3 Self-Defense Workouts That Kick Butt (Literally)

Today’s post on self-defense workouts that kick butt is from our friends at DietDiva.com!


Group exercise classes are a great way to stay motivated and keep your exercise routine interesting. They can also teach skills you can use in life, such as how to defend yourself from assault, if you choose the right one. This is a valuable skill for any one, because no matter how safe your neighborhood may be, life is unpredictable and a scary situation can happen when you least expect it. Here are three great martial-arts self-defense classes that will get you fit.

Krav Maga

Krav, as many of its practitioners call it, is the self-defense style of the Israeli Defense Forces. It is described as a “reality-based” system, meaning that movements are designed to be as natural and instinctual as possible. This style is popular with law enforcement and military groups across the globe. Classes are taking place all over the United States, and availability is increasing as its popularity grows.

Krav Maga recognizes the unique dangers facing women and accordingly has created a Women Only program, which emphasizes self defense against choking and other overpowering attacks that male assaulters use to subdue women. Participants in this program are given the opportunity to face off with attackers in realistic scenarios in order to practice technique but, perhaps more importantly, overcome the natural instinct to freeze up instead of immediately defending themselves.


We’ve all heard of karate. It’s a Japanese martial art that uses punches, elbow strikes, kicks and knees. It is also a very philosophical art that emphasizes respect and leadership. Achievement in karate is measured by a belt system, the highest of which is the black belt. These ranks are awarded by performing skills in front of a group of qualified examiners.

There are many styles of karate emphasizing various aspects of practice and this is dependent upon each teacher and dojo, or karate school. A great way to find the right fit for you is to take some practice classes. Many dojos offer a free trial class and you can use this as an opportunity to feel out the class and ask questions. Don’t be afraid to try out a variety of classes to find one that matches your needs.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

BJJ, as those in the know call it, is an extremely effective self-defense style—and a great workout. This style is a bit more aggressive and is ideal for women who want to have confidence that they can take on any attacker. BJJ focuses on teaching a smaller, weaker person to use a larger attacker’s size against him by taking the fight to the ground and using leverage to choke or otherwise incapacitate the attacker.

This style of martial arts has gained tremendously in popularity in recent years. Much of this is due to its prominence in mixed-martial-arts fights, most notably in Ultimate Fighting Championship. A quick web search will turn up some options in your area.

Ultimately, whatever style you choose, self-defense workouts will get you in fighting shape and increase your confidence out in the world. That’s a win/win!


A big thanks to DietDiva for the fab info on self-defense workouts. Be sure to check out a few of their other posts below!

Ever done any martial arts or self-defense workouts? Which was your fave? —Jenn

Categories: Boxing, Cardio, Fitness, Guest PostsTags: , , , , ,

This article was originally published on fitbottomedgirls.com.

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  1. Very interesting post Jenn! Is Krav Maga self-defense style similar to Aikido? I’m just curious if these two styles have something in common. Actually, I am a great fan of karate and I believe that self-defense workouts not only develop skills but also maintain a healthy body.

  2. Actually, almost no experienced practitioners of KM call it “Krav.” Krav Maga means “contact combat”, so Krav just means combat. Also, there are many schools within Krav Maga, so while many use the same techniques and belt ranking system, programs and workshops will vary from school to school. Some have women’s seminars, some have women-only classes, but saying there is “a Women Only program” is misleading. And training with guys is extremely valuable from the perspective of getting comfortable with someone who is probably going to be larger/more aggressive, so I wouldn’t recommend only training with other women.

    Krav Maga is a great self-defense system, but one of the problems is that it’s different from martial arts like karate, tae kwon do, etc. Instructors in those arts who are very experienced and talented often get a week or two of training in Krav Maga so they can add it to their list of offerings. Krav Maga has gotten very popular, so instructors want to offer clients what they want, but make sure you do some research before training.

  3. I like the idea of a women’s only program so I’m not intimidated. I want to try these. We have several here in LA but need a girl buddy to take with!

  4. Can anyone recommend any videos or books? Not all of us live near a class. Getting to the nearest class would require several days on a ferry or an airplane ticket for me :-p