Here are some thoughts based on personal experience:
ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament) in the middle of your knee is often injured in martial arts and sports in general. Studies have shown that that strong hamstring muscles can prevent ACL tears. The reason for that is that muscle is directly responsible for 'holding' that joint in place. A weak, slack, or inflexible muscle that fails in a critical moment can cause that joint to be injured.
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When I did kickboxing I used to get extremely bad neck/back pain. The kind where do something, even a minor movement, and suddenly shooting pain into the skull. It hurts to breathe and forget about turning your head. I was sure it was a neck/back injury.
It was a muscular imbalance. I did so many rounds on the bags punching that my front delts, pecs, etc were actually getting bigger, stronger, etc than the OPPOSING muscle groups, which in turn whacked my back/neck/shoulders out. And that is what caused pain.
The solution, as I figured out, was to do rowing and pull ups to balance everything out. My problem was solved.
After that experience I reflected back on what doctors told me about the hamstring protecting the ACL and realized that all those years kicking and developing a destructive round kick probably over-strenghtened my quads in relation to my hams. My Judo suffered because of weak buttocks/hamstrings and I never took the time to strengthen them. I hated doing squats. And eventually I got a torn ACL.
Nowadays I do compound major muscle group lifts. And I feel it has protected me from a lot of injuries. And if you do martial arts for any length of time you ARE going to get injured. Lifting can help prevent or minimize the number of injuries you will get.
Personally I believe in a balance between power and endurance lifting. Meaning I do both. Sometimes I lift heavy for low reps. Sometimes I lift light for high reps. But I concentrate on doing the 'big' lifts before I do the 'little' lifts. I will do deadlifts and squats, and only rarely do leg extensions and leg curls. I will do powercleans and chest press, but only rarely do bicep curls or tricep extensions. Mainly this is because I don't want to spend 2 hours a day in the gym. I only go to the gym 2x per week. I just can't recover enough from jiu jitsu to do the 4x a week I probably should to see 'real' gains in size and strength.
He's absolutely correct that if you're developing strength and power solely by training in the activity you do, you can develop imbalances which will cause big problems not only for your sport, but life in general. Same thing as if you do situps with no back-work or benching with no shoulder work.
Last edited by Judah Maccabee; 10/20/2006 4:47pm at .