The Top 10 Martial Arts Programs to Include in Your Exercise Routine

The Top 10 Martial Arts Programs to Include in Your Exercise Routine

The Top 10 Martial Arts Programs to Include in Your Exercise Routine

What are the benefits of martial arts?

Not only is martial arts training a great way to improve your physical health, but it can also help you to develop self-confidence and learn to defend yourself. 

Many folks practice martial arts for their various benefits: mental stimulation, physical exercise, self-defense, weight loss, and stress relief, among others.

Finding the perfect martial arts programs for your exercise goals can be tough. Here, we’ve highlighted some top choices for fitness, self-defence, for kids, and to practice from home. 

Martial arts for fitness


Taekwondo is one of the most famous systematic Korean martial arts. 

Taekwondo is much more than just physical fighting skills. It combines both attack and self-defense as a way to exercise, compete, and improve your life through training both your body and mind.

Taekwondo is grounded on the belief that the leg is the sturdiest and farthest-reaching limb. Because of this, the leg has significant potential to be utilized as a powerful weapon. 

Taekwondo offers the chance to enhance your agility, balance, endurance, flexibility, and power, among other benefits

You might have seen martial artists online breaking cement blocks, bricks, or wood planks with their bare legs or hands. These athletes usually combine their mental focus with the strength and technique they develop through rigorous and consistent training.


Judo is an unarmed combat sport that originated in Japan. 

Derived from Brazilian Jiu-jitsu, Judo has the main goal of bringing down your opponents for points. Although it was initially created for exercise and sport, it is also an efficient martial art in close combat.

Judo is ideal for exercise as it aims to achieve maximum efficiency with minimum effort - with the right skills and balance, you can beat even larger opponents!

Its cardiovascular workouts improve stamina, general body health, and overall fitness. However, there are no striking techniques used during Olympic competitions.


The Brazilian martial arts program of Capoeira might not seem as engaging as other art forms in this guide. 

However, any ardent capoeira will likely testify, the art can be a great way to tone up and increase your fitness level when practiced correctly.

Capoeira training involves a variety of exercises that enhance body strength and cardio. While total burn can vary, an artist can burn up to 700 calories per hour - that’s a lot. 

The mixed art and dance style emphasizes the use of speed, strength, and agility in harmony. 

Capoeira moves are not only fast but are also performed in a continuous fluid motion, requiring a good level of flexibility in addition to speed and balance. Capoeira can be a great martial art if you’re looking to simultaneously develop stamina and flexibility while enjoying a creative format. 

Martial arts for self-defense


Of all martial arts out there, boxing is a popular choice both for those wanting to develop a fit, strong and lean physique and for those wanting to prioritize self-defence. 

Boxing is widely practiced across the United States, and the combination of cardio and strength training elements can burn up to a mammoth 800 calories an hour

While there are a few ways to train, using a punching bag is one easy way to get started from home. Not only can it improve your muscular endurance and resting heart rate, but it can burn up to 13 calories per minute, and is similar to other cardio exercises such as cycling and running.

Despite its popularity, boxing is not one to underestimate. It comprises intense workout routines, and you have to dedicate yourself to get the full fitness benefits fully. Boxing will help you develop a cardiovascular workout for core strength and muscle tone development.

Krav Maga

This is an Israeli martial art form widely used in police and military training for defense against bare-handed or armed attackers. It is typically a form of physical training and self-defense. It is probably one of the world’s most efficient forms of martial art.

Krav Maga includes Jiu-Jitsu kicks, grappling, punching, and other muscle-intensive moves that help tone muscles. Practicing the art is a great way to enhance your body strength and stamina and cut weight. 

Like most fitness classes, the martial art session starts with a warm-up and ends with a cool-down session, with many aerobic exercises and training in between. It not only helps improve your physical health but it is also designed to boost your mental fitness.

Mixed Martial Arts

Just as the name suggests, mixed martial arts (MMA) combines various forms of martial arts from the Japanese to Western forms. It is perfect for a general body workout. For beginners, this art trains on body discipline; it is not straightforward to practice. Hence one progressively works on their self-discipline every time to push themselves into training.

