I practice kickboxing and panantukan for about 6 months twice a week, during those months, I go to the gym 5 times a week, on Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday I do strength training for 1 hour, like bench 65 kg, biceps, triceps, shoulders, crunches, sit ups and legs, after that I run for 10 minutes 2 km, after that I jump on a rope for 1 minute. on Monday and Wednesday I do aerobics - I run 5 km on 25 minutes and I jump on a rope 3 sets above a minute each set, then I punch the bag for 3 minutes. My goal is to be stronger, more fit and improve my endurance for sparrings. I asked the gym instructors and they said that my work out is good. But do you think? should I add more exercises or should I do less, and I want to be martial artist not powerlifter.

  • Not gonna lie, if it were me, I'd probably die right after the first jump rope set :/ Apr 19 at 20:19
  • You didn't mention how you're progressing - do you think you're getting fitter and stronger?
    – slugster
    Apr 24 at 3:49
  • Yes I totally fell stronger and fittter.
    – Joe
    Apr 24 at 22:07

2 Answers 2


You've only painted a snapshot, a picture in time. If this were your complete workout, I'd say it's not sustainable. You need to change your routine, and you need to add a few things.

You made no mention of plyometrics as far as I can tell, nor have you included anaerobic exercise, both of which are absolutely necessary for kickboxing. You're generally only focusing on strength training. And you made no mention at all about (proper) stretching.

In short, you're missing:

  • Plyometric / Isometrics
  • Anaerobic exercise
  • Dynamic stretches
  • Static stretches

Plyometric - Isometrics

Plyometric and isometric exercises are needed in martial arts in order to build explosive power - like punching and kicking. A basketball player needs explosive power to improve on jump height, so he'll work on plyo exercises.

More info on Plyometric exercises

Aerobics - Anaerobics

Aerobic workouts are typically running at a pace where you can generally have a conversation without getting winded. So, marathon, mile runs, 5- and 10k runs - they're all aerobic. This is great for improving lactate buildup control and as well, reduces injuries.

Anaerobic workouts, on the other hand, help to build endurance. Here you're doing sprints over much shorter distances - like 100 yards, etc. No, you don't (and can't) hold conversations during these runs. That's the test, sort of, which differentiates aerobic from anaerobic.

More info on aerobic and anaerobic exercises


One thing that people always say is to "stretch before you workout, or else you injure your muscles". If this were true, then stretching itself would injure muscles - and they will, if you do the wrong ones. The golden rule on stretching is this: never stretch a cold muscle. So all this crap you see people doing before a run or a martial arts class, like doing hurdler's stretches, splits, etc, is actually injuring yourself. Certainly the explosive high kicks a lot of Taekwondo students do is extremely risky. For children, it's okay - they've been running around all day, so their bodies are generally warmed up anyway. But for us working-class adults who are sedate during the day, then show up to class and start with ballistic stretches or splits, that's a recipe for disaster. At best, you will not see improvement. At worst, you'll tear something that ought not be torn.

Dynamic stretching, a misnomer actually, because there's no real stretching, is the best before a workout. Static stretches to "squeeze out the lactic acid" after a workout is definitely in order. Your workout ought to be the plyo or isometric exercises, certainly not combined with high and hard kicks.

For more information on Dynamic Stretches, read Tom Kurz

Change It Up

You need to change things up. Either every workout or every few weeks. The best way is to list your workout as you've done (and add in the missing elements), but then, for each workout piece, write down as many variant exercises which accomplish the same goals.

So, for example, you're running; but why not occasionally replace it with swimming, bicycling, hiking, skiing, soccer?

Lifting weights: Move from the machines to free weights. Change from adding reps to adding weight, and vice-versa. Use kettlebells, free weights, etc.

For plyo, use bands, lift/push/pull tires. There are entire books dedicated for basketball players improving their jump height, you should be following these exercises.

Another way to change things up is to play sports - softball/baseball, soccer, wrestling.

The idea of changing things up is twofold: first is to ward off the body's inclination to resist what you throw at it - this leads to plateaus. Also, to ward off boredom. The idea of using other sports is mostly to ward off boredom, but also, to subtly use the body's muscles in different ways.

As a final note, you made no mention of things like diet. Diet, behavior, spirituality, exercise, etc - they're all small parts to a bigger picture, but are probably beyond the scope of your question. Do consider them, though.


A quick disclaimer

A good workout for you may not be a good workout for others. For the other people who look here, remember that your body and training routine must push you, not break you.

I am also not a fitness trainer, just a guy who is also trying to keep fit. That being said, I also train to improve my martial capabilities.

Get Some Metrics

For very serious training, you will need some metrics and to track them over time. Choose a set of them and a way to record it! Once you have chosen those, you can execute your training program and give yourself 2-3 months to see if your metrics improve.

Some ideas for metrics:

  • Is it how you feel after sparring? That is, can you spar and not feel overly fatigued? It's not precise but it's easy to record!
  • Weights provide a nice measure: increasing weights (or increasing speed of your exercise) can become your new metric
  • Running times are a favorite, but it can also be distance or even how you feel after the run, depending on how precise you want to be.

My Impressions

It looks like your regimen is doing alright compared to most people! I really cannot comment more unless I know your age and fitness level.

You should feel tired after a workout, but not push your body too much so you cannot sustain your routines. That's a personal thing, so you gotta pay attention to the signals your body produces!

High Reps, Lower Weight for Power/Endurance

You are going for power and endurance while weightlifting, not hypertrophy!

As a general rule, this means choosing to do higher reps at lower weights. Obviously, you still need to feel like you have done work after lifting weights, but you need not max out on a single rep. Aiming for like 20 reps at a moderate pace and about 40-60% your one rep max will help you build power and endurance for most exercises.

You Improve What You Do

I have received this advice from another source, but it's "you improve what you do"... So weightlifting and running only helps your martial art when it engages the same systems you use when performing your martial art. This means you should prefer exercises that have a clear analogue to you martial art.

For instance, you may want to switch up your running into something else: this could be parkour, gymnastics, yoga, dancing, kata, battle ropes, rowing, or other things. Something to engage all those little muscles you use while sparring and bringing that endurance up.

Additionally, I find free weights and exercises that engage many muscle groups at once are ideal. That is in comparison to machine exercises which generally work on one or two muscle groups.

Finally, don't be afraid to switch things up. It keeps things interesting and can exposes weakness you did not know you had.

  • "So weightlifting and running only helps your martial art when it engages the same systems you use when performing your martial art.". This is true to an extent, but when we train only motion-specific resistance exercises on top of the motions they are designed to replicate, we run the risk of overtraining. It is considered optimal in comprehensive training programs to train antagonist (opposing) and stability-oriented movements to provide structural balance and to help avoid injury. Apr 22 at 10:57

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