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Miguel Cuevas
05-29-2002, 09:34 PM
I am new to aikido, having been traing in the art for about 2 months. I absolutely love it.
I used to lift weights about 6 years ago, and I'm thinking about purchasing a weight set for my home. I train at my dojo 3 times a week and I practice at home by myself on the days I don't go. I thought it would be great to intergrate a weight lifting program (utilizing light weights) into my daily stretching and aikido practice.
My only concern is that some of the literature have I read says that muscle mass is usually a no-no when it comes to aikido. I want greater hand and lower abdomen strength, along with a healthier body all around. Will weightlifting have a detrimental effect on my progression in aikido? If not, where could I learn about which excercises would best supplement my aikido training? Any and all help would be greatly appreciated.

PeterR
05-29-2002, 09:57 PM
You did say utilizing light weights mixed with stretching - by that I assume you are not going for bulk. What you described sounds very beneficial. I personally am starting to do the same thing mainly because my regular Judo partner (exploring the other side of the jujutsu coin) is massive and my strength needs a bit of work.

Secondly I always tell my kohei (and students when I had them) you always have your strength - in the dojo we work on technique. Usually I am implying that you don't need to muscle the technique but that does not negate the importance of strength training. For that weights can be very useful.

Originally posted by Miguel Cuevas
I am new to aikido, having been traing in the art for about 2 months. I absolutely love it.
I used to lift weights about 6 years ago, and I'm thinking about purchasing a weight set for my home. I train at my dojo 3 times a week and I practice at home by myself on the days I don't go. I thought it would be great to intergrate a weight lifting program (utilizing light weights) into my daily stretching and aikido practice.
My only concern is that some of the literature have I read says that muscle mass is usually a no-no when it comes to aikido. I want greater hand and lower abdomen strength, along with a healthier body all around. Will weightlifting have a detrimental effect on my progression in aikido? If not, where could I learn about which excercises would best supplement my aikido training? Any and all help would be greatly appreciated.

MaylandL
05-29-2002, 11:27 PM
Originally posted by Miguel Cuevas
I am new to aikido, having been traing in the art for about 2 months. I absolutely love it.
I used to lift weights about 6 years ago...
I thought it would be great to intergrate a weight lifting program (utilizing light weights) into my daily stretching and aikido practice.
...Will weightlifting have a detrimental effect on my progression in aikido? If not, where could I learn about which excercises would best supplement my aikido training? Any and all help would be greatly appreciated.

Hello Miguel and welcome to aikido. Glad to hear that you're enjoying it :).

I have a regular weights and cardio workout program at the gym to supplement my aikido training. Been doing this for a number of years now. I took a fitness test before hand and a consultation with the gym instructor about a tailored program for the development of muscle power (not bulk), general toning, building and maintaining good stamina and abdominal muscles. This equates to about 40 minutes of a variety of upper and lower body weight exercises, about 20 minutes on a exercise bike (about 8 miles) and rower (about 5 miles) and 20 minutes doing abs. Its similar training to body conditioning for sprinters because I was wanting to get powerful and quick movements while maintaining stamina (its been good basic body conditioning for aikido).

I spent over an hour with the gym instructor discussing what MA I was doing, the movements that were involved and what I wanted to achieve. I specifically stressed to the Gym Instructor that I was wanting to achieve good body conditioning not body building. So we set some basic targets for weight range for my height (about 140lbs), resting heartrate (about 55) and body fat percentage (10-15%) as a means of monitoring progress.

The weight exercises focus on short sets and reps with increasing weights. For example, 3 sets of 8,6 and 4 reps with light (about 70lbs), moderate (about 100lbs) and heavy weights (about 140lbs) for upper body weights. Lower body weight training use heavier weights but with the same sets and reps. You'll need to set the specific weights for your training objectives and body dimensions/stats.

While on the bike and rower, I need to maintain a heartrate of about 140.

With warmups and cool down stretching it takes a little over 1 and a half hours to complete the program. So far its been very beneficial not just for my aikido training, but general health and fitness.

I pay about $300AUD per year for the gym membership and this allows unlimited access to the gym facilities. You may wish to look at gym membership as an alternative to purchasing your own equipment. Some of the memberships have other benefits/facilities (eg sauna, spas, therapeutic massages, swimming pool, etc) as well and you also get access to a wider range of exercise equipment. Ultimately, you get what you pay for.

Your local gym might be able to help you establish a training program. Perhaps a physiotherapist might offer some suggestions too. Another source could be your sensei or sempais.

Hope this helps and all the best for your training :) .

