Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Fitness training - how did it go?

The first week of my training programme is over so how did I do? Well, not too bad! I managed to do the endurance, balance and weight training twice and the flexibility training three times. I also did a bit of kata training and some bunkai practice with my husband. This was on top of 5 and a half hours of martial arts classes so all in all I was quite pleased with the weeks training.

That's what I did but HOW did it go? The endurance training consisted mainly of shadow boxing and kicking drills. I wanted it to be context based i.e endurance training that is directly relevant to karate and enables me to get a sweat on as well as practice karate moves. I haven't really done much shadow boxing before and found the endurance part of it wasn't too much of a problem - I managed two rounds of 5 minutes each in a session which wasn't too bad considering I haven't done it before. The problem I had was thinking up different sparring combinations to do while I was bouncing around. Some of the combinations got a bit bizarre in the end!

With the weights exercises I found that I could actually do more reps than I had set out to do so I decided to double them. Or maybe I should increase the weight I am lifting and keep the reps the same? What's better for improving arm strength for punching - heavier weights or more reps? (I'm currently using 3Kg weights).

The stretching exercises I've been leaving until last and I've found these really relaxing and beneficial. I'm concentrating on the areas where I am most inflexible - the hips, back and legs - especially hamstrings. Stiffness in these areas affects the quality of my kicking so I'm determined to improve it. The stretches are a mix of static and dynamic exercises. I'm mainly working on the principle that dynamic flexibility is more important than good static flexibility in martial arts - what do you think about that?

This week I'm repeating the same exercise program but I've also decided to focus on a different kick, punch and kata each week. So this week I will be looking at the hook kick, maeken zuki (leading hand punch) and the kata seienchin. I've also realised that I need to make my training aims a bit more objective with some measurable targets, so I'll be thinking about exactly what I want those to be this week as well.

I'll keep you posted.......any tips, advice about fitness training will be welcomed. I'm no expert on this so I'm very open to suggestion


  1. HI, Sue :-)

    Looks like your training program is off to a good start - congrats!

    To answer your question about whether heavier weights or more reps is better for improving arm strength for punching, I'd say BOTH, believe it or not. It will be hard to increase your strength if you lift the same amount of weight the same number of reps each time out. I would suggest doing something called a pyramid; which basically means see-sawing your rep/weight increases. In other words, as the weight you lift increases, the number of times you lift it decreases...

    Example: for your single arm benches and triceps curls, you mention that you are doing two sets of 10 reps. I suggest you still do two sets, but use a different weight - say 70% of the max you can lift for set number one (while still doing 10 reps) and 80% of your max for set number two (but only doing eight reps). For me, a three-set pyramid is helpful (12, 10 and 8 reps at 70%, 80% and 90% of my max), although I taper the sets to 2 (10 reps and 8 reps at 70% and 80%) when an event like a tournament or grading gets close. But I'm light for my frame, so I always see it like this: when all else fails, at least the strength will be there. And no, I don't look like a body builder - and you won't either because we women don't have the testosterone to bulk up like that...

    Another tip is to write down the rep/weight combo you are doing. You will soon see that the weights feel easy - which is when you know it is time to increase your weight/find a new max. Seeing in print that it took you, say, four weeks to increase your weight is a real confidence booster, but take your time and go slowly - and always lift with a spotter if you can.

    Enjoy yourself :-)

  2. Consistency would be my tip. I think it is good to push yourself. However, keep in mind training like this for ten weeks is a lot more difficult mentally and physically than one week. Five hours is a lot of time, and I certainly admire your enthusiasm and dedication. Just make sure you don't get burned out because 21 weeks is still a very, very long time.

    If it comes to the point that you can't stand the thought of doing another kata without wanting to cry or throw something across the room, then definitely take a break. That would be better than crashing completely and needing a week or so to recover, as opposed to 1-2 days.

  3. Felicia, thanks for the advice. The pyramid ideas sounds like a good one though I'm limited to what weights I have available at home - I only have 1, 3 and 5kg weights but I could probably work something out between the 3 and 5kg ones. I'll give it a try.

    T. Consistency sounds like a good tip. You're right I still have a long way to go so I think pacing myself will be important as well. I am aware of the problems of overtraining so I will guard against it. I always have 2 rest days a week when I don't do anything.


Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.