One of my favorite non-gym, non-weight training workouts is Forza, an active workout developed by trainer Ilaria Montagnani that is based loosely on traditional samurai sword techniques–cuts, blocks, thrusts, and more. It is claimed that a 60 minute class can burn an average of 500 calories, though my Polar HRM usually calculates about 450 calories for me. In any case, it’s a decent cardiovascular/strength hybrid that, unlike those repetitive gym machines, never gets boring and doesn’t seem to hinder recovery from intense TT-style workouts.
Men’s Fitness has a free beginner’s Forza samurai sword workout routine posted online. You don’t need a bokken (wooden practice sword) to perform the workout, but a shortened broomstick or other similar makeshift sword-like stick is recommended.
Bear in mind that this is by no means an authentic form of martial arts sword practice, just as the group kickboxing class at your gym is not a real KB training program, but it’s a lot of fun, burns calories, gives you wicked shoulder and upper back muscles, and doesn’t kill your joints with high impact.
For more information about Forza including contact information for ordering the full 60-minute Forza workout DVD, check out the Powerstrike web site or consider picking up a copy of the reasonably-priced Forza instruction manual.