Martial arts exercises can kick up your workout routine a notch or two. Based upon self-control, breathing and powerful legs, kung fu martial arts bases many leg-strengthening exercises on animal poses, jumps and kicks. In the beginning you might not be able to hold a pose more than 30 seconds. However, with consistent training, you can build up to a couple of minutes or more.
Begin your workout with five to 10 minutes of warm-up exercises, such as bicycling, walking or jogging. Kung fu leg exercises require flexibility and well-lubricated joints.
The horse stance is a kung fu foundation pose. Stand straight with relaxed shoulders. Take a wide step to your right. While stepping, bring your forearms in front of your body. Allow your forearms to touch, with your fists at chin height. As you step and bring your forearms together, lower your body until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Tuck your butt under so your head, spine and butt create a straight line. Hold this stance for one minute while remaining perfectly still. According to Yan Lei, stance work builds strength of mind and body.
Do monkey jumps from the horse stance. Drop your butt and place your hands on the floor between your feet. Spring up as high as you can. Lower yourself back into the monkey pose, which looks very much like a frog. Repeat the jumps.
Do kung fu twisting scissor for strength and balance. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart with your feet pointing outward. Keep your left foot stationary. Twist your body to the left. Bend your right leg and place your knee against your left calf just below your left knee. Place one hand on top of the other on your left knee. Bend your left knee and lower your body as far as you can go down. Hold this pose for several seconds before rotating back up and twisting around to the right to repeat the pose on your right side.
Kung Fu Kick Outs
Strengthen your core and your legs with kung fu kick outs. Sit on the floor. Stretch your legs in front of you with your feet touching. Place your hands on the floor to your sides and slightly behind you. Lean backward and lift your legs 5 to 7 inches off the floor. Pull your knees toward your chest and kick your legs straight out. Continue pulling your knees in and kicking out without allowing your feet to return to the floor as long as you can.
Prevent injury by building slowly, instead of pushing yourself to the point of pain or extreme discomfort. Kung fu leg workouts can be incorporated into other exercise routines. When you complete your workout, spend at least five minutes cooling down. Stretches at the end of strength training help your body return to a near resting state. Consult a physician if you are new to exercise or have medical conditions that make exercise difficult or dangerous for you.
- The Shaolin Workout: 28 Days to Transforming Your Body and Soul the Warrior's Way; Shi Yan Ming
- Shifu Yan Lei: Unlock the Secret of Shaolin Stance
- Martial Chinese Martial Arts Center Inc: Kung Fu Twisting Scissor
For Judy Kilpatrick, gardening is the best mental health therapy of all. Combining her interests in both of these fields, Kilpatrick is a professional flower grower and a practicing, licensed mental health therapist. A graduate of East Carolina University, Kilpatrick writes for national and regional publications.