Beginner Conditioning Training?
I'm a bit lost onto where to start learning about (and to start with) martial arts conditioning exercises/training.
Could someone point me in the right direction?
Tonight I was basically told I was too fat and in poor condition for martial arts and that I should spend my time and money losing the tummy and improving my physical condition particularly for martial arts.
The guy was nice about it and suggested I look into 'martial arts conditioning' saying that it will be easier to learn any martial art when you're in good condition. With a search on google all I could find were bullshit sounding gimmick products (Combat Conditioning? It seems the reviews are iffy, I don't care if the guy is an asshole but if what he's teaching is good then I'll learn it) which eventually led me to this forum which seems awesome that's why I decided to ask the question here.
For me, martial arts conditioning means doing things that are are similar to martial arts techniques in that they are whole-body explosive.
For strenth training, this means exercises like squats & deadlifts. Also you want to develop your pulling and pushing power with Military Press and pull ups, and with bench press and Rows.
There are a ton of body weight exercises you can do that are great full body explosive exercies like the burpee, hindu squat. Plus there are a dozen or so different kinds of pushups you can do to hit all kinds of different muscles.
For building deep cardio you can do things like HIIT (high intensity interval training), or Tabata sets, where you do a full body explosive exercise for 20 seconds than rest for 10, repeating 8 times which takes 4 minutes.
But the most important thing is getting your diet right, your metabolism is probably slow right now so you have to speed it up. You want to eat lots of small complete meals through the day, never skip meals, drink plenty of water. Also avoid processed foods, get more than 5 fruits & vegetables a day, and most importantly: avoid hydrogenated oils and high fructose corn syrup.
Go to a Circuits Class. This will develop you safely within a structured programme (UK Spelling) encompassing Warm-Up, Stretch, Work Out, Stretch, Warm Down.
You will learn Pyramid training (may be some Blitzing) and with Resistence (weights, press-ups) with other Core Strength exercises (Squats, Jumping Squats, Tuck Jumps more) plus other variants. Aim for 3 sessions a week with a day off in between. You should see significant progress within 3 months. Fat will melt away and be replaced by Muscle.
You can also vary the intensity depending on how you feel at the time. There will be fluctuations so keep this in Mind. You will know when to up the rigour and when you have to take it down a notch.
Take this knowledge with you when you join a martial arts class and then you will likely realise how few actually know anything about fitness training and conditioning. Their answer will be "we do it like this" or "that's how I learned" but really this is not good enough. The poorer instructors will work muscle groups to exhaustion or beyond their natural range of movement and expect you to do the same. This can develop a weakness in you physically.
Unless you are trying to jump straight into some advanced training or competition with no background, or are so out of shape that it is dangerous for you to train, there shouldn't be any reason for you not to start MA training as part of a fitness program. Those first few months will be a lot harder than for the average person, but I have had several students who have started training specifically to get into shape.
That being said, here are a few ideas to get you going. First of all, get a membership in a local gym. I don't know where you are, but in New England there are lots of gyms that only cost $20 to $35 a month. And not all of them are full of roid-filled gym rats that will make you feel like crap. And a lot of gyms have trainers on staff who will give one or two introductory meetings to get you going. Let them know what your specific goals are and they'll help you build a workout and help you with general diet guidelines to get you going (diet and exercise have to go together - one without the other is actually worse than only going halfway). Then it's up to you to have the discipline to stick with it. You should concentrate on cardio, flexibility, and endurance to get you ready, so each workout needs to include at least 20 minutes of treadmill/bike/rowing machine/eliptical/etc, and lots of stretching both before and after. Strength training should concentrate a lot on your core and body weight exercises- crunches, squats, pull ups, push ups - as opposed to trying to max repititions of heavy weights. Heavy lifting is great for building muscle, but does little to nothing for wind and endurance (believe me - you're going to need that). So just remember - low resistance, high repetition.
As an added help, there are several good books out there about weight and fitness training for martial artists. Some of them cover just about everything, others are very specific for a particular style or goal. but they will educate you on the motions and muscles that will be employed in a given art, and help you tune your workout.
Hope that helps some, and good luck. Keep us posted on your progress.
That a business man (yeah, he's in the business of teaching MA) turned someone away strikes me as odd. I sure as hell wouldn't - and I've got a day job and teach for fun.
Originally Posted by Apa
So, I gotta ask (and you don't have to answer if you don't want to), are you in such poor condition that exertion like what the guy would put you thru would be dangerous? Or did you walk into a place catering to professional fighters?
Just to be on the safe side, find out from you dr if there's any reason you should be careful abou the exercise you do.
All the following is stuff I've figured out on my own. I have NO formal training in advising people how to exercise. This is just stuff that works for me. It might work for you.
As far as conditioning goes - there's endurance and strength.
Endurance is anaerobic (exert alot of energy over a short period of time) and aerobic (exert a constant amount of energy over a long period of time). Although anaerobic endurance is directly applicable to MA training, I advocate doing stuff for aerobic and anaerobic endurance.
Aerobic - running, swimming, kata was actually good for this (go ahead, laugh)
Anaerobic - sprints (running and swimming), 9 2 min rounds on the heavy bag wi 30 sec rest between
Sparring is anaerobic - but I think you're (general sense) missing the point if you use sparring for anaerobic training. IMNSHO, the main focus should be trying to use your stuff against the other guy/prevent him from using his stuff on you and experimenting with new approaches to both. Anaerobic training should be a consequence of sparring, no the main goal.
IMO endurance training should be such that you have the ability to be the last guy standing after all your training partners have laid down and given up.
Then there's strength training. IMO, anything that makes the body stronger will help. You want to work all parts of the body - legs, core (I think of the core as abs, back & obliques), shoulders, chest and arms
Free weights, machines, body weight exercises, clubbells, kettlebells, chishi - whatever you do is fine as long as it makes you strong.
One last word on strength training - be concerned with how much weight you move NOT how good you look. Some of my training partners who kick my ass on a regular basis are not big, ripped weightlifters. They are, however, strong as hell. Your weight training should make you strong as hell.
In both strength and endurance, start slow.
Last edited by juszczec; 8/28/2007 10:15am at .