Erik
05-29-2002, 11:56 PM
Originally posted by Miguel Cuevas
I used to lift weights about 6 years ago, and I'm thinking about purchasing a weight set for my home. I train at my dojo 3 times a week and I practice at home by myself on the days I don't go. I thought it would be great to intergrate a weight lifting program (utilizing light weights) into my daily stretching and aikido practice.

Other than safety because you are at home, I'm not sure what would be wrong with using heavier weights, whatever that means. Otherwise it just becomes an endurance program.

My only concern is that some of the literature have I read says that muscle mass is usually a no-no when it comes to aikido.

Only in Aikido are we not allowed to use modern training methods. Just about every sport on the planet derives benefits from weight training. The idea that weights are bad is pretty much a myth but then you are hanging out in a realm where people believe the unbendable arm is the result of ki so what can I say.

Will weightlifting have a detrimental effect on my progression in aikido?

Probably not! I'd say no but then you may hurt yourself lifting weights so it could technically be detrimental.

If not, where could I learn about which excercises would best supplement my aikido training? Any and all help would be greatly appreciated.

There are a number of basic books and programs out there. Four books have stood out to me.

Flawless by Bob Paris

Excellent all around weight program. Paris is one of the best writers on the topic and it's a book that beginners could work from.

Condition the NBA Way by a bunch of people

I like this book mostly because it was a complete program with weights and the like but it takes a lot of time. Too much time for most of us.

The Complete Book Of Abs by Kurt Brungardt

Tons and tons of stomach exercises, they work and the basic program starts slow.

If you just want to get into incredible fitness:

Maximum Fitness by Stewart Smith, former Seal

or for the easier version

http://www.sealchallenge.navy.mil/workout.htm

I blew my shoulder out after I did the first day of Maximum Fitness and never went back but it is fairly free of weights. If my shoulder comes back I'll probably revisit the Seal PT program.

For what it's worth there are a couple of books out there with a MA focus in terms of weightlifting. I've never seen one that I thought went very far in terms of meat. I'd much rather go direct to guys like Paris or Brungardt.

erikmenzel
05-30-2002, 02:29 AM
Originally posted by Miguel Cuevas
My only concern is that some of the literature have I read says that muscle mass is usually a no-no when it comes to aikido. I want greater hand and lower abdomen strength, along with a healthier body all around. Will weightlifting have a detrimental effect on my progression in aikido? If not, where could I learn about which excercises would best supplement my aikido training? Any and all help would be greatly appreciated.

Only this weekend I was told something by Henry Kono Sensei, a direct student of O'Sensei, about this. (I will try to tell it as well as I remember, hoping not to distort to much what I was told, but I am not perfect, nor was I at the event discribed, so it probably will vary a little from what Henry Kono sensei told me.)

At hombu dojo (in the sixties) there was a student (forgot his name) who said he would get strong and would go and pump iron. One morning he did and that afternoon he was training Aikido. O'Sensei threw him once and looked puzzled, threw him again and then said "You have been doing something else, something I didnt tell you. Stop it!"

nikonl
05-30-2002, 03:51 AM
I was told that weights are bad for your Aikido training because you tend to use your strength rather than your ki(muscling your way through difficult situations) during training. Is it not?

:)

PeterR
05-30-2002, 04:06 AM
Originally posted by nikon
I was told that weights are bad for your Aikido training because you tend to use your strength rather than your ki(muscling your way through difficult situations) during training.
Most beginners do that anyway - no matter how well tuned their muscle mass is. If you made the point that a weight lifter would have a much harder time getting past strength since that was what he had been previously emphasizing I would tend to agree. I would also say that the big and bulky boys often loose muscle mobility and that definately works against your Aikido.

Strength is an important part of Aikido as Budo. Good technique is beyond strength but once your partner starts to resist a little bit of muscle goes a long way.

Great story Erik - of course our man Ueshiba M. spent a lot of time becoming strong like bull, eh?

Jem8472
05-30-2002, 04:46 AM
Some of the students at my dojo were talking about this the other night and our Sensei joined in, he was saying that in Aikido you need fast felxable muscels. So some light weight training can be good but if you are looking to bulk up it will not help you training because you muscels will not have the speed because of their size.



Jeremy

SeiserL
05-30-2002, 09:07 AM
There are a lot of us who lift weights and study Aikido. The trick, IMHO, is not to confuse the two. Otherwise, you use your muscles to left your uke and throw your weights accross the room. Do them as two entirely different unrelated complimentary activities. The library is full of free books on both. Read away and make your own decision.

Until again,

Lynn
Nidan Tenshinkai Aikido
Lucaylucay Kali JKD

paw
05-30-2002, 09:40 AM
Lynn,

What do you mean by:
Do them as two entirely different unrelated complimentary activities.

