If you're like me, you love Karate but fall in and out of interest with it because we can't seem to stay in shape. The psychological aspect of not being good enough is really daunting compared to the joy that practicing Karate brings. Despite knowing that I need to exercise and practice to be great and also stay healthy, the stress and fatigue from work often get the best of me.
When I was on the National team and competing in Karate I would start the morning with a few simple exercises and monitor my diet throughout the day. (Now it consists of a LOT of coffee, sushi and unhealthy snacks).
These exercises will get your body in shape and provide a strong basis for continuing your Karate practice afterwards or later that evening. Your overall fitness is very important to your Karate training, being overweight will not only make your gi tight in certain areas, your techniques slow, but it also causes extra strain on tendons and ligaments making you more prone to injury. So as always, start slow and work your way up and if necessary consult your physician prior to any new training regimens.
30 minutes of full out cardio is recommended about 5 or 6 days per week. Biking, Swimming, or Jogging are also great alternatives but I always found the most enjoyable additive to my Karate training was putting in some headphones with my favorite workout music, staying light on my toes and just sparring on the heavy bags.
Some people have a hard time creating their own combinations when sparring the heavy bag. My rule of thumb for beginners is to practice each technique about 40 times with each hand and foot.
In example, start with 40 left hand jabs, then switch to right hand jabs.
Next, try 40 Crosses or Reverse punches on the left side then the opposite side.
Now, move onto back fist strikes with the left side before trying the right side.
Following this, Move into 40 front kicks with alternating sides.
Lastly, try round kicks with 20 for each side.
Finally, go freestyle for the rest of your 30 minute time limit. Put it all together and try new things.
Here are some possible combinations:
Try making your own with the combinations and see what works best for you!
You'll need good leg strength to avoid fatigue in stances and kumite so practicing deep ShikoDachi Squats is very important. Start with the feet wide, about twice the width of your shoulders and point your feet outwards beyond a 45 degree angle. This will tilt your hips so that your thigh bones don't stop your flexibility.
Try to start with a really slow and low round of squats to warm up the muscle group. Then try normal speed or even weighted squats. Once proficient, you can even jump outward into squats from a standing position and back.
Start Every Morning with 2 rounds of push ups. Wide spaced arms and slow and low push ups with about 20 reps. Then take a small break and come back.
Lay on your stomach and put your elbows against your body and knuckles on the floor. Keeping your arms close to the body try about 10 reps of knuckle push ups. This helps you work the shoulders and triceps in addition to pecks from the classic push up.
Jack knives are harder than crunches, but are better for Karate training because it also works the lower back muscles used for kicking in addition to strengthening your core. Lift those legs and hands together slowly, you'll do less reps but reap more benefits. Start with 10 each morning and work your way up to 50!
Once the blood is pumping and you're warmed up, this is a great final exercise to get the full body working in harmony for Karate training. Try about 20 if possible. Do a Jumping Jack, then a squat, drop down and do a push up and repeat. You can substitute the jumping jack with a high reaching jump if you're feeling spunky and it will add an extra bit of difficulty to your routine.
I'm really busy these days but I'd love to check in to see your Karate progress! Drop a post on our Facebook group or send an email to email@example.com! If you'd like to update this post with some workouts that you've found amazing for Karate, please let me know!
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About the Author:
Colton Woodard is a 7th Degree Black Belt in Kuniba Kai Karate Do and holds the title of Kyoshi as well. He loves to teach Karate, Kobudo, and Iaido and considers himself a lifetime student in pursuit of self improvement in both Martial Arts and in Character. Colton loves to visit Japan and speaks conversational Japanese and can write quite a few Kanji. He is a Karate competitor and coach and loves to exercise and make new memories with people all over the world.
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