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The Ultimate Self-Defense Workout
Written By : Jessica Ruane
Filed In : Articles | exercises
High Kick

High Kick. Photo by Umberto Salvagnin.

Have you ever wondered if it was possible to get ripped and learn how to defend yourself against dangerous criminals all at the same time? Good news folks, we’ve put together the ultimate self-defense workout for those of you who hate crime, but love getting buff.

You can’t always sidestep every dangerous situation, even if you background check every acquaintance or stay cooped up in your home. Knowing some self-defense moves is a great way to feel more secure, and boost your overall confidence. It’s one thing to look big and bad, but being able to back it up is something entirely different — and a claim not many fitness buffs can make.
Here are a couple moves that are designed to build muscle, and give bad guys the beat down.

Heel Palm Strike. This exercise targets your glutes, quads and obliques.

Heel Palm Strike

Heel Palm Strike. Photo by Tiger Lily (Lily Chou).

What to do:

  • Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent, and pivot to the right, hands in fists, palms facing in.
  • Bend and pivot to the left as you simultaneously strike forward with your right palm, fingertips facing the ceiling.

When most people think of fending off an attacker, their minds automatically go to punching with a closed fist. But really, there are other body parts that can inflict more damage than a closed fist can. The base of your palm is a hard, flat surface. You can easily break someone’s nose using this heel palm strike technique without any training.

Elbow Strike. This exercise targets your quads, core, upper back and shoulders.

What to do:

  • Stand with feet shoulder-width distance apart. Hold your left fist in your right hand against your right side body, with your left elbow pointed up.
  • Move your fists across your chest to strike upwards with your left elbow.

Your elbow bone is strong, pointy — and painful. If you have to defend yourself against an attacker, a hard blow from the elbow is likely to do more damage than a fist would have.

Knee Strike. This exercise targets your quads, inner thighs and lower back.

What to do:

  • Stand with your right foot 3 to 5 inches behind your left with hands in front of you as if you were grabbing an attacker’s shoulders.
  • Tuck your chin and thrust your right knee forward, striking toward your imaginary attacker’s groin.

A good knee strike straight to the groin is bound to do enough damage to at least give you time to run away from an assailant.

Front Kick. This exercise targets your quads, inner thighs and core.

What to do:

  • Raise your kicking-leg’s knee so your thigh is parallel to the ground, about hip/waist level. This is called chambering. As you do this, take a breath in.
  • Kick your leg, snapping it forward quickly. With a front kick you want to strike with the ball of your foot. As you kick, make sure to rapidly release the air in your lungs. Doing so will ensure that if you’re doing kicking drills, you don’t forget to breathe.
  • Unsnap your leg so your thigh is once again parallel to the ground.
  • Set your leg back on the ground.

Rapid sets of front kicks are a great way to get your cardio in, and build muscle in your quads. Practice this exercise regularly to improve balance and stamina.

Side Kick. This exercise targets your quads, lower back and core.

Side Kick

Side Kick. Photo by Flavio.

What to do:

  • From a fighting stance, bring your back leg up so your knee is near your chest, and your foot is somewhere near your hips (the goal is to have the sole of your foot facing down, and the outside “knife side” of your foot facing your target). This is sometimes called the “cocked position” because you are ready to fire.
  • Kick your leg so your kicking foot will draw a straight line from the cocked position to its destination. Kick with the heel of your foot (or if you’re more practiced) the knife side of your foot. As you kick, rotate on the ball of your foot so that your heel ends pointed toward your target.
  • Return back to cocked position with your kicking leg raised.
  • Return your foot to the ground, in front of you. Your back leg now should have been your front leg before the kick, and vice-versa.

I personally like side kick reps because 1) They’re more challenging and 2) They’re a great workout. Just holding your leg up in the air that high will challenge your balance and core strength. Plus, if you ever have to defend yourself, a sidekick will deliver a harder blow to an attacker than your traditional front kick.

What Else Can You Do?

Fitness plays a major part not only in everyday life but in any fight situation. In many fights, winner and losers are separated by fitness level — not brute force. If an attacker is stronger than the victim, but the victim is in better shape, they have a good shot of being able to escape simply by running away. This is where cardiovascular ability and endurance play a major part in self-defense.
In true self-defense scenarios, your mental strength is just as important as your physical capabilities. Tony Blauer, a self-defense consultant for the U.S. military and law enforcement groups said in a recent interview that :

You can’t fake endurance. You can fake a lot of things, like knowledge or experience; we can offer fake theoretical answers. But when push comes to shove, you can’t fake endurance. This is one of the paradoxes of true self-defense versus strength and conditioning.

Any hardcore workout buff knows that endurance is 100% mental.
Hopefully you never find yourself in a situation where you’re forced to put your self-defense workout moves into practice, but by incorporating these conditioning exercises into your workout routine, you’ll have some solid moves you can count on to hopefully get yourself out of a jam against an attacker.

Over to you. Drop us a line on Twitter ( @scottbird ), or add a comment below.



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Written By Jessica Ruane
Jessica Ruane is a writer and blogger specializing in topics such as self-defense, crime, and other areas vital for personal safety. Find out more over on Google+. Brett Kasa can be found over at the Boxing Bag Store, and - as you can no doubt see - loves a solid dose of MMA. Superb.
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