In addition to the correct defense technique, fitness and strength, among other things, are decisive factors in order to be able to defend oneself in an emergency: be it for escape, defense against an attack or a counterattack. Here, surely everyone has their own philosophy to keep fit, team sports, the gym, the or the evening run.

But there is also the possibility to keep fit with fitness exercises for home. With a few exercises you can increase your endurance and strength, even without equipment. To introduce you to effective exercises, we asked a professional for input. Below, fitness trainer Bilal Zola from Fitsteps presents TT exercises and tips.

Fitnessübungen zuhause

Hello Bilal, please introduce yourself briefly:

Bilal Zola: Personal Trainer & Physiotherapeut in München

My name is Bilal Zola. I am a personal trainer and physiotherapist in Munich and I train my patients or clients at home or in the gym. Currently I do pure weight training in the gym. However, my background is in competitive sports. I played basketball for nine years in the past. After that, I got away from team sports and did intense boxing for a few years. With some clients, I also specifically train their punching power and fitness for competitions in martial arts, among other sports.

Can you really keep fit with home exercises?

“Fit” is a relatively broad term. But in general, you can really keep fit from home.

  • If you’re a beginner and want to build muscle, it will work to some degree.
  • Do you want to improve your endurance, this will also go to some extent with exercises in a high repetition range or for time.
  • Do you want to improve your strength, this is possible to a certain extent with the help of weights.

However, it must be said that you can never reach your full potential at home, but if you just want to be “normally fit” you can definitely do it from home. But you won’t become a professional athlete and successful competitor.

Are there limits? What other influences are there besides training?

Genetics also play an important role. If you are blessed and have great genetics in terms of muscle building, you will achieve great effects with a few dumbbells and weights. But some have it harder here, others find it easier. Let’s put it this way, you can definitely train a crisp beach body from home. Also sufficient strength and endurance for self-defense are absolutely possible.

You can train yourself a good endurance with certain exercises like Burpees, Mountain Climbers, Froggers, Jump Squats, if you do them for time or for a high number of repetitions. However, to participate in a bodybuilding competition or a marathon, training at home will not be enough.

What exercises help improve my fitness/endurance?

The following exercises can help to get a better fitness: Burpees, shadow boxing, jumping rope, squats, jumpsquats, mountain climbers, froggers.

Make sure you use proper technique when doing the exercises. As long as you are not in pain, the limit is only your willpower. If stabbing or burning pain occurs, you should stop. Nausea and vomiting are also a sign that the training session was too much.

It is best to do the exercises once with a friend who knows how to do them. He or she can easily identify and correct any misalignment.

Do you have an endurance exercise plan or can you recommend one?

To improve your endurance you should take this advice to heart:

  • 50 Burpees, 50 Squats, 50 Mountain Climbers, 50 Froggers, 50 Burpees… and do the whole three rounds. Preferably once a day, or at least every other day. You could do this in the comfort of your living room.
  • If you also own an exercise bike, then you can of course get on your training bike every now and then. Otherwise, jogging, cycling or swimming is also perfect to improve your endurance. Three times a week would be good for your body.
  • Of course, group sports such as soccer, basketball, tennis, volleyball and co. are also an alternative to improve your fitness. With two longer or three medium workouts, you’ll stay fit that way, too.

However, not all sports are equally suitable for sparing joints or training the body holistically. Another tip, just have a look at Youtube, there you will find many training plans, for example this one:


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What exercises can improve my strength?

To improve your strength it is optimal to work with additional weight or with resistance bands. For the beginning, normal push-ups and pull-ups are also very good. If you have dumbbells or weights then check out the following workout plan:

  • 2x 10 repetitions push-ups
  • 4x 6-8 reps dumbbell press on a flat bench or on the floor
  • 2x 15 repetitions butterflies with the dumbbells
  • 4x 6-8 dumbbell rowing
  • 2x 15 dumbbell front raises bent over
  • 3x 10 front squats
  • 3x 10 Romanian Deadlifts
  • 4x 12 Biceps Curl
  • 4x 12 Triceps press overhead single arm

That would be an example of a full body plan. If you do this 3-4 times a week, you’ll be off to a really good start. It’s best to combine this with a plan for your fitness (see above). Again, you can find lots of visuals on Youtube, for example this video:


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Which Exercises Actually Make Me More Defensive?

You can’t exactly generalize. If you find a good balance between the 5 main motoric forms of stress in sports, then you are already well prepared. These are coordination, strength, speed, endurance and mobility. Each form of exercise complements the others. If you have tremendous endurance but are weak, your chances are not so good. Likewise, if you have strength but no endurance, strength alone won’t get you anywhere.

And then, of course, there is technique and knowledge. By knowing a martial art, you can better fend off attacks, know vulnerable points on your body, so-called vital points, and can also go on the counterattack. In addition, a self-defense course prepares you for extreme situations. So in an emergency situation you don’t fall into a state of shock, but know what to do.

So to get to the point, or to emphasize two things:

  1. Improve your coordination, strength, speed, endurance and agility.
  2. Train a martial art to acquire the knowledge of self-defense

How often should I actually train?

Basically, you need to give your body a stimulus to get better. No matter in which area, whether endurance, strength or coordination etc.. Now it is so that if you stimulate your body it becomes better through the regeneration (supercompensation). If you do not stimulate it again, then it will degrade again. Therefore, once a week is not enough to really get better. Also twice a week is too little in my opinion. You should train at least three times a week to really see success.

Can I do something wrong? How can I tell?

Of course you can do something wrong. When training, especially strength training, it is very important that your ego stays at home. Technique comes before weight. Technique, technique, technique is all that counts. The weights increase with time. Your body can compensate pretty well in the beginning, so it doesn’t have to be that you feel pain right away. If you do, please immediately stop doing the exercise the way you are doing it and get help from a trainer or physical therapist.

Also, please make sure that you perform the exercise with the full range of motion of your joints. Do not do half repetitions, but complete exercises. Train your mobility. This will reduce the risk of injury by a lot. Too much muscle soreness shows you that you have overdone it with the training. But it’s not that dramatic now, just try to increase your training more slowly next time.

Do you have a tip for the completely untrained?

If you are a beginner, it is very important that you learn the correct technique of the exercises. Patience and continuity will take you far. Don’t compare yourself with others, every body is individual and every body reacts differently to training. Some adapt faster others slower.

In my career as a physical therapist, I have had a lot of patients who had to start from the very bottom again just because they experienced a severe injury due to a wrong technique and then had to take a break for a long period of time. I’ve also had patients who have gotten stronger just by being aware of their body in training, just because it allowed them to hit the muscle better.

What I’m trying to say is stay on the ball. Try a lot of things. You’ll find your optimal way to take your body to the next level over time.

We hope that Bilal’s tips will help you to improve your fitness, strength and body awareness. Keep at it and don’t get discouraged! Every beginning is hard, but the will counts! Thank you Bilal!