There are literally hundreds and hundreds of exercises out there. But which ones will improve your performance on the mat. Here is a list of 10 great bodyweight exercises that will build strength, power, and explosiveness for all judokas.

Bodyweight squats

Squats with body weight will build strength and stability in the lower body. Leg strength is something the Japanese take great pride in. That’s one of the reasons they develop so much power when executing a technique. When squatting, make sure to squat enough so that your thighs are parallel to the ground. Drive on your heels, don’t fall backward, and keep your balance.


One of the best and hardest bodyweight exercises on the planet. Burpees develop leg power and upper body strength and, when performed as part of a circuit or in a Tabata interval, will dramatically increase your fitness levels. Just squat down, extend your legs up into a push-up position, perform an upward push-up, bring your legs back into a squat, and proceed to explode upward by jumping as high as you can.


Whether it’s traditional, narrow-grip, wide-grip, box, or shovel pushups, the fact is that pushups will give your upper body a boost of strength. Having a strong upper body will allow you to create really good reactions when fighting, which can help you launch your opponent.

Lift your chin

One of the hardest yet most beneficial exercises not only in the bodyweight exercise category, but strength training as well. The ability to pull your chin over a bar will greatly improve your strength and overall success on the mat. Whether it’s close-grip, wide, or alternative pull-ups, if you make pull-ups a part of your regular gym programs, you’ll not only get a stronger back, but you’ll also have greater strength when it comes to doing that. your opponent loses balance.

The rope goes up

Like chin-ups, rope climbing is one of the most beneficial exercises for judoka. Rope climbing is used by all high-level judo players due to the fact that it not only increases the strength of your arm, back, and core, but also increases your lactic acid shock absorber in your forearms and arms. This is a great attribute to have in the last minutes of a judo match. If you are constantly climbing the rope week after week, you will see an increase in your ability not only to fight hard, but also for longer.

Open elastic band closes

Judokas are constantly grasping and flexing the forearm and wrist muscles, and as a result, most have a muscle imbalance in the forearms. This imbalance can lead to injuries like RSI and tendonitis. Open elastic band closures will slowly strengthen opposing muscles (forearm and wrist extensors) creating muscular balance in the wrists and forearms. Just wrap an elastic band around your fingers and open and close them for 50 reps a day for the first week and slowly build up week after week.

Core retention

Abdominal clamp, prone, plank or bridge support. This exercise has so many names and most of the time it is done incorrectly. To perform a basic grip, correctly assume a push-up position, but rest on your elbows instead of your hands. Your hips should be parallel to the floor, do not lower or raise them too much. Focus on your abdominal and lower back muscles and slowly bring your shoulder blades together. Press and hold for the desired time limit. If this becomes too easy, slowly lift one arm and one leg off the ground. This will cause your core to have to adjust slightly to compensate for the lean in your hips.

Hanging leg raises

It seems like a simple exercise, but it is actually very difficult. Hang a chin bar and let your legs hang slightly off the ground. Contract your core muscles, slightly bend your knees, and lift your feet as high as you can toward the bar. Try to avoid any excessive rocking. If this is too difficult, then bring your knees up to your chest. Perform 4 sets of 15 reps.

Squat jumps

Similar to a bodyweight squat, but once you reach the end of the squat, explode upward and jump slightly off the ground. Make sure you land on your toes and repeat the desired number of reps.

Palm curls

Another exercise that seems easy but after two or three repetitions it becomes quite difficult. Do a push-up and instead of pushing your body back to the starting position, explode upward, getting some air time just long enough to clap your hands. Land and repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

I recommend doing 11 seconds on and 9 seconds off for as many rounds as you can handle.

If you add any of these exercises to your strength and conditioning programs, you will find that your Judo will improve. All of the above exercises are great for judo. Remember that judo players must train like judo players, so it is vital that the exercises you are doing in the gym are specifically aimed at judo.

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