Developing Speed for Martial Arts Training

This article is an excerpt from the book Ultimate Fitness through Martial Arts

To develop overall speed, there are several sequential steps in training:

  1. Basic conditioning
  2. Explosive power development
  3. Skill refinement
  4. Skill loading
  5. Full speed training

Basic condition, including flexibility, strength and agility training, is a prerequisite for speed training. The completion of basic conditioning is signaled by a level of fitness that allows the athlete to begin the more intensive exercises that develop explosive power. Exercises for developing explosive power are detailed in “Chapter 2: Power” and the execution speed section of this chapter. Once the target muscles start to develop, begin working on skill refinement. Each skill should be examined to eliminate unnecessary movements and increase biomechanical efficiency.


With highly refined movements and strong muscles, you can begin adding speed to each movement. Start skill loading gradually and observe your body’s reaction. If you can add speed and still maintain semi-refined movements, continue to increase your intensity. Eventually you will reach the final stage of speed training in which you can execute skillful movements at high speed.

Now let’s examine the four types of speed individually. Continue reading

Strength and Power Training

This article is an excerpt from the book Ultimate Fitness through Martial Arts

Power Training for Martial Arts

Power is a combination of strength and explosiveness. It is created by releasing maximum muscular force at maximum speed. To increase power, you must increase both speed and strength. By exerting strength with speed, you take advantage of both the force generated by the muscles and the momentum created through the speed.

Power can be described in three ways:

  • Explosive power – Explosive power is the ability to exert maximum force in one or a series of dynamic acts. Example: Breaking a board with a punch.
  • Static power – Static power is the maximum force a person can exert for a short period. Example: Bench press.
  • Dynamic Power – Dynamic power is the ability to exert muscular force repeatedly or continuously over time. Example: Heavy bag workout.


Power is derived from muscular ability. The human body contains over 400 muscles that can be broken in two classes: smooth and striated. Smooth muscles are those that perform the involuntary functions of the body like circulation and digestion. Striated muscles are those that can be voluntarily contracted, such as the muscle groups in the arms and legs. These muscles are the source of power.


 Slow and fast twitch muscle fibers

Striated muscles are made up of two types of fibers: slow twitch and fast twitch. Slow twitch fibers are designed for activity that must be sustained over a long time like distance running. They have a high capacity for aerobic energy production and can remain active for a long time while producing relatively small amounts of lactic acid. This is important because lactic acid build-up in the muscle tissue causes the muscle to fatigue and eventually renders it unable to continue working. Low levels of lactic acid mean more capacity for work. People who have a high percentage of slow twitch fibers excel at endurance activities. Continue reading