top of page

Biomechanics of the 540 Round Kick

First observation of 540 Round Kick (Pro VS Newbs)

The 540 Round Kick is one of the harder kicks to perform. This kick requires a certain level of strength and power to be able to execute, be it being able to jump high enough off of one foot, or being able to kick using the jumping foot, and then landing on that same foot, this requires a lot of power and control from one leg. Common observations of new trickers performing the 540 Round Kick are that they are unable to jump high enough or kick their foot around quick enough to get a nice controlled landing, they would look like they were trying to do a high-impact stomp on the ground, instead of a swift kick in the air into a lighter landing onto their toes. With the right amount of strength, power, and technique, the 540 Round Kick can be powerful-looking, and also landed gracefully at the same time, the best of both worlds, safer on the knees, and satisfying for the eyes. 

540 Round Kick

3 Stages of 540 Round Kick

The Take Off, The Kick, and The Landing

The Take Off: Set-up, and steps to generate power for the kick

Steps into the take-off (LEGS):

  • Similar to the 360 Round Kick, or Tornado Kick, one is to perform the take-off by first facing the target.

  • assuming your kicking leg is your right leg, take a step with your right leg across to your left side turning your entire body 180 degrees away from the target 

  • With your weight shifted onto your right leg (Loaded and ready to jump), hips opening up, turn your left leg, and upper body around and face the target once again. 

  • As your hips open up, helping you face the target, your left knee should be driving up toward the sky, this is not a tuck like in a back flip, it is an upward knee drive helping you get upward momentum for your take off. 

Now your legs are out of the way...

Creating momentum with your arms (ARM SWING):

  • Firstly, the arm swing for the 540 Round Kick is a big “U” shaped starting from one side above the head to the other side above the head. 

  • The arm swing helps to increase height by generating momentum upwards, and this also helps with turning the upper body towards the target to set the athlete up for the kick.

Timing of the arm swing: 

  • Beginning facing the target, with the arms above the head on the right side, (assuming kicking leg is the right leg)

  • The athlete step over facing away from the target.

  • The arms should start to swing downwards, at the same time the weight of the body should be shifted onto the right leg. 

  • Then the athlete should be at the point before they start turning their head and chest towards the target again, spotting the target and also lifting the left knee off the ground and beginning to open up the hips to turn the knee towards the target. 

  • The athlete should be timing their arm swing upwards at the same time as they drive their left knee up, to maximise the momentum they can generate together before they jump.

  • With these steps done correctly, power for the jump and kick can be efficiently generated.

The Kick: How to efficiently and safely perform the 540 round kick.

  • Performing a 540 Round Kick is different from a 360 Round Kick, what’s important in a 540 Kick is the follow through of the kick, if the athlete does not focus on following through with the kick, they would find themselves landing awkwardly because they are not able to finish their kick quick enough to bring their leg under their centre of gravity to land nice and safe.

  • How to perform the kick quick and strong. As the athlete takes off from the set up and is transiting into the kick, the left knee will be pointing towards the direction of the target while the right leg (kicking leg) is chambered (knee flexed)

  • By twisting the hips so as to bring the right leg above the left, then fully extending the knee and flexing at the hip to perform the kick

  • Twisting of the hips when kicking can be emphasized through just doing a tuck jump with the kicking leg instead of kick (kicking extends the leg making it harder to control, tucking helps athletes learn the movement before adding the kick)

  • the kick should be drawing an upside down “U” over the left leg. 

  • As the athlete finishes the kick, it also pulls the upper body along from the hips, at this point they can spot for their landing, and also prepare their body for the impact of the landing, by slightly flexing at the knee and reaching for the ground with the ball of their feet.

Technical Breakdown:

  • The importance of lifting the left leg (non-kicking leg) up and turning towards the target before performing the actual kick. Firstly, the actual upwards lifting motion of the leg provides the athlete with more height by generating momentum upwards before jumping. 

  • Secondly, by turning the leg towards the target, a twisting motion is generated and hence it helps the athlete turn their body in the direction of the kick to help with speed, control, and their landing. 

  • Thirdly, the lifting of the non-kicking leg is important because it helps set the athlete’s hips at a specific point in the air where the hip of the non-kicking leg is the pivot point, and the kicking leg has a clearer, and much smoother path to travel. 

  • Lastly, pumping the non-kicking leg towards a target, helps the athlete “aim” for it, and hit their target with ease, and it gives the audience the impression that the athlete have total control over the move, and it also look aesthetically pleasing.

The Landing: How to position the body to safely land the kick

  • At the end of the kick, you would think there is no specific way to land, but there is a safe and more efficient way to land a 540 Round Kick. 

  • Firstly, the direction of the athlete’s toes of their kicking foot should be facing the opposite direction of where they are traveling with the 540 Round Kick, this is to ensure that they are able to reach for the ground with the ball of their feet, and also to avoid unnecessary stress on the inside/outside of their knee joint. 

  • Secondly, during the landing, the torque (spinning momentum) created from performing the kick would carry on throughout the landing, the upper body would still be turning while the leg is planted on the floor, which would create a twisting stress on the knee which can lead to injury, to avoid this problem 

  • The athlete should transfer their weight onto the other leg right after completing the kick.

How to build strength to avoid straining of muscles, and injury from this strenuous skill:

The movement of a 540 Kick is very complex, from a single leg jump, to a more than 360 degrees turn in the air with a flashy kick, but we can conclude that there is a lot of power involved in this move, specifically in the leg region, so exercises involving jumping power, and conditioning the muscles to move in a certain way so that athletes would not get injured from performing a 540 kick.

  1. Lunge jumps with alternate knee drive is a good exercise that builds the jumping power of a single leg, it also improves stability due to the balance needed to support oneself with a single leg during the jump, and the landing. This exercise also teaches the athlete to be more efficient with their jump due to the added knee drive, and it imitates the way they take off during a 360/540 Round Kick.

  2. Twisting squat jumps (180 degree turn): This exercise focuses on the landing, because of the 180 degree turn, it increases the stress on the knees with a rotational force. Athletes will have to focus on firstly, landing on the balls of their feet, with their feet being shoulders width apart so that is is easier to slow down the angular momentum they have created with the twist, also landing with their knees and glutes flexed slightly to absorb the impact, and glutes activated to absorb the impact, lastly, turning their using their abdominal muscles towards the direction of the twist in a decelerating speed to completely stop the twisting movement and to take the rotational stress on the ankle, knee and hip joints.

  3. Crunches side to side taps: This is an abdominal exercise that imitates what the core does in the air when performing a 540 kick. Athletes will be in a hollow hold position with hands by the side of their glutes for balance, they will first perform a crunch (knees towards the chest) then extending their leg towards the left/right, tapping the outer side of their foot, then bringing it back into a crunch, and lastly repeating the same action on the alternate side. This exercise focuses on the abdominal muscles and the external obliques.

  4. Single leg tuck jumps with step over: The most applicable exercise would be this one, allowing the athletes to imitate the jump, and the rotation of the 540 Kick. The difficulty of this exercise is based on the extension of the knee of the jumping leg, with a flexed knee would be the easiest level, and a fully extended leg would be the hardest level. Based on the athletes’ strength different levels can be prescribed to build the strength and condition their bodies to perform the move.


bottom of page