*Note: This is a reprint of an article I wrote under another name a while back.*

No one denies there is a physical component to self-defense. I normally recommend a total body workout; however, not everyone has the time or desire to spend several hours a week working out. There are a couple of types of exercise I recommend for those who have only a couple hours each week. There are also a couple of specific exercises I recommend.

1. Aerobic. Aerobic exercise increases your body’s ability to bring in and process oxygen. Among the many benefits of aerobic exercise, increased efficiency in bringing in and processing oxygen increases endurance during prolonged, moderate effort such as jogging quickly. It also helps decrease how long it takes for your heart and respiration to return to normal. The ability to keep going is essential in getting out of a dangerous situation.

2. Interval training. Interval training combines aerobic exercise with anaerobic exercise. In plain terms, you give maximum effort for a short period of time (usually between 30 seconds and 3 minutes), then you recover by doing moderate effort exercises. For example, you might sprint 150 to 200 yards, then slow jog for another 2-300 yards before sprinting again. As you might imagine, this kind of training could be very useful in breaking away from someone and then outlasting him.

3. Squat jumps. First, a description: stand upright with feet about shoulder-width apart, squat down as low as you can go (or until your thighs are parallel to the floor, whichever is first), hold the position for a second, then jump as high as you can. That’s 1 rep. Why squat jumps? Squat jumps work on increasing explosive power. By increasing your explosive power for jumping, you’ll be able to jump further, faster, and with less preparation than you otherwise would be able to—very handy for jumping out of the way of an oncoming car.

4. Post-exercise stretching. Okay, so it’s not an exercise in and of itself, but stretching to increase your flexibility is probably one of the best things you can do in the world of physical self-defense. For example, the classic chicken wing hold. (Someone doubles your arm behind you and tries to put your hand between your shoulder blades, thus putting severe pressure on your shoulder.) With a high range of motion (ROM), this technique requires an extra couple of steps in order to work. The time it takes them to accomplish these extra steps may be enough time for you to escape. One other thing to consider is increased flexibility reduces the chance of injury during physical exertion.

Please keep in mind, I am not a licensed personal trainer. Before you begin any physical training, I highly recommend you speak with a personal trainer. They will ask several questions, and use your answers to create an exercise regimen tailored to your current physical condition. They will also demonstrate the proper way to perform various exercises and help keep you motivated.

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