I don't understand what point you are trying to make.

Curious,

Paul

Miguel Cuevas
05-30-2002, 01:36 PM
Thanks for your input, everyone. This is one of the major reasons I love aikido in general: everyone I ask for help or advice usually rushes up to help.:D
I think I will pick up some of the literature mentioned by Erik H. on the subject and scout out some local gyms, mainly to speak to the physical fitness trainers as Mayland Long did. I'm leaning towards a home gym set just so I can encourage my wife to excercise a bit with me also. Lean muscle mass with good flexibility is the way I do want to go. The consesus agrees with my sensei as to the positive efeects of weight training. Again, thank you so much everybody!;)

Erik
05-30-2002, 01:40 PM
Originally posted by Jem8472
Some of the students at my dojo were talking about this the other night and our Sensei joined in, he was saying that in Aikido you need fast felxable muscels. So some light weight training can be good but if you are looking to bulk up it will not help you training because you muscels will not have the speed because of their size.

I don't agree with this. First, there has long been an idea in regards to weight training that you'll bulk up and won't be able to move. It's worth noting that it is incredibly difficult to achieve the kind of bulk people fear. Even hard-core body builders don't achieve that kind of bulk without help, extremely good genetics, years of effort or some combination of these. Chances are you don't have those genetics, aren't planning on shooting steriods and won't put in the years of solid effort required. It's hard to get really big.

Second, the idea that the size of the muscle does not equate to speed is also incorrect from what I know. In fact, it's the opposite. A larger muscle can be faster than a smaller muscle precisely because it can generate more force. Take a look at very high-caliber track and field sprinters and tell me they don't lift weights and aren't very well developed physically. Same thing with boxers and other athletes.

Third, as I mentioned before, a lot of those steriod enhanced body builders are actually more flexible than you think. The real question is whether they stretch or not.

Now if you want explosive power, such as for jumping, then you probably want to do some Plyometric exercises mixed in with your weight training but you would still want to do weight training.

This is an old argument and it's been around for decades and in it's broad form is incorrect. In a narrow form, if you just go toss iron around for instance, it may have some substance but even a basic solid weight training program using heavy weights (something different for each of us) will help.

I'll try and find some more links on this but here's one to start:

http://www.lifefitness.com/weight_lifting_exercise/weight_lifting_exercise.asp

Jonathan
05-30-2002, 02:48 PM
Well, as a former powerlifter who stills trains with weights regularly (though somewhat more mildly), I can tell you that what physical bulk I have has not been a particular hindrance to my Aikido. I was told by a yondan once that I would never reach shodan if I continued to work out at the gym. Presently, I am closing in on sandan.

The only trouble that i have in Aikido from weightlifting is very stiff shoulders. When sensei applies nikyo osae it is very unpleasant. I am working to develop greater flexibility in this joint, but it is slow going.

I would wholeheartedly recommend weightlifting. If I'm going to be impeded by bulk i'd rather it was muscle than fat!

KevinK
05-30-2002, 04:13 PM
My first post, so be gentle...

I have experimented with this several times at different ranks and have found the following (in general for me):

1)Compound exercises that work multiple muscle groups (Bench Press, Squats, etc.) are preferable to Isolation exercises (Concentration Curls, Lateral Raises, etc.).

2)Higher repetitions with 'lower' weight versus Lower repetitions with 'higher' weight.

I found this worked better for "me" because I noticed a bad side effect from heavy training. My muscle memory changed. When I met heavy resistance from partners it wanted to muscle it like lifting heavy weights instead of re-directing and moving fluidly. Again this might just be me, but I have been able to reproduce it several times over several years. Just like any training, the need for close observation to see how it affects you and how to improve is vital.

AtomicGrooves
06-03-2002, 01:47 PM
Originally posted by paw
Lynn,

What do you mean by:


I don't understand what point you are trying to make.

Curious,

Paul

Paw, I'm new to Aikido too! (newer than any one here I suspect...I'm at it for less than a month! but I've devoured a bunch of books on the subject before stepping up and getting with a Dojo.) Maybe what he means is that you wouldn't relax and try to lift. Lifting weights is about tension. Using Ki is about being loose and flexible. The stuff I've read seems to suggest that when muscles are tight Ki flows less than when they are loose.

Help anybody? If I'm far from the mark I'd certainly like to know! Being the new cat on the block!

AtomicGrooves
06-03-2002, 01:54 PM
Originally posted by KevinK
My first post, so be gentle...


1)Compound exercises that work multiple muscle groups (Bench Press, Squats, etc.) are preferable to Isolation exercises (Concentration Curls, Lateral Raises, etc.).

