Athletes As Warriors

This is a guest post by Jon Haas

We Were Once Warriors…

For centuries the warrior has been the archetypical model of physical fitness and power.  This is due to the extreme nature of their training and overwhelming odds that they must have had to go through waging war in the ancient world.  The multifaceted development of skills required for life and death combat is second to none.

Warriors needed to be able to carry heavy loads over long distances on uneven terrain, wield heavy weapons while wearing armor, wrestle and engage in other forms of hand-to-hand combat, fight for hours or perhaps even days on end in mud, sweat, and blood, all while continuing to display power, coordination, agility, and speed.  This was not a game with a medal or trophy at stake, but their lives and the lives of their comrades in arms, not to mention the entire village or tribe who were relying on them for protection.  All of this placed immense demands on the warrior physically, mentally, and spiritually.

The skills we know today as fitness, or strength and conditioning, depending on whether your term is all inclusive or a specific subset, all evolved over time from man’s need and ability to wage war.  In fact, one of the earliest examples of sport in the western world is from ancient Greece; we call it the Olympics.  These early games were created as a way for warriors to channel their aggressive and competitive natures, while simultaneously allowing them to hone their battle skills, in times of peace.

So we can see from this short look back in time that athletics and sport competitions were based on the martial skills of the warrior and utilized as a way to sustain and practice those skills.  Now, working backward this time, is there a way to reverse engineer a warrior’s training regimen and use it to improve athletic performance?  Absolutely.

Try this Warrior Workout on for size:

1)  Heavy Sandbag Carry – 3 x 300 ft.

2A) Alternating One-Arm Pushups on Fists – 4 x 8/8

2B)  Loaded Pistol Squats (load up with clubbell, Kettlebell, dumbbell, or sandbag) – 4 x 8/8

3)  H2H Touch & Go Kettlebell Swings – 100 total

NOW go punch, kick, knee, and elbow a heavy bag or have a partner hold focus mitts for 2 rounds x 3 minutes each!  Or, if you’re really daring, wrestle with a completely fresh opponent for 3 minutes!

About Coach Haas

Jon Haas is the owner and head trainer at Warrior Fitness Gym in Hainesport, NJ where he coaches men, women, and children in achieving high levels of fitness and mental toughness.  He is a certified strength coach and founder of Warrior Fitness Training Systems.  Jon is also a certified coach in VX Sport and is the Worldwide Strength & Conditioning Coach for VX Global.

He is a lifelong martial artist with over 30 years of experience and is currently ranked as a 9th dan black belt in Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu.  Jon is the author of the book, Warrior Fitness: Conditioning for Martial Arts, as well as 2 other fitness related e-books.  Jon maintains a very active blog on health, fitness, strength & conditioning, and martial arts over at

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 P.S Looking for more warrior workouts? Check out Zach Even-Esh’s BEAST Strength 2.0

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Leave A Reply (3 comments so far)

  • Frank DiMeo

    Jon, your martial arts background is very impressive. Great article in that you tied in more of what a warrior is.

  • Thanks for dropping a comment Frank. It is always appreciated brother!

  • Thanks Frank! I think it’s important to realize the close inter-relationship between athletics, modern strength & conditioning exercise, and the warrior arts, and how they support and increase the overall understanding of each other.