When I was a young man, I struggled with my self-image. My brother was a “hulk” and played varsity college basketball all four years.

 

I, on the other hand, was skinny. I didn’t have much confidence all through elementary and high school. I think that’s one of the reasons I was drawn to the martial arts. I joined a local Kenpo Karate class and quickly realized the emotional and mental benefits of knowing how to defend myself.

 

But that wasn’t actually the greatest benefit from my martial arts training.

 

Breaking Muscle Shop

You can build an impressive amount of muscle with a program that is entirely bodyweight based.

 

Bodyweight Conditioning

The karate classes were set up into two parts: conditioning and technique. The primary goal of the conditioning portion was to make us so fatigued we couldn’t rely upon our strength during the second part of the class. Instead, we were forced to rely upon proper technique in order to beat an opponent.

 

Yes, the conditioning was that brutal.

 

And the workouts we performed were entirely bodyweight based. But I remember looking into the mirror with my shirt off after a couple months of training and thinking, “Dang! You look like a Navy Seal!” That bodyweight training delivered results.

 

A Karate-Based Conditioning Program

The program laid out below is based on the same style of training I did in Kenpo Karate and will help you get ripped. Why? Because it combines three important components:

 

  1. No Rest Between Each Exercise: Below, you will see a series of exercises. After you complete one exercise, you’ll move immediately to the next. You won’t take any rest. If you have to get a brief sip of water, that’s fine, but the goal is to take as little rest between sets as possible. Why is this important? Because you are conditioning. The workouts mimic a fight. In a fight, you don’t get to take rests.
  2. Keeping Track of Your Reps: Click here for a downloadable workout sheet. Print it out, and after each set, write down your number of reps. Every time you perform an exercise, you will strive to get as many reps as you can. For example, if you did 26 Hindu push ups on Monday, then you’ll strive to get 27 or 28 on Wednesday. Will you be able to increase your reps every workout for every exercise? No. But it’s important to strive to achieve it.
  3. Getting in the Right Mental Framework: I kid you not, this workout plan is tough. It may look easy on paper, but it is hard. Most workouts allow you to take sixty to ninety seconds between sets. Other plans don’t require you to go to full fatigue. This plan requires you to not rest and go to full fatigue with each set. You’ll need to get in the right mental framework to get through. So realize beforehand that it's going to be challenging. This plan delivers amazing results in terms of fat loss, conditioning, and muscle development - but it is not for the faint of heart.

 

Program Details

Each workout is comprised of upper-body, lower-body, core, and whole-body exercises. So, you get a full body workout every time you train. Many of these exercises will be new to you. If you need help with them, please post your questions to the comments below and I’ll do my best to answer your questions.

 

Click Here to Download a PDF Scoresheet for the Workout Program

 

How to do the workouts:

 

  1. Start off with the first exercise listed under upper body.
  2. Do as many reps as you possibly can with good form.
  3. Quickly write down the number of reps you achieve.
  4. Move on to the next exercise.
  5. Repeat until you get through all the exercises listed, to the end of the whole-body section.

 

There are a couple of variables in the plan that change over the ninety days in order to achieve a progressive overload. The first variable is the amount of exercises. After each month, you’ll be doing a greater number of exercises during each workout.

 

“By the time you get to the third month, your body will be well conditioned and much stronger than when you started.”

The other variable is the difficulty of exercises. During the first month, the exercises will be more intermediate. As you get into the third month, they will be more advanced and this will challenge your body tremendously.

 

After each three weeks of training, you will have an active rest week. This means you can take off a week from the training plan and perform other activities such as hiking, kayaking, biking, or running. Can you do other forms of strength training during the active rest week? Sure, but don’t go overboard. Remember, your body needs rest in order to recover.

 

This plan delivers amazing results in terms of fat loss, conditioning, and muscle development - but it is not for the faint of heart.

 

Month 1: El Diablo Month

I call this month “The Devil” because you’ll realize these workouts really are challenging and hellish. That said, this month is also designed to give you results quickly so you can see the effectiveness of these exercises.

 

Exercise Schedule:

  • Week 1: 3 X Per Week
  • Week 2: 3 X Per Week
  • Week 3: 3 X Per Week
  • Week 4: Active Rest Period

 

Upper Body:

 

Lower Body:

 

 

Core Exercises:

 

Whole Body Exercises:

 

Month 2: The Shredder Month

In this second month, you’ll start to see your body burning off fat and building lean muscle. The structure is set up the same as last month. You’ll do workouts three times per week. However, you’ll be doing more exercises per session.

 

Exercise Schedule:

  • Week 1: 3 X Per Week
  • Week 2: 3 X Per Week
  • Week 3: 3 X Per Week
  • Week 4: Active Rest Period

 

Upper Body:

 

 

Lower Body:

 

Core Exercises:

 

Whole Body Exercises:

 

Month 3: The Total Annihilator Month

By the time you get to the third month, your body will be well conditioned and much stronger than when you started. To continue the progressive overload, you’ll be changing up two variables. The first one is the amount of exercises - you’ll again be doing more. The second variable is that you’ll be doing the workouts four times per week.

 

Exercise Schedule:

  • Week 1: 4 X Per Week
  • Week 2: 4 X Per Week
  • Week 3: 4 X Per Week
  • Week 4: Active Rest Period

 

Upper Body:

 

 

Lower Body:

 

Core Exercises:

 

Whole Body Exercises:

 

Click Here to Download a PDF Scoresheet for the Workout Program

 

If you have any questions, please post them to the comments below.

 

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Photo 1 courtesy of Daniel Kaiser [CC BY-SA 3.0, CC BY-SA 3.0 de or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons.

Photo 2 courtesy of Breaking Muscle.

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