Home Strength Training Workouts for Martial Artists

As a complement to my martial arts training, I like to do cardio and strength training workouts at home to break up the writing work I do at my desk during the day. I run 3x a week, sometimes with sprint intervals, sometimes wihtout, but usually I do one 5k, one 8k and one 10k each week. As for strength training, I have two full-body workouts, one with a stronger emphasis on upper body and one with a stronger emphasis on lower body. These are workouts that only require a kettlebell (I use a 20lb one), some hand weights, a bench or small table, and a mat or carpeted area. Here is my home workout area in my basement:

Basement home workout area

Primary Strength Workout

After a 10-minute warm-up (either skipping, biking or hitting the bag) I start my primary strength workout. For my workout with a stronger emphasis on upper body, I do the 4 sets of the following with one-minute breaks in between sets:

  • Jump squats (30 seconds): Can be done as regular squats to make it easier, or with ankle weights or a weight vest to make it more challenging.
  • Clap push-ups (30 seconds): Can be done on your knees to make it easier, or with a weight vest to make it more challenging.
  • Single arm upright row with kettlebell: 12 reps on each side.

For my workout with a stronger emphasis on lower body, I do the same amount of sets and breaks but with these exercises:

Workout Finishers

I follow up each of the above workouts with 3 sets of “workout finisher” exercises with 30 seconds rest in between sets (using ankle weights to increase the difficulty level):

When I do a strength training workout, complete with warm-up, workout finishers, and stretching, it takes me about 25 minutes, so it’s easy to work into my day. It can be pretty intense as a workout when you’re first starting out, so be sure to go at a pace that makes sense for your fitness level if you’re going to try these workouts. Use weights that make sense for you in the primary workouts, and adjust the number of reps in the workout finishers as necessary. Make sure you’re using proper form if using a heavier kettlebell because it can be hard on the back if your form is off. It is safer get instruction on the form and to start out with a lighter kettle bell until you get the hang of it. It’s good to vary exercises, so I’m putting together other workouts I can alternate between to keep things interesting.

I know not everyone enjoys working out, especially when they first take it up, but I find that you come to enjoy the feeling you get after working out, which you then start to associate with the workout itself. And it does enhance your performance in the martial arts, so it’s a great thing to do when you don’t have the time or opportunity to go to class to train.

Do you have a home workout regimen that you follow outside of your martial arts training? If so, please share it in the comments. 🙂

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