4 martial arts-inspired moves

4 martial arts-inspired moves

Lunging Knee Strike: From the standing position, take a larger-than-normal step forward with one foot. Lower your back knee toward the ground so that both legs form close to a 90-degree angle. To avoid unwanted stress, make sure your front knee doesn’t surpass your toes. Press through the front heel to come forward out of the lunge. As you exit the lunge, shoot your back knee forward to simulate a knee strike. Then, bring both feet to the ground and begin the next lunge. Alternate sides and perform 3 sets of 16 total steps.

For beginners or those with knee discomfort, try squatting knee strikes instead. Stand with your feet roughly shoulder-width apart. Hold your arms out in front of your body to counter-balance the movement. First, tilt your hips back. Follow by bending your knees to lower your body, so that your thighs are parallel with the floor. Actively keep your knees wide throughout the squat to incorporate larger muscle groups. Make sure your knees don’t surpass your toes. As you rise, shoot one knee forward toward the center of your body as you pull your arms down to simulate a knee strike. Regain the squat-ready position. After each squat, perform a single knee strike in alternating fashion. Perform 3 sets of 10 reps.

Swivel Pushup: Obtain a pushup-ready position. Hands should be below your shoulders, legs should be straight and hips off the ground, so that your backside forms a straight line. Lower your body by bending your arms to a 90-degree angle. On your way up, bring one hand and the opposite foot off the ground. Swivel your hips toward the side of the hand that’s off the ground and simultaneously touch that hand and the opposite foot together. That arm and leg should remain straight. Return to the pushup-ready position with both hands and feet on the ground. Repeat and alternate opposite hand and foot. Perform 3 sets of 8 reps.

A more simplistic variation suitable for less experienced individuals is the knee pushup-to-crunch superset. A superset involves two exercises back-to-back that challenge different muscle groups. Get in a pushup-ready position, but keep your knees on the ground. Perform 10 reps. Immediately after, flip over and get in a crunch-ready position. Lie on your back with your feet on the ground and legs bent at a 90-degree angle. Keep your hands at your side and engage your abdominal muscles to pull your shoulders towards your knees. Your upper body should come about 6 inches off the ground. Perform 15 reps. Complete 3 sets of this superset.

Elevated Single Leg Hip Bridge: Find a stable platform about one foot high. A plyo box or step is ideal. Lie on your back so that your legs form a 90-degree angle on top of the platform. Only your heels should be touching the platform. Raise one leg straight into the air. With arms at your side, press your heel into the platform and extend your hips into the air. The raised straight leg should move towards the ceiling. Perform 10 reps on one leg before switching for a total of 20 reps. Complete 3 sets.

To build a foundation of strength for the exercise above, the floor hip bridge is a suitable modification. Lie on your back with your legs bent at 90-degrees and both heels on the floor. With arms at your side, press through your heels and extend your hips into the air to create a "bridge". Perform 3 sets of 15 reps.

-Frankie R., Virginia Technological Institute and State University