For a lot of techniques, such as punches, kicks or even blocks in Karate or other arts you need to use your hip to generate force. I have come to realise, that I cannot generate enough power with my hip.

How do I train for that? What muscles do I have to train?

  • Can you rule out, that your technique isn't hindering your ability to generate power with your hips? I feel that with the right technique you should be able to generate a lot of power out of your hips, even if your muscles were underdeveloped.
    – AyaProgram
    Commented Jun 18, 2013 at 11:19
  • Could be a problem too Commented Jun 18, 2013 at 11:40

7 Answers 7


You might have sleepy glutes. It's tough to say what's wrong or what will help without seeing the specific problem. But if your job is sedentary and you don't lift, I bet you have sleepy glutes and a weak back and legs, and fixing those would help.

If you're not squatting and deadlifting, you need to start. Corrective exercises for posture, such as yoga, might be necessary as well. Once you've proven to yourself that you have a basic level of strength and flexibility, the Olympic lifts are the best way to develop explosive hip power. Power cleans and power snatches (the latter of which require a significant degree of upper-body strength and flexibility as well) are probably the best bet once it's safe to do them.

If you are already squatting, deadlifting, and doing Olympic lifts, then I'd look into rotational exercises as a supplement. But until you can deadlift double your bodyweight and power clean your bodyweight for reps, I'd hold off on rotational work.


Kick a heavy bag? do simple turning kicks at knee height, chest height and (when you can) head height on a heavy punch bag. Over time your flexibility will increase along with your power. If your hip movement is currently weak, you should find your strength increases quickly. I recommend leg raises and plank exercise (google them) as this will work your lower back abs. Front kicks and snap kicks you have to lift your leg fast (abs) and you need the back strength for good turning kicks (weak back could result in high recoil on you kicks and possible spinal damage). Mostly though, go crazy on a heavy bag with kicks regularly. Make sure you research and practice some hip stretches as well, it hard to get strength if you are inflexible


You might also try Pilates. Pilates can be expensive but a few private sessions might really focus on your problems and possible exercises to solve them. Or, if you take a mat class and focus on hip exercises you should be able to take a few home that will help.


A good start is to sit on a Swiss ball and move around on it much of the day.

This will build up your core muscles, the fine muscles in your hips and, most importantly, loosen things up.

Explosive power also comes from removing opposition. Seriously, you probably have many times the power you think you have but can't apply it.

One of our advanced exercises is to just stand for many minutes and consciously relax the pelvis and lower back. If you find this difficult, start practicing the relaxation lying down on a soft surface or, even better, in a pool. It is very important, however, to learn to relax this area whilst standing.

It is vital when training for explosive power to only hit a resistance - a pad or bag. Kicking or punching into mid-air will undo all the reprogramming you have done to remove the opposition.

Next work on being able to relax your hips through all the angles of the kick - stand with your leg out on a pile of cushions.

For punching, imagine you are doing Tai Chi and try to soften your legs as much as possible. Slow it right down and note points where you can observe tension.

Sit in deeper stances and do your rotation in a relaxed manner and you will find all the strength development you need, but it won't work if you haven't trained your nervous system to relax.


Strike a punching bag. Also, do a regiment of core-strengthening exercises and stretches.

Striking a punching bag will remove the hesitation one has when performing power kicks in empty space. You don't worry so much about hurting your knee during a snap or losing balance during a thrust or follow-through kick. It also naturally encourages you to apply more power by applying hip rotation. It's just a natural feeling. Stretching and strengthening your core muscles improve your balance and obviously the very muscles needed for increased power. Increased flexibility allows for a larger range of motion, which in turn "makes the slingshot longer" ;)


First of all make sure your technique is correct or otherwise you wouldn't be solving the root problem.

Next you should some exercises to develop you muscles. You could try training with kettlebells, the swing for instance uses a hip hinge to power the motion. More info on the swing here: http://www.menshealth.com/fitness/eow-kettlebell-swing

There are quite a few kettlebell exercises that will work your whole body.

Last but not least, the legs and abs + lower back are powering your hip movements so it would be wise to work them in any way you like.


Actually there is a machine designed to increase hip rotation. It's call the Somax Power Hip Trainer. You can see videos of karate students increasing their punch and kick speed 10 mph after just their first workout on the machine. http://www.swing-speed.com/karate.php

You can buy the machine online and set it up at home or in your dojo. It's pretty compact.

The problem with squats and dead lifts is that you are not working the rotation muscles.

  • My understanding is that hip power for punching comes from the glutes, which are worked plenty by squats and deadlifts. And the fact that they increased punching speed in 10 minutes shows that there was no increase in strength or power due to the workout, but rather that the machine merely provided a warm-up. The examples clearly show the students employing a hip turn in their second try, but that's a technique issue, not strength. Commented Jun 21, 2013 at 18:08

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