Taekwondo is one of the best exercises to do as it works most of the main muscle groups in the body
and increases core body strength. By practicing Taekwondo, you will be required to have strong
punches, hard kicks, and good breaks which can only be achieved with strength training, flexibility,
and power. The best workouts for Taekwondo typically work the core/abdominal areas, the upper
body, and arms and the lower body to build endurance and strength.
The following are some of the major muscles worked by Taekwondo training and the exercises to
work them. Faster and stronger Taekwondo kicks are achieved by working on the calves,
hamstrings, and quads
1. Quads -The quads are four main muscles in the thighs hence the name quadriceps or quads. The
best workouts for the quads are squats, lunges, leg extensions. The best exercises for the quads tend
to be compound weight lifting workouts such as lunges with barbells, kettlebells or dumbbells.
2. Hamstrings – The huge muscle on the back of the thigh are responsible for internal rotation, hip
extension, and knee flexion and hence are very important in taekwondo. The best exercises for the
hamstrings are deadlifts, lunges, ham/glute raises, Pull thrus, leg curls, kettlebell swings, and low bar
squats all of which develop explosive leg power.
3. Calves – The calves are made of the tibialis anterior, the soleus, and the gastrocs that are used for
forward and side by side movement of the leg. The best workouts for the calves are calf presses, step
ups, lunges and raises that work all muscles of the calves.
Kicks and Punches
Explosive Taekwondo kicks or punches are achieved through working on twisting power or torque.
Some of the important muscles to work are the lower back, the lateral obliques, and the core/ab
1. Abs – Most abs will not need much work as you get them by having low body fat. However to
increase core strength exercises such as pull-ups, rows, overhead presses, chin-ups, sit-ups, leg
raises, weighted cable crunches, pushups, deadlifts and squats strengthen the core and make for
very strong abs.
2. Lower back – The back muscles are best worked with weight training workouts which develop
strength and thickness of the back thus improving endurance. Some other effective exercises include
chin up and pull-ups, rows, single arm dumbbell workouts, face pulls, lat pulldowns, and bent arm
3. Lateral Obliques – These are found on the side of the abdominals and are critical in rotation of the
trunk and lateral flexion, which helps in supporting the spine and providing a good posture. The best
exercises for the obliques include lat pulldowns and side plank workouts.
Blocks and Punches
Explosive Taekwondo blocks and punches are achieved by strengthening the muscles of the back,
shoulders, forearms, biceps, and triceps. They include the Latissimus Dorsi, Rhomboid, Trapezius,
Teres, and Erector spinae help rotate and straighten the back, neck movements, and pulling
1. Triceps – The triceps are responsible for the pulling movements of the arms, which will enhance
blocks. The best exercises for the triceps are dips, close grip bench presses, pushups, triceps
extensions, and pushdowns and reverse grip bench presses. Compound workouts with heavy weights
also work the triceps.
2. Biceps – Some of the most popular muscle groups on the body which help curl or bend the arm
toward the body. The best Taekwondo exercises for the biceps are pull-ups, chin-ups, rows, the
dumbbell curls, and the close grip pull. Adding heavyweights on the rows, pull-ups and chin-ups will
build the biceps more than any other workout.
3. Forearms – The best workouts of the forearms will typically involve weight lifting exercises such as
hammer curls, pinwheel curls, deadlifts, rows, chin-ups, kettlebell, dumbbell, and barbell workouts to
increase strength and size of the forearms for some great punches.
4. Shoulders – The shoulder muscles known as deltoids are critical in body lifting motions and hence
are important in throwing punches. They are best worked with overhead presses, raises, high incline
bench presses, push presses, handstand pushups, and single arm overhead presses. Any triceps,
bicep, back and chest exercises also work the shoulders.
5. Back – The back is a complex set of muscles that work with many other muscles to complement
and bring harmony in movement. The best workouts for the back are chin-ups, rows, deadlifts,
pull-ups, single arm dumbbells rows, straight arm pulldowns, back extensions and face pulls which
make for a thicker stronger back.
Training for Taekwondo works several muscles in the body thus making one stronger overall.
However, you need to know and understand which muscle is being worked by a particular exercise.
This is important if you are a professional Taekwondo professional who needs to develop specific
parts of the martial arts repertoire.