Krav Maga – Why You NEED to Be Strong By James Breese

Krav Maga – Why You NEED to Be Strong.


It’s almost one year since I became an instructor with the Institute of Krav Maga – and 6 Years from when I first joined as a Student in 2007

One of the best things I ever did to improve my Krav Skills was to become an instructor. It’s only after you complete the GIC course that you begin to have an appreciation of all the little aspects of the system that make up the bigger picture. 

I went into the course as a G1 and immediately I felt my understanding and knowledge of the system was that of a P1. Everything we covered from P1 up was like an ‘A-Ha’ moment and that I had to ‘re-learn’ everything that I had previously done to pass the grades. 

I learnt that it’s not just about doing the technique; it was about understanding it, applying and relaying it to others in a clear concise manner so that they too could apply it themselves.

But the more I practiced at teaching, the more I started to understand the importance of the ‘little things’ in each and every technique, which in turn, improved my skills no end. 

6 years of Krav Maga….. time really does fly when you’re having fun.

But it’s the little things in life that make the difference in everything we do. Simple things done well produce results. FACT.

But remember this, simple does not mean EASY. 

I repeat, something that is Simple, does not mean it is EASY. 

What do I mean by this? 

Well since teaching more and more in London, and even when I spent a lot of time in Hertfordshire, I get a lot of groans and moans during my warm ups….

And don’t think I can’t hear those comments of “Why are we doing these pointless exercises again”? You know who you are…… 😉 

You see these exercises I do in the warm ups are Simple little exercises that we should all be able to master….. they’re not easy from the years of abuse we put our bodies through.

But also, you struggle from years of not adhering to good strength and movement practices. 

Most of you are aware that I specialize in the field of Strength and Conditioning… for those of you who didn’t… you now know! 😉

But the #1 question I get asked is this

“James, How do I improve my conditioning for Krav Maga”?

Well, today is your lucky day, I’m about to reveal the answer to the million dollar question.

Are you ready???

The Secret to improving your conditioning for Krav Maga is…….




What? Is that it? Do more Krav Maga!????

Yes, that is it… simple isn’t it. But is that Easy?

So the formula is….  as an example if you do Krav Maga 2 x per week…. do it 4 x a week. 

Do that then come back to me in four weeks. Tell me how you feel then!

But, bonus points if you can think of  the most important question that people should be asking me, but don’t??? 

Remember, I am a STRENGTH & conditioning specialist – NOT JUST A CONDITIONING SPECIALIST. 

So why do people always fail to ask me about the Strength world?

Well to put it simply – because conditioning is the BUZZ word in the fitness industry and strength has a whole range of negative connotations associated to it caused largely by the huge muscle bound bodybuilders you see crawling and lurking around our gym today. 

For the record I hate modern gyms. Mostly filled with vain men who only work their chest and guns – who have spindly little sparrow legs and look totally out of proportion.

You know the ones I mean. The ones that love working their upper body and neglect their legs and entire posterior chain.

Apologies If I’ve now offended those that do this or look like this, but the fact you do Krav Maga puts you up a notch in my estimation 🙂 

So, to help your Krav Maga you need to work on both Strength & Conditioning.

But why strength?

Let’s put it simply…. if you need to pull somebody off you, push them away or grip on to something for dear life, what do you need to use?

Brute Force and Ignorance. 

And that is out and out strength.

Ask yourself, how do you knock out somebody else? 

By being stronger than they are and hitting them damn hard! 

Fighters need to be strong. Conditioning is great, but given equal levels of conditioning and skill, the stronger man shall win. FACT. 

To quote Steve Baccari (great MMA and Boxing Coach), fighters keep confusing “strength and conditioning” with “conditioning and MORE conditioning

Any fool can smoke you to work on your conditioning… hell, I’ll make you do 2 vs 1 hitting the kick shield drills for 2 minute rounds for an hour if you really want… that will help with your conditioning right?

But Strength is a Skill and for Krav Maga you need it more than ever.

We don’t train to be in a fair, 1 on one fight. We train to survive. And sometimes survival will come down to being stronger than the other person. 

Strength comes together with a well thought out plan…… not doing high rep, intensity sets with very little rest for an hour.

You are simply putting more conditioning on top of your conditioning.

Remember, strength is a skill, just like Krav Maga is a skill and needs to be practiced.

So let’s get back to the conditioning point.

After reading all of this, do you still think that conditioning is what you need to work on? 

Well, let’s quote stats and figures. Can you achieve the numbers below?

Can you do:


2 x Bodyweight Bench Press

2 x Bodyweight Back Squat

2.5 x Bodyweight deadlift



1.25  x Bodyweight Bench press

1.5 x Bodyweight back Squat

1.5 x Bodyweight Deadlift


How’d you get on? Can you to reach these numbers?

If you can great… keep it up and let’s work on some conditioning.

For those of you who didn’t… and I’m assuming 99% of you can’t… we have to focus on building strength…..

And that means more of these stupid games I play with you in class!! 😉

Or following this sample program I’m going to give you now that will help compliment your Krav Maga to make you fitter and stronger than you have ever been before.

The problem is, I know most of you won’t follow it because it’s simple.

But remember, it’s not easy. 

So here you go.









Strength Krav Maga Strength Krav Maga Rest Krav Maga Rest


I’ve structured it like this for two simple reasons…. this is a plan most people can follow that is realistic around working constraints, lifestyle choices, family etc etc.

It doesn’t have to look like this, but the principle should remain the same Strength Training and Krav Maga should not been done on the same day (unless you’re a pro fighter and have a full day to yourself but that’s for another time.

If you want to add another strength day on Friday… that’s great… but stick to the workout I’m going to give you…. but make sure you have at least one full day off to recover. 

Recovery is just as important as training. 

So, here you go…. what everyone loves to see, a workout plan.


Krav Maga Strength Training


5 Min Warm Up – I prefer goblet squats, foam rolling and those stupid stretches I make you do in class! 🙂

The Rules –

  • •Rest 5 Minutes between each set.
  • • Choose a weight at 65% of what you can lift, or think you can lift within reason. (e.g 100kg…. choose 65kg).
  • • Never EVER go to failure. After each workout you must stay fresh and almost not feel like you’ve done a workout.
  • • Every week increase the weight by 5% and do this for 6 weeks. Then we re-cycle at 65% of your new perceived max lift.


The Workout

  • •Deadlift – 2 Sets of 5 Reps.
  • •Back Squat – 2 Sets of 5 Reps.
  • •Bench Press – 2 Sets of 5 Reps.
  • •Heavy Bicep Curls – 2 Sets of 5 Reps.
  • •50 Kettlebell Swings ( I prefer 5 Sets of 10 but rest as little as possible between sets here)


The purpose of this workout is to compliment your Krav Maga skills and work towards making you a better fighter. 

My observations from class are that you need to become stronger, and when you get stronger, you’ll be amazed at what happens to your conditioning.

You’ll also be amazed at what it can do for you for fat loss! Trust me on these points and give it a go.

There are lots of different workouts I could have given you but I want one in which you can follow, and no matter how advanced you think you are in the gym, it really does mean going back to basics. 

Anyhow, till next time, go pick something heavy up and stick to the plan. 

You’ll be amazed what happens!


Yours in health,




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