In Part 1 of Body Conditioning for Wing Chun training, we focused on just the upper body. The rest of the body that we will cover in this section will target our core (the stomach area), hips, and legs.
Before I continue, I just want to note that these exercises I do, I do independently outside of my Wing Chun class but I find that they benefit my Wing Chun training so I would like to share them with you.
*Note: I am not a personal trainer or fitness expert. If you plan on doing these exercises and have never done them before, please consult with a fitness expert or physician to see if you should be doing them. Also, be sure to take a break in between days to give your muscles rest.
There are three exercises I want to focus on to condition our lower bodies for Wing Chun, they are Squats, Burpees, and Kettlebell Swings. Before beginning, a quick warm up is in order to get the body warmed up. I usually do 25 Jumping Jacks to get my heart pumping and body ready.
1. Squats: This exercise is straightforward, and not fancy. Squats are basically the equivalent of pushups but for legs. Here’s a great video with clear instructions on how to do Squats.
How to Do Squats
Squats are great for working out the legs, thighs, and core, and great for increasing kick power (think front kick). If you don’t normally do squats, you should feel the burn in your legs almost instantly. I usually do 20 repetitions per set, doing three sets with a 30 second break in between. If this is too easy for you, add some weight to it by holding dumbbells as you’re squatting down. Here’s a video of how that looks like.
Squats with Dumbbells
2. Burpees: This exercise may sound funny but at the end of this workout, you won’t be laughing. Here’s a quick video showing you what burpees look like.
To do a Burpee, you want to start by standing with your feet shoulder distance apart. The first step is to squat down then launch into a push up position but don’t do a pushup (they’re optional). Make sure you’re in good form. Good form is when your stomach is flexed and your hips are away from the ground. Next, jump your feet back in so you’re back in a squatting position then as you’re getting up, jump and try to reach as high as you can as if you’re trying to reach for the sky. Once you land on your feet, that’s one repetition. You want to do at least 10 repetitions per set, three set total.
These are hard. You want to do these slow until you get the hang of them. And when it gets easy, start throwing in some pushups as you go down. Here’s a quick break down:
10x Burpees -> 45 Second Rest -> 10x Burpees -> 45 Second Rest -> 10x Burpees -> 45 Second Rest.
Burpees are an amazing exercise because it’s an entire body workout with emphasis on building core strength. The core is a vital part of your body because I consider it to be the foundation where the strength behind our punches and kicks come from. Not only does it strengthen the core, Burpees also works out our legs and increases our explosiveness when we step in to intercept an attack and the power of our kicks!
3. Kettlebell Swings: To do the Kettlebell Swings, you will need a kettlebell. There are alternatives; you can use a dumbbell or a book bag stuffed with textbooks or weights. I highly recommend the dumbbell if you don’t have your own kettlebell.
The weight here is up to you. I can go up to 60lbs but your limit might be different. If you’re just starting out, 10lbs is a good weight to start with and from there, slowly build your way up until you know your maximum weight.
Before I start the Kettlebell Swings, I warm up with Kettlebell Deadlifts.
3a. Kettlebell Deadlifts
How to Do Kettlebell Deadlifts
I usually do 10 repetitions a set, doing three sets with a 30 second break in between.
After we’re done with the deadlifts, we start the Kettlebell Swings.
3b. Kettlebell Swings
How to Do Kettlebell Swings
I do ten repetitions per set, doing three sets and resting for 30 seconds in between sets.
Kettlebell Swings are definitely underrated and deserves more recognition for being a great full body exercise because benefits of doing this exercise is huge. Like Burpees, it works out your entire body! One thing that this exercise emphasises on is the hips. The strength from doing each Kettlebell Swing comes from our hips with minimal focus on our arms. This exercise is great for improving your hip work which comes in very handy for Wing Chun because our hips, like our core, connects with our punching, shifting, and explosiveness when stepping in.
Once again, you don’t need kettlebells to do this exercise; you can do this workout with a dumbbell. Here’s a video of how it looks like doing a Kettlebell Swing with dumbbells.
Alternative Grip Dumbbell Swing
This is the end of the Wing Chun body conditioning series. I hope it has given you an idea of how a lot of exercises are synergistic to Wing Chun training.