-Kevin are you talking about a more full body workout with a range of exercises covering the entire body?-


2)Higher repetitions with 'lower' weight versus Lower repetitions with 'higher' weight.

-Higher reps like 8+ reps per set with enought rest time for muscles?-


I found this worked better for "me" because I noticed a bad side effect from heavy training. My muscle memory changed. When I met heavy resistance from partners it wanted to muscle it like lifting heavy weights instead of re-directing and moving fluidly. Again this might just be me, but I have been able to reproduce it several times over several years. Just like any training, the need for close observation to see how it affects you and how to improve is vital.

-What you have to say about muscle memory is interesting I'll have to be mindful of that in my training and working out. Thanks-

-Atomic

paw
06-03-2002, 03:01 PM
Atomic,

Like Jonathon, I'm a former competitive powerlifter, so I obviously believe strength training has value.

I still haven't the slightest idea what Lynn means by "two .... unrelated complementary activities", but then again, I'm not the smartest bear in the woods.

IMO, if someone wants to strength train to improve aikido, of course it can be done, but one has to train properly (with the goal of improving their aikido firmly in mind).

<gets on soapbox>
The majority of strength/weight loss/health routines are focused on appearance NOT on improved functional performance. Most routines in magazines are based on bodybuilding routines and imply various machines/facilities and recommend different suppliments. That's not necessarily the way a particular athlete should prepare for the physical demands of their activity.
<leaves soapbox>

As an example, powerlifters often refer to bodybuilders as having a body "for show, not for go" (in other words, bodybuilders look like they are in fantastic shape, but simply do not have the explosive strength or limit strength as powerlifters. Neither group would fare well in swimming/gymnastics/running etc.... Decide what you want and train for it.

Regards,

Paul

SeiserL
06-03-2002, 06:56 PM
Greetings all,

"two entirely different unrelated activities"

IMHO, when you lift weights (and I do), then lift weights. It is a different activity than Aikido. Lifting weights uses tensions to gain muscle mass and strength. Aikido is relaxed and uses technical proficiency (and Ki) for its power.

I do bring my Aikido training into my weight lifting. I try to keep my body relaxed except for the muscle group I am lifting with. I try to extend my technique (and Ki) through visualization. I exhale on execution.

I try not to bring my weight lifting into my Aikido. Since I an big (6'4", 215) I have always tended to use my size as power. I try not to do that in my Aikido. I try to stay relaxed and let the waza (and Ki) flow.

All I meant was that they are different actiities with different end goals and that maybe it isn't the wisest to weight lift with the goal of improving your Aikido.

IMHO, there is some cross over benefits especially in the area of conditioning mentally and phyiscally. My training mates enjoy honing their waza on "the big guy", since they figure if they can make it work on me, then they can make it work. I give them enough resistance to not give them the technique but not enough to resist and be a jerk.

My Sensei (Sensei Phong)is very small and enjoys demonstrating Aikido's effectiveness against a man of my size and strength. He is in the July Black Belt Magazine and recently demonstrated at the Aiki Expo in Las Vegas.

Lastly, my comment was followed by humor. If you mix up Aikido and weight lifting you might lift your uke and throw your weights. A joke that has to be explained just isn't funny any more. Sorry for the confusion.

Until again,

Lynn

aikido_fudoshin
06-04-2002, 09:08 PM
Although im new to Aikido, i have noticed how weight lifting has hindered my performance during a learning session. I know many aikidoka have a problem with keeping their shoulders lowered and relaxed, but weight lifting has seemed to make it worse for me. If you are organized properly, I believe both weight lifting and Aikido can be done together. I would recommend not weight training on the days that you are going to Aikido, and make sure you stretch all muscle groupings until they feel loose before and after you weight train. The problem with weight training is that it leaves you sore and stiff for the follow few days, so a good stretching routine can greatly improve your ability to perform well in Aikido.

Also, follow Lynn Seiser's advice. => Great post!

Edward
06-05-2002, 11:03 AM
Well, please don't misunderstand me, but why do you have to lift weights. Aikido is almost impossible to master in one's life time, so why don't you practice instead of wasting your time doing weights. I myself practice 6 days a week, sometimes 7. During public holidays, I do bokken suburi and jo kata at home. If you think your arms need strengthening, why don't you try doing 1000 suburi ichi with your bokken, and let me know the result ;)

If weight lifting is your hobby, then it's a different story, but if you wanna do it to get better in aikido, well, there is only one way: practice aikido, as many hours a day as you can. Our shihans and teachers had to practice over 7 hours a day to reach their level of efficiency and they're still not perfect.

Just my opinion.

