Posted 06 February 2020 by Ben Mayz

Is Martial Arts Good for Getting


into Shape & Improving Fitness?

Published: Feb 06th 2020

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If you are anything like me, you are probably wondering how you can keep yourself on track and in the gym without getting burned out. Because I mean come on, nobody wants to be that person that goes to the gym in January only to find themselves back on the couch in February with a bag of Cheetos in their hand.

Well heyy… Martial arts could be the answer for you. 

Martial arts was the answer for me in both, keeping myself excited about going to the gym, and was and still is the main reason why I still find myself sticking to my 5 days a week habit of making it to the gym for over an hour.

But now you might be wondering if Martial Arts is a good way to get yourself in shape and if it has any merit in improving your fitness.

Good question, and I will be the first one to answer. 

Yes, Martial Arts is an excellent way to get into shape.

But what if you are a beginner and know nothing about martial arts? Not to worry everybody starts somewhere and there are many online resources that can help you learn the basics of martial arts. One of the places that I learned from is smartmma.com as they are an online authority in the world of martial arts and are devoted to helping beginners learn the basics of martial arts and boxing.

Do some reading there and get started because no matter your fitness level, martial arts is a great way to get into shape and help transform your life. Whether you are an elite athlete or someone who is a novice looking to get their feet wet in fitness, martial arts is a great gateway.

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Martial Arts For Fitness - Is it Really that Good?

Today, we’ll be taking a look at how martial arts is great for fitness, what exercises it entails, and the countless benefits you’ll receive from it.

Improves Fitness

In terms of increasing your fitness, martial arts at its core is fantastic for anyone looking to lose weight and have high-intensity workouts. Primarily, many martial arts like BJJ, MMA, taekwondo, karate, muay Thai, Judo, and so on have high-intensity training sessions that will burn many calories.

Also, if you are looking for a way to increase your cardio, then martial arts is a great path to take as well. Due to the nature of the workouts, it is a great way for any athlete to help increase their gas tank. 

Great for Cross-Training

Many athletes go into martial arts as a great way to cross-train. For one, as I’ve mentioned, it is a fantastic way to help increase your cardio. However, there are other benefits that may not be as apparent that also help.

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Improves Hand-Eye Coordination

One of these benefits is hand-eye coordination. Whether it be a heavy-bag workout or hitting mits, there are plenty of great hand-eye drills to do in martial arts. Also, the double-end bag, which is typically seen in boxing gyms, is another great hand-eye tool that can benefit most athletes.

The double-end bag differs from typical bag work, as it is always moving when you hit it, swaying front to back and side to side. This makes it a difficult target to hit, but with enough practice, it can become a fun drill to do.

Although it may not seem like such a beneficial drill at first glance, shadow boxing is also a great way to help. It helps with not only developing hand-eye coordination but also with footwork and overall movement. 

Improves Footwork

Another reason athletes will get into martial arts is to help with their footwork and overall agility. No matter what you are training, whether it be boxing, Muay Thai, or kickboxing, footwork is a huge part of the regimen.

Drills like moving around on the bag, light sparring, and warm-ups all have an emphasis on movement, which translates to many other sports. Also, if the gym you go has fighters that compete, then don’t be surprised to be participating in drills such as:

  • Ladder drills
  • Cone drills 
  • Variation of sprints
  • Box jumps

Improves Strength & Conditioning

As you may have noticed from what I just mentioned, many modern and/or large martial art gyms are starting to focus on the strength and conditioning aspect as well for their athletes. This means that some gyms are getting decked out with:

  • Barbells
  • Weight racks
  • Rowing machines
  • Weight machines
  • Dumbells
  • Strength & conditioning coaches

Although the normal classes most likely won’t consist of any of this, most gyms should allow you to use this equipment as well.

Benefits of Using Martial Arts for Fitness

There are countless benefits that come along with training martial arts. Below, we’ll explore the benefits that are attached to martial arts training

Physical benefits

As we’ve been discussing all throughout this article, the physical benefits you receive from training are exceptional. Not only is it high-intensity training, but now many top gyms are implementing more of a focus on the strength & conditioning side, adding weights and even expert coaches to their staff.

Mental Benefits

Apart from helping you stay physically fit, training in martial arts helps build your mental strength as well. One of the best aspects of training is its ability to help build and/or boost your confidence. Once you’ve begun to develop confidence in the gym, it translates into just about every other aspect in your life, whether it be school, work, or what have you. 

Family Environment

Although I can’t speak to every martial arts gym out there, most of them will welcome you with open arms and make you feel right at home. This is especially great if you are taking up martial arts as a way to begin your weight-loss journey, as standard gyms can often be intimidating.

With a family-type environment, martial arts gyms have become a home to many who lack confidence but want to start their fitness journey.

Improved Focus

Perhaps my personal favorite, martial arts training, does a great job of helping you improve your focus. No matter your age or fitness level, we can all get caught up in our daily lives and sometimes need a “reset” to have that laser vision again on our goals.

Not only will martial arts training help you to improve your focus, but it can also help discipline you back onto a healthy routine. 

Example Class Workout

Depending on what martial art you decide to get into, your workouts will vary. However, below, I’ll explain what a typical workout would look like inside of a kickboxing class.

First, the class will begin by doing a 10-15 dynamic warmup and stretching. This is to ensure everyone is loose and warm to prevent injury during the workout. Once that is out of the way, an instructor will lead the workout, which usually runs anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour.

The workout itself typically involves heavy bag work, mixing in combinations to increase the difficulty. Also, many classes will implement workouts within the bag work, such as:

  • Burpees
  • Crunches
  • Push-ups
  • Twists
  • Jumping jacks
  • Sprawls

After the main workout is complete, either the class will be dismissed, or you’ll go through a quick, 10-minute cool-down session to cap things off. This is to help bring down the heart rate and make sure your muscles don’t cramp up after the work you just put in.

Although this is an example of a typical class, keep in mind that it will certainly vary depending on the type of gym you go to and what martial art it is as well.

Written By Ben Mayz

 

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