Martial Arts Workout Plan: General Fitness

Martial Arts Workout Plan: General Fitness

A Martial Arts workout plan can push the body to its limits. Martial Arts requires muscles that can produce explosive power. Muscle endurance and stamina is also critical.

Such muscles cannot be forged with isolated exercises in a weight room. Instead, several muscle groups have to be trained simultaneously. No muscle groups can function individually; larger muscle groups are supported by smaller ones. It is important to work out both these types of muscle groups to stimulate the growth of all muscle groups.

Training two or more large muscle groups can drain your energy and overload the nervous system. Therefore, an optimum Martial Arts workout plan involves working out a large muscle group along with other small muscle groups.


The muscles groups that work together can be classed as:

1. Chest, Shoulder and Triceps

2. Hamstrings, Calves, and Glutes

3. Back and Biceps


Muscle groups that work together can be worked out in a 3-day split schedule. This provides a week for each set of muscle groups to recover and also provides ample time for martial arts training. Meanwhile, core exercises such as sit ups, crunches, and planks can be performed on each of the 3 days.



Most martial artists use bodyweight exercises to supplement their training.

Bodyweight exercises have the benefit of working the strength, mobility, muscle tone, flexibility and balance at the same time. Discussed below are several bodyweight exercises to train each muscle group and model workout plans for both beginners and more experienced martial artists.

Day 1- Chest, Shoulder and Triceps

Compound push-type exercises such as pushups and dips are effective ways to build the upper body. The ‘push’ muscles are vital in executing hand-offense and defensive movements. The large muscle groups include the chest, shoulder and pectoral muscles. The small muscle group involves the triceps.

Push Ups are an excellent exercise to work out the upper body muscle groups. Different variations of pushups can work out different muscle groups while providing varying levels of difficulty.


Standard Push Ups

Though it sounds easy to execute, proper form plays a key role in how effective the exercise is.

Wide Push Ups

The arms are placed wider than the standard pushup form.

Martial Arts Workout Plan


Narrow Push Ups

placing the hands closer than the standard push up provides greater tension on the triceps

Decline Pushups

The standard push up formation except with the legs placed on an object such as a bench or a stool.


Dips requires two parallel bars that are shoulder width apart.

The initial movement includes raising the body with arms extended, supporting the entire weight of the body. Next, the body is lowered until the elbows are bent and the shoulders are slightly relaxed. This exercise is not recommended for anyone with prior shoulder ailments.


Chest Dips

This dip variation involves slightly leaning the body forward while dipping; this results in the emphasis of the exercise on the chest muscle.

Martial Arts Workout Plan

Chest Tricep Dips

This dip variation involves keeping the elbows close to the body and the hips straight while dipping.


Day 2- Hamstrings, Calves and Glutes

Lower body muscles I feel for an athlete can be more critical then the upper body muscles. The muscles of the lower body lay the foundation for the stance and provide the ability to generate power. The leg muscles are also important in moving quickly to approach or avoid an opponent.

Other than squats, there are several other exercises to develop the lower body muscles.


Split squats helps improve balance and strength.

This exercise is performed by stepping out with a lunge with the arms at a side. The hips are lowered by squatting backward and down. The weight is moved back up with the front leg without letting the back knee touch the floor.

Also known as the triple flexion response, the movement of the ankles, knees, and hip produces power for jumping.

This movement can be incorporated into a squat:


Squat Jump

Squat jump is performed with placing the feet just outside the shoulder, with the hands behind the head. A squat is performed and the squat position is held for a few seconds. Jump explosively, and when landing, the body is lowered back to the squatting position.

Muscles Involved– Quads, hamstrings, and glutes Also known as the triple flexion response, the movement of the ankles, knees, and hip produces power for jumping.

Martial Arts Workout Plan


Lateral lunges are performed by; stepping to the right while keeping the feet flat and the toes pointed straight ahead.

Squat down to the right leg, while keeping the left leg straight. The position is held for a few seconds before returning to the starting position and executing the same movements to the left side.

