At the best of times, it can be hard to stay on top of your fitness and martial arts training during this time of year, and we’re not exactly in the best times right now. The fun parts of the winter season are over. It’s grey, it’s chilly, and there’s not much to do. We’re started to see some hope for the end of the pandemic, but we’re not there just yet. And we can’t even reach out to other members of our community or train together like we’ve been able to do in winters past.
We’ve dedicated a lot of time to tips on at-home martial arts training over the past year. We’ve looked at general workout plans, training ideas, and DIY projects. These are all great for people who still have the motivation and energy left to adapt this information to suit their own skill level and training goals. If you’re one of those people, that’s great! We highly recommend checking out our archives for even more ideas to add to your stay-at-home training arsenal. But if you’re not quite there, that’s OK, too! This blog is for you.
We all have days when the very idea of planning a solo workout is too much of a challenge, let alone actually doing it. Sometimes we need a trained professional to tell us exactly what to do. Sometimes we need someone to tell us where to find that coach, too. With that in mind, we’ve assembled five great martial arts or martial arts-friendly workouts that are streaming for free right now. All you need to do is pick the one that best suits your training needs, click the link, and go! We’re also including next steps and gear suggestions for when you’re ready to do a little more.
For cardio and old school boxercise fun:
Billy Blanks, the man behind Tae-Bo, has adapted his Taekwondo and boxing-inspired workout system for the pandemic age. The solid foundations of his workouts remain intact, but the workouts look a little different. They’re filmed in his living room with his family! The results are both motivating and relatable. It’s heartening to know that even masters like Blanks have to push the furniture back and use an area rug as a mat to get their workouts in these days. And if Blanks can keep up with the times, maybe we can, too.
This one hour “OLD SCHOOL TAE BO!” workout is a great introduction to Blanks’s at-home workout content:
Recommended equipment: As these videos demonstrate, an area rug works as a gym floor in a pinch. But if you’re looking for something with a little more support, a set of jigsaw mats will provide you with the right amount of cushioning and slip prevention. Blanks sometimes uses boxing equipment like boxing gloves or focus mitts to add more resistance to his workouts, but he also suggests alternatives like holding water bottles.
The next step: Blanks regularly updates his YouTube channel with new workouts, so there’s plenty to choose from. He also has a series on his current physiotherapy work that is both informative and inspiring.
For mobility and agility:
Animal-inspired mobility training started gaining popularity with grapplers in the early days of the millennium and it’s easy to see why. These full body moves require strength, focus, body awareness, discipline, and cardio. Which makes this type of workout an ideal form of cross-training for any martial art. They’re also fun to do, which always helps with motivation.
This beginner’s class is a good introduction to this type of martial arts cross-training:
Recommended equipment: While animal flow and animal movement-based workouts can be done on a hard floor or carpeted, both of those surfaces can be a little hard on the hands, knees, and feet after a while. You’ll probably feel much more comfortable and safer on a set of jigsaw mats.
The next step: The Animal Flow YouTube channel offers a number of other workout suggestions. If you like this, it’s also worth looking into animal training developed specifically for your martial arts. There are some great BJJ and MMA-based animal workouts out there, for example.
Wushu champ, model, and actress Janice Hung’s 10-minute Kung Fu stretching routine is an accessible and effective way to introduce more flexibility training into your at home workout regimen.
Recommended equipment: Flexibility training requires a surface that offers enough cushioning to support your body but not so much give that you don’t feel anchored in your training, like jigsaw mats or a yoga mat.
The next step: Hung’s YouTube channel offers a number of Kung Fu and Tai Chi-inspired flexibility routines that are worth checking out. If you’re interested in an alternative to YouTube videos, Tubi, the free streaming service that was one of the stars of our “Best Martial Arts Movies and TV Shows to Watch During Lockdown” blog, includes a number of yoga videos in its Get Fit section.
For core strength and power:
Pilates is a great form of martial arts cross-training because it helps to develop a number of areas useful to almost every martial art, including core strength, breathing, balance, body awareness, and mobility. This workout, which focuses on strength and mobility in the hips, is especially good for anyone whose martial art involves striking, takedown defences, and guard work.
Recommended equipment: Pilates sometimes involves rolling and rocking motions, which can be uncomfortable on your spine if you’re working with a thinner training mat like a yoga mat. Jigsaw mats or a Pilates-specific mat will feel much nicer and provide you the right amount of support .
The next step: If you’re interested in learning more about how Pilates can benefit martial artists, there are a number of martial artists and Pilates instructors — and martial artist Pilates instructors — who have posted sports-specific training videos on YouTube. If you’re interested in learning more about the mechanics, form, and benefit of specific moves, STOTT Pilates does a great job of breaking them down in their videos.
For a full body strength and conditioning blast:
If you’re looking for a challenging full body workout with a lot of crossover appeal and benefits for martial artists, give this bodyweight workout a try:
Recommended equipment: Yes, it’s jigsaw mats again! Portable and affordable, they really are the best alternative to the professional grade martial arts mats that Funk Roberts is training on in the above video.
The next step: If you’re on the lookout for more MMA-inspired circuit training, the rest of Roberts’ YouTube channel features a number of interesting and challenging options. It’s also worth tracking down UFC legend Georges St-Pierre’s RushFit workout series, and the training tips he often shares on his Instagram account.