The conditioning for Martial arts is a mix of strength, resistance and speed.

I'm not looking for a miracle. I really like to train. I just don't want to training unnecessary things.

For example I don't want to train myself by running 1h, as running 1h I will improve my cardio, but this seems unnecessary because my fights are about 10 minutes long.

The same goes for the weight training. I don't want to do 4 sessions of 10 (normal set in the gym) reps with 100kg in a bench press (the exercise doesn't matter) because in a fight it is possible I will need to do 100 reps with a guy of my weight or 1 repetition with a guy weighing 200kg.

I would like know if exists a protocol of training for Martial Arts or similar to improve strength, resistance and speed?

  • Work your abdominals. When you think you've worked them enough, do them some more.
    – slugster
    Commented Jul 27, 2015 at 6:25
  • Surly you answered your own question: "The conditioning for Martial arts are a mix of strength, resistance and speed." Do that. Am I missing something? Commented Jul 27, 2015 at 6:45
  • What martial art are you training for? This is overly broad until that is part of the question. Commented Jul 27, 2015 at 12:18
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    @Sardathrion It's also unclear how resistance is distinct from strength. Commented Jul 27, 2015 at 16:15
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    @CortAmmon I am completely flummoxed by that distinction, since it seems nonsensical and I've never encountered it. Strength training is resistance training, and weight training is a member of both. Could you point me to a place where this distinction is made, or a person who uses this terminology? Commented Jul 28, 2015 at 1:45

4 Answers 4


The best way to train for martial arts is to do basic strength and conditioning alongside your chosen art. Basic conditioning means a mix of slower/longer runs with sprints. Basic strength training means fundamental resistance exercises (squats, lunges, deadlifts, pull-ups, pressing motions) using something like a barbell or dumbbells. This changes only slightly depending on one's chosen art until one is quite strong and well-conditioned.

I don't want to train running 1h. Running 1h I will improve my cardio, but this look like unnecessary because my fight is about 10min.

Being able to run for a long time will help you with fighting for 10 minutes. Only running long distances would become counterproductive, but you should be able to run a 5k. Having good cardio allows you to train harder in the gym and the dojo.

I don't want to do 4 sessions of 10 (normal set in the gym) reps with 100kg in a bench press ( doesn't matter the exercise ) because in a fight possible I will need do 100 reps with a guy of my weight or 1 repetition with a guy of 200kg.

Strength is a general attribute. Training 4 sets of 10 reps, or 3 sets of 5 reps, or 10 sets of 1 rep all contributes to me becoming stronger in that movement. Being stronger helps with everything, including your "100 reps of a guy my weight" and "1 repetition of a 200kg guy" scenarios. Use a basic strength program to get strong before worrying about specializing.

A good general program that fits well with martial arts training is Jim Wendler's 5/3/1. The program can be tailored in many ways to work around a martial art schedule. The basic idea is that you train one barbell lift a day (either the squat, deadlift, bench press, overhead press), then you use whatever energy you have left to train a small handful of assistance exercises like pull-ups, push-ups, or sprints.

Another great option is Ross Enamait's Infinite Intensity, which focuses on frequent training that mixes strength work with conditioning.


My martial art is boxing so my answer is from that perspective.

Generally speaking you will want to do interval training to improve your cardiovascular stamina, and relatively light weights to build endurance in your arms, legs and core. Do this in rounds (3 minutes on 1 minute break) for 12-15 rounds. Some examples of what you can do include:

  • Skipping. Regular skipping for 20 seconds followed by 10 seconds of high knees. Repeat 6 times in a round. As your conditioning gets better reduce the time spend on regular skipping and increase the time on high knees. Alternately, first skip 20 seconds, then do high knees 15 seconds, then do push-ups or burpees or squat jumps for 30 seconds.
  • Bag Work. Alternate one round working on your technique (so focusing on your footwork, hand position, shifting your weight behind punches without going too fast) with one round where you cycle through boxing normally for 15 seconds, then punching as fast as you can for 15 seconds, then punching as hard as you can for 15 seconds.
  • Shadow Boxing. Try this while holding 3 pound dumbells for a couple of rounds.
  • Shoulder Work. Use a 5 to 10 pound weight for each arm you will do three lifts in succession ten times each. First lift straight up (shoulder press), then keeping your arms straight lift straight to your front until your arms are parallel to the ground, then keeping your arms straight lift straight to your side until your arms are parallel to the ground. Once you have done ten lifts for each repeat the series twice for a total of three sets. Try to avoid taking any breaks.
  • Leg Work. Similar to shoulder work, but with 10-20 pounds of weight. Lifts done are squats, "sumo" squats (legs a bit more than shoulder-width apart) and lunges.
  • Core Work. Sit-ups with a 10 pound medicine ball, leg lifts, planks and all of that other goodness :-)

My personal (and many others') take on the subject is: if you want to be better at something, train that and not anything else.

This applies also to conditioning. Professionals would disagree to a certain degree, but if you want to train your muscles to improve their performances for a certain technique, what's better than repeating over and over again that very same technique? No weight lifting machine will ever emulate a movement better than the movement itself.

For cardio, running or cycling are always the method of choice, but still: how does a 1-hour run relate to, say, 12 3-minute rounds? Unless it's your job, just train rounds.

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    -1 opinion doesn't count for much against decades of sports science. Commented Jul 27, 2015 at 12:19

Go to the gym and do circuit training where you do lots of different exercises one after the other against a clock.

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