School of Health Sciences


Master of Science in Human Performance (MS)


Will Peveler


martial arts, punching, kicking, ground reaction forces, velocity, force plate


Sports Sciences


The purpose of this study was to compare vGRFs during continuous strikes to three different modalities, a free-standing heavy bag, focus mitts, and Thai pads, and the punching velocities under these conditions. It was hypothesized for punches that punching velocity would be higher in punches thrown at a heavy bag, punching velocity would be faster in rear-hand punches, vGRFs would be higher in the lead leg compared to the rear leg of a punch at impact, and vGRFs would be higher in heavy bag punches compared to focus mitt punches. For kicks it was hypothesized that vGRFs of dominant and nondominant roundhouse kicks thrown at a heavy bag would be higher during all phases, dominant-leg roundhouse kicks would produce the highest vGRFs regardless of modality, and within each kick type, there would be differences in vGRFs throughout the entire movement. Fourteen trained and orthodox stance martial artists (9 male; 5 female) (Male - age: 26.00 ± 4.15 years, height: 178 ± 7.69 cm, body mass: 91.30 ± 27.60kg, body fat: 20.18 ± 12.01%, training duration: 4.94 ± 4.5yrs; Female - 23.4 ± 12.72yrs, height: 172.21 ± 6.57cm, body mass: 68.54 ± 10.77kg, body fat: 22.24 ± 7.64%, training duration: 6.4 ± 6.16yrs) ranging from recreational practitioners to competitive fighters, were tested. An AMTI force plate collected vGRFs for punches and kicks during each protocol. Ten punches, alternating between lead and rear hand straights were performed on a free-standing heavy bag and focus mitts. Ten kicks, alternating between dominant and nondominant roundhouse kicks, were performed on a free-standing heavy bag and Thai Pads. Significance was set at p ≤ .05. Lead had punches for both modalities were significantly faster than rear hand punches (p < .001) and lead hand punches on the focus mitts were faster than on the heavy bag (p = .039). No significant differences were found between modalities for vGRFs, but lead-leg vGRFs were greater than rear-leg vGRFs for heavy bag, lead-hand (p = .02) and rear-hand (p<.001) punches and focus mitt lead-hand (p<.001) and rear-hand (p <.001) punches. For kicks, between modalities, phase 2 roundhouse kicks on the heavy bag produced greater vGRF (p = .017), and for switch kicks, phase 1b on the Thai Pads produced greater vGRFs. Comparing kick types on the heavy bag, switch kicks produced greater vGRFs at phase 1a (p = .005), but roundhouse kicks produced greater vGRFs at phase 2 (p = .017). On the Thai pads, switch kicks produced greater vGRFs at phase 1a (p = .002), but less vGRFs than roundhouse kicks at phase 1b (p = .018). Between phases of a kick, significant differences were found between every phase except between phase 1a and 3 for heavy bag roundhouse kicks and Thai pad roundhouse and switch kicks, between phase 2 and 3 for heavy bag and Thai pad switch kicks, and between phase 1a and 2 for Thai pad switch kicks. While results are mixed, they suggest several new areas of study for future research and highlight underlying patterns in continuous kicking and punching. Strength coaches may want to focus on kinetic linking to better utilize vGRFs and to improve kinetic linking and coordination between dominant and nondominant kicks.