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KenpoX Intensity
KenpoX Intensity
cardio intensity martial arts kenpox
12/4/12 11:30 AM
After completing my first round of P90X, I wanted to post some thoughts on how to make the most out of KenpoX.

I've been training in martial arts for years (4th Degree black belt), so the routines were probably the easiest part of the overall program; I did like them because they had more of a cardio focus that I really needed as someone who hasn't been working out much lately and needed to boost my cardio-vascular system and drop some pounds off my waist.



So, here are some tips that helped me make my KenpoX time more productive:

  • Burst! In the combos, think about how the combo works from a martial arts perspective. In a fight, it's not about a steady rhythm, it's about burst intensity. So, in a four move combo, it's not 1-2-3-4-1-2-3-4, it's 1234---1234---. Even if you do the exact same number of moves, you'll do more to boost fast twitch muscle, raise your heart rate, and even be stronger in a fighting situation.
  • Close the gap. All the step-drag moves are about going from outside punching range to inside, so burst in covering max distance; when you are done you don't want to get hit back / grappled with so burst back out just as far.
  • Add a move. The tempo is pretty slow for some of the combos, geared a bit more at beginners to martial arts. In some of the single strikes or 2 move combos, or star blocks, it's pretty easy to add a front kick in there.
    Do more. Once you learn the combos, keep going until Tony is done talking (which, admittedly, can take a while sometimes!) Take a break if you need it, but use the time!
  • Up the difficulty on the moves. Switching from a low front kick to a high roundhouse, from a side kick to a hook / round kick combo, is a great way for the more trained to boost intensity and make the video a better way to keep up and improve skills.
  • Ride that Horse. Make sure your horse stances are nice and low - in the block, elbow, and punching sequences, your thighs should be burning and the breaks should come as a welcome relief.
  • Find alternatives. High Sword - Low Hammer does nothing for me, so I just substitute something entirely different, like a punch - axe kick combo or some spinning hook kicks.


These really helped me to make my KenpoX time as valuable as possible.
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RE: KenpoX Intensity
12/4/12 2:41 PM as a reply to Dons033.
Nice summary.

A few more thoughts:

Moves which involve larger muscle mass or more muscles will stimulate more caloric burn, so legwork should be emphasized as should resistance work (hitting a bag or strapping on weight). Your background may actually work against you as regards burning calories because your training and experience produce more muscle efficiency than a beginner who expends a considerable amount of energy finding the right balance. You might want to consider adding non-martial arts moves like burpees, plyometric pushups, etc. to get even more burn.

An HIIT tempo will produce maximum caloric burn. The typical person can go all out at max intensity for one minute tops before performance and intensity decline. You can use a heart rate monitor to target 85-90% of max HR to keep yourself honest.

After the 1-minute all-out burn, you should simply rest or move slowly just long enough to get your heart rate down to 60% of max HR. This would be true interval training & is more effective at burning fat than keeping your HR elevated for the entire workout.

Note that KenpoX wasn't really designed as HIIT. They encourage you to do jumping jacks, etc, in between each move to "keep your heart rate up". But if you work it as HIIT, you'll get more out of it.
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RE: KenpoX Intensity
12/4/12 4:02 PM as a reply to SweatLikeDog.
SweatLikeDog (great name, btw!),

Good points all. Crafting the workout to be more HIIT makes a lot of sense, and happily Tony talks enough that it's probably pretty doable to have lower intensity breaks.

And I agree on the muscle efficiency issue - after thousands of hours on martial arts, one this I don't get from KenpoX is "muscle confusion"; my muscles are pretty clear on the issues. I try and make up for it via greater intensity, and with the more difficult moves. Tony stays away from moves that involve foot pivots on the floor, like rear leg round kicks and side kicks, or might strain the hamstrings like axe kicks; I incorporate both pretty heavily in place of or in addition too the other moves. This serves to keep my body in condition for those moves, in addition to burning more calories / upping the intensity level.

I tend to look at the breaks as a time to do non-martial arts specific exercise; I find using an actual jump rope ups the intensity pretty well over an imaginary one as well as working on coordination.

I did use a HR monitor for a while, and was getting my HR into my target range. My difficulty was that it never seemed to stay on that well and as such as incredibly irritating - I should probably still use it from time to time to make sure I'm getting my HR to the right range.
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