If you need to get in shape quickly for competition, build explosive speed and strength, cut fat, tone muscle, and become an overall beast of a human being; here’s Dan’s no BS, bare-bones martial arts-rooted circuit to get you there quickly. Be warned however, it’s not for beginners and you will need to be somewhat in shape already to follow this circuit. Don’t say we didn’t warn you!
How I came up with this circuit:
Having trained in martial arts since the age of 10, getting my black belts in Karate and Taekwondo, and cross training in different martial arts such as Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu; it allowed me to amass knowledge of a number of warm up exercises that had different uses. This routine was heavily influenced during my time training Muay Thai in Hong Kong. It kicked my ass the first few times I did it, and only then did I realize this type of circuit was what I needed to do to become a pro level athlete. Since then I have tweaked it to make it even better.
What this circuit does:
It turns you into a cut beast ready to kill your opponent. Make no mistake, this is a high intensity circuit. It’s not for the average gym go-er looking to shed a few pounds because of a lame new years resolution they made every year–yet never follow through with.
How to use it:
Use this as a warm up prior to your regular martial arts training session. If your martial arts class is already high intensity and includes these routines, then don’t use this warm up. You will over train yourself.
For body builder types, use this as a warm up to your weight lifting routine to gauge where your true practical strength lies and build better coordination that just lifting weights won’t help you with. This will also help with your cardio and cut fat.
All exercises are done all-at-once unless otherwise stated.
1. *100* Sit-Ups (Core)
Any kind of sit ups will do. This is meant to be done fairly quickly like a crunch, but not rushed.
2. *2×60* Elevated / Wheelbarrow Push-Ups (Upper Body, Core)
Have a partner hold onto your legs like a wheelbarrow. If no partner, use a stool or medicine ball.
3. *6×10* Knuckle “Pump” Push-Ups (Upper Body, Core)
First go down slowly until your chest is 1 inch off the ground, then push/lift yourself a few inches above the ground quickly for 10x, come all the way up to finish the pushup, repeat.
4. *6×10* Frog Jumps / Squat Jumps (Lower Body, Core)
Squat all the way down, then explode up high into the air, arms reaching to the sky, come back down, repeat.
5. *50* Ab Crunch Leg Raises (Lower Body, Core)
Lie on your back and raise your feet into the air pointing to the sky. Partner holds onto your legs and pushes them downwards either left, forward, or right, and you must resist this motion, without touching your feet on the floor, and raise your feet back up into neutral position, repeat. If no partner, you can do it by yourself, holding onto a medicine ball or other object that you can hold onto for support.
6. *2×20* Sprawl Jump Push-Ups (Full Body)
Set an object, medicine ball, or a bag next to you (on your side). Sprawl out (go into push-up position) quickly and do a push-up, get upright immediately and jump sideways over the object, knees high up against your chest while in the air, and right when you land, sprawl out and repeat, jumping back and forth over the object. This exercise is meant to be done quickly to build explosive strength in your arms and legs, speed and coordination, and practical fight cardio.
7. BONUS! *100* Sit-Ups (Core)
Cool down with 100 more situps…
I have used this routine on my club students back in college while I ran the MMA club as a warm up before we got into the real training, and most of them would quit and never come back, while some puked hard and didn’t want to do it again.
In total, you would have done 250 core exercises, 220 upper body exercises, and 100 lower body exercises. Now try doing this every other day. If you can complete this warm up within 15 to 20 minutes, congratulations, you’re in shape to compete!