Why Martial Artists Have Ripped Abs, and How to Learn From Them

Learn from Martial Artists and get ripped abs

Martial artists, boxers, and professional fighters have notoriously good physiques, strong, ripped bodies that are as functional as they are built. Nearly all of these fighters do lift weights, but few are what you’d consider body builders. Their training is focused not only on strength training, but also endurance, and the secret to their rock hard ripped abs is in the combination of these two methods.

We have all heard people tout the values of weightlifting and cardio. You’ll commonly hear things like, ‘lift heavy to pack on size’, and ‘do cardio to cut fat and get ripped’. And while this method of separating training components can be effective with the right structure and diet, it isn’t the method that many professional fighters use to get ripped.

Combining these two forms of training into an intensity packed aerobic weightlifting circuit is the training of champion fighters, who not only need to deliver powerful strikes, but need to do so again, and again, and again. For those new to high intensity training, one should start with what is called a ‘superset’, or a set of two exercises performed back to back without a rest. An example might be a set of pull-ups immediately followed by a set of pushups or bench press before a 1 minute rest-and-repeat.

For those who frequent the gym and have moderate to high conditioning, augmenting this regimen is going to lead to rapid muscle building fat burning intensity. Continue to compound moderate to heavy lifts, or complex exercises that mimic those performed in fighting (for fighters, or your specific sport otherwise) like burpees, jump ups, or punching and kicking targets. A heavy weightlifting circuit ripping out the abs would focus on all the major compound lifts, performed back to back without a rest. So you may perform 8 to 10 reps of pull-ups, bodyweight dips, weighted squats or lunges, shoulder press with a rubber band, and leg raises for the abs. Perform this 3 or 4 sets in total, resting a few minutes between each set, and you’ll know the meaning of intensity.

When working with my Kickboxing Hong Kong clients I’ll typically throw in things like 30 seconds of all out punching or kicking on a heavy bag, grappling or free fighting for a minute at the end to really push their anaerobic threshold and burn fat. Doing this will also help convert those hard earned gains into practical power-endurance fighting skills, and it will get your abs cut up, ripped, and eye catching in no time.

About the Author: Tom Fazio is a personal trainer and self defense instructor for Martial Arts Hong Kong.

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