Muay Thai skip knee strikes and footwork are used to devastate opponents in the clinch, but they are a great conditioning tool for athletes as well as anyone practicing Muay Thai for fitness.
Skip knees take rhythm and finesse to get skilled at. Good hip mobility is a plus. Once you get them down, they are a fun drill to add to your training.
While you may not see 50 skip knees thrown in a fight, seeing single knee strikes with the same footwork or maybe two or three in a row thrown from the clinch is common. Drilling the footwork in higher reps is not only good for locking the strike into your muscle memory, but they are excellent for conditioning.
When beginning skip knees first focus on the rhythm.
The most difficult part for people to get right away is creating space by opening up the hips before the strike lands. Good hip mobility is a plus. Once you get the rhythm down, you can begin to “jump” the knees up to increase height, as often you will need to do this in fighting when you are unable to pull an opponent’s head down, but you still need to land knees to the ribs and abdomen.
Practicing skip knees that come from the sides as well us up the center is best, as unless you manage to pull an opponent’s head down in “plum” position, most of the knee strikes will be from a side angle and again hip mobility is very important to this.
Start with sets of 20-30, as your conditioning improves you can pick up both power and speed and increase to sets of 50 or more. As a standard pad session “finisher” I have my fighters do 3-5 sets of 50 skip knees.
Check out this video where coach Roxy Richardson gives a skip knee tutorial.