REK
06-05-2002, 12:16 PM
Despite being a weightlifter for ten years before starting Aikido, I want to second the recommendation that Erik H. gave. I have done all the Stew Smith SEAL programs. I can assure you that weight training would have been redundant if you can make it through those programs. I think I should point out that the two trainings (PT versus free weights) prepare your muscles in different ways. Although I maxed out at over 600 pushups, I doubt my benchpress was impressive.

I think the reason why so many discourage "muscle building" in Aikido is because there is a tendency for people not to give equal thoughtfulness to stretching/flexibility/relaxation. The power and/or explosive contractions of weight training don't translate well into ki no nagare techniques. Not all people are like this, of course. But many people in my dojo (myself included) have failed to create a good balance b/n strength building and relaxed flexibility, making their movements jerky, positioning stiff and joints virtually immobile. I believe the combination can be done correctly, but I don't personally know how.

Rob

Erik
06-05-2002, 12:52 PM
Originally posted by REK
Despite being a weightlifter for ten years before starting Aikido, I want to second the recommendation that Erik H. gave. I have done all the Stew Smith SEAL programs. I can assure you that weight training would have been redundant if you can make it through those programs. I think I should point out that the two trainings (PT versus free weights) prepare your muscles in different ways. Although I maxed out at over 600 pushups, I doubt my benchpress was impressive.

You are a better man than I. Those are serious workouts.

I think the reason why so many discourage "muscle building" in Aikido is because there is a tendency for people not to give equal thoughtfulness to stretching/flexibility/relaxation. The power and/or explosive contractions of weight training don't translate well into ki no nagare techniques. Not all people are like this, of course. But many people in my dojo (myself included) have failed to create a good balance b/n strength building and relaxed flexibility, making their movements jerky, positioning stiff and joints virtually immobile. I believe the combination can be done correctly, but I don't personally know how.

One of the reasons I liked and included the NBA book is that basketball is a sport that requires touch and they include weight training. My understanding is that they deal with it by having a complete program. So while a professional level program will include weight training 3 times a week they probably spend the remaining 75 to 90 percent of their time on other aspects (plyometrics, running, shooting drills, etc). I suspect that what happens with us is that we show up to class 3 times a week, lift weights 3 times a week, and wind up with a 50/50 ratio or worse. Plus, I'm not sure how good a stretching program most of us have. I know I tend to slack on it.

I'll also contend that if you had asked a professional athlete 30 years ago about weights and their use you would have heard a lot of the same answers you hear in the Aikido community. Today, everyone from bowlers and golfers to football (the not round kind of ball) players use weights.

Bruce Baker
06-05-2002, 07:31 PM
There are many goals to building one's body, many times it is the repetition that builds the strength and speed over larger quantities of weight.

Eventually the muscles atrophy with old age, and to maintain the muscle structure of a sculpted weightlifter is nearly impossible.

Most of your static exercises, such as pushups/squatthrusts/ kneebends are the key to stretching and strength. If you can lift 50 lbs 200 times verses lifting 200 lbs ten times, which do you think will benefit the body? My experience is that the higher repetitions create a much stronger body.

If you think that lifting heavy weights will give you strength, it will ... for a few years.

For my money, and strength that always surprises the buff weight lifter, you need to increase your aerobic and static strength.

(Static being the equal increase of small muscles such as muscles used in ballet stretches and repetitive tasks, not the reference to being still or dynamic tension.)

Miguel Cuevas
06-06-2002, 12:28 AM
Ok, now I'm starting to worry a bit. My gradual improvement in aikido is by far the most important thing to me in this discussion, but at the same time I want a higher metabolism and greater abdominal strength. A leaner, healthier, and ,yes, more attractive body is important to me (and to my wife :rolleyes: ), but not at the expense of my ability to improve my aikido.

As to why I don't practice everyday... well I do practice everyday. The weightlifting would be a supplemental role, not a primary one. Between sets I would practice a bit, doing some basic aikido excercises. I haven't really put the training schedule together, but that's kind of my little idea. I intend to practice every day, head to the dojo 4 days a week, and lift for 3, with light weights ONLY, after some serious stretching and breathing excercises. My aikido comes first! I'm thinking of maybe dedicating 1 day to some basic breathing excercises, because from what I've read that's a great way to develop your ki. Ki in and of itself is little tough for me to come to grips with, especially when it comes to it's devolpment. But alas, that would be a topic for another thread.

paw
06-06-2002, 06:04 AM
Miguel,

I don't blame you. There are a number of contradictory posts on this.

I honestly think you would be better served in posting this question (albeit in a more generic form) to one of the strength and conditioning discussion groups on the web. Or if you have the time and resources, start educating yourself (the books Erik recommended would be a good start) and find a qualified personal trainer who will help you meet your goals.

