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Elbow #5 – Vertical Elbow Strike Backward  Range of Motion

With the Vertical Elbow Strike Backward (Elbow #5), the biggest beginner student issue is a lack of power and consistently hitting with the correct part of the elbow. The main reason for these two problems is not using the proper range of motion with this strike.

This video demonstrates what the proper range of motion is. It also explains the two most common mistakes that prevent the student from using their full range of motion while performing this elbow strike.


“Hey guys! This is Randall with KravMagaTraining.com. And in this video I’m going to discuss the vertical elbow to the rear or what’s more commonly referred to as Elbow #5 in the Krav Maga system. And in particular with this elbow, I’m going to discuss how to use the proper range of motion while you’re delivering the strike. That is the most common beginner mistake while delivering the strike.

Let me explain and demonstrate. The proper range of motion is you don’t just hit the target, you hit the target and follow through. But, this is a common mistake that beginners make is they keep their body too upright, and when they deliver the strike this is as far as they can go. So if I did it without the pad, my particular range of motion in my shoulders and my upper body is this. That’s as far as I can hit. And you can see with the target here, yeah, I can hit the target but I sure can’t follow through. This is not acceptable. I want to hit and go all the way through the target because that’s the rule with all combatives. You don’t just hit the target. You hit at least a foot through the target to have maximum damage occur.

In order for me to do this, there’s two components that are neglected. The first one is your body needs to rotate. If I keep my back turned towards the target like this, this is as far as I go. As soon as I twist my body, so my body is almost more sideways to the target, notice how my range of motion increases a lot more. And the easiest way to make sure that you’re turning your body is to just do this before you start delivering your strike: Is to look at your target first. Sometimes beginners forget to do that. They’ll start the technique facing this way, and then they’ll turn their head and look at the target as they’re delivering the strike. So, if I did it slowly it looks like this. I don’t like that. Not only is it hard on your range of motion, but, you’re more likely to miss the target. You need to assess what’s going on behind you. For all you know, that could be your grandma behind you. You don’t want to hit grandma upside the head. So, you need to look first, see where exactly that target is, make sure it’s appropriate for you to deliver the strike, and then from there, because you are already turning and looking at the target, you’ll tend to naturally twist your body anyways. So, that would be my first suggestion. Make sure you turn and look before you deliver the strike. So, like this. Look first, then deliver the strike.

Now, the next thing, and in my opinion the most important aspect of increasing your range of motion for this particular strike, is you need to lean forward or away from the target. And this is what I mean is, if I keep my back real straight like this, even if I twist my body, this is as far as I can go. This is literally as far as my range of motion goes. Once again, there’s no follow-through in the strike. As soon as I lean away from the target, notice how my range of motion increases. So, as I’m delivering the strike, what I do is I think about leaning forward at the waist, and I am kind of taking a bow, as well as a little bit of a side crunch at the same time. So, it looks like this in slow motion. So, notice that because of this lean, my range of motion is a lot better. And if my range of motion is better, I have more follow-through, I have more power.

The other benefit of that is if the target or the attacker is extremely close to you and you don’t do this lean, look how jammed up I’m getting. I can’t even hit them cleanly with the elbow strike. I’m just barely brushing them with my elbow. That’s not going to do anything. But as soon as I do this lean, I do this little side crunch, notice how I create space to hit with the strike. So, even if the bad guy is extremely close to me, ‘oh no, I’m jammed up, I’m jammed up’, as soon as I lean away, I have plenty of space to hit that target. Like that.

So look, that’s my few suggestions for increasing your range of motion is to make sure, one, turn and look before you strike. You should be doing that with all combative anyways. Any strike that’s behind you, look first. Find your target. Second, make sure that you’re leaning away from it. Take a bow. And the third, which is really part of number two anyways and is done in conjunction with it, is that little side crunch. So, I have a bow. I’ve got a side crunch. I kind of do both at the same time.

If you do those two things, your range of motion will improve. And if your range of motion improves, the power and the consistency of this particular elbow strike will improve dramatically. So, please start integrating those tips and I hope you found this video helpful. Thank you for watching.”

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