Get Ripped Like A Martial Artist: The Ultimate Body Sculpting Workout

When a dedicated martial artist decides to train, he trains hard. He goes all out when he hits the pads, drives with full force as he takes his partner down. He works every single muscle in his body, pushing himself even after he’s given up. This is what separates a martial artist from the average joe. Being goal driven has been ingrained in him from the time he decided to sign up for a class. He wants to be the best version of himself possible — physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally.

And this is why martial artists look good. Chiseled, rock hard bodies, are forged through hours of hard work on the mats — not by doing isolated exercises in a weight room. ONE Atomweight World Champion Angela Lee and ONE Superstars Jake Butler, Amir Khan, Eddie Ng, and Bruno Pucci can certainly attest to all the hard work that goes into training martial arts which has put them in the best shape of their lives. For 5 days a week, they train under the greatest collection of World Champions at Evolve MMA, polishing their grappling with Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu World Champions, striking with Muay Thai and boxing World Champions and focusing on strength and conditioning in between.

ONE Atomweight World Champion Angela Lee at the Evolve Fighters Program.

ONE Atomweight World Champion Angela Lee at the Evolve Fighters Program.

You can forget those bulky weight machines and treadmills. The fastest way to a rock hard body like a martial artist is strength training using your own bodyweight. Bodyweight exercises are ideal because you can do them just about anywhere – all you need is a pull-up bar and an unbreakable warrior spirit to keep on going.

Another awesome benefit of bodyweight exercises is that you can work on your strength, balance, mobility, muscle tone, and flexibility all at the same time. Many martial artists use bodyweight exercises to supplement their training. Using their bodyweight allows them to avoid the unnecessary bulk that weightlifting adds and build functional strength in all the right places. In fact, most martial arts classes use bodyweight exercises to warm up for the training session ahead.

There’s no doubt that we can use these exercises in our own training to build strength while toning and sculpting our muscles at the same time. Want to get ripped like a martial artist? Include the following exercises in your daily workouts to get stronger and more athletic. Today, Evolve Daily shares 8 Body Sculpting Exercises To Get Into Shape:

1) Squats


ONE Superstar Eddie “The Magician” Ng is one of the biggest advocates of clean eating.

Squats not only work your lower body (quads, hamstrings, and calves) but they also work on your core. As you stabilize with your legs, you’ll also feel the burn in your core, especially as you get back into standing position.

How to perform a squat:

  • Standing with your feet shoulder width apart and your back in neutral position, slowly bend your knees, hips and ankles until you’ve reached a 90-degree angle.
  • Keep your knees aligned with your feet at all times and make sure they do not go past your feet.
  • Inhale as you lower yourself and exhale as you return to your starting position.


2) Chin-ups


BJJ World Champion and ONE Superstar Bruno Pucci finishes most of his fights via rear naked choke.

For many athletes, a chin-up is a true test of strength. It requires a person to carry their entire bodyweight, working the upper back and shoulders. When performing a chin-up, try not to rely too much on momentum and focus on your form instead.

How to perform a pull-up:

  • Grab onto a bar and jump up so your chest touches it.
  • Slowly lower yourself using your arms and pull yourself back up.
  • As you pull yourself up, make sure your chin goes over the bar.
  • Inhale as you pull yourself up over the bar and exhale as you return to your starting position.


3) Alligator crawls


Proper breathing technique could make all the difference in your workout!

A popular exercise used by BJJ practitioners to warm-up before class, the alligator crawl is a full body exercise that works on your upper body and core. When done correctly, it will also improve coordination and mobility.

How to perform the alligator crawl:

  • Start in a low push-up position and step your right hand forward as you bring your left knee out and in toward your left elbow.
  • Keep your body low, almost touching the ground, as you switch sides.
  • Inhale as you lower yourself and exhale as you return to your starting position.


4) Dive bomber push-ups


ONE Superstar Amir Khan’s favorite techniques are low leg kicks, Muay Thai sweeps, and flying knees.

A tougher variation of the regular push-up, the dive bomber push-up requires more body awareness and coordination. You’ll definitely feel the burn after a few of these!

How to perform a dive bomber push-up:

  • Start with your glutes raised and with your hands and feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
  • Lower your shoulders towards the floor and before your chin hits the floor, let your body swoop forward so your chest faces forward.
  • Your back should be arched at this point, with your head up and your arms straight.
  • Inhale as you lower yourself and exhale as you return to your starting position.
  • Perform the push-ups in a continuous flow to get the maximum benefits!


5) Hanging Leg Raises


Strength and conditioning classes are a great way to supplement your martial arts training.

Forget crunches – the hanging leg raise is possibly the best abdominal exercise there is. Not only does it work your entire abdominal region, it also helps you develop great grip strength. Many martial artists use the hanging leg raise to strengthen their core and build functional power.

How to perform the hanging leg raise:

  • Jump up and hold onto a horizontal bar (keep your grip wide if you’re a beginner) and hang for a few seconds.
  • Raise your legs and lift them in a 90-degree angle while keeping your grip and core tight.
  • Slowly lower your legs, keeping them straight at all times.
  • Inhale as you raise your legs and exhale as you return to your starting position.
  • Avoid using momentum by keeping the movements slow and steady to work on your core.


6) Lunges


If you’re unsure about your form, consult your instructor!

As simple as they may seem, lunges have benefits that go beyond lower body and core strength. Lunges can be used to improve balance and hip flexor flexibility as well. For Muay Thai students, both aspects are extremely important, especially when performing kicks.

How to perform a lunge:

  • Stand with feet about hip-width apart.
  • Step your right foot in front of you then lower your left knee towards the ground.
  • Bend your right knee 90 degrees, making sure it stays aligned over your ankle when you finish.
  • Inhale as you lunge forward and exhale as you return to your starting position.


7) Push-ups


Quality of movement is always more important than quantity!

Many martial artists, especially BJJ practitioners, rely on push-ups to work on their upper body strength. This has many applications in BJJ including escapes and defensive frames. It is a great exercise that targets the upper body while building endurance.

How to perform a push-up:

  • With your arms straight and body stiff as a board, lower yourself with control until your elbows reach a 90 degree angle or less.
  • Keep your elbows close together.
  • When your chest almost touches the floor, pause and get back into your starting position.
  • Inhale as you lower yourself and exhale as you get back into your starting position.


8) Sprints

ONE Superstar Angela Lee is is the youngest female to be invited to join the prestigious Evolve Fight Team.

ONE Superstar Angela Lee is is the youngest female to be invited to join the prestigious Evolve Fight Team.

One of the easiest ways to get ripped is by doing sprints. It is one of the best cardiovascular exercises because it works many muscle groups. Your calves, hamstrings, glutes, hip abductors, pecs, lats, biceps, and abs all get fired up because of sprinting. Martial artists rely on sprints to boost their explosive power. Sprints also help them shed those last few pounds they might need to lose if they need to cut weight.

Sprinting tips:

  • Relax your arms and keep them at a 90 degree angle as you swing them back and forth.
  • Run on the balls of your feet.
  • Stay relaxed. The more relaxed you are, the faster you’ll be able to run.


As with all exercises, you’ll find that you get the most benefits if you maintain proper form at all times. Keeping your core tight and breathing properly will not only help you see results faster, but also make it easier for you to train more.

So tell us, which of these exercises will you include in your repertoire today?



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