Martial arts help to improve your fitness, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t work out in other ways. The physical benefits you get from learning martial arts are only a secondary benefit. To bring your training to the next level, complement your martial arts classes with functional exercises that help to increase strength, muscle mass, and endurance.
Twelve Functional Exercises For Martial Artists
Here are twelve functional exercises that will improve your overall fitness and performance in the dojo:
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart to perform a squat and lower your body into a sitting position. Your back must be straight the entire time, and your knees should be over your toes.
To perform a push-up, start in a plank position with your hands shoulder-width apart and lower your body toward the ground. Push up back to the original position to complete a rep.
Lunges are a great functional exercise for martial artists as they help to improve lower body strength and power, particularly in the glutes. Plus, they also help to increase flexibility in the hips and legs.
To perform a lunge, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and then take a giant step forward with one leg. Lower your frame so that your front knee is at a 90-degree angle and your back knee is hovering just above the ground. Use proper form since this can be a tricky exercise when you’re just starting.
Burpees are a great functional exercise for martial artists as they help to improve full-body strength and power. Plus, they also help to increase cardiovascular endurance.
To perform a burpee, start in a standing position and then lower your body down into a plank position. From there, jump your feet towards your hands and stand up tall. Don’t arch your back and tighten your core as you perform each rep.
Start by holding a pull-up bar with your hands shoulder-width apart to perform a pull-up. Then, hang from the bar and pull your body up until your chin is over the bar. Tighten your core and hold your back straight when performing the exercise.
Dips help to improve upper body strength and build muscular endurance in the triceps and shoulders.
To perform a dip, start by gripping the edge of a bench or chair with your hands shoulder-width apart. Then, lower your body down until your arm bends at a 90-degree angle, then press back up to the starting position. Keep your center tight and your back in a straight line throughout the entire movement.
7) Hanging Leg Raises
Hanging leg raises help to improve core strength and stability. They also help to increase flexibility in the hips and legs.
Start by grabbing a pull-up bar with your hands shoulder-width apart to perform a hanging leg raise. Then, hang from the bar and raise your legs until they are parallel to the ground. Your back should remain straight when you use the proper form. Tightening your core helps to keep you properly aligned.
8) Russian Twists
Russian twists help to improve core strength and stability. The exercise also increases flexibility in the hips and trunk.
To perform a Russian twist, start by sitting on the ground with your knees bent and your feet flat on the ground. Then, lean back slightly and twist your torso to the right and then to the left. Keep your core involved and your back straight throughout the entire movement.
Sit-ups improve core strength, flexibility, and stability. To perform a sit-up, start by lying on the ground with your knees bent enough to keep your feet flat on the ground. Place your hands at the back of your head and curl your body up until your shoulders touch your thighs. Keep your core involved and your back straight throughout the entire movement.
Planks help to improve core strength and stability. The exercise also builds muscular endurance in the arms, legs, and trunk. To perform a plank, start by lying on your stomach on the ground with your elbows bent and your palms flat on the ground. Then, raise your body up to rest on your forearms and toes. Keep your back straight during the entire movement and tighten your abs.
11) Side Plank
Side planks help to improve core strength, stability, and also help to increase muscular endurance in the arms, legs, and trunk.
To perform a side plank, start by lying on your side on the ground with your feet stacked and your elbow bent. Then, raise your hips off the ground, so your body is straight from your head to your feet. Make sure to keep your core tight and your back straight throughout the entire movement.
To perform a thruster, start by standing with your feet about shoulder-width apart and your hands behind your head or holding a barbell chest high as if you were getting ready to press it. Squat down until your thighs are about parallel with the ground, and press back up to the starting position. As you press back up, extend your arms overhead. Keep your core engaged and your back straight throughout the entire movement to maintain proper form.
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