Do you incorporate strength training in your Karate?
Being strong is a prerequisite for many things, including speed, explosiveness and flexibility, and since many people don’t have time to strengthen their bodies in their spare time, doing it in Karate class is really practical.
It doesn’t have to be much though, maybe just 10-20 minutes. Training 2 or 3 times a week, gradually, results will be seen.
But how should one do that, practically speaking? Don’t you need all kinds of strange machines, cables, pullies and weights for real strength training?
Not if you use bodyweight exercises.
Because that’s what we as Karate-ka should focus on: Controlling our own body before attempting to control others.
However, repeating the same crunches and squats every training, every evening, can become a little boring in the long run. And simply mindlessly adding more repetitions to make it harder isn’t going to help your strength that much. It just makes it more boring.
So what to do?
And to help you with that I’ve been digging deep in my archives and created a list of what I consider to be some of the toughest bodyweight exercises one could possibly imagine.
And you are going to try them your next training.
Okay, maybe not all, but at least some of them. Because they are not impossible – they’re fun and challenging.
Not impossible, but hard.
So forget your regular push-ups, throw away those jumping jacks, and try these fresh exercises instead. If you can do at least one of the following exercises correctly, then you can be considered truly strong.
1. One Arm Pull-Up
Requirements: A bar or rings.
This is the regular pull-up, right?
Well, you are about to do it with one arm.
No jumping or cheating allowed. When your chin is above the bar, you have succeeded.
Not a complicated move, but oh so hard.
Requirements: A pole.
Imagine a flag on a pole.
Imagine that flag being human.
That flag is you.
There are several ways you can hold the pole, depending on how much you want to bend/stretch your arms. Also, try different grips for varying the degree of evilness.
3. Planche (+ one armed planche)
Requirements: A floor.
A strong core is a must for completing this exercise.
And when you do complete it, remove one hand for the one armed planche.
Makes me cry just thinking about it.
4. Front Lever
Requirements: A bar or rings
This exercise is so strange, because it doesn’t look that hard. I mean, he just hangs there. Seems easy enough if you just jump up.
But of course it isn’t.
Holding the body together for the front lever requires a tremendous effort. That’s why it’s on the list!
5. Evil Wheel
Requirements: A small wheel.
Remember that Ab Wheel, famous from TV?
Of course you do.
Now it’s time to do it with one hand! And that changes the name completely: Ab Wheel… becomes Evil Wheel.
For those of you who doubt it’s possible, here’s a video:
(Can’t see the video? Click here)
6. One Arm Handstand (+ Push-Up)
Requirements: Handstand skills
A handstand isn’t that hard, right?
Try it with one hand then (preferably with your feet against a wall)!
All that’s left is to do a push-up from this position, and you’re done.
People have done it before you know…
7. Aztec Push-Up
Requirements: A floor
Start in the regular push-up position. Then explode up, bring the hands and feet together (touch) and land again. Straight legs all the time.
Here’s a video:
(Can’t see the video? Click here)
A real killer core workout.
8. Bruce Lee Push-Up
Do a push-up.
Then remove one hand. Then remove three fingers.
That’s what Bruce did.
So can you.
And that was the last of the The 8 Most Evil Bodyweight Exercises Ever Invented.
Sure, there are some more, like the Iron Cross and so on, but they simply require too much technique and equipment (rings) to work properly.
My suggestion to you is now the following:
Choose one of the above exercises and focus on it until you can do it.
I recently read about one guy who fully concentrated on the single arm handstand push-up only… for 3 months before he could do it.
But he made it.
And his grandchildren will probably hear all about it one day.
“Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others is strength; mastering yourself is true power.”
Power to you!