So I've been trying to strengthen my tibia by round house kicking heavy bags really hard without shin guards, but I've always been getting huge bruises on both of my legs.

I think something is wrong because when I kick the bag, mainly my muscle/flesh have been hitting the bag, and I feel like my leg's being skinned away by the bag. I can't feel anything on the tibia at all.

The only way that works, which I usually do, is something like a roundhouse kick but angled such that the inside of my leg hits the bag (kind of like mixed with an outside to inside crescent kick). However, this is not at all a normal kick from what I know, but it seems it's the only way to train the tibia on a heavy bag.

Is this all normal? Don't get why it's my flesh that's absorbing most of everything in a regular kick that I do.

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  • It sounds like you're saying when you do the round kick with your shin, the part of the shin that actually hits is the fleshy side to the outside side of the shin. Ideally you need to make contact with the bone part of the shin, dead-center. But you're saying you're trying that, and yet the outside of the shin (the fleshy part) hits instead. This sounds like it could be either a hip flexibility issue or a defect you've had since birth called pigeon toe which causes your feet and shin to turn inward. The former is easier to correct than the latter. Nov 21, 2018 at 15:14
  • @SteveWeigand no I don’t have pigeon toe, but u would describe is true. Right now if I directly press down from the top of my shin, I feel flesh then bone, so my flesh is taking most of the force, which just bruises my leg and doesn’t allow the full impact to hit my bone. I also suspect it’s a flexibility issue. Whenever I stretch I feel a lot of pain in my hips, so kicking is a bit awkward for me, unless it’s a very low kick. Nov 21, 2018 at 20:58
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    Interesting. So your shin has muscle where most people do not? Nov 21, 2018 at 21:07
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    Yeah most people have literally no muscle covering the lower tibia bone on the shins. It's skin and bone, nothing else. That's normal. If your muscle is large enough that it's impeding the kick, congrats on having big muscles! Now, you're going to have to have your coach deal with that somehow. If it's just not working for you, I'm afraid altering the kick will not help you. It will merely make for a lousy kick and possibly cause you pain and damage later on. So you have to have someone with experience look at you and your kick real carefully. We can't help you. This is a hands on thing. Nov 21, 2018 at 22:14

2 Answers 2


Your flesh is not absorbing most of the impact. I believe you have sensitive skin on your shin. If your preferred method of training is kicking bags, then I suggest you start with shin pads (the thick kind), then gradually decreasing the thickness to almost none (shin pad compression sleeves)

Alternatively for faster results, I'd recommend training using a makiwara (Japanese striking post, wrapped in coarse rope). Try hitting different areas of the shin when you train this.

  • I don't have access to a makiwara, and my skin is not sensitive. Is there a correlation between sensitive skin and massive bruising? No, and the latter is the issue, not pain. Nov 22, 2018 at 23:48

This is normal. When I use to do muay Thai I would get bruises all the time on my shins.

Eventually the skin covering the shin bone gets use to the kick impact and becomes tougher, as such less bruising. However you can’t really prevent bruising when your smashing the heavy bag for example.

My advice would be to apply tiger balm before your training sessions to loosen the muscle and just carry on doing kick on a solid heavy bag to condition your shins.

When you kick the heavy bag this produces micro fractures on the shin bone. When these micro fractures heal the shin bone becomes stronger. Eventually the nerves in your shin bones will die and you won’t feel pain in your shins when you kick.

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