ZUU Training for Taewkon-Do

Fiona Simmonds and Karen Attrill Assistant Instructor – Hwa Rang Taekwon-Do Academy

It seems everywhere we are looking at the moment people are talking about and recommending the use of Zuu training. What is Zuu training? Zuu is a high intensity training style based on primal movements and is quickly spreading throughout the country.

USA Trainer David Cordtz says, “Zuu training is … using your body weight and using all your muscles at the same time and basically a lot of animal movement, hence the name Zuu.

At a recent ITKD instructor training course Karen attended, Mr Mike Lowe reminded us of the importance of keeping our bodies moving well. Particularly recommending the use of exercises based on animal movement. With his more than 40 years of Taekwon-Do training this is good advice for us as students! He showed us how to incorporate animal movement into our warm ups and shared some brilliant fun games as well.  Ask around about ‘The Turtle’ game.

At a seniors/instructor’s lunch time class Fiona shared some Zuu techniques from her Cross Fit training where the instructor has researched the techniques and is going through the qualification process. These techniques were met with enthusiasm from us all. There were gasps of anguish as quads burned from Frog Squats and Joeys, arms screamed from Polar Bear press and Cobra’s, and our lungs burst from Gorillas, Bear crawls & Kicksits. There was also a lot of laughter.

Karen and her friends have been using Zuu techniques within their HIIT (high intensity interval training) workouts. They are demanding. They are also fun.  There’s something childlike and FUN about the demands of moving like animals. If you would like more information about this type of training or want to see the movements in action we recommend having a look at thezuu.com.au or google youtube Zuu – 20 Minute HIIT Workout with Nathan Helberg.

Joint mobility is an important aspect especially as we age and is complimentary to TKD training. Animal movements have come a long way from duck walking up and down the dojang. Today you can expect to do Frog Squats, Donkey Kicks, Gorilla Crawls, Half Hindu and Spider press ups. It’s great to see the science confirming something we’ve always known in TKD.

Beginners do not need to worry. As with TKD it is more important to learn the correct technique so many of the techniques can be performed from the knees as long as the correct muscles and range of movement are performed.

We are definitely not experts in the performance, but here are a few Zuu moves that can be incorporated into TKD warm ups.  They strengthen the whole body and bring back primal movements to give us the range of mobility we need for TKD.

Frog Squats – squat down as low as you can go with your heels on the ground. Put your elbows on the inside of your knees and push gently out forming a steeple with your hands. Stand up while maintaining your elbows in their position dropping your hands to the ground. Repeat at a fast pace.

Frog Squat Finish Front
Frog Squat Start Front
Frog Squat Start Side
Frog Squat Finish Side















Kick Sits – Crouch down and place your hands on the floor in front of you. Slip one foot/leg through the gap formed on the other side of your body between your arm and your leg until you are barely siting on the ground. You must maintain both hands in front of you to ensure you are twisting at the waist/hips and not at the chest. The knee of the other leg should be pointing to the ceiling (not collapsing) to maintain an open hip position. Bring the leg back through and alternate sides as fast as you can while maintaining form. Slower is better to ensure hands stay in place and opposing knee points to the ceiling.

Kick Sit Start
Kick Sit Finish

Gorillas – like it sounds, wide legs hands close together in front. Pull with your arms while bounding your legs forward.

Gorilla Start
Gorilla Finish

Half Hindu – start with legs apart, wider gives better stability in a “downward dog” yoga position. Scoop your head and body forward through your arms close to the floor lifting them at the end to be looking forward with an arched back. Now reverse the movement as best you can. Move forward and backwards scooping and un-scooping.

Half Hindu Start
Half Hindu Finish

Gecko – some may know them as spider press. Wide arms and legs, start in press-up, go down and as you come up move your left arm forward and bring your right knee up to your elbow, then alternate moving forward and then backwards.

Gecko Start
Gecko Finish

Donkey Kicks – As per the photos, kicking up the wall and dropping back down repetitively.

Donkey Kick Start
Donkey Kick Finish