Strength and Conditioning for Martial Arts

Strength and Conditioning for Martial Arts


Strength and conditioning for martial arts can be tricky occasionally. There are an overwhelming amount of choices and limited time in which to train.

Should I use kettlebells? 

Or should I focus more on Olympic lifts? What about body weight circuits? 

Should I be doing interval sprints or are long distance runs better? 

Is Crossfit a good form of strength and conditioning?

What if I did plyometrics?

Thai boxing

Starting to see what we mean?

Fortunately for you at Total Martial Arts Swindon we have a great deal of knowledge of and experience with improving fitness and performance. We would like to provide you with a strength and conditioning routine that you can follow along with throughout the next few months.


For this routine we will be focusing on one main area of fitness – strength.

Its most efficient in the long term to first develop a good foundation of strength before moving on to the other phases of power and speed.


Pre-Workout Notes

Before starting these workouts there are a few things to consider. 

Consistency is the key. The best fitness routine is the one you do every week. Examine your schedule and select times that you will be able to use for exercise every week. You will get results by exercising 2-4 times per week with each session lasting 1 hour.


Make sure you DO NOT RUSH your warmup (or any aspect of your training) doing so can lead to injuries

Take 5 minutes to do some stretching after your exercise to increase flexibility


Strength Phase

With strength being the main focus here, the rep range will be between 3-5. The key is to make sure that the weight is difficult enough where you can only just do 5 reps while keeping good form.


Take a relatively long break between sets of around 3-5 minutes to allow your muscles and central nervous system to recover and thus be able to deliver maximum strength in the next set. Shadowboxing during this rest time will help to develop skills and stop you getting bored.


Strength Phase – Workout #1


Squat – 3 sets / 3-5 reps max

Lunges – 3 sets / 3-5 reps max (each side)

Upper Body Pull

1-Legged Deadlift – 3 sets / 3-5 reps max (each side)

Weighted Pull-ups – 3 sets / 3-5 reps max

Upper Body Push

1-Arm Chest Press – 3 sets / 3-5 reps max (each side)

Weighted Dips – 3 sets / 3-5 reps max


Rocky Abs – 3 sets / 3-5 reps max


Cardio – 15 minutes steady pace jogging/ skipping

Cool down – Light stretch, foam roller


Strength Phase – Workout #2


Single leg Squat – 3 sets / 3-5 reps max

Leg Press – 3 sets / 3-5 reps max

Upper Body Pull

1-Arm Row – 3 sets / 3-5 reps max

Weighted Chin-ups – 3 sets / 3-5 reps max

Upper Body Push

1-Arm Shoulder Press – 3 sets / 3-5 reps max

1-Arm Pushups – 3 sets / 3-5 reps max


Ab rollout – 3 sets / 3-5 reps max

Cardio – 15 minutes steady pace jogging/skipping

Cool down – Light stretch, foam roller


One Arm/One Leg Exercises

You will notice that many of these exercises are unilateral (using 1 arm or 1 leg) this is specific to martial arts where we kick and punch with 1 leg or 1 arm at a time and operate from staggered stances.


Final Thoughts

This routine will give you a specific focus for your training and allow you to see progress.