LCF Fitness Program
The “dan tien”, the “hara”, the “physical center of gravity” – all of these terms refer to an area of the body within the abdomen, somewhat below the navel. What physical, mental, or spiritual qualities are endowed or attributed to the person who has command of this area of the body?
For one moment, let’s assume that one can gain inner strength of this area by physically challenging oneself through vigorous and dedicated training. How would you, the reader, strengthen the qualities of this area? Can one specifically train this area to be stronger and more potentially explosive, while at the same time not also affect the mental or spiritual qualities also? I think not! Will not seeking and practicing and refining one’s physical excellences also by the very nature, also practice and refine one’s mental state and even deepen one’s spiritual outlooks on the universe? But in a perspective of unity, why just concentrate on strengthening this lower abdominal area without also incorporating the rest of the body into the planning and building process?
According to modern physiology and anatomy, the core is the muscular units of the body that support the spine, especially that of the torso area. This includes the superficial and deep muscles of the abdominal wall, the “six-pack” or “eight-pack”, as well as all the muscles that tip, bend, or flex the torso and spine in any direction front, back, or sidewards, or a combination movement. It takes a symphony of neuromuscular control for many of these actions, and in order to do it safely, quickly, and forcefully, one must train the small muscles groups to the very largest muscle groups.
Therefore, ideally one should choose training activities, within one’s capability yet also in a range of progressive challenges, that will cause or result in a progressive adaptation to occur. Namely, work in ever-increasing ways to challenge the body to become stronger, faster, and more explosive with better balance and agility. What resources do you bring into your workouts to create, augment, or aspire to this?
I say that there are some great fitness products that have tremendous value for the martial arts athlete and his or her training regime. For example, the stability ball (gymball), the bosu or balance discs, the coreboard or wobble boards, the medicine balls or body blades, are all fantastic ways to augment the training of any athlete and especially the martial arts athletes!
Before you start or try this program or any of the suggested exercises or any other exercise program, consult your own physician to ensure that you are physically capable of performing these exercises. Remember, that the exercises presented are not intended for everyone, especially for those with arm or leg or back injuries or weaknesses!
Please note that the author and publisher of this webpage and website are NOT RESPONSIBLE in any manner whatsoever for any injury that may result from practicing the techniques and/or following the instructions given. Since the physical activities described herein may be too strenuous in nature for some readers to engage in safely, it is essential that a physician be consulted prior to training.
Stability Ball Training
Stability ball training is a great adjunct to core and balance exercises! To bump up your push-ups and regular floor/mat exercises try these! From the prone mounted position on the ball (face down) with the pelvis, knees, ankles, or toes balanced on the ball – execute a set of 12-24 pushups with the palms, knuckles or fingertips on the floor! From the knees on ball prone position, pike the hips up high and roll the ball along the shins to ankles and return, and execute a pushup for a set of 12-20 reps. From the ankles on ball prone position, draw the ball under the body by jack-knifing the knees under the body, and then extend the legs, and execute a pushup, and repeat for a set of 8-12 reps. These previous exercises can be made more challenging by balancing the hands on two or even one! medicine ball like a narrow grip pushup (8-10# has a big surface area to hold the hands) instead of the floor position.
Or, from the ankles on ball prone position, jack-knife then alternate a star stand pointing to the ceiling with one hand and then pushup for a set of 12.
Pelvic Bounce pushup – from a static plank hands on the ball, feet on the ground – bounce the belly/abdomen onto the ball and resume the plank pushup for a set of 12-24.
From a kneeling position on the ball (if necessary use 2-4 “training wheels” – 8-10# handweights propped on the floor around the ball, if you can’t balance and kneel on the ball) raise the torso and alternately spin a medicine ball around the waist and lift overhead and then push outwards for a set of 8-12 in each direction. From a kneeling position on the ball, shoot the feet back into a momentary pushup plank with a Pelvic Bounce, and then jump up back into the kneeling position.
From a kneeling position on the ball (with/without “training wheels”) extend one arm out straight, parallel to axis of spine/torso, and extend opposite foot and leg – pointer position, hold for pause count and then alternate for 12-20 reps.
From a kneeling position on the ball (with/without training wheels) raise hands off the ball, and balance on the knees and shins, keeping the toes pressing iward on the back side of the ball. Grasp or have a partner give you a 6-10# medicine ball and raise above the head, retract, extend to the front and retract for 8-12 reps. For more challenge, swing the ball around the back and pass to the opposite hand for 8-12 reps and then switch directions.
Click on the numbers to go to youtube links!
Core Work 1 – intro to equipment and basic ball plank 
Core Work 2 – plank pike and pushup 
Core Work 3 – low back extensions on the ball 
Core Work 4 – “pointer” while prone on the ball and kneeling on the ball 
Core Work 5 – basic pushups from the ball 
Core Work 6 – more pushup options from the ball 
Core Work 7 – pelvic bounce pushups and “training wheels” 
Core Work 8 – medicine ball pushups 
Core Work 9 – medicine ball pushups from the stability ball 
Core Work 10 – kneeling on stability ball with med ball 
Core Work 11 – standing on stability ball and using med ball 
Core Work 12 – tripod med ball pushups 
Bosu Core Work Challenges
Core Work 13 – Bosu Burpees with push-ups 
Core Work 14 – Bosu Ball-side Squats, and Lunge Squats Ball Side 
Core Work 15 – Bosu Base Squats, Lunge Squats, and Single Leg Balances 
Core Work 16 – Bosu & Stability Ball Push-ups 
Core Work 17 – Bosu & Med Ball Push-ups 
Core Work 18 – Med Ball & Bosu Push-ups