increase right leg and left leg flexibility for high kicks, regularly do exercises that focus on your legs, your core (abdominals and lower back), and your feet. A high kicks exercise that focuses on each individual part is great, but also try to work harder on your non-dominant side to have balance (if your right leg and right foot are dominant, try to work extra hard on your left leg and left foot). Stretches that work on the lower back and abdominals also allow you to be more flexible.


Mastering high kicks is a very challenging yet rewarding endeavour. If done hastily, it could lead to minor injuries or worse, which is why we will always recommend a slow and steady approach.

Whether you want to do it for the sake of martial arts or just to add it to your list of skills, observe the guidelines listed in this article and make sure to practice and stretch safely. 

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