Muscles Involved– Quads, hamstrings, and glutes Lateral lunges work out the quads, hamstrings, and glutes from a different angle than squats or traditional lunges.

Martial Arts Workout Plan


Running is a standard in any Martial Arts workout plan.

Running helps in both developing lower body muscles but also helps in boosting stamina and endurance. It also improves aerobic capacities; thus, increasing resistance to fatigue.

Calf raises are an easy exercise that can be performed anywhere.

The calf raise involves standing up straight, then pushing through the balls of the feet and raising the heel until the whole body is supported by the toes. Then, slowly lower back to the starting position.


I want to thank Z the Machine for demonstrating the techniques for us once again!

Zharien  helped out previously on our article about preventing and relieving back pain which you can read here. If you haven’t followed Zharien yet on Instagram make sure you click the link and start.

A great guy and very knowledgeable, make sure to hit him up If you are looking for help as he offers online training as well.




  1. I have friends who do martial arts training and they are in magnificent shape! These exercises look like they compliment martial arts as a sport and the muscle groups they need to be strengthened for progression in the sport. I really enjoyed your demonstration GIFS they show proper form, technique and real world examples. Keep up the great work!

  2. Jukka

    I was looking for home workout ideas because of the current epidemic. I’ve been recently practicing weightlifting. I’ve been lifting for over a decade mainly powerlifiting/body building type general strength training at the gym. I’ve never been very explosive so learning oly lifting has been both fun and humbling. But now the pandemic closed all my gyms! I was just getting a good groove on the snatch going. I got some ideas from your workout. The upper body is easy to train with pullups, pushups, and dips but the lower body is tough to workout well. I did some split squats with a kettlebell but it’s hard to replace heavy squats, pulls and cleans you utilize in weightlifting. But the jump squat was something I hadn’t thought of! At least it includes a full triple extension.

    1. Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment.
      The jump squat is an excellent workout.

      I’ve modified my workouts a lot since I’ve gotten older and no longer compete.
      In the “olden days” heavy lifting was always frowned upon by coaches. (which that mindset has changed for the most part) It was a lot of bodyweight exercises and cardio.
      I’ve added more heavy lifting to my workouts now but still try and do a lot of the workouts I’ve always done.

  3. Gomer

    I’m doing bodyweight exercises which I learned from an online course I bought in Udemy for building muscles. Yes, I want to build muscles and not necessarily learn martial arts. Searching on Google about different bodyweight exercises, I stumbled upon this site which also discusses bodyweight exercises. Except for the push-ups which are proven to build biceps and tricep muscles, if I apply the exercises shared here which are specifically created for martial arts players, can they also help me produce my desired muscles? Or, are they good for endurance-building only?

    1. lgoupil

      Gomer, this workout isn’t necessarily for someone doing martial arts. I put this together as workouts martial artists could use to supplement in between their martial arts training.  These workouts are standard and popular corrective exercises you’d often get if you started working with a trainer.  I’d definitely recommend trying them. 

      Thanks for reading 

  4. Temidayo

    I use to think that exercise is better that Martial arts. My view of it is that Martial art is for violent people. People who are in the military or have jobs that has to do with fighting. You have given me a new perspective of this. I will like to try this. I do push ups but didn’t know there are several ways I could go about it. You have just shown me that. Thanks for the visual description. At least I now understand in details what you are talking about.

    Do you offer training? The demonstrations are exceptional. Thanks for sharing.

    1. lgoupil

      Temidayo, Thanks for reading! 

      Like the example of pushups in this article changing angles and adding balance can enhance standard workouts. 

      In regards to training, Zherien offers online training that you might be interested in. 

      You can connect with him on Instagram

      I train people in person so I probably couldn’t help you in that regards. 

      I did do an excellent article on some great workout videos.

      I’m sure you can find a great mixed martial arts workout dvd that you’ll love.

      Also, I promote a MMA Conditioning certification that would benefit you. 

      You can learn about it on the home page.

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