I'm doing a 3 days workout routine and i would like to reserve a day to train other things than muscles...I practice martial arts 2 days a week.

There are any exercises to improve my readiness , reflexes , attention , pain resistance and other mental & cognitive skills that could help me both on my martial arts and on my daily life ?

I live in a very dangerous country so is important to be ready to strike fast and without thinking and be able to notice small things like someone hiding a knife or following me.

  • Just out of curiosity, could you say the name of the country, please?
    – Mephisto
    Commented Jun 9, 2015 at 21:49
  • @Mephisto Brazil...1 in 10 people killed in the world are Brazilians... That's counting on the fact that almost no one go to the police when something happens because they are useless...I can only count and trust in myself
    – Freedo
    Commented Jun 9, 2015 at 21:53
  • I suspected is was Brazil after reading your post. Good luck, man. I wish we all lived in a better world. - And focus too on preventive strategies, like avoiding solitary places, fooling your potential enemy with words in order to avoid direct fight with someone that may hold a knife or a gun... Trying first to avoid the fight is always the #1 tip given by all personal defence coaches. Good luck.
    – Mephisto
    Commented Jun 9, 2015 at 22:01
  • 1
    I'd do some secular meditation. You learn to focus and realize that most thoughts entering your head aren't because you wanted them there. The less distracted you are, the more aware you'll be.
    – Eric
    Commented Jun 9, 2015 at 23:05
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    @Freedom - I flagged your post for movement to martial arts, I think it's a better fit there than here.
    – JohnP
    Commented Jun 11, 2015 at 19:09

3 Answers 3


There's no specific exercise that will deliver what you ask for, but there is plenty of research showing that 30+ mins or general aerobic exercise will deliver physical and cognitive benefits, have a read of: Neurobiological effects of physical exercise or Shorter term aerobic exercise improves brain, cognition, and cardiovascular fitness in aging. So simply ensure your mildly active on you four rest days.

  • +1, but i know this already, and my martial art is already a aerobic exercise too, i wan't to know about specific exercises to improve this, they can be mental too
    – Freedo
    Commented Jun 18, 2015 at 3:15
  • Yep, that should increase oxygen flow to the brain.
    – Shon
    Commented Jun 20, 2015 at 9:28
  • @Freedom there are no proven exercises; what is proven is that your reaction times and pain tolerance will decrease with age, primarily due to a gradual depletion of the melanin between between the neurons of your nervous system. But if you want something to keep you busy there are numerous unproven programs around that claim to offer what you want eg. CAT LIKE REFLEX TRAINING METHODS!
    – arober11
    Commented Jun 20, 2015 at 14:59
  • @arober11 don't you mean melatonin? Melanin is skin pigmentation.
    – Shon
    Commented Jun 21, 2015 at 4:19
  • @Sss4r, nope neurones, specifically the dendrites (the connecting wires) contain some melanin, and are also coated in a insulating fatty myelin layer. Loss of both with age has been correlated with a slowdown in inter neuron signaling, and so reaction times / cognitive function.
    – arober11
    Commented Jun 21, 2015 at 15:38

You may be interested in learning more about the Qi Gong exercises as part of a practice in Kung Fu which these Shaolin monks demonstrate in this video which you may already be familiar with as you mentioned you're already practicing martial arts. They appear to require much discipline and effort but appear to be highly effective as well, as far as strengthening and protecting the weakest and most vulnerable areas of the body.

This is not physical, but I will share anyway in case you haven't considered it, but there are education iOS apps such as Peak and Elevate which help you to train your brain with daily workouts in the areas of focus, mental agility, memory, problem solving, and language--within 30 days you should observe a marked improvement in your cognitive function.

And of course there are health supplements on the market designed to promote brain function. Again, not a physical fitness exercise, but I just wanted to attack the problem from as many fronts as possible in order to help you see results. Good luck and stay safe.


Balance improves the mental capacity of brain and makes it easy to control body. So i suggest u to improve your workouts for balance. That means, use dumbbels instead of machines and bars. Body weight workouts improve that also. And the most importantly u should take care of your diet for mental improvement. Comsume seafood a lot, add nuts to your snacks, use omega-3, Zinc, Magnesium supplements. They all improves mental capacity. There are some herbals which increases dopamine levels L-Dopa. Dopamine let your neurones switch faster and that makes ur reflexes better.

  • Could you clarify what you mean by "balance" ? The part about diet is good too, but i want to true know about exercises that i could do, but +1 anyway
    – Freedo
    Commented Jun 18, 2015 at 3:16
  • When you use machines, no need to care about which arm pushes harder. But with bar that matters and with dumbbells u have to have so much more body balance to do the movement perfectly. Maybe you use less weights but all your small balance muscles work with that way. You know left brain controls left side of the body and right brain controls right side of the body and you know one of that sides has less balance to do something (for example if you use your right hand to write its so hard to write with other hand ). So if u do balance workouts your body learns how to control all body perfectly.
    – CanESER
    Commented Jun 18, 2015 at 6:35

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