As a complement to my martial arts training, I like to do cardio and strength training workouts at home to break up the writing work I do at my desk during the day. I run 3x a week, sometimes with sprint intervals, sometimes wihtout, but usually I do one 5k, one 8k and one 10k each week. As for strength training, I have two full-body workouts, one with a stronger emphasis on upper body and one with a stronger emphasis on lower body. These are workouts that only require a kettlebell (I use a 20lb one), some hand weights, a bench or small table, and a mat or carpeted area. Here is my home workout area in my basement:
Over the past few years, fascia fitness has become an important topic of discussion in sports and physical development. Previously, fitness was seen as being a combination of muscular strength, cardiovascular conditioning, and neuromuscular coordination. But now, more modern research suggests that our body’s fascial network, a structure of connective tissue that surrounds muscles, blood vessels, and nerves, binding some structures together, while permitting others to slide smoothly over each other, play an important role on movement efficiency, injury prevention and overall body performance. For a more detailed explanation of the fascial network and their role in the body, read AnatomyTrain.com’s article on Fascial Fitness. Below is a video showing what the fascial network is with some explanation on how it affects our bodies. (more…)
A week or so ago I tweaked my knee a bit. It wasn’t too serious, but enough that I replaced my running workouts with stationary biking workouts to help my knee recover. Obviously my knee doesn’t need the extra shock of running while healing, but cycling also has the added benefit of increasing the blood flow to the knee, helping to speed up recovery times, or so I was told by a doctor. As a result, I biked every day last week.
Stationary biking can be kind of boring on its own, so I’ve added different elements to it to help make it more interesting. (more…)
I hate running. Hate it. With a passion. Stationary biking is only slightly better since I can watch TV while I do it, but there is only so much cardio I can squeeze out of biking without attending a spin class. Running really is a necessity, especially with an upcoming physical test, so anything that motivates me to go out running is good.
My knees aren’t the greatest, and a doctor student of ours, who is also a triathalon enthusiast developed a running program for me to help ease me into running. It failed. Not because it was a bad program, but because when I’m running, I want to listen to music, find a rhythm, and not stare at my watch.
I guess I lack the discipline for running.
So earlier this year I tried working her program into the Zombies, Run!
iPhone application, hoping the video game and story elements would help prod me along. I was still stuck looking at a watch, trying to get my interval running in, while listening to the story and avoiding zombie swarms. I eventually fell off the wagon before the program took root.
I do a lot of physical training including martial arts, running, outdoor activities, etc. I like to include some strength training as part of my general training regimen, but I like to be efficient with it. Rather than doing resistance training that only isolates one muscle or one muscle group, I like to try and do multiple muscle groups at once. I have a number of go-to exercises that I use for this purpose. (more…)
Recently, I had a big opportunity come my way in the film industry for my fencing skills. There was one caveat that led to me pushing my boundaries; they wanted me to lean up a bit for the role I would potentially be playing within a couple of weeks. First off, I’ve always maintained a healthy weight for my size and I’m fit/strong and all that, but I realized that there was room for me to trim off a little extra padding around my mid-section.
I decided to strictly manage my diet and exercise to lean up as much as is realistic within the short period of time I had, using a weight loss plan I found online. Even if I didn’t get the part or whatever, I figured it would be a great challenge for me. And it was. I managed to lose 5 lbs in one week, which doesn’t sound like a lot, but this translated to losing 2 inches off my waist, 1 inch around my hips, and 1 inch around my chest. This was great progress for me in such a short period of time. (more…)
Last week, I wrote a blog post about the benefits of running for martial artists. This week, I wanted to go a little more into detail about what types of running might best serve the needs of a martial arts practitioner. Interval running is probably the best option for people who do martial arts, blending the aerobic cardio training of lighter running/jogging and the anaerobic cardio training of fast running/sprinting. Aerobic cardio gives you the kind of cardio you need to keep going over longer periods, such as belt tests. It’s also the type of cardio that burns fat. Anaerobic cardio, on the other hand, helps you use higher levels of energy in shorter bursts, like you would use when sparring or grappling, especially when doing so competitively when nervous tension tends to cause you to burn even more energy. To do interval running, you alternate between lower intensity running/jogging and sprints. The length of the intervals depends on what you’re training for. (more…)
I know that many people take up a martial arts in order to get fit and lose weight, and it’s very possible to do so purely through a combination of training and nutrition, as Rick (one of my students) did. But if you’re looking to take your fitness to higher levels, you may need to do some sort of other training outside the dojo. When it comes to bang for buck, running is one of the best cardio workouts you can do. Skipping is great too, but when the weather is nice I like to get out and enjoy it. (more…)
Balance, stance and structure are all important concepts in the martial arts. When you take your attacker’s balance, shift them out of their stance and compromise their structure, you can more easily throw them, take them to the ground, draw them into locks/submissions, etc. Conversely, by maintaining strong stance and structure, you apply locks, throws, strikes, etc with greater efficiency making them easier to apply with less effort.
One way we like to emphasize these concepts in our classes is by playing balance breaking games in stances like horse stance and forward stance. These help students understand the give and take of balance stance and structure and its relevance to the martial arts. Watch the video below to see how we play these games. (more…)
Adrenaline can be a great tool for self-defense or martial arts sports. It can give you an extra rush of energy when it really counts. It can help you cope with taking hard hits. It can make you more aggressive when aggression may be needed to give you the edge. But it also has its downsides for self-defense, sport or even when you’re just training. It can narrow your field of vision, make it difficult to hear (whether it’s your attacker’s buddy coming in to help or instructions from your coach while in the ring). It can even cause you to use more force than necessary to quell an attacker. (more…)