Capoeira Conditioning

Matt Thornton

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So I finally got a book that deals with conditioning for the game of Capoeira. While MMA is my focus, I have to admit, I've always been drawn in by Capoeira. It looks so fun, and ever since I was a little fat kid (before martial arts, thank God) I've always dreamed of being able to do backflips and handsprings and whatnot. Capoeira looks like a blast, and the amount of athleticism and conditioning that it builds is apparent when you see a Capoeira artist. It's like Yoga, Bodyweight Exercises, Plyometrics, and Dance all in one workout.

I've already started doing some of the exercises out of the book, and man, I am not a very acrobatic person. I'm pretty athletic, but it's going to take some work for me to become acrobatic. The workout is based around the "core" movements of Capoeira: back bridges, squats, handstands, and cartwheels (the Capoeira names escape me at the moment). There's all sort of variations and exercises of progressive difficulty.

At the advanced levels of the book, you can expect to be doing moves like handstand pushups, cartwheels from the ground into a pistol (one legged squat), back bridge walking (Exorcist style), and lots of other really cool looking exercises.

The book also shows you some of the Ginga, which is the dynamic movement that Capoeira players do in between their acrobatics. Basically, it's a simple dance move that masks your intentions.

What's cool is the book gives you lots of options, for whatever reason you're doing Capoeira for. It gives you sample workouts, and what I LOVE, is that for cardio goals, the book follows the HIIT principle, so it encourages you to work at a high intensity for short periods of time.

So, for example, an HIIT workout in Capoeira (which is also working flexibility, rhythm, strength, explosiveness, balance, coordination, etc.) might consist of an intense period of cartwheel-pistols for the anaerobic portion, followed by medium-paced Ginga dancing for the rest period. This, to me, sounds way more fun and challenging than the every day run-sprint-run-sprint, and is a nice break for your knees.

There's different workouts for flexibility, strength, agility, fat burn, and cardio conditioning, all through the basic movements of Capoeira. An awesome alternative to a run. What I found interesting is how similar the core movements of Capoeira are to some Yoga movements. So while you're getting a kick-ass cardio and muscular workout, you're also getting the health and flexibility benefits of Yoga. Why even run?

The book does not teach you the fighting moves of Capoeira. There's really only one kick. What it gives you is a progressive list of exercises to do so you can work your way up to, and maintain, the ability to do some of those whoop-ass looking moves that Capoeira players do.

For the time being, I'm just working on static handstands against a wall, and some back bridge exercises. My back has never gotten this kind of workout before. I've never realized how much I neglect spine flexibility. Even my wrists are getting a workout from this! Now I can see why I've never even been able to come close to back handsprings.

Sorry for the long post. But I'm just pumped because, I mean, come on; how does Capoeira NOT look fun? To have a system that can help me actually work up to doing that is really encouraging. It looks way more fun than running (not saying it has to replace running, though), and when done in an intense manner, works areas like flexibility, explosiveness, balance, kinesthetic awareness, anaerobic endurance, aerobic endurance, strength, and fat burning, all at the same time. Plus, it's challenging, and you can continue to push your body's limits, and see just how crazy you can get.

I'll give a link to the book: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/158394141X/qid=1135993508/sr=8-1/ref=pd_bbs_1/104-6947311-2071938?n=507846&s=books&v=glance

Capoeira is definitely another great option for cross-training and conditioning. It works all these areas at the same time, it's fun, it'll get you in killer shape, and best of all, it's a martial art, so the movements have some carryover into your career as an MMA fighter.

One point about Capoeira before I finish this up. The soccer player, Pele, attributed much of his athleticism and explosiveness to his Capoeira training. And I believe (correct me if I'm wrong), the Rua brothers, Mauricio and Murilo, trained in Capoeira prior to Vale Tudo. Hence Shogun's awesome sparring tricks.
 
I used to roll with the Capoeira Mandinga crew back in the day and can attest to capoeira's HIIT potential. I lost 20 lbs in the first month going 2x a week and playing on the weekends. But I'm older and fatter now and don't think I can do the moves I used to. If you are a b-boy and looking to add to your breakdancing repetoire, I highly suggest you look into capoeira. A LOT of power moves are based on capoeira movements.
 
I'm thinking of getting this book, as I want to get into body weight exercises but I think it might be funner and more rewarding to do exercises that lead up to some pretty cool movements.

Are the static handstands the first thing your learn in the book? Could you give an example of what is listed for the first 2-3 beginner exercises?
 
Carlson said:
I'm thinking of getting this book, as I want to get into body weight exercises but I think it might be funner and more rewarding to do exercises that lead up to some pretty cool movements.

Are the static handstands the first thing your learn in the book? Could you give an example of what is listed for the first 2-3 beginner exercises?

Yeah, go in the stand-up forum. I went way more into detail about what the book teaches. I made a thread about Capoeira conditioning.
 
Damn i might just buy this book thanks Iceman for sharing.
 
stick to muay thai or kyukushinkai conditioning it is unmatched anywhere
 
muay thai vs Capoeira for conditioning, lets compare and contrast ???
 
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