Can You Use Boxing Pads for Kicks

Can You Use Boxing Pads for Kicks?

Can You Use Boxing Pads for Kicks

Boxing pads, or focus pads, have many uses in combat sport training, but can you kick them? Yes you can!

What Are Focus Pads and What Are They for?

Focus pads are also known as focus mitts and boxing pads as they’re mainly used in boxing training for improving shot accuracy. They’re padded targets with attached gloves or handles so one person can hold the pads, while the other strikes them. Although primarily used in boxing, they’re useful for most combat sports, from MMA to kickboxing.

The main purposes of focus pads include:

  • Striking Accuracy: the target allows the fighter to aim their strikes, helping them develop precision and accuracy in their punches, kicks, elbows, and knees.
  • Speed and Timing: practising combinations and reacting quickly to the movements of their training partner is key to focus pad use.
  • Shot Control: When striking with force, the fighter needs to control the accuracy of their shot without hurting their partner, and return to an aggressive or defensive stance.
  • Footwork and Movement: Working with focus pads involves footwork and movement drills, helping practitioners improve their agility, balance, and coordination.
  • Endurance: Focus pad training can be physically demanding, providing a cardiovascular workout and helping fighters improve their overall endurance.
  • Defence Skills: Fighters can work on defensive techniques such as blocking, parrying, and slipping while using focus pads, enhancing their ability to evade and counter strikes.
  • Mental Focus: Focus pad training requires concentration and mental focus, as fighters must react quickly to cues from their training partner and maintain proper technique throughout the session.

Overall, focus pads are versatile training tools that are used to develop a wide range of skills essential for combat sports and self-defence, including striking technique, speed, power, timing, footwork, and defensive abilities.

Are There Benefits of Focus Pad Training?

Are There Benefits of Focus Pad Training?

Focus pads have many different benefits for both the fighter and the person holding the pads due to their versatility in skill development and the varying training routines that can be performed. By engaging with padded targets held by a trainer or partner, fighters can refine their striking technique, enhancing accuracy, precision, and power in punches, kicks, as well as knees and elbows for mixed martial artists. The fast-paced nature of focus pad drills improves speed, timing, and reflexes, while the cardiovascular intensity contributes to overall conditioning and endurance.

Additionally, fighters and pad holders develop better footwork, balance, and coordination through movement drills, aiding in agility and mobility during combat, as both need to be ready to move in time with their partner to get the most out of their training.

Focus pad training requires mental focus and concentration, sharpening cognitive skills and providing stress relief in a controlled environment. As fighters progress, they gain confidence in their abilities, fostering self-esteem and self-assurance, while proving the power of hardwork and determination to reach goals. With most sports it’s crucial to set short-term and long-term goals to show progression and allow sportspeople to celebrate their achievements along the way; with focus pad training, you can easily see progression through ability and the feedback from your training partner.

Furthermore, the social aspect of partnering in focus pad workouts promotes teamwork and camaraderie within the training community. So overall, focus pad training is incredibly comprehensive when it comes to skills and physical and mental development in combat sports.

Using Focus Pads for Kicking

Using Focus Pads for Kicking

Boxing pads aren’t just for boxing, they can also be used for kicking and are a great addition to kickboxing, Muay Thai or taekwondo training. Most focus pads are only slightly larger than the trainer’s hands, like these Black Vanta Curved Focus Pads, but there are slightly larger pads available for kicking and knee strikes that are usually at least as long as the trainer’s hand and forearm. However, both types of focus mitts can be useful for practising kicks.

When practising kicks, the pad holder needs to consider:

  • Distance from the fighter: ensuring the kicker is a safe and suitable distance for effective training
  • The pad height: ensuring the kicker can reach the pad comfortably
  • The pad angle: ensuring it is the right angle for each of the kicker’s strikes (low kicks, body kicks, head kicks)
  • Communication: providing cues, guidance and feedback is crucial for effective pad training
  • Safety: wearing appropriate safety equipment such as head guards, mouth guards or shin pads is crucial for the safety

Overall, focus pads can be effectively utilised for kicking drills, allowing fighters to develop and refine their kicking technique, power, and accuracy in a controlled training environment.

How to Hold Focus Pads

How to Hold Focus Pads

To get the most out of your training, you need a good mitt holder, as they will control the drills, telling you what combinations to focus on as well as when to be aggressive or defensive and provide feedback on your performance. However, being a good pad holder isn’t always easy, as you need to be able to read the fighter’s movements and meet their strikes to absorb the impact of the strike as well as direct the fighter’s movements by pre-empting their combinations.

To hold focus pads correctly, you need:

  • A stable stance
  • Firm grip on the focus pads
  • To position the focus pads appropriately for each strike
  • To meet each strike
  • To simulate realistic fight movements

Holding focus pads is also a great activity for fighters, as it improves your own understanding of the sport, certain skills, fitness and communication. Good pad holders need good reflexes, timing, strength, speed and footwork, all of which are crucial skills in combat sports.

Overall, holding focus pads not only benefits the fighter by providing targets for strikes but also enhances your own training experience and skill development as a martial artist or fighter.

Training Routines with Focus Pads for Kickboxing

Training Routines with Focus Pads for Kickboxing

A well-rounded training routine for kicking focus pads should incorporate a variety of drills to develop technique, power, speed, and agility. A good training routine would look something like this:

Warm-Up (5-10 minutes):

Start with light cardio exercises like jogging, jumping jacks, or skipping with a rope to increase heart rate and warm up muscles. Perform stretches, making sure to stretch each muscle group, including legs, core, arms and back to prevent injury during training. Include dynamic stretches like leg swings, hip rotations, and ankle circles to improve flexibility and mobility.

Technique Drills (10-15 minutes):

Practise basic kicking techniques such as front kicks, roundhouse kicks, sidekicks, and back kicks. Discuss with your partner what the aim of your session is and which kicks will be practised in what order to ensure smooth and effective technique training. The pad holder can then guide you on proper form to ensure you have the correct technique to train safely and improve your skills.

Repeat each kick multiple times, gradually increasing speed and intensity as you warm up and get used to the correct movements while maintaining balance.

Combination Drills (10-15 minutes):

Again discuss your proposed combinations with your partner for fluid and effective training. Combine punches and kicks – and other strikes depending on your combat sport – ensuring correct stance and footwork between strikes. Try a jab-cross-roundhouse kick or front kick-side kick-roundhouse kick combination, for example. Start simply and increase the difficulty of your combinations through regular training routines to see improvement.

Power and Speed Training (10-15 minutes):

Alternate between performing single kicks with maximum force and rapid-fire kicks for speed to develop these crucial combat sport skills. Advanced fighters can incorporate resistance training tools like resistance bands or weighted ankle weights to increase resistance and challenge your muscles.

Reaction and Timing Drills (10-15 minutes):

Engage in partner drills that require quick reactions and timing like having your pad holder call out specific kicks or combinations for you to react quickly with the appropriate strikes. Integrating footwork and defensive manoeuvres will simulate real combat scenarios.

Cool Down and Stretching (5-10 minutes):

Finish up with a cool-down routine, gently jogging around the room to lower your heart rate before stretching again to prevent lactic acid build up and stiff muscles.

Feedback and Reflection (5 minutes):

Discuss your performance with your pad holder; they can provide constructive criticism to help you improve your performance by knowing which are the weakest skills that require more attention in future training sessions.

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