View Full Version : Aikido and Aerobics

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Matthew Boswell
09-15-2001, 07:44 PM
Hello all. By way of an introduction I am writing from Nagano prefecture, Japan, where I am currently studying in Iwama-style. Prior to this I was attending the Shinchon Dojo in Seoul, Korea. I had the foutune to be a student there when the dojo moved from its old building to the new, Aikido-only location. I still fondly remember training with Yun Kwang-Ahm there.

Anyways, the question is simple- does anyone know about how many kilocalories are burned in an average training session (1 hour). I am ASSUMING that Aikido is primarily an aerobic workout, so perhaps the information is out there....Thanks for your help!

MB in Iida City

09-15-2001, 08:04 PM
Depends on the style and the training method not to mention the individual attitude toward training.

I swear my dogi increased in weight by 10kg everytime I trained in Osaka in Shodokan where in the Aikikai dojo in Quebec I barely broke a sweat.

09-26-2001, 08:58 AM
Examining how many calories are burnt with different excercises are pretty much a waste of time. Even when you go down the gym and you go on a bike that tells you how many calories you are 'burning' it is actually derived from the power it takes to pedal the bike. The calories everyone burns is different depending on body mass, muscle efficiency etc.

In our aikido classes there are those that hardly burn any calories, and others that must burn several thousand. Also, burning calories is not representative of how well you are training. You may be burning very few calories because you are blending well and doing technqiues efficiently, or you may just be sat chatting.


Chuck Clark
09-26-2001, 11:11 AM
Seems to me that most of the calories that are burned in aikido practice come from the process of getting up and attacking again.

Efficient tori/nage do not spend lots of energy.

If you want a strong aerobic workout, I suggest lots of attacks with as little time in between getting up and attacking again as possible.

I also strongly suggest that this is not always the best way to practice. Balance your aerobic practice with slow, strong intent filled practice.


09-27-2001, 01:10 AM
You did ask. I don't have any numbers for aikido but I can give you some similar activities and you can take your best guess. The formula I'm about to give you is calculated as follows:

body weight in kg * multiplier * number of minutes exercised.

For those of us used to pounds divide your weight by 2.2.

Activity Multiplier
Boxing (sparring) .138
Judo .195
Running (6.6mph) .193
Running under (6.6mph) .138
Basketball (full court) .138

So, if you ran for 30 minutes at 6.6 mph and weighed 190 pounds you would burn the following calories:

kg = 190 pounds/2.2 = 86kg (rounded)
86 * .193 * 30 = 497 calories burned

I've never seen a factor for Aikido specifically. My system is mostly down so I can't even look up what I do use but I think it's around the .138 range. I generally take a guess at how much I've worked out and use that for a time estimate. It can vary wildly depending on class and dojo.

I find these numbers to be fairly accurate and a good base for estimating. There are also a number of web sites that have this information but in my experience they are all over the map. I got these out of a weightlifting book.

09-27-2001, 03:26 PM
Peter, you should come down to Florida Aikikai some time. I always break a sweat.

I wouldn't be able to tell you the actual calories burned, but aikido definantly gets my heart rate up faster than when I work out on the elliptical trainers or do fast walking on the treadmill. (I don't run since its too hard on my knees so I don't have the ability to compare aikido to running.)

I consider aikido to be more like an interval aerobic training, at least the way we train at my school, where you have intense periods then moderate periods. Your up for 10-15 minutes doing a technique then you stop for a couple for sensei to demonstrate a new technique. Then your back up again. Techniques like irimi-nage, kaiten-nage, and kokyu-nage when you don't go to a pin really get my heart rate up.

Anne Marie

09-27-2001, 05:11 PM
Don't worry I just mentioned one dojo. I've been in other Aikikai dojos where I was hard pressed. My point was only that it depends on many things.

09-27-2001, 10:44 PM
I'm not worried Peter. I know you have trained with them before, so I didn't take your statment as an offense. I know that I might be sounding sensitive about Aikikai, though. However, your words can be construed as as "you won't get a work out with Aikikai." And I wanted to make the point that a person can find a workout in at least one Aikikai school. I think a better way to illustrate your point is to provide different examples from within similar styles rather than a comparison between different styles.

I know in my school intensity can vary depending on what my sensei wants to teach for the night. And intensity can vary within each class as well depending who you train with. If I'm with a newbie, obviously during that time I won't break a sweat, but if I'm with a shodan, I'll definantly break a sweat.

Anne Marie

09-28-2001, 09:09 PM
Good point about comparing within styles.

Strangely my experience within Shodokan Dojos is less than with Aikikai.

Matthew Boswell
09-29-2001, 01:05 AM
Thanks for the informative reply Erik. my aerobic training comes mainly from stationary bikes/stairmasters- I was just curious as to how many calories MIGHT be burned off inthe dojo.....None of the fitnessbooks that I looked at had a colummn for "Aikido" (with sub-headings of "Yoshinkan, Honbu-style, Iwama-style shiho-nage, XYZ-style shomenuchi-ikkyo".......you get the point :)