‘I’m a Karate Pro, and These Are the Mobility Exercises I Do Every Day’
Like boxing, karate involves honing your self-defense skills as you also get a heart rate-spiking workout. To excel in karate, a form of martial arts, your body needs excellent mobility over anything else (you’re not going to be able to throw a high kick with tight legs). This is why a professional karate warmup involves plenty of twisting and stretching that loosens up the entire body before they throw one punch.
“The warmup of our workout is very important, since we’re getting the muscles going,” says Sensei Ash, a fourth degree black belt and founder of Family Fitness Revolution in Los Angeles. “Kicking itself is basically a mobility workout. When you lift your leg up straight, not only are you opening up your hip flexors, but you’re opening your quads and your hamstrings. So it’s not only building muscle, but improving your mobility.”
Before he throws one kick, Ash’s karate warmup involves a dynamic stretching routine that primes the body for some martial arts. “Sitting there trying to touch your toes is not going to do much,” he says, noting that he always takes the first 15 minutes of his training to stretch and mobilize through compound movements. In the mix for his pre-kicking work are frog jumps, bear crawls, and duck walks, all of which primarily focus on the lower body.
Also key for a karate pro? Having a strong core. “Everything comes from the core—your balance, your coordination, your power, your kicking, it all comes from your ...
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