A Beginner's Guide To Transforming Yourself Into A Shaolin Warrior

I've had many enquiries from people who haven't done any fitness or martial art's training for many years and have asked me how they can use the Shaolin Workout DVDs to get back into shape. This month I share with you a programme based on Shaolin Workout Volume 1. If you're in okay shape or you want to move up a volume then you can use the same principles for Volume 2 and 3. Please note, that these are guidelines only and you shouldn't undertake a new workout regime without checking with your doctor first. 

The Shaolin Workout - A physical and spiritual overhaul

The Shaolin Workout is designed for the martial artist but it can also be used as an exciting fitness regime. The beauty of Shaolin Kung Fu is that it carries us through each phase of our life, boosting our metabolism, helping our heart and increasing our flexibility and coordination.

Welcome To The Class

The DVD is designed exactly the same as the beginner's class so it's perfectly normal if you struggle to follow it. If you come to my class, you wouldn't be able to follow it either and neither would I expect you to. I also don't slow the class down for you. I advise you to do what you can and do a little bit more each time until you can follow the whole class in one go.

If you're seriously unfit then before you undertake the Workout I advise you to do Qigong and combine this with walking then jogging. Only when you can jog for a full twenty minutes would I say it's okay for you to join my class. And remember, you should always check with your doctor first before beginning any workout programme to make sure that it is suitable for you. These instructions are for guidance only. If you experience any pain or dizziness then stop immediately and seek professional advice. 

The instructions below are meant to be used with the Shaolin Workout Volume 1 DVD so press play and let's get started.

Stamina Training

Your class with me begins with Shaolin Circuit Training. This anaerobic training consists of short bursts of intense exercise. It's very demanding but research has shown that it's one of the most effective ways to build fitness levels and lose weight. 

We begin with press ups. The quality of the press up is more important than the amount of press ups. In the time it takes us to do 10 press ups you do 3. It's the same with the horse stance squats. Keep your back straight and make sure your alignment is correct ( see p128 of my book Instant Health for details of alignment). As we do ten, you do five. Same applies for running. Keep your stomach muscles engaged and instead of doing 100 do 10 or 25. You will get out of breath, you will sweat, your face may get a little red but keep your body relaxed. One of the things we tend to do when the going gets tough is tense up. But this uses more energy. Think of yourself as relaxed as a great boxer or an Olympic runner. 

Stance Training

If you're totally new to martial arts then I recommend you go through the stances in my Instant Health book first. Correct alignment is crucial. If you are older, have back problems or you haven't exercised in a while then keep the stances much much higher than myself and my students. You will still gain the benefit of the stance. These stances build strength, flexibility and coordination. Getting the stances correct is the secret to getting the Shaolin forms perfect so follow them at your own pace. Speed is not important. Getting them right is.

Combination Training

If you are totally new to training then skip this chapter and move onto stretching. As you begin to find the class easier and easier then you can factor in the combination training later on. 


Pause the DVD for each section and take more time for each part of the stretching. This is a time to listen to your body rather than my instruction. Breathe into your stretch and tune into your body to see how far you can go. Please don't be put off by the splits. The splits not only stretches the legs but it also opens the hips too so it's good to aim for the splits and not to worry if you are miles away from the floor. 

Five Basic Kicks

The kicks are another way of increasing flexibility and opening the hips. The Shaolin Way To Flexibility is to use stretching first then power afterwards. This gives a different quality to our stretch. A person who practices yoga may be flexible and able to kick high but their kick will have no speed or power. If you are a martial artist then speed and power are vital. The muscles enjoy being used in different ways. It is good for them.  Do five of each kick rather than ten of each. Take your time and keep your kicks low but straight rather than high with a bent leg.
Maximize Your Power

One of the secrets to retaining energy and having powerful kicks and punches is to stay relaxed and only use power at the end of the kick or the end of the punch. Another trick is to imagine that there's an opponent in the room with you. You don't want to show them how tired or out of breath you are so you need to find ways to control yourself. 

Mixed Level Training

This is another chapter you can leave out until you are able to do the rest of the DVD. Go straight to Qigong. If you have time then run through the whole Eight Treasures Form from Instant Health or The Way Of Qigong Volume 1 then finish with the Instant Health self-massage. This will calm your body down, help your Qi to flow properly, oxygenate your internal organs and you make you feel energized and relaxed. 

Track Your Progress

It's a good idea to make a note of how many press ups, squats and runs you do each time so that you can see how much progress you made.  You'll be surprised at how quickly you progress. And it's not all about the external, it's about the changes that you are making internally. Alongside your growing fitness, you'll find your confidence growing too. I've had many students who have made changes in their life that they've always wanted and their regular Shaolin Workout has helped them to make them.

How Many Times A Week?

If you're training as a martial artist then you need to train 6 days a week, for health and fitness, four times a week is fine. Make sure you keep surprising your body, read my blog post: Are You In A Workout Rut to find out more, and add in some kung fu running from my  youtube video.

When are you ready to move up a class?

Don't get too comfortable. It's good to vary your routine. Once you know the moves and can go through the DVD then you can start to work with Volume 2 and alternate the workouts.

The key to stay motivated is to keep a regular routine.  There has to be a very good reason for you not to do it. Tiredness and not enough time are excuses not valid reasons. Track your progress, stay relaxed and enjoy your training. This is time for you. Forget life and family pressures. By taking time out, you will be able to handle the stress in your life in a much calmer way. You are transforming yourself into a Shaolin Warrior. And rememeber, Shaolin Warriors come in all shapes and sizes.

The Shaolin Workout Bundle: Volume, 1,2 & 3 

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