Martial Arts is something very close to my heart having lived and breathed it since before day dot. I mean, I even had a Dobok ready for my Arnold before he was born! I love a Martial Arts based workout as it works the FULL body, not just specific areas. In my online program TIFFXO.com I made sure to include as many Martial Arts style exercises as I could as it’s perfect for strengthening and toning the body all over, improves posture, flexibility and agility AND helps with your confidence and forges an unbreakable Ninja spirit within you as you kick and punch your way to health!
Complete 5 repetitions of these 5 exercises for 5 rounds in under 5 minutes – GO NINJAS GO!
1. Continuous uppercuts
No pauses here Ninja! Keep your core tight, your chin protected, your elbows tucked in and stay as light on your feet as you can. Get down low, and go go go!
– Start with one foot forward, your body facing the front, get your guard up (and don’t let it drop!).
– Alternating arms, perform continual uppercuts – tuck your elbows into your body and drive your fists up through head height. Keep that form tight!
2. Ninja squats (aka Tiff squats)
Welcome to my Tiff-ified version of squats, I like to think they ’re more fun and bring more burn! If you have bad knees or ankles don’t extend the leg in the flicking kick motion, simply pick up your knee and crunch it in towards your chest. You still work your derriere without putting pressure on your knees.
– Start with those feet hip-width apart and sink down into a squat. Push your bum back so your knees are in line with your toes as if sitting on a chair.
– As you rise from the low squat, do a front kick, leading with the ball of your foot and pushing with your hips. Optional but highly recommended: Yell, “haiya!”
– Place your foot back down into the squat position and repeat (the other leg this time!).
3. Jumping switch lunges with punches
Lunges really isolate one leg at a time to work work work (thanks Rihanna), the thighs, butt, and calves. Adding the plyometric jump boosts the metabolism and burns more fat. And hey, while we’re already here, why not throw in the arms for a workout too.
– Start with your left foot in front of your right foot (this is not the hokey pokey I promise) with your knees bent, and punch your arm out in a jab – kapow!
– Pull in that belly button so you engage the core, then jump off both feet, switching the position of your feet in mid-air so that your right foot is in front of your left. At the same time, punch with the other fist. Again, the “haiya” is recommended here.
– Land in a basic lunge with your right leg in front. Make sure your front knee is bent at 90 degrees (don’t let it creep over your toes!!!) and your back knee is bent directly underneath your body so that your knee drops close to the floor.
4. Speedbag both arms
Get ready to burn out your arms and roll with the punches! The challenge is to keep your elbows nice and high.
– Stand to face the corner, light on your feet, fists above your head – whatever you do, don’t let those elbows sink.
– Start rolling your hands over each other, pushing through your imaginary speedball with the top hand – pow, pow, POW!
– Now for the other side (gotta keep it even!).
5. Curtsy squats with hands in prayer position, to mareup chigi (side knee strike)
This one’s an awesome low impact exercise that uses all the muscles in the body so we can shrink the waist, work the legs, tone the arms, and target the abs with what’s essentially a standing sit-up! Ready to shine?
– Start standing up straight, arms in prayer position (Namaste).
– Step one leg behind you on the diagonal and sink down into a curtsy keeping your hands in prayer position so there’s tension in your arms.
– Keep your hips and feet facing the front as you lunge then pick up your back foot as you return to standing position, and crunch your knee up towards your armpit. You should feel your side obliques flex.