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2 Simple Ways to Get Stronger for Self-Defense

Updated: Aug 14, 2022

Mother and young daughter exercising together with squats to help get stronger for self-defense.
Let's check out two easy ways to start getting stronger for our self-defense.

It's a reality that we can't ignore in self-defense — we will be required to use force to overcome the force being used against us.

Strength, flexibility, and endurance are incredibly important when we have to defend ourselves when being attacked.

Let's talk about strength today. For our self-defense purposes we want to use a principal called specificity in focusing on the areas we want strength. This means we are going to concentrate on the movements we will be using that are the same or similar in our defense techniques.

We are going to start super basic and super easy.

No gym? No worries. These two exercise don’t require any equipment. We can do them at home. We can do them in the hotel room, at the park during our walks or anywhere we like.

Air Squats for Self-Defense Strength

We are going to use the squat as a way to strengthen our glutes and thighs.

Doing squats strengthens the glutes and thighs
  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart.

  • Bend at the knees and lower yourself like you are about to sit in a chair. Keep your knees facing forward and your back straight. Your arms will extend slightly forward to keep your balance.

  • Let's see if we can squat down to where our thighs are close to parallel with the floor. If you can't make it there, relax. Do the deepest you can right now. Don't worry -- the more you do this exercise, the more strength and flexibility you will be getting in your hips and knees. We don't need to go all the way down and sit on our heels. If you can that is fantastic! If you can't, we are still getting great benefits by getting to parallel.

  • Try to do as many as you can. If you can only do three, that's fine. Tomorrow let's do four, the day after let's do five. See the progression here?

When we get past 20 we are really starting to improve our strength and our stamina. We know people that are routinely doing 50 to 75 in a row. Believe me, we are getting a great workout at this level simply doing bodyweight squats.

Start slowly. Consistently doing a few every day is going to help your own overall strength.

Why squats?

Because it's the same exact motion we use for a number of our self-defense techniques which require us to use our legs to push off the attacker.

Planks for Self-Defense Strength

Okay, ready for this? Doing planks are a challenge, but supremely worth it for building both our upper body and our core strength.

woman working out to build strength for self-defense
The plank strengthens our upper body and core.
  • Start on your hands and knees.

  • Straighten out both arms with elbows locked.

  • Now stretch both of your legs backwards until you are on your toes and your back is completely straight.

  • Tighten your abdominal muscles and pull your shoulders down to keep them secure in the sockets.

  • Hold until you can't anymore. Repeat two more times.

It's important to make sure we tighten our muscles and try to hold that straight back without sagging.

2 Easier Variations of the Plank

What we described above is commonly called the "high plank". It is without a doubt the most challenging variation.

But Brad, what if I can't do the high plank?

No problem, we have two variations that are easier:

woman doing a low plank to build strength for self-defense
The low plank is an easier variation to start

The low plank has our elbows on the floor instead of our outstretched hands. This version is the second-most challenging.

We can also take any of the two methods above, the higher plank or the low plank, and we can rest our knees on the floor instead.

Start on your knees if you have to. See if you can do it for 10 seconds. Then 20 seconds.

Then let's see if we can do it with our knees off the floor so we are only supported by our hands and our toes. Again try for 10 seconds, then 20 seconds, then 30.

Try for a 30-second hold. Then see if you can do it three times.

Don't get me wrong, planks are extremely challenging but the reward is worth the effort.

Why planks?

We have techniques where we need to lock out our arms to keep the attacker from coming forward or laying down on top of us crushing us with his weight.

Getting good at planks makes a huge difference in our ability to accomplish some of the most important techniques.

Let's get started now to build our strength in the areas we need to be able to accomplish our self-defense techniques.

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