How to Kick Down a Door

Three Methods:Assessing the DoorKicking it DownTroubleshooting

Kicking down a door to enter a building so you can rescue people inside isn't a situation that happens often, but when the time comes, you've got to know how to do it right. You won't be helping anyone if you injure or exhaust yourself, so read on to learn how to kick down a door promptly and effectively.

Method 1
Assessing the Door

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    Figure out which way it swings. If the door swings inward, toward the inside of the building, you're in luck; you might be able to kick it in. If it swings outward, however, don't waste your time; you won't be able to kick it in, and you could break your foot if you try.[1]
    • Most doors on residential homes or apartments open inward. You find outward-opening doors on commercial buildings.
    • If you determine that the door opens outward, removing the door hinges might be an easier way to get in. However, many commercial door hinges have theft proof hinge pins that do not allow them to be removed.
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    Examine the door and frame materials. Some doors are made cheaply, while others are built to last. Take a look at what the door and its frame are made from; the building material will determine the level of force required to kick it in.
    • Hollow core doors, made of hollow wood or another material that isn't solid, are usually found inside homes between rooms. These doors usually have no insulation or security, and they require minimal force to kick in.
    • Solid core doors are made from chipped or shaved wood with frames that have laminate on each side. They require a bit more force than hollow core doors.
    • Solid wood doors are made of hardwood and require an average amount of force to kick in.
    • Metal clad doors are made from softwood with a thin metal covering and require an average to above average amount of force.
    • Hollow metal doors are much heavier than other doors, have reinforcing channel around the edges and the lock mounting area, and some have insulating material. They require maximum force; it may not be possible to kick these in.
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    Figure out which part of the door is weakest. Every door has a weak spot, depending on how it's made. Examine the door to figure out which part is made from the weakest materials. A swift kick will break the weakest part of the door which is usually the frame, the latch, or the lock.
    • Is it the frame? If the frame is made from lightweight wood, that may be the weakest part. Even if the lock is heavy duty, you should be able to kick in a door with a weak frame.
    • Is it the latch or lock? Heavier doors are weakest at the latch, the part of the door that clicks into the frame. They may also be weak just below or above the lock.

Method 2
Kicking it Down

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    Focus on the area just below the doorknob. This is where you will deliver the blow in order to apply maximum force. Take a breath or two, and prepare to strike.
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    Get in position. Stand sideways, with your dominant leg closest to the door, a couple of feet from it. You should be close enough that your foot can easily kick the door with a decent amount of force.
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    Lift your leg and kick. With your dominant leg, side kick the area just below the doorknob quite hard. When executing this kick, your center of mass should be slightly in front of your back leg, so that your body has some momentum toward the door. When you kick, it will feel somewhat like you are "falling into" your target. Do not lean away from the kick, but keep your body upright as much as possible.
    • It is advisable to hit with the sole or heel of the foot, rather than the edge. Since you are trying to transfer total kinetic energy, rather than to damage the area directly struck by your kick, increasing the impact area in this fashion is not detrimental to the effect, and helps reduce the risk of injury to your foot.
    • It is also important to keep your base leg (the leg you are standing on during the kick) firmly on the ground to transfer the most energy into your kick. Think about pushing from that heel.
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    Assess the door's give. If you feel the door bend inward a bit when you kick, kick it again in the exact same spot. Most doors need a few good kicks before they break. Eventually the door's frame should splinter and you'll be able to kick it loose.

Method 3

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    Make sure you're kicking the door's weakest spot. If you're reasonably sure the door can be kicked down, but you aren't feeling any give, try kicking in a different spot, or use a different kicking style.
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    Try a back kick. This method offers a lot of force and more stability. Stand with your back to the door and kick backward, like a donkey. Make sure your foot lands flat just under the doorknob.
    • You can place your arms on the shoulders of a buddy standing in front of you (or use a table or anything that won't move and will support your weight) for further stability while you concentrate on landing your foot in the proper location.
    • Take a few practice "taps" to help prevent breaking your foot on the doorknob.
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    Try a front kick. Front kicking a door down will not offer as much force as a side or back kick, but you can aim your foot more precisely. Stand a few feet away from the door, with your dominant foot placed in the back. Use your dominant leg to front kick the area just below the doorknob quite hard (with a forward, pushing motion, not an upward swing).
    • Do not use the ball of your foot to perform this strike; instead, use your heel. Be careful not to strike your foot on the doorknob.
    • This kicking style increases the risk of injury dramatically, because the force used is not directly perpendicular to the door, and the toes of a foot may land on the knob or lock instead of the door, which may strain the ankle or break the tendons on the heel.
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    Know when to stop kicking. You should not hammer away at a stubborn door too many times, because this may cause too much damage to the door or your body. Try to find another way in.
    • Make sure you've exhausted your other options. Is there any other way to get in? Have you considered breaking a small window that you can easily replace? Take stock of your situation, and if there's no other choice, go on to the next step.
    • As an alternate method, you can use a hammer, sledge or other suitable pounding device to strike the area below the doorknob. A crowbar can also help with heavier doors. This is suggested for people who are not physically able to deliver a good kick.


  • It will help to exhale sharply or even yell when the kick lands. In martial arts this is called a kiai (pronounced "key-hiya"). This tightens the core muscles of your trunk, and prevents your torso from absorbing forward motion (i.e., more energy is transferred to the door).
  • Ramming the door with your shoulder can cause dislocations. Additionally, the impulse of the blow is lower, because your shoulder is soft and takes longer to deliver its force than your shoe, which is quite hard. Be sure to kick.
  • Do not jump when you kick the door. Jumping does not increase the power of your kick, unless you're jumping from a ladder or doing a spinning roundhouse kick, which is useless against a door. Jumping will give you less stability, decreasing the power of your kick and increasing the likelihood of injury.
  • If you think you might need to use this skill at some point, practice it a few times on safe, easy targets. This will help ensure that you don't injure yourself when attempting the real thing.
  • Be committed. Don't try to be soft on yourself or on the door. Use maximum force and don't flinch.


  • Never straighten your leg all the way when doing this type of kick. Make sure your leg is still bent when your foot hits the target. Straightening your leg all the way can cause serious damage to the knee.
  • If you are not in good physical shape, do not use this method. It applies a great deal of force to the body, and should not be attempted by anyone with physical limitations.
  • These instructions apply mainly to wooden doors without deadbolts. If there is a deadbolt, it takes a much harder impact and/or multiple strikes to smash the door frame. If the door and its frame are made of metal, you can just forget about the whole thing, because you are only going to frustrate and/or injure yourself.

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