Power up your circuits with these dynamic combinations that will tone you up from head to toe. And with plenty of swift jabs and mighty knee-ups, you’ll get a major boost in mobility too.
More women are taking a stab at combat workout classes. While some do it for the major calorie burn, others are drawn to the self-defence element. Of course, there’s the perk of feeling super badass with every punch and kick.
If you’re still battling the fear of getting injured, don’t worry. We got Grace Huang, martial arts instructor and co-founder of ﬁtness studio Neue Fit, to design a Shape-exclusive Muay Thaiinspired high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workout featuring moves frequently done by Charmaine during her personal training sessions there. The best part about this beginner-friendly routine is how easily it can be amped up for anyone who wants to push their limits, hike up their heart rate and blast more calories in just 20 minutes.
If you’ve never dipped your toes in martial arts-style ﬁtness, get into your ﬁght stance and consider this your initiation. You’ll be safe from bruises since it’s non-combat, but these dynamic moves will add more oomph to your arsenal of HIIT exercises for sure.
Follow the instructions for these sections in order.
TOTAL TIME: Approximately 20 minutes
YOU’LL NEED: Timer, exercise mat (optional)
(6 minutes) Do each exercise for 15 seconds in this order without rest. Complete three sets with 30 seconds rest in between.
(14 minutes) Do each exercise AMRAP for 30 seconds, back to back. Rest for 10 seconds after completing each group. Aim to ﬁnish three sets. To increase intensity, eliminate rest time. Add 20 seconds of rest between each group for lower intensity.
1 BLOCK SQUAT
Works hamstrings, glutes, quads
Stand with feet hip-width apart, toes pointing at 45 degrees. Hold clenched ﬁsts up next to cheekbones. Raise right knee up towards right elbow. Ensure back is straight at all times. Raise left hand up for balance, if needed [A]. Repeat on the other side. Hinge forward and lower to a squat, pushing butt back and down to knee level [B].
Sport bra and sneakers, from Adidas. Colorblocked tights, from Everlast.
2 BACK LUNGE PUSH KICK
Works hamstrings, glutes
Stand with feet hip-width apart, hands on hips. Step right leg back and lower body, bending both knees at 90 degrees. Back knee should be hovering above ground [A]. As you stand up, push through left heel, bring right knee up to chest and extend right leg forward into a kick, swing right hand back swiftly, lean back slightly and keep hips facing front [B]. Repeat on the other side.
SCALE UP Pulse once downwards as you lunge.
Works hamstrings, glutes, quads
Stand with feet hip-width apart, hands on hips. Step right leg forward and lower body, bending both knees at 90 degrees [A]. As you stand up, push through right heel and raise your left knee up to chest level, leaning back slightly and swinging left arm back swiftly. Ensure toes are pointed down [B]. Return foot to ground and repeat on the other side.
SCALE UP Pulse twice downwards as you lunge.
4 UPPERCUT BURPEE
Works shoulders, arms, chest, abs, butt, thighs
Stand with feet wider than hip-width. Clench ﬁsts with palms facing in, keep knees slightly bent and stay on your toes. Roll left shoulder forward as you drive a quick punch upwards with your left ﬁst [A]. Repeat on the other side. That’s one rep. Complete 4 reps in one continuous motion. Place palms on ground in front of you and get into tabletop position [B]. Jump both feet back into plank position [C] and immediately back towards hands. Launch into a jump upwards to complete one rep [D].
SCALE UP Do a push-up during the burpee.
SCALE DOWN Step backwards and forward one leg at a time instead of jumping.
5 BOXER SIT-UP
Lie on your back with feet hip-width apart, knees bent at 90 degrees with hands behind ears [A]. Exhale as you contract abs and lift torso up towards thighs. Ensure back is straight. Clench ﬁsts and extend left hand towards the right with control, rotating palm to face down [B]. Snap left arm back to starting position. Repeat on the other side. Lower your back down slowly to complete one rep.
6 JUMPING JACK PUNCHES
Works shoulder abductors, core, calves
Stand with feet hip-width apart. Simultaneously raise arms sideways above head as you jump and split legs to the sides [A]. Jump back to the starting position. That’s one rep. Complete 4 reps. Clench ﬁsts and extend left hand forward, rotating palm to face down [B]. Snap left arm back to starting position. Repeat on the other side to complete one rep. Complete 4 reps.
7 ALTERNATE SKIP KNEES
Works calves, glutes, quads
Stand with feet hip-width apart, overlapped palms facing in at forehead level. Step right leg back [A]. Simultaneously push through left heel, bring right knee up to hip level and draw palms down towards torso [B]. Ensure toes pointing down. While returning palms to original position, hop left leg back and repeat motion.
8 INCHWORM ELBOW STRIKES
Works shoulders, triceps, abs
Stand with feet hip-width apart. Hinge forward at hips [A] and place palms on ground. Walk hands forward into high plank position [B]. Drop elbows down one at a time, making sure they are directly under your shoulders [C]. Walk hands back towards feet and stand up. Step right leg back. Bend elbows, hold left hand up near cheekbone, right palm and forearm facing down, parallel to ground. Rotate hips inwards and swing right elbow forward in one quick motion [D]. Repeat on the other side to complete one rep.
9 NARROW TO WIDE PUSH-UP + PUNCH + KNEE RAISE
Works shoulders, chest, triceps, abs
Start with palms and knees on ground. Ensure shoulders stacked above wrists and core is tight. Slowly bend elbows, lowering body towards floor [A]. Elbows should stay close to sides of body. Press upwards through arms, straightening elbows. Repeat with palms placed wider than shoulder-width apart [B]. Hop both feet towards palms and stand up, feet hip-width apart. Clench fists and extend left hand forward, arms parallel to ground while twisting hips inwards [C]. Repeat on the other side. Simultaneously bring your left knee up to chest level, lean back slightly and swing left arm back swiftly while raising right hand near cheekbone [D]. Ensure toes are pointed down. Return foot to ground and repeat on the other side.
SCALE UP Do push-up with knees off ground.