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Many people start exercise programs to get in shape. If you are committed to losing weight, cutting fat, and getting stronger, you may want to consider starting with one or more martial arts programs. Martial arts exercises strengthen the upper body, legs, back, and the abdominal muscles. Combining martial arts with a responsible diet will help you meet your conditioning goals. Here are seven of the best martial arts for men to get in shape.

 

Karate. Karate’s a popular martial are that was originated in Okinawa and brought to mainland Japan in the early part of the 20th century. Many people use this form of exercise to get in shape and build strength. From a conditioning aspect, you are going to do a series of kicks and strikes and you are going to perform these movements against some type of resistance. When you increase the level of resistance slowly over time, you are going to make your muscles, joints, and bones stronger.

Tae Kwon Do.Tae Kwon Do is one of two martial arts, the other being Judo, that’s included in Olympic competition. We’re not saying that you’ll be competing for the gold next summer, but if you want to build strength and speed then Tae Kwon Do is a good start. When you practice, you need excellent balance in order to throw hard blows with your hands and feet, and as a result you will develop better coordination. In order to make your hands and feet stronger and tougher, you will need to strike a heavy bag repeatedly. If you live near the beach, you can build up your hand strength and punching power by hitting the sand.

 

Tang Soo Do. Tang Soo Do enthusiasts call their sport an “art” because it is more about proper form than competition. With that being said, Tang Soo Do is a Korean martial art that develops the body, mind, and spirit. From a physical conditioning aspect, it will help build stamina and strength. One of the key aspects is circular motion with the hands, feet, and arms which will all work together to build powerful strength and endurance.

Tai Chi. The Mayo Clinic calls Tai Chi one of the best stress relievers for all practitioners so it’s no wonder that it’s often thought of as one of the more gentle martial arts. Tai Chi exercises emphasize all the core muscles and when practiced consistently it will help you build strength, balance, endurance, and increase flexibility.

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Kung Fu. Martial arts master Bruce Lee made Kung Fu one of the most popular of the martial arts with his performance in the 1971 movie “Fists of Fury.” Kung Fu uses jumping, kicking, and other evasive movements, making it one of  the best martial arts when it comes to cardiovascular conditioning. It’s all of this constant movement that will help you burn calories and lose weight.

 

Capoeira. Capoeira is a martial art that is regularly practiced in Brazil and has been taught outside the country since the 1970s. Capoeira requires a significant amount of athleticism and if you have excellent balance and coordination, you will have a better chance to stick with this martial art and succeed at it. Capoeira is more dependent on power than the other martial arts and depends on kicking, punching, and sweeping movements of the legs.

 

Judo. Created in 1882 by Jigoro Kano, the conditioning aspects of Judo are somewhat similar to Tae Kwon Do. The most notable difference is the length of the match. Judo training emphasizes strength and endurance and this is put to practice with matches that are significantly longer. With the extensive amount of grappling involved, you will be increasing your strength and power in no time.