I regret not giving this advice when I first posted.

That's it, I'm done with this thread.

Regards,

Paul

Arianah
06-06-2002, 08:25 AM
I highly doubt that weight lifting has to be a hindrance to Aikido progress. From what I've read (don't remember where--probably just regurgitating something I heard on this board. Sorry to be redundant :rolleyes: ), O'Sensei himself was kind of a nut when it came to building muscle. He even had his tools modified so that he could build muscle while he was working in his garden. My personal take is that using lightweights to increase tone and endurance is a smart way to go, and as long as you stretch as regularly as you lift, you'll be fine. You also have to learn to realize when you have tension in your body, and be able to relax it; this could be where the downfall may come for some: not being able to relax, not muscle mass. And even otherwise sedentary people have trouble with relaxing.

Just some ramblings pieced together from limited experience and disjointed memories.

Sarah

efredeluces
06-06-2002, 06:57 PM
Originally posted by Miguel Cuevas
I am new to aikido, having been traing in the art for about 2 months. I absolutely love it.
I used to lift weights about 6 years ago, and I'm thinking about purchasing a weight set for my home. I train at my dojo 3 times a week and I practice at home by myself on the days I don't go. I thought it would be great to intergrate a weight lifting program (utilizing light weights) into my daily stretching and aikido practice.
My only concern is that some of the literature have I read says that muscle mass is usually a no-no when it comes to aikido. I want greater hand and lower abdomen strength, along with a healthier body all around. Will weightlifting have a detrimental effect on my progression in aikido? If not, where could I learn about which excercises would best supplement my aikido training? Any and all help would be greatly appreciated.

:ki: Hi! for me aikido and weights can mix coz I also do what your doing now but I guest there's one important thing to remember. Aikido teaches us to use our inner strength or what we call KI so physical KI or physical strength does not really pack alot with the arts but it does help with achieving related stuffs like keeping yourself fit for practices specially at times when your sensei gets mad and makes you all go backward roll around the mat.:D

I remember when I was a beginner I though I need strength to apply a nikyo hold but now the gentler I become the greater the pain I can inflict with the art. so you see thats why I love the saying "From Strength learn gentleness, Thru strength achieve strength" but I can't speak for everyone just me.

Hope this helps.

efredeluces
06-06-2002, 07:00 PM
I think I got the saying wrong its actually like this " From Strength learn gentleness, Thru gentleness achieve strength" jeezzz I hate it when I do that.:D

virginia_kyu
07-29-2002, 07:27 PM
I started lifting again after many years of absence and I have noticed that for one thing my ukemi has become much better. The arm and shoulder strength gained especially gives me more control(speed and extension) with my forward rolls.

Below is a weight lifting routine that was posted on another forum that some of you may find helpful, I am starting to incorporate some it for turning power and such.

Plus I think you may want to work on gripping strength with hand and forarm exercises.

"(sets x reps)

Day 1 (Max Tension):

Deadlifts (Clean Grip) - 5 x 3

Ab-Wheel (or Barbell) rollouts - 5 x 5

Woodchoppers (Hi-Cable) or Russian Twists - 3 x 8

Day 2 (Power Endurance & Recovery):

1-Arm Dumbell Swings or Snatches - 1 x 20

Bicycle Crunches FAST - 1 x MAX

Day 3 (Max Power):

Power Cleans from Knee - 5 x 3

Explosive Weighted Situps - 5 x 5

Explosive Dumbell Standing Trunk

Twists - 5 x 5

all bar lifts should be done with a thick bar (2") or a bar wrapped with a towel to make it thick, to help the grip.

All excercises focus on a united movement of the body, with strong focus on the strength of the abdominals, for fast irimi and powerful kaiten, respectively.

AtomicGrooves
07-29-2002, 07:42 PM
I have to say thank you all for all the great suggestions and advice concerning working out and Aikido! I really appreciate it! Anyone know whether or not it's cooler to be more slender or the bodybuilder type for Aikido I lost 33lbs putting me at 170. Plan on going down another ten, change my workout from a pound shedding one to a strength building one. I'm sure to add more muscle mass, how will this affect my training? Any clues?

Thanks again!
I started lifting again after many years of absence and I have noticed that for one thing my ukemi has become much better. The arm and shoulder strength gained especially gives me more control(speed and extension) with my forward rolls.

Below is a weight lifting routine that was posted on another forum that some of you may find helpful, I am starting to incorporate some it for turning power and such.

Plus I think you may want to work on gripping strength with hand and forarm exercises.

