by Don Heatrick
Who wouldn’t want to teep like Buakaw?! There are many ways to throw a teep in Muay Thai, with different tactical objectives. But my favourite version is the aggressive teep, designed to stamp your opponent off balance! And it happens to be one of Buakaw’s favourites too, so we’ll use him as an example!
This high-force kick demands more strength than more snappy, speed versions of the kick. And this increased force comes from a few different key factors that I’d like to highlight in this video, and also refer to some strength and conditioning exercises to help you build these athletic qualities more quickly and to a higher level.
Looking at the teep itself, the knee is chambered high when initiating the kick. This means that force is not only generated extending the knee using the quads in the thigh, but also importantly, extension of the hip from the powerful glute muscles too.
It wouldn’t be unfair to expect something like a 30% increase in force produced from involving the hips in the teep like this, as that’s the typical strength difference between a knee dominant and hip dominant maximum strength lift in the weights room.
It’s the addition of a major hip extension that accounts for the substantial increase in force produced in this type of teep. And you can only produce hip extension if you first create enough hip flexion, lifting your knee toward your torso.
Incidentally, this also produces a pre-stretch in the main hip extension muscles (the glutes and the hamstrings) and creates a stretch-shortening cycle plyometric effect too… check out the How To Move Like Saenchai video if you’d like to know more about that!
TEEP LIKE BUAKAW – IT’S IN THE HIPS!
As the knee extends into the kick, the hips do too, with some additional well-timed transverse rotation as well. And this creates a kick that stamps downward in relation to the torso as well as out toward the opponent.
These relative joint angles and muscle actions can of course all be overloaded in our strength training sessions to fast-track and maximise the athletic qualities needed to execute this kick strongly and powerfully.
Here are a some practical examples:
- Front squats – to build the foundation strength (making sure you get deep enough to sufficiently involve the glutes)
- Split squats – to transfer to single leg strength and stability, (and I’m demonstrating a rear foot elevated version here)
- Squat jumps – to build the foundation explosive power (here barbell and kettlebell versions are both shown)
- And finally, Jump Split Squats – to transfer to single leg explosive power (and I’m demonstrating a suspension version here)
Using these exercises in your supplemental training will allow you to develop these athletic qualities to a level that can’t be achieved by simply practicing the kick alone without this degree of overload.
So in addition to teeping a heavy bag, pad holders and training partners in sparring, stick exercises like these in you Muay Thai S&C program to help you teep like Buakaw! …Nice!