This 24-minute Krav Maga workout is an amazing cardio blast

A young woman moves backward, forward, left and right across the studio mats on the balls of her feet. Strands of her hair stick to her sweaty face and the knuckles of each fist rest against her cheekbones. Her eyes track her opponent as she ducks punches and kicks. She's practising Krav Maga, the hand-to-hand combat system used by the Israeli military. In a Krav class, you'll build strength, stamina and confidence in your ability to stay vigilant and safe on the roads.

Instructors Colleen Daly and Chris Torres (pictured) have formatted the defence moves into hour-long classes. Daly, a marathon runner, thought she had a strong fitness base – until she tried Krav.

‘I don't feel I've had a workout that has challenged me as this has,’ she says. Because Krav classes simulate attack situations, students must continue each move until the instructor calls ‘time’, which makes for an intense, unpredictable workout. So schedule Krav sessions just once or twice per week.

(Related: 5 cross-training workouts to make you a better runner)

Torres recommends learning to do the following moves with a Krav instructor to develop correct form and technique. This 24-minute partner workout is a good way to hone skills between classes.

1/ Shoulder and knee tag (8 minutes)

You and your sparring partner face each other in the fighting stance: knees bent, feet shoulder-width apart, with one leg in front of the other and the knuckles of both forefingers resting on your cheekbones. Move by stepping all directions, maintaining your fighting stance as you try to tap the outside of each other's shoulders and knees. Continue for three minutes, rest for one minute, then repeat.

2/ Squats (1 minute)

A strong punch comes from the core and lower body. Keep your feet shoulder-width apart, pushing your knees over your toes as you squat low, then push through your heels to stand. Repeat consistently for 60 seconds. This will be your active break between each move.

(Related: Quick guide to squatting technique)

3/ Arm stop and knee to groin (4 minutes)

Your partner holds a tombstone striking pad and charges. Block his progress with your forearms, then grab his shoulder as you hit the pad with an ‘up knee’. He steps back, then charges again. Switch after two minutes.

4/ Squats (1 minute)

5/ Punches (2 minutes)

Make a fist with your thumb on the outside of your grip. Rotate at the hips as you extend, exhale as you hit the pad, bring your hand back, then strike with your other hand. Switch after one minute.

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6/ Squats (1 minute)

7/ Flurry and sprawl (6 minutes)

Throw a flurry of hard punches, going ‘all out.’ Your partner may call ‘defence’ to force you to drop your hips to the ground before popping up and continuing the flurry. Switch after three minutes.

8/ Squats (1 minute)