I take Tae Kwon Do 2 days a week and I also jog in the morning.

I need a gym work out plan for the rest of the week. I need it to supplement body fitness and do specific strength supportive exercises for better ability in TKD.

Experts! guide me please. PS by profession I am a software engineer so no physical activity at work, 9 hours on screen.

  • @Sardathrion "strength supportive for Tae kwon Do" isn't about martial arts? – Dave Liepmann Jun 18 '15 at 8:14
  • I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because a fitness export would provide a better answer than a martial art expert. There's a fitness stack exchange site where this might be more appropriate. It is a good question, I think it does not fit well here. – Sardathrion - against SE abuse Jun 18 '15 at 9:05
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    @DaveLiepmann - Because MA is a beta site. You can't recommend migration from a beta site, you can only flag. I am inclined to leave it here, as it is more widely applicable to a MA audience, than the limited number of people on a fitness site that would benefit from the answer. – JohnP Jun 18 '15 at 19:07
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    @slugster - It was ultimately closed by David Clemens, and as you say, I agree, I think it belongs here. A key component of martial arts ability is strength and conditioning, and I think by keeping that content here and open, we can hopefully gain more participants through related searches. Can you review/discuss for reopening? – JohnP Jun 22 '15 at 19:51
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    @JohnP I'm cool with these types of questions provided they are reasonably specific, and we don't get a whole bunch of "What workout should I do for martial art X?" derivatives. I prefer to let the community reopen it if they see fit, and this one is almost there. I might start a question on Meta later today and then people can thrash it out a bit. – slugster Jun 22 '15 at 22:27

I was in your situation - I was a programmer (now a dev manager) and I put on 20 lbs in 2 years sitting around eating badly. However, I did have the advantage of a life of sports (including nearly 30 years in martial arts now) and a college degree in kinesiology to help me turn that around.

You are already doing TKD twice a week, and jogging in the morning. Assuming that you are jogging at least 3x per week, that should take care of your basic requirements. I would also recommend some explosive type workouts which I will detail. Too much steady state, slower pace cardio can possibly interfere with the explosiveness needed for TKD. While the evidence is not 100%, recent studies in the field have shown that it may be possible to convert from type I (Slow twitch) to type II (fast twitch) fibers in your muscles and vice versa. (There is also some debate about whether it's an actual change or a change in other associated structures, it's all up in the air). But one thing is for certain, past a certain point of basic fitness, you want to train for what you need. If you need quick, explosive movement, train that way.

As far as deficiencies, what I have noted from many years as an instructor and participant, is that the lower back muscles, glutes/hamstrings, rear deltoids and lats are the muscles most likely to suffer. There are very few actual reverse hand techniques (reverse elbow, upset ridge hand, backfist) that use the rear deltoids and lats to any extent, and the front/round kicks get utilized more often than the side/back kicks. Plus, you need basic strength overall.

I would recommend a program such as Stronglifts 5x5, but twice a week rather than 3x, and make sure to add in calf work and back extensions. When you do your abdominal work, make sure to add rotational versions to get the obliques. That should be sufficient to take care of your basic strength needs.

Along with that, you want to train explosiveness and movement, so I would invest in an agility ladder and a set of agility cones. You can find many different drills, but both of these will work your foot movement as well as explosive speed, presuming that you really work it on the cone/running drills. Do this once a week to start, and as you get used to the increased amount of workouts, you can increase it to 2x per week. On your jogs, I would also add in a day where you do strides/fartlek type work, where you put in short segments of uptempo, fast running with short recovery (Something like 10 minutes of 30 seconds accelerate to near sprint, 30 seconds slow jog recovery).

As pointed out, flexibility in any martial art is an enhancement, so I would make sure to do dynamic (sport motion specific) stretching before, and static stretching after. There isn't much evidence that being more flexible helps avoid injury, or that it enhances performance, but a lack of flexibility in martial arts can definitely be a hindrance.

You also should make sure (Especially considering the sedentary nature of your job) that your diet and sleep routines are sound. It's all too easy (as I did) to have soda and sugary/fatty snacks sitting around the desk, but all they will do is derail your hard work. Replace soda with water or unsweetened teas, and the sugary snacks with things like nuts, nut butters, veggies with hummus, and pay attention to total calorie intake.

