Lady Doing Yoga Movements On Beach

Most people today are familiar with the concept of cross-training. During their off-season, most professional athletes participate in some form of cross-training to maintain or improve their game. In martial arts, this cross-training can be helpful as well. Sometimes stepping outside of a world you are familiar with can help one gain perspective on their primary sport.

Five Physical Activities to Aid Karate


To many, this may seem obvious. Cardiovascular exercise has been generally accepted as a necessity for health. Running can improve your cardiovascular endurance and can thus help your martial arts. It helps you perform drills or spar for a longer duration of time, and it also can help improve your ability to focus on and be aware of your body.


Lifting weights builds strength, and strength translates into power. Weight lifting doesn’t have to mean lifting as heavy as you can all the time; however, weight training to build muscle helps virtually every sport. In martial arts, improving your strength can add power to your hits and kicks as well as help stabilize your core.


Boxing is another fighting sport, so this one may seem a bit pointless at first. However, boxers are known for the speed and agility in their footwork. Boxing can improve footwork for martial arts as well as decrease reaction time, making you faster when sparring. Learning these quick-twitch muscle reactions can help you defend yourself more effectively.

Woman Practicing Yoga

Yoga is a great way to train for martial arts in many ways. It helps increase your ability to focus, your flexibility, and your balance. While this may seem like a no-brainer for cross-training, it is surprising how few people think to actually do it. Yoga can create a sense of peace that you can bring with you to your karate, giving you greater capacity to achieve skills and develop your karate practice.

Woman Practicing Ballet Moves

Ballet is one of the few art forms that requires as much discipline as martial arts do. It also will help to improve core strength, coordination, and balance. The graceful movement associated with ballet can help a karate student learn the coordination and control needed for his primary skill. Ballet teaches a skill that most sports rarely touch on, and that is weight placement. Becoming more aware of your center of gravity will make most movements become much easier.

What We’ve Learned

In conclusion, what you choose for cross-training, if you choose to do it, will vary greatly based on what you enjoy and what area you wish to improve in. Often when you find the right type of cross-training, the skills in your primary sport will increase much more rapidly. Most professional athletes participate in some form of cross-training, so it makes sense that this practice would benefit athletes of all types and levels.