A great way to do cardio work that will get you sweating is Combat Calisthenics. Combat Calisthenics is a type of aerobic and weight conditioning based on different types of fighting, usually martial arts. Fighting is the most intense cardio you can do. You will instantly burn more energy fighting for one minute than you would in a mile run. For this reason, boxers and Mixed Martial Arts fighters must have incredible endurance in order to go so many rounds. Combat Calisthenics is great for them, but most of us are not professional fighters, so what is the value? Not only does this form of cardio burn lots of calories and tone muscles, it is a fantastic way to train yourself in self-defense, which we all need.
Combat uses all of your extremities. Your arms need to be able to stay up and protect your vital areas, while blocking attacks and delivering blows. This is done primarily by shoulder muscles. If you ever watch a boxing match, you can easily see how large their shoulders are. When throwing a punch, the force comes from your legs and hips. You move from a bent knee crouched position and explode up, twisting your hips. Imagine a force moving from your legs, through your hips, through your arms, and out of your fists. For this reason, toning your shoulders, thighs, hamstrings and gluteus are essential for not only throwing punches, but also dodging and weaving from attacks.
If you are doing a solo work out, here are some excellent combat calisthenics you can do. Imagine your are in a boxing match. Bend your knees shoulder length apart, put your fists in front of your face so your forearms are perpendicular to the ground, and be loose! Practice bobbing and weaving up and down, side to side, while your throw punches. Do it to a beat or play wii boxing. Do this at a fast pace continuously for periods of two minutes at a time. Try not to rest for more than thirty seconds before you do your next “round.” Do as many rounds as you can.
Your goal is to always keep moving. Keep that heart rate up. Imagine an opponent or attacker and stay loose. Within a fight, the key is to not get hit. Many martial art forms, such as Aikido, teach you to move around and deflect energy rather than taking it on. Once you have become comfortable with this style and your endurance has increased, try putting weights in your hands. That will not only help burn more calories, but it will dramatically tone your arms.
With a Partner
If you are working out with a partner, have them throw punches at you at half speed and use your open palms to deflect the coming fists away from you. This will help speed up your reaction time and greatly improve your self-defense. As you become better at deflecting blows, have your partner slowly increase the speed at which they throw punches. The beauty of this work out is partners challenge each other to keep going. As long as someone is throwing punches, you’re not going to stop moving and blocking no matter how tired you get!
Combat Calisthenics works so well because fighting uses so many different muscles in your body you didn’t even know you had. This is high intensity work out that can be a lot of fun. Put on some music, train with friends, and get some aggression out. You will sweat like you wouldn’t believe, all while increasing your ability for self-defense.