The 8 Most Evil Bodyweight Exercises Ever Invented

Do you incorporate strength training in your Karate?

You should.

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.

And felt!

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?

Change exercises!

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.

2. Flagpole

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.

That’s all.

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.

That’s remarkable.

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!


  • Inspiration for training plan in my club. I knew that there is little sadist in every karate trainer. *evil grin* :-)
  • alex
    Very good read. I'll definitely be back for more.
  • Abdul Harada
    I love your articles really often because they are published in an understandable style. So I can study them although I come from Austria and get any troubles to interpret English stories.
  • Maria Howard
    I always make sure that i get an exercise each day, exercise keeps me fit and healthy.;'~
  • 6 Pack Abs
    There are so many wonderful ways to improve the abdominals. Some of these methods only take a few minutes a day. Keep up the good posting.
  • Makayla Gonzalez
    the best exercise are full body exercises like military press and also swimming.-':
  • Abigail Moore
    i always exercise at leat 3 times a week to develope fuller muscles and cut down on body fat;*:
    • Dickson Micha
      i want to be a good, karate master.
  • Rourke Anderson
    I liked this list and will verily agree that all of these exercises are very hard. My only irk with it is that the examples for a couple of the exercises are not represented by proper pictures/video. (Although I can imagine the difficulty in finding someone to do a 1 arm pull-up at some point) This was a good read and well worth posting about however, good job!
  • The image used for #6 is at a park right near where I live ^__^
  • Noclegi-Bydgoszcz
    Magnificent goods from you, man. I've understand your stuff previous to and you are just extremely fantastic. I really like what you've acquired here, really like what you're stating and the way in which you say it. You make it entertaining and you still take care of to keep it smart. I cant wait to read much more from you. This is really a tremendous website.
  • Stanford Emano
    Hello! I'm at work browsing your blog from my new iphone 3gs! Just wanted to say I love reading your blog and look forward to all your posts! Carry on the superb work!
  • John
    The Aztec pushups have been around for awhile. Eric Lee demonstrated them in an article back in 1988 and called them a jack knife push up, as it was similar to a jack knife dive. In any case I have beee doing them since that time and at 60 years of age, they are a good test of my strength and flexibility. Give them a shot!
  • Exercise, keep healthy The campaign to all exercise. I just started exercising. I want to know administration the shoulders. Want to shoulder strength.
  • Akshat
    I can do the bruce lee push up the. Two finger pushup. Actually have been trying to do it since last 1.5 month and it's been about four weeks i can do it . For now i can do around 5-6 reps of the evil wheel but without the wheel, with a cloth on the floor with my hands on it and am currently working on the human flags which seems impossible
    • Akshat
      And to add something try one of the hardest core exercise that is the dragon flag . Really engaes your core

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