Strength Training for Martial Artists
Basic exercises you can do to increase overall body strength.
In a past blog entry I discussed exercises you can do to increase flexibility. In this entry I will discuss some basic exercises you can do to increase overall body strength. The exercises I chose have been selected for their simplicity and use of little to no training equipment. I also have narrowed it down to four main exercises that produce excellent results for overall strength in muscle groups needed for the martial arts. Finally, I've provided a work out plan for beginners, intermediate and advanced students.
1. Push ups: start on the ground, feet apart for balance, hands positioned directly under your shoulders. Keeping your back and legs straight, push up with your arms and slowly lower yourself touching your chest to the floor for each count.
2. Air squats: Stand with feet shoulder-width apart with your toes, knees and hips in a straight line. Grasp your hands together and hold them straight out parallel to the floor. Pull your belly button toward your spine and contract your abdominal muscles. Slowly lower your body, as though you are sitting in a chair. Lower until your bottom is in line with your knees (knees at 90-degree angles). Make sure your knees are BEHIND your toes, your back is straight, and the weight is in your heels.
3. Leg lifts: lay on your back on the ground with legs fully extended. Tuck palms of hands under your bottom. Keeping legs straight and together, slowly lift heels about four inches off the ground. Tightening tummy, lift legs up further to 45 degree angle. That's one count. Slowly repeat to the four inch position. Do these reps very slowly to a cadence of 3 seconds per rep.
4. Pull ups: locate a pull up bar, kids jungle gym or sturdy rafter in your home. Grip the bar with fingers pointed away from you. Pull your body up so your chin goes over the bar.
After performing all four exercises, rest for one minute. That means you have completed one circuit. Repeat the circuit a minimum of twice and work up to repeating the circuit five times. Once you can repeat the beginning level five times, go ahead and bump up to intermediate. Once you can perform five circuits at the intermediate level, bump up to the advanced level. If five circuits at the advanced level is a snap for you then contact me for a new set of exercises to challenge you!
For the best results perform all four exercises in circuits twice a week.
Vashon Borich-Leach, Sensei teaches traditional karate and tai chi in Branson, Missouri. She considers herself a life-time student of the arts. Her blog is an open journal of lessons learned in the martial arts. If you are a martial artist and would like to contribute to her blog please contact her.
©2012 Branson Karate & Kobudo™