by Don Heatrick
The Heiden and Stick exercise is an important progression in a Thai boxers speed and plyometric training.
It targets sideways, lateral movement, involving adductors and glute medius muscles at the hip to control the knee, and multiple muscle groups in the feet, ankle and calves.
And it not only trains unilateral (single leg) explosiveness, but also great stability and balance.
And this is real world Muay Thai stability and balance.
Because the floor surface is similar to a Muay Thai ring, there’s a good transfer to Thai boxing performance – unlike wobble board or Bosu ball exercises (which are only really useful to fighter in the early stages of injury re-hab)…
Whereas landing on a stable floor surface teaches the body the body the proprioception or body awareness to prevent injury.
Crucially, this exercise also develops a fighter’s capacity to absorb force and de-accelerate – it develops reactive strength.
For example, this improves a fighter’s ability to catch themselves if turned in the clinch, recover from an attempted sweep, and even shin block a solid incoming kick.
And this reactive strength must be mastered before moving onto more advanced plyometric, rebounding exercises later in the strength and conditioning program.
The exercise itself involves laterally bounding from one outside leg to the other, and “sticking the landing” on one leg, absorbing all your force without hopping or shifting balance.
Typically, 3 sets of 10 reps (that’s on 5 each leg) are used in the Speed and Plyometric section of a training session.
And I’d typically introduce this exercise progression in the first Explosive Power block of training from the Optimal Fight Camp Blueprint on my website.