Kung Fu Workout Reference

This Month's Workout Reference

This is a reference guide for myself and others to use so that Shaolin Kung Fu practice can be made easier. It also includes tips and ideas from myself along with pictures to help for certain moves I found hard to remember. I hope this helps all of you on your own Kung Fu Journey!


Warm Up 15+ Mins

(Jump rope, Push ups, Sit ups, Twists, Frog Jumps, Side to side shuffle, sprints also can replace these or added to make the warmup longer/more intense)

Do these exercises 2-4 Times each across your training area. At the end if you still feel stiff or uncomfortable in a certain area, redo the exercise that focuses on that area.

Usually performing these exercises you Shout "预备 (yu bei)" then when getting ready to do 砸拳 then shout, "做! (zuo!)“. You perform 砸拳 and then get into the stance of whatever exercise you are about to do, finally performing that exercise.

Shouting (like karate's kiai or the military's oohrah) helps build the lungs and your breathing which is where part of your power and stamina comes from.

拍脚 - Pai Jiao - "Slap Foot"
正蹬腿 - Zheng Deng Tui - "Forward Heel Kick"
正踢腿 - Zheng Ti Tui - "Front Kick"
十字踢 - Shi Zi Ti - "Cross Kick"
里合腿 - Li He Tui - "Inside Kick"
外摆腿 - Wai Bai Tui - "Outside Kick" 
弹腿 - Tan Tui - "Snap Kick"
蹬腿 - Deng Tui - "Heel Kick"
侧踢腿 - Ce Ti Tui - "Side Kick"
测蹬腿 - Ce Deng Tui - "Side Heel Kick"

Remember! These Kicks are meant to warm up the body and not for use in sparring. Though each kick does have an application, its application is different from its warm up practice.

Kung Fu 30-60+ Mins

Select a few exercises from each category or focus fully on a few categories for your training. If you wish to focus longer on the kung fu aspect of training then do so.

Note: There are many ways to do the same move in Kung Fu depending on your style/purpose/level so the pictures, names and explanations shown are just one of the many ways to do each move. Try out different ways to see what one you like most or do the one your school teaches you.

Stance Exercises

弓步推掌 - Gong Bu  - "Bow Stance Palm Push"
马步冲拳 - Ma Bu Chong Quan - "Horse Stance Punch"
仆步切掌 - Pu Bu Qie Zhang - "Crouching Stance Cutting Palm"
虚步架拳 - Xu Bu Jia Quan - "Empty Stance Block"
 虚步格掌 - Xu Bu Ge Zhang - “Empty Stance Cross Palm"
坐盘 - Zuo Pan - "Twisted Sit Stance/Coiled Sit Stance"
歇步冲拳 - Xie Bu Chong Quan - "Resting Stance Punch"
丁步抱手缩身 - Ding Bu Bao Shou Suo Shen - "T Stance Shrink Body Wrap Hands"
鸡形步练习 -Ji Xing Bu Lian Xi - "Chicken Stance Exercise"

Jump Kicks

腾空拍脚 - Teng Kong Pai Jiao - "Soaring Slap Kick"
二起脚 - Er Qi Jiao - "Jump Kick"
旋风脚 - Xuan Feng Jiao - "Whirlwind Kick"
外摆莲(空中外摆脚) - Wai Bai Lian - "Outside Lotus Kick"


扫堂腿 - Sao Tang Tui - "Leg Sweep"

后扫腿 - Hou Sao Tui - "Backwards Leg Sweep"
Start in Gong Bu, left leg in front, right leg in back. Right leg sweeps to the left and you return to gong bu.
前扫腿 - Qián sǎo tuǐ - "Forward Leg Sweep"
Start in T-Stance. Left leg steps backwards and you change into PuBu. Your right leg sweeps to the right, when your body faces backward you again go into PuBu to finish the move.


五步拳 - 5 Step Boxing
十步拳 - 10 Step Boxing
(I want to learn)
娄寒十八手 - 18 Lou Han Hands
Lian bu Quan

Flips/Tricks 30-60+ Mins 

This part of training can take even longer than 1 hour as doing the warmup/prep exercises leading up to these tricks are important for preparing your whole body for attempting tricks, caution advised. Recommended to take a break before doing this part for water.

