Get a Striking Body: 5-Minute Self-Defense Workout

By Jennifer Matarazzo

Get stronger and more self-assured by learning these basic self-defense moves, courtesy of Joanne Harris, creator of the Urban KnockOut DVD ($14.98; Engage your muscles at the end of every strike, and keep your knees and elbows soft. Do each move 10 times; switch sides and continue alternating to reach five minutes.

Related: More Fast Workouts to Sculpt and Shape

Horizontal Elbow Strike
Targets: quads, hips, upper back, shoulders

  • Standing with feet shoulder-width apart, hold left fist with right hand at chest level, left elbow pointed toward left side.
  • Lunge left foot out while striking out your left elbow 3 to 5 inches, keeping left arm parallel to floor.
Related: Kickboxing Exercises to Sculpt Muscle and Blast Fat

Uppercut Elbow Strike
Targets: quads, core, upper back, shoulders
  • Hold left fist with right hand at chest level, left elbow pointed up on the diagonal with feet at shoulder-width.
  • Lift left heel and shift weight to the left.
  • Strike up with left elbow.

Related: Get Great Legs in 3 Moves

Turning Palm Strike
Targets: glutes, quads, obliques

  • Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent, and pivot to the right, hands in fists, palms facing in.

  • Bend and pivot to the left as you simultaneously strike forward with your right palm, fingertips facing the ceiling.

Related: Try the Hot Legs Workout

Knee Strike
Targets: quads, inner thighs, lower back

  • Stand with your right foot 3 to 5 inches behind your left with fists in front of you as if grabbing an attacker's shoulders.
  • Tuck your chin and thrust your right knee forward, striking toward your imaginary attacker's groin.

Related: Get Slim Without the Gym: Leg and Butt Shapers

Back Elbow Strike
Targets: quads, glutes, obliques, core

  • Standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, hold right fist with left palm at waist height.
  • Step forward diagonally with left foot to pivot, and thrust right elbow behind you.

Related: 5-Minutes to Flatter Abs

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