36 Legs of Berlin

This program was developed from an exploration into the basic techniques of Traditional Chinese Martial Arts. It features a combination of stances and kicking drills. Fun and very rewarding.

The program itself is simple: It consists of two sections, stances and kicks.

The stances act as strength work but also as a warmup for the kicks.

Duration: 36 days

Goal would be daily but you can decide how much you need to rest for this.

Stances: 36 repetitions of the stance then hold it for 36 breaths . The goal is to be able to do it in one set but split it up as you need to on the day. E.g 10/10/9/3/4 for the squats then 12/12/12 breaths in the static hold with little breaks inbetween

Kicks: 36 each leg

Aims and Objectives:

  • Learn to auto-regulate the training so treat everyday as unique.
  • Learn to feel the tendon / sinew connections in the legs.
  • Have Fun!

I am indebted to Craig Mallet for sharing some of the details on the stances in the video as well as suffering through many strange training idea with.

His courses are available at well worth checking out if you get more into this style of training https://craigmallett.uscreen.io/

An important thing to note when doing this style of training is that, if you’re doing lower body flexibility work, you probably won’t need to train it while doing the 36 legs of Berlin. Put it aside for now and you may find when you come back to it that you have a different sensational awareness of the lower body.

Warm up with 5-10 mins of general moderate to intense movement e.g Skipping, Burpies, Jogging etc before starting.

Now, onto the stances!


Don’t go too wide with these, 5 steps out is traditional, as we’re not treating it as a flexibility building exercise in this instance. Be aware of trying to build the tendon bridge, imagine there’s a spacehopper between the legs keeping you up.

Keep your torso as upright as your anatomy allows, come as deep as you can but don’t focus on chasing the depth or tip your torso forward.

Duration: 36 reps holding 2-3s in the bottom followed by

holding for 36 breaths


Drop stance is our first unilateral stance. Make sure that even though it is unilateral that you’re keeping the frame talked about in horse stance. There’s a lot of variation on the basic elements that can be done on this position depending on your anatomy, flexibility or stylistic choices.

It may be useful to imagine that you’re sinking down and under something.

Duration: 36 reps on both legs, holding 2-3s in the bottom. Followed by holding for 36 breaths. You can either alternate repetitions on legs or do all 36 reps on one side and then the other.


For our third stance we want to take a narrower stance for this, around shoulder width. Depending on your flexibility this could also provide a stretch for the piriformis/glute med. Establishing a stretch across the arms and upper back is important with this stance.

At first don’t sink too deep but as you get more comfortable with the position you want to be able to sink to the point where the butt is an inch away from the back foot heel.

Duration: 36 reps on both legs, holding 2-3s in the bottom, alternating sides. Followed by holding for 36 breaths eventually, it can be very hard to do so maybe work up to 36.


Now onto the kicks, a note of importance with all these kicks is to focus on the technique first and don’t chase kicking higher and higher until you have the technique down.

Always have your toes flexed and knee locked. Ensure that you don’t lose your frame when kicking.

With all the kicks your hands are held in a flexed position out to the side and slightly in-front, so that the hands are visible in the peripherals of your vision.

The front kick is simple, lifting the leg up with speed and down. Once you have base technique down you can create a target in-front of you with your hands.

The last level of this kick is kicking and pulling down with force once you reach the moment of suspension but should only be done when fully competent.

Duration: 36 reps on both legs


The side kick is more of 45 degree kick. It can be quite hard so take it gentle at first and as you get more competent you will gain height.

The stepping on this can throw you off balance, so make sure that you’re keeping your structure and staying on balance throughout.

Start feet together and then bring feet out into first position, avoiding any torque on the knees. The kick then goes in the direction that the feet point and then land in front.

Duration: 36 reps on both legs


This kick can have two variants that you play with, either where you maintain the frame or allow the hip to twist with it.

The leg comes from the outside to kick the opposite hand, though that doesn’t have to be the main focus.

Duration: 36 reps on both legs


Start with turned out feet, and kick from the inside to the outside, kicking the hand on the same side.

Like all the other kicks, start slow and don’t maximise the range and then slowly work up to that.

Duration: 36 reps on both legs


If possible, the best thing is to train every day with this program for 36 days, though if you have time constraints then you’re welcome to play with this program as you see fit.

Have fun and any questions you may have, message me on instagram @emmetlouis or comment on the youtube videos.

Have fun!