Abs Workout for Martial Artists

We are going to look at abs workouts for martial artists this will cover various martial art’s that place a high degree of importance on physical fitness.Those art’s have various exercises to cover all round fitness including strong abs and this is achieved by the different exercises performed during the training sessions. We will look at some more popular and effective exercises from those martial art’s hopefully you will find them interesting and may choose to add one or two of those to your workouts.

Upper Abs great for core Strength

1. Crunches: Standard Abdominal Crunches

These strengthen the core or the front upper mid section on the abdominal muscles, Probably one of the most popular ab exercises out there, Great for the abs but please ensure you do not over do it (not recommended daily) as if you have back issues could over work the back, 3 times a week is fine blended with other exercises, As with all workouts ensure all your muscles are fully warmed up before your abs workout.

Please ensure you are performing your crunches correctly as the possible injuries could affect the neck or back, correct form is a must and if you feel any discomfort in your back do not continue. Do not pull on your neck, for the correct form checkout the video below

I would recommend 3 sets of 10-20 you can do more or less depending on your strength level, be sure to not over train in any way. The secret is to be committed to your schedule and consistent with your training.

This will help you tone your mid to upper abs but to get the full benefits you will need to eat a healthy diet and do some cardiovascular exercises

For your martial art’s a strong core is essential for balance, agility, strength etc

2.Crunches: Toe Touch crunch

This is a great exercise that targets the core, rectus adominis and obliques. When performing this exercise you also stretch the spine when you go forward with your arms, Great overall abs workout exercise.

This exercise does stretch the lower back and hamstrings, helping you stay flexible but do not over stretch as you are working on your abs and you do not want to damage the back or hamstring muscles.

This exercise is an advanced abdominal exercise but you will see the easier versions you can start with in the video below.

Again I would recommend 3 sets of 10-20 depending on your fitness levels and mobility.

Lower abs this area is targeted during some attacks

1.Leg raises:

This exercise is great for your hip flexors which covers the muscles around your hips and lower abs. Also, improving the rexrus abs muscles which covers the lower and upper abs. This is great for the core and the action of raising the legs can reduce pain in the back. This is a very popular exercise and is part of many ab exercise routines but it is important to do this exercise correctly to prevent damaging your back.

The video below will show you the correct way to do the exercise.

I would recommend 3 sets of 10-20 to start but this will depend on your fitness level again there are various versions using weights or benches etc, you may want to look into once you get strong enough.

2.Reverse Crunches:

This exercise is great for the muscles deep in the lower abs but also works the full rexrus abdominal. This has been known to be one of most effective ab exercises and it very popular. This exercise is highly recommended having in your exercise routine. As it`s one of the most effective ab exercises in reducing lower belly fat but you will have to be of the required strength level to perform those. These are mid level abdominal exercises, You can always add this once you have done the normal standard crunches for a short time.

I would recommend 3 sets of 10-20 to start with, you may be able to progress or maintain a good level of abdominal strength.

For martial artists this is a must for the lower abs giving you protection from on coming attacks like kicks and punches and giving you that core strength.

Obliques great for quick upper torso movement

1.Side Crunches:

This exercise is great for the oblique muscles and due to the position of the body the focus is on those muscles. Working the internal and external Oblique muscles this is very effective when done the correct way.

Correct form is important and the video below will help show this.

I would recommend 3 sets of 10-20 reps on each side. Should be great help strengthen the Obliques.

2. Broomstick Twists:

This exercise is very simple and can be done either standing or sitting, Its great for increasing flexibility in the torso. A great easy workout, just be sure to follow the correct method below on the video. All you need is a broomstick or straight stick etc

Also working the muscles around the spine which is great for supporting the spine. This exercise reduces fat around the torso thus reducing the waist over time but I must stress a combination of diet and cardiovascular exercise is needed to get the best results

Reduce those love handles

I would recommend 3 sets of 10-20 on each side, but do not go to fast or overstretch!


Example of Short Ab Routine

This is an example of an abdominal/ core workout for fighters, you may like routine or choose to put your own together as a lot will depend on the following:

  1. fitness level
  2. purpose or goal
  3. flexibility
  4. injuries
  5. preferences
  6. time available
  7. ability (beginner or middle or advanced)
  8. limitations

.With the above in mind please do not rush into exercise routines without considering the above points and before starting any exercise programme you must seek medical guidance from your doctor or health professional.


This post has cover all the muscles for the abdominal system upper, lower, and obliques providing two effective and popular exercises for each section of the abdominal.

I suggest you add these to your martial art’s training routines or how many you like. Training the abs 3 times a week will be a good level but if you are training for a competition you may choose to increase it for a short time.

You can use those exercises to make your own routines, use the information to fit into your needs as you may just want to tone your abs etc

I have personally performed all of those exercises at some point in a martial art’s class or gym.

Great looking abs will depend on diet, cardiovascular exercise and abdominal exercises. Also before starting any exercise programme you must seek medical guidance from your doctor or health professional.

Train hard, focus and Practice

Wince 🙂

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2 thoughts on “Abs Workout for Martial Artists

  1. Lots of good information you have provided here. I have trained in Aikido for over ten (10) years but don;t have any abs like that. I have added some of what you recommend to my daily routine which is a mix of strength, cardiac, and stretching. My abs have improved and I have maintained a good weight but still have quite a ways to go. 

    • Hi Joseph, great to hear from you and thanks for your comments, I to have been doing Aikido for many years and I must say Aikido is not the best martial art for great abs, due to type of training we do. Concentrating on techniques with little cardio or strength training. Yes I recommend additional cardio, strength and flexibility training, which I can see you are already doing. Once you get your abs and weight etc where you want to be, maintaining those abs is an ongoing process monitoring exercise, weight, diet and correct amount of sleep. 

      Its great to hear you have added some my recommendations to your daily routine, I do also recommend changing those exercises regularly to keep your workout challenging and interesting keeping you motivated,

      Happy Training


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