If you are new to the art of judo, one of the first techniques she or he learns in judo is ukemi, which are commonly known as break falls. This maneuver does not require any particular muscles, but the falling and rolling involved helps to strengthen your core as well as build confidence. As such, the first area of strength to focus on is grip strength.
Grip strength is found in your upper extremities. Namely, your hands, forearms, and wrists. Many female athletes encounter challenges in this area.
What kind of exercises can you do at your fitness center to build grip strength?
The specific exercises you need to work on are pull-ups, hand grips, and the rope climb. These prove invaluable to building your grip strength and improving your overall performance and/or conditioning.
Another important element to judo involves the ability to lift and “throw” a person. It requires significant leg strength to lift someone, particularly in relation to the thigh muscles. Moreover, leg strength and power are essential in reaping throws (e.g. osoto-gari), balance, and building speed.
Balance is achieved, in large part, via the small muscles and tendons in the feet, ankles, and toes. While regular judo training and conditioning will help to develop these areas over time, additional exercises on a bongo board could also be very beneficial.
As you become more adept at judo and learn more advanced maneuvers, it will become apparent how proper strengthening of the lower leg and calf muscles is imperative. This aspect is a critical component in many throws and more advanced techniques. Strengthening exercises, such as sprints, running stairs, toe lifts, and plyometric jumps, can help to develop the required leg power required for these maneuvers.
As in any form of martial arts or sporting activities, the strengthening of your core muscles is a must. These activities require significant amounts of twisting and/or turning components, all of which require strong core strength in your obliques, back, abdominals, and glutes. Moreover, toned abdominal and back muscles also prevent further risk of injury, opponents from bending you over or backward, while allowing you to execute counters maneuvers(e.g. ushiro-goshi) and block attacks from your opponents. The pulling and lifting component of a throw should come from the trunk and legs, but it does not hurt to have strong arms as well.
Another area that benefits from weight lifting and strength training in relation to your fitness for judo is arm strength. While the torque involved in the lifting and pulling component of a throw should originate from the torso and legs via proper body mechanics, it can only benefit you to have strong arms as well.
Such conditioning will only further enhance your overall body conditioning and performance. Arm strength is essential for holds, blocks, and counter maneuvers. Strength building exercises, such as curls, free weights, lateral pulls, and resistance bands, can be very beneficial to athletes training in judo no matter what their level or conditioning.
Weight lifting and conditioning are essential elements to any form of fitness training. This is especially true when beginning or continuing any martial arts training, such as judo. The physical benefits and discipline involved in such training can give you a whole new perspective on life and health.
Don’t have a gym membership? Don’t worry, check out this home training you can do to help your Judo technique.