10 Martial Arts Strength Training Tips

Here are 10 Martial Arts strength training tips for developing your powerhouse potential. Bruce Lee successfully gained 30 pounds of muscle using strength training techniques, retaining his shocking speed and prowess. Strength equals power and indirectly affects the speed of punches and kicks.

  1. Push ups with hands in fists. This works biceps and triceps more directly than flat handed push ups. In addition this move helps to increase hand strength, and knuckle resilience.
  2. Squat with partner on back. This might look silly if you do it in your living room when neighbors walk by, but in the studio it is an effective way to build quadriceps and glutes with an unpredictable weight on your back. Don't jump right into this if you haven't been working your back regularly. Squats at the gym with spotting partner are also excellent for lower body power.
  3. Jumping. Jumping creates fast twitching muscle fibers necessary for muscle strength growth. Jump from squat position high into the air and flex your muscles. Land with knees bent. Varieties of jumping create explosive muscle potential. Be creative with your martial arts strength training jumping. Work up to this if your knees aren't yet strong.
  4. Jumping kicks. Jumping side kicks, jumping front kicks, and spinning hook kicks done repetitively build martial arts strength. Set goals for yourself; aim high. Try 25 and work your way up to 50. If your muscles are shaky you will know you are forcing your muscles to grow.
  5. Slow motion kicks using ankle weights. Perform your martial arts kicks very slowly with ankle weights. Do  kicks in perfect form in slow, fluid tai chi type motion. One type of kick done to muscle failure, then moving on to a different kick will bring the best strength gain.
  6. Speed bag training to build power. Speed training on a bag is not only a great cardio exercise, it is a strength gaining workout in your martial arts strength training arsenal. Successive punches and kicks done in sprint mode will give you strength and endurance.
  7. Sprints. Use a parking lot or local basketball gym to sprint at maximum capacity at least five or ten times with short breaks in between. You've seen Olympic sprinters' leg muscles? This is intense but doesn't take much time; it also helps your cardiovascular ability when sparring.
  8. Shoulders and leg press. These weight machines are excellent for building punching and kicking strength.
  9. Train muscles to failure. When strength training, either with weights or in exercises using your own body weight, train to failure. This method forces muscles to grow. When lifting weights, do multiple sets in succession, starting with the heaviest weight you can handle. Do as many repetitions as you can to failure, then move on to the next set, with a lower weight, also to failure. Do three sets altogether without resting in between sets. Martial arts strength training can be attained in less time with greater results.
  10. Train for explosive strength with plyometric exercises. Plyometric exercises such as running up stairs or doing jumping lunges (with or without weights) grant strength and faster muscle reaction times for martial arts strength training.