Cart Wheels (Two Handed, One Handed, No Hands)
Butterfly Twist Warmup
Spin Step Warmup
Butterfly Twist
Spin Step + Butterfly Twist

Capoeria Tricks

Sparring (If Possible)

 In this day, Kung Fu isn't known for sparring all that much and I'd like to change that. Though I do have a little experience sparring with Kung Fu, I have sparred others in Karate, Boxing, Muay Thai and Judo. Combining my sparring knowledge with the many "Kung Fu Techniques/Applications" videos I've watched I'd like to give some advice. I am still a beginner though and take what I write with a grain of salt.

Kung Fu Punches: Kung Fu punches seem strange to a modern combat sport practitioner but after reading and studying some "Kung Fu Theory" I have realized that the punches are meant to attack the lower abdomen of the body, below the ribs. The liver, lungs and solar plexus are all valued targets for Kung Fu punches. This also explains the hand positioning during punches, usually the hand is at the side or infront of the body. This is due to the fact that you are meant to be blocking your solar plexus.

There is a common saying for Kung Fu attacks, "Hard to Soft and Soft to Hard" meaning that "Hard" attacks; like a fist, target the soft areas of the body like the neck, lower abdomen etc. While "Soft" attacks; like Chops, Spears, Hammer Fists, target the Harder areas of the body like the head. This is just a saying to help those new to Kung Fu learn the application as Punches, Palm Strikes and the like can all be used at different areas but must be conitioned and trained well.

Kung Fu Kicks: In one of the Kung Fu videos the "Warrior Monk" says that kicks are rarely done above the waist. Only during stretching are the kicks done above the head so that the student learns to generate power, speed and improve their flexibility. Because of this you should learn to target your kicks at the legs, groin and lower abdomen. (Becarful targeting the groin, knees and hips during practice, it is advised to just target the lower abdomen, thighs, and calfs when sparring to not injure eachother). Sometimes kicks are done towards the neck or chin when the opportunity arises.

Kung Fu Blocks/Stances: In Kung Fu you must be fast with your blocks and traps(like in Karate). Never just block or just trap, you should allways follow with a counter or a retreat. In Kung Fu speed and strength are your resources you must use and you have to learn how to use offense and defense effectively, everyone is different. 

Fighting Stance
Stances are another thing many people misuse, Kung Fu stances are not like MMA or Boxing stances that you stay in/return to for the whole fight. Kung Fu stances are transitions between the various moves. They only take a few seconds and then you return to your "fighting stance". The real kung fu fighting stance looks very similar to that of Muay Thai, Boxing or MMA stance (see above). Learn to throw your Kung Fu moves from your fighting stance and practice returning quickly.

I recommend taking another art to improve your Kung Fu, whether it is Boxing, Muay Thai, MMA, Karate etc etc and then trying to combine what you like from both arts together into your own "style".

Stretching 15-20 Mins

Stretching at the end is meant to cool down the body and after a work out it is the best time to stretch as your body is at its warmest and most flexible. It is recommended to do the normal stretches before practicing your stances.

It is recommended to do each stretch 3-4 times for 20-30 seconds each.

Toe Touches
Wide Leg Toe Touches
Sitting Toe Touches
Straddle Stretch
Leg Bent Back Toe Touches

弓步 - Gong Bu - "Bow Stance"
马步 - Ma Bu - "Horse Stance"
仆步 - Pu Bu - “Crouching Stance"
虚步 - Xu Bu - "Empty Stance"
歇步 - Xie Bu - "Resting Stance"
丁步 - Ding Bu - "T Stance"
并步 - Bing Bu - "Parallel Stance"
鸡形步 - Ji Xing Bu - "Chicken Stance"
七星步 - Qi Xing Bu - "7 Star Stance"

Remember! Do not overstretch yourself and keep bouncing/motion to a minimal while stretching. Slowly push yourself into the stretch each time while a 5-10 second rest between stretches and you will see that you will improve with each time.

Resources used for photos:

Shaolin Kung Fu Basic Moves
Basic Skills and Exercises in Shaolin Kung Fu
Shaolin Kung Fu 18 Techniques
Shaolin Kung Fu Fighting: 36 Techniques


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