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Aikido Conditioning

Interval training—the real aerobics.


A note about safety

Before beginning any exercise program you should consult with your doctor. 

Interval training is inherently challenging, so begin slowly, listen to your own body, and practice moderation and good judgment.



Interval Protocols (workouts)

Taku's Intervals
If your new to interval training, start here. Taku's Intervals begins with a great introduction to interval training. The program is essentially a 12 week progression to the Tabata protocol.


Tabata Protocol
Tabata Intervals consist of 20 seconds of maximum intensity exercise, followed by 10 seconds of rest. This cycle is repeated 8 times for a total of 4 minutes. 

A simple, proven system of conditioning.


Burpee Conditioning
A Tabata workout using 1 exercise—the burpee—taught by coach Ross Enamait. Ross Enamait is a boxer, a trainer of boxers, and a fitness stud.

He'll teach you how to perform burpees, plus variations with a dumbbell, weighted vest, and medicine ball. Includes a progression from Beginners to Masters level.


TacFit Commando
If your ready for some variety and want to take your conditioning to a higher level, TacFit Commando may be for you.

Scott Sonnon has created a highly sophisticated 10 month progression that rotates between different interval protocols including Tabata and 'every minute on the minute'. Not free, but worth the price. Recommended.




Exercises that work good for interval training are movements that use your whole body and allow you to go all out. See "Taku's Intervals" (above) for more in depth guidelines.

Plug any of these exercises into one of the interval protocols above.  You can mix them up for variety.

Here's the list:

Running: on hills, sand, barefoot, fartlek, track intervals—any kind of running. (more below)

Shikko: samurai knee-walking variations. A natural if you do Aikido. If shikko is too easy for you, do 360 degree turns or 'walking' sword cuts (suburi 4-7) on your knees.

Heavy bag

Burpee:  see "Burpee Conditioning" above.

Bear crawl

Mountain climbers


Sand bag work

Swimming (more below)

Axe: cut a log. Used by boxers.

Sledgehammer swinging: pound an old tire. Alternate right and left swings. Handy if you don't have a tree to cut.

See TacFit Commando for exercises designed specifically for martial artists and tactical responders.


Ross Enamait demonstrates an interval workout. Tabata
protocol: 20 second intervals separated by 10 seconds
of rest. Repeat 8 times for a total of 4 minutes.
Equipment needed: 1 sledgehammer and 1 tire.



Conditioning Programs

For a medical doctor's perspective on why you should be doing interval training, read 1 of these books by Dr. Al Sears

Dr. Sears' interval program. 12 minutes to great conditioning and improved health.

The Doctor's Heart Cure 
A broader discussion of heart health. Includes sample interval programs.

Dr Sears emphacises intentionally lowering the heart rate during recovery between interval sets.





Scott Sonnon
TacFit Commando

TacFit Commando Sonnon





Kenneth Jay
Viking Warrior Conditioning - book
"The Scientific Approach to Forging a Heart of Elastic Steel: An Application of The Theory Behind Proper VO2max Training"

Requires just one piece of equipment—the 16 kg (35 lb) kettlebell.

kettlebell 16 kg

Advanced Strength Strategies - accompanying 2 DVD set

"How much does a heart attack or bad ticker cost you? The cost of this DVD is a drop in the bucket compared to life."

"In just eight weeks of doing the workout religiously once a week, in addition to my other KB training, my resting heart rate dropped from 64 to 48."   -Mark Reifkind, Master RKC

DVD trailer




POSE Method Running
Runners are prone to injury. The POSE Method is designed to reduce injury and improve performance by correcting your running technique.


Barefoot Running - Barefoot Ken Bob
If you've read Chris McDougall's book, you've heard about the benefits of running barefoot. This site will help you get started.


Chris McDougall
Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen  Great book.




Total Immersion Swimming
The idea is to improve 'water dynamics': learn to move more efficiently in the water, instead of just swimming more laps.



Interval Timers

Timers are useful for measuring your work and recovery periods.


Computer based timers

Speed bag forum interval timer—available free online. 

Tabata Clock interval timer—free online.


Portable Timers: for the gym or outdoors.

Gymboss Interval Timer
Designed specifically for interval training. The Gymboss can be programmed for work intervals (minutes and seconds), rest periods, and number of intervals.

My Gymboss timer broke after less than 2 of use. Poorly made in my opinion. The electric controls froze. Months before that the (plastic) screen scratched due to poor materials. Do your own research on if the Gymboss has been improved. Let me know if you find a better alternative.


Related pages

Aikido Fitness

Brooks Kubik - The Training Habit

TacFit Commando



Aikido Conditioning Links
  TacFit Commando
Viking Warrior Conditioning

PACE aikido conditioning



Born to Run McDougall