Workout Martial Arts Style

By: Keith


Check the video at the end of the descriptions below. 

This is a beginner martial arts workout but an intermediate cardio workout.  Thus you don’t need to be great, or even remotely accurate, with the moves to get a good workout.  Over time though the moves become easier, your balance improves and your strength increases.  I hadn’t done this workout until this morning.  I made it two months ago for my wife who wanted to do a good cardio martial arts routine.  She does it at least once a week now and really likes it.  We’ve made a couple modifications in the last several weeks to make it flow better.  I think it’s a good one. 

Don’t worry if your moves don’t look perfect.  Mine certainly aren’t perfect, but I still feel good doing it and putting it on video despite the fact that I’m rusty! :-) 

200 Jump Rope: Warm up with the rope 

2 Minute Run in Place: Jog medium pace to complete the warm up.  Move your arms to warm them up; maybe do some huggers while running in place to loosen up. 

Horse Stance 50 Punch low/medium/high-high/medium/low: Get into a horse stance.  You’re going to make three alternating punches in front of you, low, medium and high punches.  Then reverse and do three alternating high, medium and low punches.  Each punch counts as one. 

25/25 Fighting Stance Front Kick: Watch the video to learn what a fighting stance is.  Use your front foot and kick with the ball of your foot in front of you. 

25/25 Front Foot Side Kick: Now, again from fighting stance you’re going to do a side kick with your front foot.  This requires some balance.  Turn your rear foot as your kick so your kick is with the heel and not the toes. 

25/25 Back Kick: Otherwise known as a mule kick.  You’ll kick directly behind you with your heel. 

25-50 Push-ups: Do nice controlled push-ups, and do as many as you can. 

25-50 Sit-ups: You don’t have to go all the way up to get a good sit-up.  You have to raise your chest to the ceiling and engage your abs. 

200 Jumping Jacks 

Horse Stance 20 High/In/Out/Low Blocks: Back to horse stance for some blocking.  This is more than just moving your arms around.  Your abs, shoulders, back and arms need to all be working at the same time or else you’re not working.  Try to get crisp movements; block with your forearms on each move.  Each set on one side counts as one. 

Fighting Stance 26 Elbow, Spinning Elbow: Ok, this is the most complicated move here, but it’s not too bad and it’s fun.  From a fighting stance, elbow with your lead arm across your body (keep your fist tucked into your shoulder) and twist with your hips, not your shoulder.  Then continue the spin and come around for a back elbow moving in the same direction as the first.  Watch the video, you’ll get it if you take it slow the first few times. 

Fighting Stance 20 each side Back Foot Round Kick (modification = Front Foot Round) (you can switch every 5): We did this a few weeks ago so you’ll remember the move.  Fighting stance, pick your rear leg up, turn your planted foot outwards as your body turns and pretend you’re kicking someone in the side of their head with your shin. 

25-50 Push-ups 

50 Bicycles (25 forward 25 back): In a “V” position bicycle 25 times forward and 25 times backwards. 

2 Minutes Run in Place 

Horse Stance 50 Side Blocks with Back Fist: Back in a horse stance.  You’ll cross your fists in front of you and block to your left.  Then immediately re-chamber your fists in front of you and make a back fist to the left.  That’s 1.  Alternate sides.  I haven’t done this in years so I was a little rusty.  Oh well. 

Fighting Stance 20/20 Inward Block with Jab: You want to feel like Mike Tyson?  Well, maybe not, but this is a pretty good boxing exercise.  Go slow and speed up as you get the hang of it.  Make a slight deflecting block with your front arm.  Return to start position and then jab with that same arm.  There’s a rhythm to it so make sure to find it before speeding up. 

Stepping Side Kick 25/25: This one is nothing more than a side kick with a step.  Pretend your opponent is out of your reach yet you still want to kick them in the head (I have that feeling a lot!).  Simply step into the kick.  It feels really good once you get the hang of it. 

25-50 Push-ups 

25-50 In and Outs: Sit up and extend your legs in and out in front of you with your arms in the air.  

2 Minute Run in Place 

Here is the video: 


17 Responses to “Workout Martial Arts Style”
  1. Joanna Cake March 4, 2010 at 10:40 am #

    I injured my shoulder about three years ago and Ive been trying to train round it since then. Four months ago, I finally bit the bullet and stopped martial arts for a minimum of six months. Seeing all this has reminded me how much I miss it… as well as the positive effects that it has on my butt cheeks. All the kicking and zenkutsu dachi used to mean that my buns were solid. These days Im not allowed to do pushups or situps either. Yoga keeps things toned but not in the same ‘solid’ way. I think I may have to sneak some kicks and zkd back into my daily routine if Im to retain my fabulous derriere. Thanks for the memories x
    .-= Joanna Cake´s last blog ..HNT: Lizard =-.

  2. Mocha Dad March 4, 2010 at 11:47 am #

    Just reading that post wore me out.

  3. Pat Malone March 29, 2010 at 11:31 pm #

    The comments on these posts wore me out. The workout looks quite tiring. I thought about doing it for my childrens classes and I think they would keel over and drop after the first twenty minutes. I would have to save it for the adults.
    .-= Pat Malone´s last blog ..Self Defense Training updated Sat Mar 27 2010 1:40 am CDT =-.

    • Keith March 29, 2010 at 11:53 pm #

      Pat: LOL. It’s only hard the first few time :-) Yeah, probably not great for the kiddies, but I bet your adult class will love it.

  4. SenseiMattKlein July 18, 2010 at 2:34 pm #

    This looks like an awesome workout! Can’t wait to try it.
    .-= SenseiMattKlein´s last blog ..10 Lessons Learned from the Karate Kid Movie =-.

  5. Bryan - Workouts Without Weights August 9, 2010 at 1:13 am #

    I think that this is a very thorough post that I would put in the category of Workouts Without Weights .
    Your workout will work all major muscle groups and has the benefit of low level cardio also which has been shown to actually increase the fat burning ability of the body due to the low levels of cortisol versus those produced by long bouts of cardio work. – see the website “marks daily apple”
    Thanks for the video also.
    .-= Bryan – Workouts Without Weights´s last blog ..Martial Arts Fitness Training – BodyWeight Workout Outside The Dojo =-.

  6. Brian - Boot Camp Fitness Ideas September 6, 2010 at 6:25 am #

    I love this kind of workout, cause it’s all part of my career as a personal fitness trainer :) Ofcourse it will tire the beginner at first.

  7. Kody September 11, 2010 at 3:36 pm #

    Hey Keith, this is a nice blog you have here. This video is a lot of fun! You have a beautiful family too. Do you have to be super smart to home school your children lol?

  8. Jon November 23, 2010 at 4:21 am #

    Great little workout there, reminds me very much of my first Shaolin workouts. Martial arts are such a great way to get fit, especially the high kicking ones. Nobody realises how much energy is required to kick high until they try it.

    We used to do the punches all straight in horse stance, but start with singles, then doubles, then triples – always focusing on speed on the triples.

    For the kicks we would do a quick double cross step to keep it more dynamic.

  9. Martial Arts Liniment May 16, 2011 at 1:08 pm #

    Good workout routine… it’s pretty similar to the recently released workouts from Bruce Lee. Although, his were obviously incredibly intense.


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