"(sets x reps)

Day 1 (Max Tension):

Deadlifts (Clean Grip) - 5 x 3

Ab-Wheel (or Barbell) rollouts - 5 x 5

Woodchoppers (Hi-Cable) or Russian Twists - 3 x 8

Day 2 (Power Endurance & Recovery):

1-Arm Dumbell Swings or Snatches - 1 x 20

Bicycle Crunches FAST - 1 x MAX

Day 3 (Max Power):

Power Cleans from Knee - 5 x 3

Explosive Weighted Situps - 5 x 5

Explosive Dumbell Standing Trunk

Twists - 5 x 5

all bar lifts should be done with a thick bar (2") or a bar wrapped with a towel to make it thick, to help the grip.

All excercises focus on a united movement of the body, with strong focus on the strength of the abdominals, for fast irimi and powerful kaiten, respectively.

jimvance
07-29-2002, 08:51 PM
...I noticed a bad side effect from heavy training. My muscle memory changed. When I met heavy resistance from partners it wanted to muscle it like lifting heavy weights instead of re-directing and moving fluidly.This is perhaps the most significant post on this whole thread. As tori (nage), we are creating weakness in uke's posture and not allowing them to regain use-able posture. We ally ourselves with gravity. Lifting weights pits oneself against gravity, which does have positive side-effects on the human body if done correctly. But it does have a very different neurological response to applied force than what is taught in Aikido (at least what I hope is taught). I think that Aikido training (especially ukemi) creates great muscle tone, but if you are concerned with weak joints, especially how it relates to injuries, lifting weights is great....Healthy variation in joint ROM (Range of Motion, emphasis mine) or "flexibility" is almost entirely a matter of the muscles, and is largely neurological.

...In my opinion, strength plays a much more important role than flexibility in injury prevention. If a force threatens a joint, the best defense is the strength and integrity of the surrounding musculature to protect it, to maintain alignment, and to cue the rest of the body to yield if the force is too much to resist, NOT more ROM in the joint.

The type of strength is important too. Isometric and quasi-isometric stength, as well as the ability of a muscle to rapidly deccelerate and reverse a force are key for injury prevention, once a certain level of raw strength and size in acheived.

...people often emphasize proper form without realizing that a particular student simply doesn't have enough strength to execute it. Aikido is easily as athletically demanding as many team sports, yet proper conditioning and physical preparation is often neglected...This was another terribly insightful post on a different thread that is equally valid here. Kevin is a fitness trainer who, from the sounds of it, has his head firmly on his shoulders. Personally, I like swimming as a complement to my Aikido training for muscular tone, flexibility and cardiovascular fitness. It is also less jarring on my joints.

As a side note.... Donn Draeger co-wrote a book in the 1960s called Judo Training Methods. It was instrumental in changing the training methodology of Kodokan Judo into what it is today. His point was that if a judo player worked on physical fitness as well as the training regiment (kata, randori, shiai), they would do better in tournaments. Unfortunately, people took an extreme approach and thought what he said meant it would make them better at Judo. My teacher says they substituted weight training for waza, and Judo became a sport, kyogi, and lost its budo roots. As long as fitness is a complement to training, doing something like one-finger pushups is acceptable. But when it becomes the focus of training, any budo withers at the root and rots.

Jim Vance

Kevin Wilbanks
07-29-2002, 08:58 PM
My prescription for a basic resistance training routine for Aikido is quite different from Mr. Neal's. I think his is too heavy on the abs and power exercises, and neglects what I think are the two key issues for most Aikidoka: squat/lunge strength and shoulder stability. Power exercises, and creative routines emphasizing the principle of specificity definitely have performance enhancing capabilities, but I think this is a more advanced concern. Most Aikidoka need GPP: General Physical Preparation. My thought is to build up some basic strength and hypertrophy in the basic compound moves, and let Aikido training do its work from there.

I would say squat strength is probably the most common hindrance I've seen on the mat. How many times have you heard 'Bend your knees!'? I think many don't because they can't - because it's too hard given their strength level. Similarly, keeping the shoulders down, arms in the center during tenkans, and keeping the shoulder safe during falls are another major issue. Another key point I would like to take into consideration is that the simpler the routine is, the more likely one is to adhere to it.

So, I choose a simple routine of 5 exercises:

1)Squats, Squatlifts, or Deadlifts

2)Stiff-Leg Deadlifts

3)Pull-Ups or Rows

4)Focus Pushups

5)Russian Twists

1) With deadlifts or squatlifts, I think one should avoid resting the bar on the ground in order to get the befefits of deccelerating and reversing direction at the bottom (thighs parallel to floor). You need strength down there for Koshinage, especially.

2)Stiff-Leg or Romanian Deadlifts are done to further strengthen the low back and hamstrings. Vast accumulated experience has shown that extensive squatting without additional hamstring work invites injury.

