Gold Member Badge


  • You're all caught up!

Body Weight Exercises for Judo

author image Patrick Dale
Patrick Dale is an experienced writer who has written for a plethora of international publications. A lecturer and trainer of trainers, he is a contributor to "Ultra-FIT" magazine and has been involved in fitness for more than 22 years. He authored the books "Military Fitness", "Live Long, Live Strong" and "No Gym? No Problem!" and served in the Royal Marines for five years.
Body Weight Exercises for Judo
A woman is training her abdominal muscles. Photo Credit: undrey/iStock/Getty Images

Judo is a modern martial art that is both a sport and form of self-defense. The word judo means gentle way but this term is misleading as judo is a tough sport. Created in Japan in 1882, judo does not involve punches or kicks but instead the participants, called judoka, use throws, chokes and joint locks to overcome their opponents. Judo practice takes place in a training hall called a dojo and much of a judoka's training involves body weight conditioning exercises.

Video of the Day

Windshield Wipers

Rotational core strength is vital in judo as most throws have a rotational element to them. Windshield wipers are an effective body weight exercise that develops the rotational muscles of your core -- specifically your obliques. Lie on your back with your legs straight and your feet held directly over your hips. Place your hands flat on the floor at shoulder height. Using your arms for balance, turn your lower body and try to touch one of your outstretched hands with your feet. Do not leg your legs fall to the floor but, rather, maintain tension in your abdominal muscles. Bring your legs back up to the center and then perform another repetition to the opposite side. Continue alternating sides for the duration of your set.

Judo Belt Pullups

Grip strength is an essential part of judo. Judoka need a strong grip so they can hold and throw their opponents. Upper back and biceps strength is also vital and judo belt pullups develop all of these strength characteristics. Take your judo belt and fold it in half. Loop the middle of the folded belt over a pullup bar or similarly high, sturdy beam. Hold an end in each hand and hang with your arms extended and feet off the floor. Squeeze the belt hard, bend your arms and pull yourself up until your hands are level with your shoulders. Slowly lower yourself back into the starting position and repeat.


A strong neck and back are important in judo for both offensive and defensive maneuvers. Bridging is best performed on an exercise mat or on the padded floor of the dojo. Lie on your back with your legs bent and your feet close to your butt. Bend your arms and place your hands palms-down on either side of your head. Push down with your hands and feet to lift your body off the floor. Arch your neck backward so that the top of your head can rest on the floor. Keep your hips pushed up and your back strongly arched. Keep your hands in place to reduce the load on your neck. Hold this position for 20 to 30 seconds. Strive to hold the bridge for progressively longer durations as you become more accustomed to the exercise.

Do not perform bridging if you have a history of neck or spinal injuries.


Burpees will develop whole body muscular endurance, explosiveness and anaerobic fitness -- all vital fitness components in judo. Stand with your hands by your sides and your feet together. Squat down and place your hands on the floor. Jump your feet back and adopt the pushup position. Perform a single pushup. Jump your feet back in between your hands and then leap up into the air. Land on slightly bent knees to minimize impact and then immediately descend into another repetition. Make burpees more challenging by performing two or three pushups instead of just one. Perform burpees for timed intervals such as 60 seconds or for a set number of repetitions such as 30.

LiveStrong Calorie Tracker
Lose Weight. Feel Great! Change your life with MyPlate by LIVESTRONG.COM
  • Gain 2 pounds per week
  • Gain 1.5 pounds per week
  • Gain 1 pound per week
  • Gain 0.5 pound per week
  • Maintain my current weight
  • Lose 0.5 pound per week
  • Lose 1 pound per week
  • Lose 1.5 pounds per week
  • Lose 2 pounds per week
  • Female
  • Male
ft. in.


Demand Media