Give yourself some rest days, and some cheat meals, if you feel like hell, go ahead and take a day off. Mix it up, don't always do the same workouts on the same days, keep it all fresh and fun, and always look for new exercises and activities to support your main emphasis, TKD.

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    Your point about modifying 3x/week strength programs to 2x/week and adding rotational work is critical. – Dave Liepmann Jun 18 '15 at 19:43

I preferred cycling to running, but that's not important. What's important is that you do interval training (search on Google for examples). You'll want to do lots of muscle conditioning too. Use lighter weights, and go for more reps and sets. You want to build lean, toned, fast-twitch muscle.

I can't give you a specific workout because I don't know you, but if you go to a bodybuilding website or to your local gym and tell them you want to tone and condition, they'll be able to give you details.

  • please tell some more about interval training, which suits me better. – Anas90 Jun 18 '15 at 9:53
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    You go for a run, but you sprint full out for 30 seconds, then jog for 30 seconds, then run, then jog. Do this until you feel like you want to die. – Captain Kenpachi Jun 18 '15 at 10:07
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    Interestingly I do TKD bag drills specifically as my interval training. I pick a combo and run it at full strength and speed for 2 min, 30 second rest. I run each combo from each side and maybe three or four different sets of combos as my endurance allows. – grovberg Jun 18 '15 at 20:55
  • That's a pretty good thing to do. But I don't THINK it's a good alternative. I may be wrong, but I think interval training would be better at developing endurance. Not that what you're doing isn't really good. I just think interval running or cycling is slightly better. Note that I said I THINK so. I didn't do any sort of scientific study into the matter. – Captain Kenpachi Jun 19 '15 at 9:13
  • What I'm saying is: do both, don't just do one of the two types of endurance exercise. Your method teaches great muscle memory. – Captain Kenpachi Jun 19 '15 at 9:15

At home I do a 20-10 workout, get a partner to hold pads (or wear gloves) on their hips (height can be adjusted as you get used to it - i go a little higher than that to ensure above belt height), kick (45 kicks) as many times as you can in 20 seconds take 10 seconds rest and kick again.

If your sparring bouts last 90 seconds then 3-4 bouts of kicking is ideal, if you spar for 2 minutes then 4-5.

I then do the same again with punches (partner holding the pad at head level).

This has done wonders for our sparring fitness (I have found that towards the end of a bout I have exhausted my opponent and can score fairly easily)

Don't forget to do lots of stretching, whilst taekwondo doesnt require flexibility it offers a big advantage. Many Exercises such as running, cycling and swimming will tighten your muscles and reduce flexibility so it is important to counter this.

Also most of your power (especially for pressing blocks / 2 handed moves) comes from your core muscles, so core exercises such as sit-ups and plank should be staple.

  • -1. Exercise (ANY exercise, including MA) you will only lose flexibility to the limits of the range of motion. Stronger muscles are more flexible than weaker ones. I would also point out that while technically correct, much of TKD demands flexibility for optimum, or even decent performance. – JohnP Jun 18 '15 at 19:11
  • @JohnP While I agree to a point - I only offer the flexibility warning for the individual training mentioned by the OP (and a couple of other common individual regimes). Group activities usually include pre and post stretching. Exercise classes such as Yoga and pilates will generally help flexibility. – Collett89 Jun 19 '15 at 8:22

Training for TaeKwonDo involves largely the same strength exercises every athlete should be doing: weighted lunges, squats, and deadlifts for the lower body and core strength. For the upper body, some form of appropriately-loaded upper body pushing and pulling is needed, whether that takes the form of push-ups, overhead press, planks, pull-ups, or rows. After acclimating to those tasks, power training through plyometrics, various jumps, and variations on the Olympic lifts (power clean/snatch/jerk) are introduced.

You should be looking at a general-purpose novice strength program. Note that terminology: strength program. Not bodybuilding, not running, not weight loss. Your task at the gym for supplementing your TKD should be to grow stronger, more explosive, and more flexible. Starting Strength is a good place to start, as are various Olympic lifting for Sports programs, given that you start at an intensity appropriate to your strength and mobility.

  • Hah! We are on the same page for the weightlfting, I recommended Stronglifts rather than SS. :p – JohnP Jun 18 '15 at 19:39
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    @JohnP Jinx! :D – Dave Liepmann Jun 18 '15 at 19:42

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