Hitting pads is a great way to perfect technique and to expend energy, if you don’t believe me then just try hitting pads properly for 60 seconds and you’ll change your mind. But pad work itself can be intensified. What has to be remembered is that the effort that is put in directly corresponds with the reward that is taken away. So if you just pat the pads, then you are not going to push yourself or improve.
Good pad work improves your balance, technique and coordination, and can give you a proper blast in terms of fitness. The most important thing is not necessarily the martial arts equipment that you use, but the partner that you choose. In boxing, the pad man is key, he is the reason the individual is pushed and improves, which is why good ones are highly sort after. If you want to see a difference in martial arts, spend a class with a novice holding the pads, and you will see exactly what I mean.
Pad work can include both punching and kicking and definitely gives a full body workout. A simple routine is counting 1 to 10. On 1 you hit the pad once with a jab, on 2 a jab cross, on 3 a jab cross jab, building up to 10 alternating between jabs and crosses. Once you reach 10, hit 10 again and then count down from 10 to 1. As an alternative start at 10 and go down to 1 and then back to 10 again. Believe me, if you throw proper punches you’ll be blowing hard after a few rounds of this.
For kicking, throw kicks to the pads or over the pads, alternating from the left to the right foot kicks, or a minute of left foot kicks followed by a minute of right foot kicks. Kicking workouts can take a lot more out of you than punching, so be prepared for hard work.
All martial artists need to be able to keep going and so running is a great exercise, but to intensify it, look to run up hills or stairs in short bursts, with short rest periods between sets. Remember that boxing rounds are 3 minutes, with a minute’s rest, so try similar times for your training. Good solid road work is also suggested, but is more of a staple than a bonus.
Skipping is a favoured fitness for martial artists, and the only piece of equipment you need is a rope, something cheap and accessible to all. The better you get the easier it is, so if you can skip happily forward, try alternating feet, double spins or better still skipping backwards. That change can take you right back to being a beginner again, out of breath in no time. Remember, if you can do it and it is easy, change it up, vary it and you will see the benefits. Never, as they say, rest on your laurels.
Nothing is more intense than the act of sparring. Hitting pads is one thing, but pads do not hit back! The fitness levels for sparring are ramped right up. To get an even better return, always spar with people better than you, you’ll learn more and be pushed more at the same time. Yes you’ll need some basic martial arts equipment like gloves, head guard and a gum shield, but the workout you get is well worth additional investment.
The returns you get from martial arts depend on your attitude towards them. If you only go to one class a week, that is better than nothing, but more classes, varied classes, with sparring mixed in together with your own fitness work will reap higher rewards. You’ll notice the difference pretty quickly too, and you’ll regret not having committed earlier.
Nothing comes easy, but intense workouts were never meant to be easy were they. You’ll progress much quicker and experience more endorphin rushes than you have had before, so yes it is tough, but so are you, right?