Resistance Band Exercises for the Martial Artist
In Martial Arts, the muscle fibers need to react immediately in order to transfer force when throwing a punch or kick. Power generates through quickness, taking great upper body speed and power to compete successfully. Resistance Bands are a way for Martial Artists to perform upper body exercises, as well as mimic the actual moves used in competitions. Resistance Bands add the resistance needed to strike quickly and powerfully and allow Martial Artists to work at a full range of motion. Athletes using the resistance bands will be able to work the smaller muscles and fast twitch fibers that are often neglected
When resistance bands are incorporated into a Martial Arts conditioning regimen, kicking, punching, blocking, jumping, rotational movement and body control can be performed at a high level of intensity and precision. Resistance bands can be used during all phases of Martial Arts training from warm-ups, stretching, strength and conditioning to specific exercises and techniques. Work with the Resistance Bands for higher and faster kicks, a well-balanced core, increased flexibility, greater range of motion and cardiovascular endurance.
Proficiency in Martial Arts requires core strength, explosive power, balance, and endurance. Training is a critical component in improving Martial Arts skills.
Here are some other benefits of using resistance bands:
Low Price: they are inexpensive equipment, I paid around $30 for a set of five.
Save on storage: they don’t take any space at all, you can just put them away in its small bag.
Lightweight: they can provide high resistance without lifting any weights.
Perfect for traveling: just put them in your bag and use them anywhere.
Full body workout: as you will see you can train all the body muscles.
Stackable: They come with handles and you can attach multiple elastics to adjust the resistance
Do you travel for Martial Arts competitions? Not all the hotels have a gym, so how do you keep in shape during your trips? You can take resistance bands everywhere, they don’t add weight to your luggage and don’t take space either. They are so easy to use that anyone at any fitness level can use them.
Now you’re wondering “How do I use them? How can I train the whole body with just 5 elastic bands?”.Legit question, and here is where I want to help and share what I learned.
First off, here are the bands I own and recommend. The Alema Fitness Resistance Bands.
as you can see, the handles are not pre-attached and you can exercise with more than one band at the time (as they are stackable) until you reach the desired resistance (which is very adjustable).
Now let’s get to the point and see what resistance band exercises we can do at home, with absolutely no need of extra equipment.
Resistance Band Leg Exercises
Let’s start from the leg muscles. With resistance bands, we can do the king of leg exercises very easily. I am talking about squats. It is possible to do this and other leg exercises safely, all you have to do in case of difficulty is to let go of the grip.
Leg exercises with resistance bands include
Resistance Band Chest Exercises
It is quite easy to do resistance band exercises for chest, as long as you have a place to anchor the band. You can also do resisted push ups with the bands. The set I purchased comes with a door anchor which is super useful to fix your band.
This way you can do more chest exercises, such as:
Inclined/Declined/Flat Chest Press
Inclined/Declined/Flat Chest Fly
Resistance Band Back Exercises
There are also a good number of resistance band exercises for back muscles available with these awesome elastics. Again, you need the door anchor for most of them, but I learned to do them also in different ways. For example, if you have a column in the house or a railing, but generally speaking, anything where you can anchor the elastic.
Here are the back exercises that I recommend:
Bent Over Rows
Reverse Fly (like a pec deck machine)
Straight Arm Pulldown
Shrugs (for traps)
Resistance Band Shoulder Exercises
Elastics work great also to train shoulders with the following exercises:
For the first three resistance band exercises, we don’t need anything more than ourselves and the band. For the last one, we obviously need to anchor the resistance band somewhere, which could be the door or a column in the house. If you’re comfortable, you can also sit down and anchor the elastic band around your feet and do the flys.
Resistance Band Arm Exercises
Resistance band exercises for arms have the goal of training biceps and triceps.
For biceps we can do:
while for triceps:
Reverse Grip Pushdown
Overhead Tricep Extension
Bent Over Kickbacks
Resistance Band Ab Exercises
For core muscles, there is one exercise that I do, and it is the classic resisted crunches. I use to anchor the elastic band to the top of the door, grab the handles and do my regular crunches. For the obliques, I do the abdominal twists exercise.
To recap, resistance band exercises for abs include:
Abdominal Twists (low or high side pulls)
Resistance bands give you the possibility to workout at home without having to buy expensive equipment, plus you can carry them anywhere you go (especially on trips, you can workout in your hotel room).
I really recommend you go and get a set, you’ll love them.
Here is a video for Judo practitioners showing resistance band training to help with their throws.
Here is a video showing you how to help your punching speed.
Photo credit: Noah Legel