After stretching, many taekwondo classes do some physical training (PT) to get you nice and warm before your main workout. Many of the exercises are geared toward improving your ability to jump, so they focus on the leg and ankle strength.
Some exercises commonly done in taekwondo classes include:
- Jumping jacks (also called Star Jumps) - is a jumping exercise where the arms and legs are simultaneously brought together or spread apart during each jump; some people move the legs forward and back during a jumping jack instead of outward and inward; a half-jack is a jumping jack where you don't entirely bring your arms together at the top of their swing (which can cause shoulder injuries in some people).
- Jogging - jogging around the dojang is a common way to warm up.
- Wind sprints - while jogging around the dojang, sometimes an instructor will call for a quick sprint before returning to the jog; alternatively, students might form lines and sprint back and forth across the dojang as if racing.
- Trick sprints - trick sprints are wind sprints where some "trick" is inserted into the middle of the sprint; typical tricks include for example:
- Long jumps - jump as far forward as possible in the middle of the sprint before resuming the sprint
- High jumps - jump as high as possible in the middle of the sprint before resuming the sprint
- Spinning jumps - jump into the air and do a 360-spin in the middle of the sprint before resuming the sprint
- Rollovers - fall flat onto the floor in the middle of the sprint, roll over, then resume the spring
- Side-shuffle sprints - sprint sideways, shuffling across the dojang as quickly as possible without crossing one's legs; can also be done jumping-jack style, raising the arms while shuffling
- Jumps - these come in many forms:
- Leap frog jump - jump into the air and bend your legs backwards behind you, while pushing your arms behind you as if to grab your ankles at the top of the jump
- Scissors jump - jump into the air and spread your legs wide at the top of the jump; alternatively, kick one leg forward and one leg backward at the top of the jump
- Toe-touching jump - jump into the air and bring both legs forward in front of you, legs straight, while bringing your arms forward as if to touch your toes
- Walking kicks - students form-up into lines and walk while kicking; for example, perform an axe kick with the left leg, step forward, perform an axe kick with the right leg, step forward, etc.
- Walking stretches - students form-up into lines and perform stretching exercises while walking; for example, perform an axe kick with the left leg, drop the left foot down at the bottom of the kick to step forward, then squat onto the heel of the left foot to do a long stretch with the right leg; then repeat on the opposite leg, continue repeating as you walk across the dojang
- Trick walks - these come in many forms:
- Bear-walking - walking on all fours like a bear
- Inchworm walking - like bear walking, but first you walk the feet foward while your hands remain in place, then you walk your hands forward while your feet remain in place
- Crab walking - walking on all fours, but stomach facing upward rather than downward; this can be done forward (head first), backward (feet first), or sideways (like a crab)
- Duck walking - walking while maintaining a squat
- High pitching - running in place, always staying on your toes (never onto your heels), bringing your knees as high into your chest as possible
- Low pitching - running in place, bent over, arms downward, always staying on your toes (never onto your heels)
- Soldier crawls - lay down on your stomach and drag your body forward using your elbows and knees; alternatively, require that students keep their legs straight and pull themselves forward using just their elbows
- Forward rolls, backward rolls, handstands, and cartwheels - make your way down the dojang while performing these stunts
- Push-ups - these come in many forms; for example, can be done with the hands shoulder-width apart, or narrower to increase the focus on the triceps
- Partner push-ups - your partner holds your legs wheelbarrow-style while you do push-ups
- Partner push-ups can also be turned into wheelbarrow races
- Plank - hold yourself at the top of a push-up position
- Bird dog - to add difficulty to the plank, lift one leg into the air and lift the opposite arm into the air, balancing on just one hand and one foot; alternate from one side to tothe next
- Side plank - hold your body straight, arms straight out at your sides to form a T with your body, then hold yourself off the floor on your side with one arm
- Sit-ups - best done with a partner, your partner holds your feet down while you do sit-ups
- Superman - lay on your stomach, lift your arms and shoulders off the ground while simultaneously lifting your legs of the ground, so that all your weight is on your abdomen
- Crunches - these come in main forms
- Twisting crunches - holding your shoulders and legs off the ground while twisting your torso left and right
- Bicycling crunches - holder your shoulders and legs off the ground while bicycling your legs
- Leg extensions - lay on your back and prop yourself up with your elbows while bending your legs to your chest, the straighten your legs
- Mountain climbers - from a plank position, alternate pulling each knee forward into the chest, as if climbing
- Burpees - these come in many forms too; for example, from a standing position, drop into a squat and place your hands on the floor, thrust your legs back behind you into a planking position, immediately return to a squat, then jump up from the squat position
- Squats - done with feet about shoulder-width apart, and hands on hips or arms out in front
Fun Warmups and GamesEdit
Some schools incorporate fun activities into their warmups. For example:
Relay Races Edit
- Any of the above walking or sprinting exercises can be turned into relay races with teams of students.
- Use shield targets, agility ladders, etc. to make obstacle courses in which students have to run or jump their way around the course.
