The Israeli military teaches Krav Maga, a hand-to-hand fighting system that is designed to quickly neutralize an enemy by any means necessary. Krav Maga has found its way to the civilian world of fitness, its ruthless nature being apparent in a no-nonsense approach to training. The workouts are extreme and thorough, instilling muscle memory, mental fortitude and the physical ability to handle potentially lethal confrontations. Students participate in defensive, striking and controlled contact drills, along with body weight complexes.
Conditioning With Combatives
The physical execution of self-defense techniques exerts your entire body in a series of grabs, blocks, bends, elbows, hammerfists, punches, palm hands, kicks and take downs. One defense for being choked from behind requires you to step back into the opponent with your left foot, deliver two left elbow strikes to the face and then twist your torso around to land a right hammerfist. The warm-up in a Krav Maga workout has you doing this move 10 times on both sides as hard as you can, followed by four or five more techniques done the same way with little rest in between.
Krav Maga striking sessions teach muscle memory while working your lungs to exhaustion. The hand strikes, kicks, knee strikes and elbows used throughout the system's defense catalog are put to the test against heavy bags and focus mitts. You employ a combination of two to five strikes per series, done repeatedly throughout a one- to three-minute round. You throw a series of predetermined strikes at full force, switch sides and repeat, then switch sides again for the entire round. When fatigue sets in you are encouraged to dig deep and finish the round.
Core From the Floor
Core exercises are done from a vulnerable position on the floor -- another approach that teaches you valuable defense skills within a taxing workout. Heel kicks, side kicks and round kicks are thrown toward an imaginary aggressor. Strikes are done rapidly with one foot, then the other in continuous sets of 10. The kicking mechanics occur in conjunction with torso-bending motions that engage the abdominal muscles and the obliques.
Full-body padding is an option for this facet of Krav Maga fitness, and is strongly recommended if you are a beginner. Controlled kickboxing in timed rounds provides a tried-and-true endurance workout. Self-defense techniques are performed with a classmate acting as the bad guy. Hand and body protection allow for more extreme exertion so you can learn exactly what kind of pressure and force is required to neutralize an assailant. The drills are done with intensity after you are already tired from previous conditioning exercises. This forces you to learn to fight in an exhausted state while reinforcing the movements into your muscle memory.