Body Weight Exercises for Judo

Athletic young woman doing lunges

Judo is a physically demanding sport that requires technical skill and specialty training. However, overall strength is just as important for successfully fighting off your opponent's offensive moves.

Body weight exercises target muscles throughout your body, without the need for fancy exercise equipment. Begin with 10 repetitions of each exercise, or perform them for a specific amount of time, such as 30 seconds.

Towel Pull Ups

Judo requires a strong upper body. In addition, you need a strong grip to be able to hold on to your opponent. Pull ups strengthen your grip as well as muscles in your upper body.

HOW TO DO IT: Loop the middle of a towel over a pull up bar. Face the bar and grip one end of the towel in each hand. Bend your elbows and pull yourself up until your chin clears the bar. Slowly lower back down.

Toes to Bar

The toes to bar exercise targets your abs while also strengthening your grip.

HOW TO DO IT: Hang from a pull up bar. Swing both legs together in front of you, raising them up until your toes touch the bar. If this is too difficult, start by raising both knees up toward your chest.


Burpees target muscles throughout your body. These exercises also improve your agility -- a critical skill in Judo.

HOW TO DO IT: Begin in a standing position. Squat down and place your hands on the floor. Jump both feet back, landing in a plank position. Jump both feet forward, landing with your feet just outside your hands. Stand up quickly, reach both arms overhead and jump straight up. To advance this exercise, add a push up to the movement after you jump your legs back into a plank position.

Pretty fit woman doing frontal lunges or squat exercise indoors in a flat

Squats and Lunges

Squats and lunges not only strengthen your legs, they also work the muscles that help you stay in an upright position while your opponent tries to knock you down.

HOW TO DO IT: Begin your squat with your feet slightly more than shoulder-width apart. Push your butt backward and bend your knees as if you are going to sit in a chair. Lower down as far as possible without letting your heels leave the ground, then stand back up. Keep your upper body upright throughout this movement.

Begin your lunges in the same position. Step one leg forward, approximately 2 feet in front of you. Slowly bend both knees and lower yourself straight down until your back knee gently touches the ground. Stand back up and repeat on the opposite side.