Kick it up a notch!

Do you finish class and feel like you could do more? Maybe you don’t think we do circuits often enough. Or you want to do 100 push-ups instead of 40 during warm ups.

If you’ve got great conditioning and want to kick it up a notch, try some of the suggestions below. Even if you don’t have great conditioning – yet – you can benefit from these ideas too!  

Cardio & Weights: Run or lift weights before class. If you can get away from your desk 30 or even 15 minutes early, take advantage of the equipment in the weight room and lift or do some cardio. You’ll be warmed up for class and ready to work hard!

If you can’t get away early, spend 20-30 minutes in the weight room after class. No need to change out of your gi – just throw on some shoes and lift some weights or do some HIIT training. Your muscles are already warmed up, so you might as well use them!

Bag work: Do some extra kicks or punches. Use the Wave Master in the dodgeball court and go through all your kicks and punches, or just work on the ones that need it the most. You’ll get in some great bag work on your own!   

Push-ups: If these are easy for you, do more! Since we don’t call them out as a group, you can go at your own pace. Do as many as you can in the time it takes everyone to get theirs done. Or switch up your push-ups by changing your pace or hand position. Take 2 or 3 counts to go down, then do the same on the way back up. Moving your hands out wider or putting them in a diamond position under your face also provides more of a challenge.


Crunches: If you’ve got strong abs and these are easy for you, don’t just do them faster – do them differently! There are tons of options for crunches that work different muscles. Try some of Renshi’s variations, or look online for some good suggestions.

Stances: Are you in as good a stance as possible? Can you go lower? Can you hold it longer? Can you move from stance to stance more smoothly – without standing up in between – during basics and kata? It’s tough and takes conditioning!

Punches and Kicks: Are you hitting as hard and fast as possible or are you just going through the motions? Is every kick and every punch your “best” one? Are you focused on each one, or just in a hurry to get to the next one? Hard and fast kicks and punches will work your muscles – and not just your arms and legs. Your core and tush will get a great workout, too.

As you work out, be aware of opportunities to work even harder. Start with one idea next class – maybe focus on lowering your stances or doing more push-ups. Then in the class after that, focus on that plus something else. Use this method to kick it up a notch every time you’re on the mat. Not only will your conditioning improve, but your karate will also!


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