MMA training is very versatile. Fighters undergo strength training, weight training, flexibility, and also circuit training. The intense, fast-paced workouts stimulate improvement of your energy levels. This also comes with the benefit of increasing your coordination and body awareness.

If toning your muscles intrigues you, training in MMA would be an excellent choice. All excessive fats are lost during training, and you begin to develop some serious muscles.

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Martial arts for kids 


Karate is an easy option for children as it’s both great for learning defensive techniques and is highly accessible across the United States. 

Karate can be practiced for self-defense, as a combat sport, or as an art. 

Karate’s main aim is to deflect attacks, control, and disable attacks coming directly ahead of you. Punches are targeted at the solar plexus, found below the sternum rather than the face and head. This effectively knocks the air out of an opponent and disables him.

In whatever way you may decide to take up karate, it can be an effective full-body workout. A trained instructor can help you strengthen the mind, develop a more apparent thought process, and boost composure. It can also strengthen your body, improve your reflexes, build stamina and improve your general health.

Muay Thai

Muay Thai, or Thai Boxing, comes from Thailand. It is practiced in various parts of the world, including Thailand and Southeast Asian countries. 

Muay Thai is also known as The Art of Eight Limbs because artists are trained to utilize kicks, knees, elbows, and punches to formulate an attack. The martial art is second to none in giving you good muscle endurance for the upper body, especially the shoulders.

Muay Thai exercises and stretches are similar to Mixed Martial Arts programs. Moreover, the art is also linked to some traditional conditioning workouts like the infamous banana tree exercise.


Aikido is a modern art originally from Japan a great non-violent alternative for kids. It is a martial art intended mainly for self-defense without causing harm or injury to the attacker. It not only teaches how to fight back but also how to be a healthier and happier person.

Aikido is mainly based on the principle that an attacker exposes themselves whenever they attack. The artist ought to recognize the weaknesses and then respond in a way that does not expose him. The defender should go with the attacker’s movements by using his momentum against him rather than fight against him.

Aikido combines joint-locking, throwing, pinning, and striking skills. All these do not require much speed but rather composure, timeliness, and skill to disable your attacker. A typical aikido artist burns 400-500 calories per hour.

Martial arts from home 

Many of the martial arts programs listed above have programs that can be viewed at home. The one that you choose should be the one that you feel most comfortable implementing into your home and lifestyle. Depending on the extent to which you are looking to take your training, some programs will require that you have more equipment than other programs.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

If you are looking to learn something relatively straightforward at home, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu might be for you. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu or BJJ is an all-inclusive martial art based out of Brazil. Artists are taught some vicious moves like chokeholds, biting, grappling, joint locks, hard striking, and eye-gouging. Japanese Jiu-Jitsu is mainly used for real-life combat situations. On the other hand, Brazilian jiu-jitsu is mainly used for sport and physical fitness.

Once the attacker is pinned to the ground, the first step is to grab his limb and manipulate it until it breaks. After the attacker is brought to a halt, the artist can then unleash a series of fists and elbows to the face.

This art aims to understand your opponent’s and your center of gravity. You also have to understand balance in case your attacker gets at you with one part of his body, and the other part needs to balance. These skills can be viewed online or with DVDs ordered online. Even better, you can make this a couple’s activity and practice the moves carefully on one another.

Final Thoughts

It is no secret that martial arts are an excellent form of exercise. From improving cardiovascular health to increasing strength and balance, the benefits are many. They also help improve your mental well-being and self-esteem.

Suppose you would like to develop a great cardio and aerobic workout that will build your stamina and improve general body health, consider taking one or more of these martial arts. Whatever martial arts program you opt for, as long as you have the discipline and dedication, you will see improved overall health.

If you are looking for a way to be active or looking for a way to protect yourself, there are plenty of martial arts programs that can fit your lifestyle. Are you looking for more information about martial arts? Visit Wodify’s blog for more information!

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