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If you attach ankle weighs to your both legs, the weight attached to the one standing on the ground actually helping it stay firm in the ground, and when you remove both weights your kick will become faster. But the leg in the ground will lose balance because it's used to have a weight keeping it in the same place. Is the best option to use ankle weight only in the leg that's actually kicking so you train your speed and balance? Unless you want to train combinations, obviously.

Am I missing something?

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    I could answer this question, but I'd rather not encourage anyone to use ankle weights. They almost always cause knee damage over time and should be avoided, even when running. There's no benefit to using them, also. If the goal is to increase the force and speed of your kick, ankle weights won't do that. The force that ankle weights apply is downward, not resisting the kick in the direction the kick is actually going, which is what you need. You're far better off working on strength training instead. Please ditch the ankle weights. You will be sorry later on if you don't. – Steve Weigand Oct 27 '14 at 2:12
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    I'm talking about vertical kicks... -.- and that wasn't the question... – user4283 Oct 27 '14 at 3:00
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The speed increase from kicking with ankle weights and then removing them doesn't demonstrate any improvement. It demonstrates that it's easier to kick correctly and quickly without adding resistance. The fact that the kicks feel faster than before using the weights doesn't prove anything.

Don't kick with ankle weights. If you want stronger legs, then use an actual strength program that involves squatting, deadlifting, and lunging with a barbell. If you want stronger, faster kicks, then...use an actual strength program that involves squatting, deadlifting, lunging, and Olympic lifting (e.g. power cleaning) with a barbell, and kick a heavy bag a lot. Ankle weights are not the answer.

First, ankle weights don't provide resistance in the correct direction. The ankle weight is acting against gravity, not just the line of force of a kick. If that's what you want, why not hit a heavy bag?

Second, they raise the risk of injury by making the fast movement harder to control and more likely to stress the joints.

Third, because the activity of kicking with resistance is very similar to kicking normally, it can interfere with developing speed, speed-strength, and technique efficiency in general. Fourth, why are you kicking with ankle weights when there are other, better ways to get stronger and more powerful in that movement?

If you want to kick harder then you need to develop basic general strength first. This means you should start a basic strength program, probably with a barbell and weights, using fundamental exercises like deep squats, deadlifts, and lunges with a barbell. Once you reach some basic strength benchmarks (deadlifting 1.5x bodyweight, easily squatting many times with a barbell weighing as much as you do), incorporate power versions of the Olympic lifts like the power clean.

I find that things like ankle weights are like "lose your belly in 30 days" weight-loss products: they're seen as an easy alternative to learning how to lift weights properly. A general strength program will be enormously more productive for you than kicking with ankle weights.

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  • The other item I've occasionally seen, which seems more plausible, are rubber bands that attachment to the ankles. They would provide resistance in the correct direction. I have personally seen situations where people have taken out their own supporting leg with them, though, and it doesn't answer the OPs question. – Macaco Branco Oct 27 '14 at 18:20
  • @SeanDuggan: we use rubber bands for kyokushin training - mae geri, mawashi geri, hiza geri (front, turning/roundhouse, knee) - but it's always someone sitting a few metres behind you holding the other end.... – Tony D Nov 2 '14 at 10:47
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Yes, you are correct in assuming that you will lose your balance if you get used to the heavy ankle weight on your supporting leg.

But that being said, the best way of increasing strength and speed is to do resistance and interval training in a gym. Ankle weights put lots of unnecessary strain on your knees. And your knees are already a weak spot as it is.

If you can't afford to join a gym and really want to practice with ankle weights, the only non-harmful exercise you can do with them is to kick a heavy bag or other heavy target. And only mid-section roundhouse kicks. They exercise the same leg muscles you would use for front kicks.

If you want to work on your form, the best way, in my experienced opinion, is to perform a kick slowly and in a controlled manner for at least 100 repetitions. Your aim is muscle memory, but if you do too many, you'll just get fatigued and won't benefit from the objective of the exercise which is NOT getting your muscles tired, but used to the motion.

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