One of the most important things you can do before praciting your kicks or poomsae’s, regardless of your age, when practicing Taekwondo is to make sure you warm up properly whether you are practicing at home or at your school.
My Taekwondo Warm Up Exercises Include:
- Jumping Jacks
- Circle Hips
- Knee Warmup
- Short Stretch
- Long Stretch
- Standing Hamstring Stretch
- Butterfly Stretch
- Open Leg Stretch
- Sitting Hamstring Stretch
- Standing Lunges
- Knees Up
- Push Ups
- Mountain Climbers
I do these before I start practicing at home or I’ll get to my school early and do some variation of this warm upon my own before the class begins. In either case I do them in the order I have here and go through them from standing to sitting.
Why Warm Up?
The warm-up is one of the most overlooked and underappreciated aspects of TaeKwonDo. Warming up is essential when you are about to practice TaeKwonDo because it raises your body temperature and increases blood flow to the muscles you’ll use during training.
My warmup usually take about 10 minutes which I think is the minimum amount of time you should start with. With this amount of time I have a slight sweat going but yet I am not out of breath.
The basic exercises I mention below incorporate cardio vascular and stretching that is more specific to Taekwondo than say going to the gym and weight lifting. I have also included a couple of videos for you to get better idea on what I talk about.
Remember: Each stretch should be performed smoothly, gently, and slowly to avoid any potential injury.
Standing Warm Up – Part 1
This is a great start in order to get the body and immediately starts to warm up and gets your legs, arms and core ready to go and in addition its a great calorie burner. I usually start off doing 20.
This is rotating hips in both a clockwise and counter clockwise direction while keeping the legs stationary and just moving the hips. Its a simple exercise that starts to loosen up the hips and gets you ready for all those Taekwondo Kicks. I usually do about 5 rotations for each side
This is similar to the hips whereby you put your hands on your kneescap and with a little bend in your knees you rotates your needs in both a clockwise and counter clockwise movement for a count of 20.
With this you are going to keep your back leg straight and put your weight on it while you lift the foot at the heel while keeping that leg straight as well. If you are adequately flexible you lean down and pull back on your foot for an additional stretch
If not can just put one hand on your kneecap, in order to keep your leg straight and lean forward as much as you can without overdoing it.
Stand with your feet wide apart, then while keep one leg straight and your toes pointing forward while bending the other leg and then turning your toes up (similar to the short stretch). Then, Lower yourself towards the ground and rest your hands on your bent knee or the ground.
Standing Hamstring Stretch
Standing Hamstring Stretch
This one I think almost everyone has done or at least seen at some point. Its super easy to do and very effective for keeping your hamstrings stretched out since hamstring pulls are something that will keep you out of TaeKwonDo for a while.
Do you this exercise stand with your feet together and stand straight. Now, slowly lower your forehead to your knees by bending at the waist. Remember to keep your legs straight as if you bend them you will lose the effectiveness of the this stretch.
Now just hold this position for 15 to 30 seconds and then relax.
On the Floor – Part 1
This is the first stretch I do when I hit the floor after doing the standup stretches. I would think you have seen these before but basically what you do is sit on the flor and bending at the knee bring the bottoms of your feet together. Then pull your feet in as close to your body as possible and then you want to move your legs up and down for about 30 to seconds.
If you want to take it a step further then, keeping you back straight bend forward as far as you can while keeping your hands on your feet
Open Leg Stretch
Some people may knwo this as a pancake stretch but on this one you while sitting and your back straight open your legs as wide as you can. Then bending to your left grab either foot or legs, depending on your flexibility levell, and pull yourself down as far you can.
Hold this for about 30 seconds. Then come back up to your original position and bending at the waist pull yourself down.. you can do this by either grabbing the floor in front of you or by grabbing your ankels with each arm.
Hold this position for about 30 seconds as well. Lastly you will want to do the right what you to the left, grab your foot or angkle pulling your self down, again keeping your back straight. Keep this strtch for 30 seconds.
Sitting Hamstring Stretch
This is very similar to the Standing Hamstring stretch but your sitting on the floor. Here you stretch your legs out straight and then stretch your arms out as far as you can. You can also grab your ankles or feet to help you stretch a little further. Remember to keep your back straight and then hold this position for 15 to 30 seconds. You can and should do this 2 or 3 times.
Standing Warm Up – Part 2
These are great in helping to build strength in the legs but must be done with the proper form so you don’t hurt your knees.
The above video does a much better job in demonstrating this then I can but the basic idea is to put one leg forward and then bend just at the knee while keeping your waist and rest of your body straight.
If you lean forward over your knee you’ll be putting to much pressure on your knees. You should do about 10 – 15 of these for each leg.
This is raising one leg, from the knee, then the other while bouncing up and down for about 30 seconds. The higher you can raise your legs while doing this the better. If you want a more intense exercise than try to touch the opposite elbow to the knee each time the knee is raised.
On the Floor Part 2
Pretty self explanatory here, just try to do as many as you can using the right posture and make sure you that bend at the elbows while keeping your back straight and get as close to floor as you can without touching.
If you find the difficult at the beginning you can rest your knees on the ground and just use your upper body.
With Mountain climbers you start off in the same position as if you were going to do a push up. Then you start moving your legs quickly almost as if you were running.
What you want to do is as soon as your feet land in one position, jump switch them back to the other position and keep alternating as fast as you can for 15 to 30 seconds depending on your fitnes level.
All these exercises and stretches will not take as long as may think and will give you great start to your Taekwondo training. By doing these warm ups you decrease the chances of pulling a muscle or a hamstring and increase your strength and endurance.