- Snake circle - the class stands in a circle, everbody facing clockwise. One person in the circle starts running around the circle, side-stepping inside the circle as they pass one person, then side-stepping outside the circle as they pass the next person, alternating in-and-out, in-and-out. As soon as the first runner has passed the person in front of him, that person follows, and so-on and so-on. When a person gets back to their starting position, they stand back where they started so that the remaining runners can complete their circles.
- Hopping circle - the class sits in a circle, everybody facing inward, legs straight out in front of them, one ankle on top of the other. One person starts running around the circle, hopping over the legs of the people in front of him. The instructor can call for two-legged hops (lift-off with both legs at the same time) or one-legged hops (lift-off with the same leg over and over again). As soon as the first runner has hopped over the legs of the person in front of him, that person follows, and so-on and so-on. When a person gets back to their starting position, the quickly sit back down with their legs out in front of them again, so that the rest of the runners can complete their circles.
- Agility circle - the class sits in a circle, everybody facing inward, legs apart (but not as far apart as a full split) with feet touching. One person starts running around the circle, putting one foot in the circle and the next foot out, as if running down an agility ladder. As soon as the first runner has run pst the legs of the next person in line, that person follows, and so-on and so-on. When a person gets back to their starting position, they quickly sit back down with their legs out again, so that the rest of the runners can complete their circles.
- Mountains and valleys - another circle game; the class stands in a circle, everybody facing clockwise. Every other person stands with their legs spread apart. The alternating people face inside the circle and bend down to grab their ankles. One person starts running around the circle, first diving under a person with spread legs, then leap-frogging the next person who's bent over. As soon as the first runner has made it past the next person, the next person follows, and so-on and so-on. When a person gets back to their starting position, they quickly resume their original position, either standing (to create a valley for the remaining runner) or bending (to create a mountain for the remaining runners).
Other Fun ActivitiesEdit
- Agility ladders - lay down agility ladders and do footwork drills. Make each round different: for example, in one round you have to put a foot in every square of the ladder, in a second round you have to alternate putting feet in or out of the ladder, etc.
- Ball passing - form lines and have races to see which line of students can pass heavy balls back over their heads and behind them fastest.
- Chain kicking - one student performs a kick of his her choice, then the other students have to repeat the kick; a second student performs the first kick and follows it with a second kick (can be the same kick), then the other students repeat both kicks; a third student performs the first two kicks and follows it with a third kick, and so-on and so-on. This can also be done with stances, blocks, strikes, etc.
- Chicken Sparring - as a group all the students hop around on one leg while holding the other leg with one hand. You try to knock over other students using just the knee of the leg that you're holding. If your opponent falls or let's go of his leg, then he's out! Keep hopping until only one student is left - the victor! This exercise is great for improving not only the major muscle groups of the leg, but also the smaller stabilizing mucles that are needed for balance.
- Tag - One student is designated as It. The other students line up along the opposite wall. When the instructors says go, everybody runs. "It" tries to tag as many people as possible. When tagged, you have to sit down where you were tagged. The goal is to see how many people you can tag. At the end of each round, the instructor counts how many people "It" tagged (in other words, how many people are sitting), then a new round begins with a new It. In some variations, if you're tagged you have to do crunches or pushups.
- Flag Tag - A variation of tag: students tuck the handle of a kicking paddle (the "flag") into the back of their belts, the paddle facing upward. The object of the game is to grab the paddle out of somebody's belt.
- Paddycake Pushups - Two students get into pushup position with heads facing each other, legs pointing away from each other. Do a pushup, the raise on hand off the floor and slap the hand of your partner. Alternate hands with each pushup. For younger students without the upper-body strength, eliminate the pushup, just take turns lifting one hand off the floor and slapping the hand of the partner. This can be done to music too, where the goal is to try to keep up with the beat of the song as you slap hands.
- Elimination race - Students stand in the center of the practice area. Each wall is given a name: banana, sky, green...the names should change every time you play the game. When the instructor calls the name of a wall, the students have to race and touch that wall (which means they need to remember the names of the walls). The last person to touch is out. You can make the game progressively harder by making the instructions more difficult: instead of banana, any fruit means run to this wall; instead of green, any color means run to that wall; etc.
- Sabumnim Says - Like Simon Says, but the instructor calls out movements, prefixing the instruction with "Sabumnim Says". If a student performs movement that hasn't been prefixed, the student must do push-ups or some other "penalty".
- Taekwondo Theater - Students pair-off. The student take turns throwing a punch or kick, while the other student acts-out being hit, as if they're in a martial arts movie.
- Turtle Ships - Three or four students hold kicking shields around a central student. The central student attacks the surrounding students in random order. The central student can attack with whatever attack he or she wants (roundhouse kick, side kick, punch, etc.) In order to prevent dizziness, the central student should not always rotate in the same direction.
- Taekwondo Baseball - Use cones or foam balls to make homeplate and 3 bases. The "picher" throws a foam ball or beanbag at the "batter" who then has to roundhouse-kick the ball. The only way to tag a runner "out" is for an outfielder to run after the batter and tag the batter with the ball. (In some variations, you can either tag the batter or throw the ball at the batter.) In other words, merely throwing the ball to a baseman won't make the batter be "out" -- this means there's a lot more scoring and a lot more running in the game.