Warm Ups in Martial Arts

Warm ups are in many ways a gateway to a good and beneficial workout –Learn how to perform them better…

Warm ups are crucial elements for any physical training and workout we do.Martial arts training are no different.

Workouts / Training sessions:

A workout should be comprised from at least three parts

• Warm up

• Main workout

Cool down exercises / Post workout drills

Warm up

Just as the name predicts, they are movements we perform in order for our body to warm up before we begin the main part of our training.

A warm up done properly prepares our body and mind to receive the information we want it to absorb from training.

Important attributes which a good warm up provides:

• Our heart and lungs begin functioning better coordinated – they start working according to the amount of oxygen needed in every breath rather than during rest, when they function according to heart rate and breathing tempo.

Studies show that we will reach a lower heart rate in the main workout, performing the same activity, if we with go a proper warm up then if we don’t.

• Our blood vessels expand allowing for more oxygen to reach the muscles and more waist to be taken away

• The enzymes work better at a higher cell temperature which enhances the burning of fat instead of carbohydrates, which in turn slows down our bodies fatigue during training.

• We relax our muscles allowing for better explosive power performance.

• Enhances the activity of the ATPase enzyme which allows faster contraction of the muscles

• Increases the exit of calcium from the muscles which allows for better contraction as well

• Better response of the nervous system

• Increases our tendon ligament and muscle elastics to allow a wider range of motion

• Our pain sensors are less sensitive, so we can resist more pain

• The body begins to produce the adrenaline hormone which increases our concentration and mental ability

• Reduces substantially risks of injuries and heart problems.

A warm up should include:

1. Joint rotations for “oiling ‘em up” – around 70% of all injuries caused in training which are not due to “getting hit” are located in the joint area…

2. Performing the movements we intend to do in the main workout in a slow and easy fashion

Warm ups should take around 5-15 minutes (we should begin feeling at least a little sweat when it ends…)

* In same cases it can be very benefical to preform a mental preparation beform the main body workout - meditation (it can of course be done as part of the main training), defining our objective for the training, mental focusing and so on...

Types of warm ups:

Specific – they prepare the specific body parts we intend to train in the main part of our training session.

General and active – they involve warming up the big muscle groups – walking, easy running…

Passive – warming up the body by using external tools – sauna, massage…


• Researches show that performing static stretches as part of our warm up can reduce our muscles ability to perform by 30%. For more information

• The best stretching for warm ups are dynamic stretching exercises

Learn more about flexibility and stretching in the martial arts

We should raise our heart beat rate to about 40%-50% of its max ability (220-“our age” is the general method to calculate this…). To learn more about stamina

• Forms / Kata training can be good ideas for our warm up only if we can start off the motion easily and carefully.

• We should treat the warm up as a preparation phase not only for the body, but for our mind (mental preparation) as well.

• It is important to stay minded during the work out to our body; so that we can focus on the areas which need more care during it.


A good warm up is an important part of a good training.

Proper warm ups have many attributes which were listed above, for many of us they are in some ways an insurance policy as they help reduce injuries and make sure we don’t lose training time recovering from them.

They are very important for our ability to rip the full benefits of our martial art training.

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