Iaido Strength and Fitness Drills

Iaido Strength Training Drills for Men and Women Fitness Ann Arbor

As we’ve discussed in our recent articles about Martial Arts Diet Tips and Nihon Jujutsu and Functional Fitness, martial arts training offers many terrific opportunities to improve your strength, overall fitness, and mental discipline that you can apply to your everyday life. Iaido (Japanese Swordsmanship) is an incredible martial art that combines strength, balance, and mental discipline while you study cutting and strikes with a bokken or sword.

This video for Iaido Strength Drills featuring Nicklaus Suino Sensei is a great demonstration of how to use basic exercises to improve your martial arts training – and improve your strength and fitness at the same time.

If you have a set of resistance bands, you can improve your strength while refining your Iaido training movements. If you have a workout area in your home or a room that you can install hooks in, we recommend placing them at three levels: low, medium, and high.


With the band hooked just a few inches above head height, this move not only helps simulate the movement of a downward cut in Iaido, but also develops the muscle groups in the back, shoulders, and arms necessary to making this move effective.

Using both hands, grip the band from behind you, draw over your head and pull down over your chest to complete the motion. This will help add additional resistance to your downward cut, allowing for cleaner movements.


Setting the band at a middle height just between your stomach and chest, here are a pair of exercises you can perform to improve your nukitsuke – pulling the scabbard back and drawing the sword while strengthening those muscle groups:

Using your left hand, hold the band in front of you just above waist high, twisting backwards with your torso and shoulder, draw the band back behind you as you pull the scabbard away from the sword. Using the right hand, this movement will teach you to use your strength and power to draw your sword instead of using your joints. Bring the band tension with your elbow in towards the body and lead with the blade edge of your hand pushing the resistance band away from you. Practicing both exercises together will help train for a cleaner nukitsuke.


With the resistance band set low just under the waist, this drawing move works the shoulder, back, biceps, and forearms to create an overhead block move.

Push the resistance band away from your body similar to the way you would draw a sword or bokken for nukitsuke, with the opposite hand pressing down on the band. Instead of stopping at the end of the draw, continue to raise the band up directly over your head as if defending yourself from an attack. This should be a clean outward movement without bending your elbow.

Men and Women Fitness Ann Arbor Martial Arts Training

Martial arts training at Japanese Martial Arts Center in Ann Arbor is an incredible way for you to stay active, improve your strength, and pick up an important tip or two about good diet. Iaido training helps improve your balance and focus but the movements also help you develop isometric muscle strength. Nothing can replace in-person Iaido training at the dojo, but if you have a set of resistance bands, these basic core movements can help develop your technique while also providing the opportunity for some additional strength and muscle development.

If want to learn more about Iaido or the other martial arts styles we train in, Contact Us or give us a call at 730-720-0330 today to schedule two free introductory lessons!