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Fight Classes: Protect Yourself and Get Fit

self-defense workouts

Whether you’re looking for a way to shake up your regular workout routine or want to learn how to fight, there are many options available.

Regardless of your size, fitness level, or comfort zone, combat sports, and martial arts can help you feel stronger and more confident should you ever need to defend yourself.

Below are five excellent self-defense workouts to help you lose weight, get strong, and learn proper offensive and defensive fighting techniques to boost your confidence.


  1. Muay Thai

Muay Thai combines offensive and defensive moves. These techniques can be used in close quarters, such as a sharp elbow strike to an attacker, or to create space, such as using a push kick to give yourself room to escape a threatening situation.

This martial art utilizes nearly every part of the body, so it’s a great workout that doubles as self-defense training.


  1. Kickboxing

As the name suggests, kickboxing is a standing workout. It’s low-impact, high-intensity, and perfect for helping increase strength and flexibility.

It doesn’t teach grappling like Muay Thai or jiu-jitsu. However, it can teach you basic boxing and lower body striking moves (think roundhouse kicks and knee strikes), which are helpful self-defense techniques.

You can find kickboxing classes for any fitness and skill level, so it’s a great intro to self-defense workouts.


  1. Krav Maga

Krav Maga was initially developed as a hand-to-hand combat system for the Israeli military. It combines boxing, wrestling, judo, Aikido, and karate in a way that can only be described as “ruthlessly efficient.”

The Israeli people are known for finding the most effective and efficient solutions to a problem, and Krav Maga is precisely that. It focuses on training you for real-world defense situations, but it’s also a challenging, full-body workout!

I would recommend this to anyone who already has a decent fitness level because it’s quite intense.


  1. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

Brazilian jiu-jitsu (often shortened to BJJ) is a combat sport, which means you can participate in tournaments and competitions if you wish.

BJJ is a grappling sport that gives you a deep understanding of the human body (and its weaknesses) and a much better situational awareness. It’s primarily defensive, making it ideal for anyone looking for a self-defense workout. It’s also particularly useful for women because it can help smaller people gain an advantage over larger, stronger opponents.


Anyone can enroll in Brazilian jiu-jitsu classes. It’s helpful to have a base level of fitness, but it’s not strictly required! Everyone starts with the basics and moves up in rank as their skills improve.


  1. Tai Chi

This might not seem like it fits with the other workouts because of its sedate pacing, but it’s an excellent self-defense workout for two reasons.

First, the moves are based in combat. They’re defensive in nature, but they can still harm an attacker when used properly. Second, the slow, methodical pace of tai chi allows you to sharpen your reflexes and gain mental strength, which is just as important in a situation that requires self-defense.

Tai chi is a good complementary workout to combine with other martial arts or strength workouts since it’s low-impact and low-intensity.


Boost Your Strength and Confidence With Self-Defense Workouts

Other workouts such as Aikido, karate, and mixed martial arts (MMA) can also offer a full-body workout and self-defense training. The most important thing to do when choosing the right workout is to find a class that you truly enjoy. This will help you train consistently, which is the key to achieving your goals.


Image credit: Jonathan Tomas on Unsplash; Timothy Eberly on Unsplash

Nicole Hopkins

Nicole Hopkins is a freelance writer for hire that has been sharing her passion for health, wellness and yoga since 2014. When she's not working on getting into crow pose or petting every cat in sight, you can find her writing about science, skincare and mental health at and Kalista Edit. Visit her at or on Instagram at @msmerriam.

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