3)Body Rows are the preferred exercise here - basically an upside-down pushup on a low bar. Keeping the whole body stiff provides good isometric work. Once sufficient strength is achieved, work towards limiting scapular movement.

4) A Focus Pushup is much harder than a normal pushup in that the goal is to virtually eliminate scapular movement. Once again, this addresses vital shoulder stability. One must have partner or video feedback/help to learn to eliminate scapular movement.

5) A Russian Twist is basically a tenkan with cable/rubber tubing resistance. It develops shoulder stability, torso resistance to twisting forces, and balance. Variation can be achieved by changing angles.

I would have the trainee do 2-3 worksets of each 2 times per week. 1-2 warmups sets. I like a heavy/medium scheme for strength and size. One workout in the 3-8 rep range, the other in the 8-12 rep range. Usually working to within one rep of failure, but almost never complete failure - which unnecessarily extends recovery time. If you workout properly, you should get stronger almost every workout, and your training log should contain the proof. One of the virtues of a simple routine is that you can more easily manipulate training variables to accomodate your individual physiology.

Kevin Wilbanks, CSCS

virginia_kyu
07-29-2002, 10:54 PM
I am certainly no expert on the subject, I was just posting some suggestions made on another forum. Everyone has different goals for weight lifting and they will choose their routine based on that. I think it is good to show as many exercises as possible that would compliment Aikido practice. You can then pick what is right for you.

I already include most of Kevin's routine along with the more common exercises for tricepts, bicepts, abs, shoulders, chest etc..

I do all of these with dumbells (no bench presses, military presses etc.)

Joshua Livingston
07-30-2002, 03:58 AM
Maximum Fitness by Stewart Smith, former Seal

or for the easier version

http://www.sealchallenge.navy.mil/workout.htm

I blew my shoulder out after I did the first day of Maximum Fitness and never went back but it is fairly free of weights. If my shoulder comes back I'll probably revisit the Seal PT program.
What's the difference between what is in the book and what is on the site? Is it basically the same exercises with different loads or what?

How did you blow your shoulder out? Was it as a result of the exercises?

Joshua Livingston
07-30-2002, 04:14 AM
3)Body Rows are the preferred exercise here - basically an upside-down pushup on a low bar. Keeping the whole body stiff provides good isometric work. Once sufficient strength is achieved, work towards limiting scapular movement.

4) A Focus Pushup is much harder than a normal pushup in that the goal is to virtually eliminate scapular movement. Once again, this addresses vital shoulder stability. One must have partner or video feedback/help to learn to eliminate scapular movement.

Kevin Wilbanks, CSCS
I'm having trouble picturing what you mean by eliminating scapular movement. Could you elaborate?

Kevin Wilbanks
07-30-2002, 08:49 AM
I think it is good to show as many exercises as possible that would compliment Aikido practice. You can then pick what is right for you.
I don't. Providing people with a smorgasbord and having them assemble a routine for themselves only makes sense if they understand as much about how to do the exercises and what they are for as the trainer does. In that case, why consult a trainer? Also, as I stated above, the routine I created is focussed more on General Physical Preparation than specific, performance enhancing exercises.
I already include most of Kevin's routine along with the more common exercises for tricepts, bicepts, abs, shoulders, chest etc..
I would discourage this. "Isolation" exercises - for biceps triceps and abs especially - tend to train functionally useless movement patterns. Additionally, doing all that extra volume for those little muscles can easily overtrain them, and prohibit progress. Also, adding many exercises can lengthen the workout and divert energy resources away from focussing on the compounds.

Every exercise I posted works the abdominals, any pulling motion works the biceps, any pushing motion works the triceps. I disagree with the whole paradigm of carving the body into isolated parts and trying to exercise each individually. The body doesn't work that way, it works via coordinated movement chains through multiple-joint movements.

If someone wanted more volume, they could add some exercises and/or sets, but I recommend more compounds. Also, when adding volume, one has to take into account the intensity and rep range - possibly back another rep away from failure on most sets. My volume day is virtually the same as that routine, except that I do two pulling chain movements (chosen from pullups, bodyrows, and pole-vaulters), two pushing chain movements (chosen from F.Pushups, Dips, and Overhead BB Press).

Workman: "I'm having trouble picturing what you mean by eliminating scapular movement. Could you elaborate?"

There isn't that much more to describe, it needs to be demonstrated and coached. If you look at your anatomy, the shoulder is comprised of two joints: the sternoclavicular (hinges below the throat), and the glenohumeral (ball and socket in the shoulder). What I'm advocating is developing the awareness and strength to do these basic exercises through movement at the glenohumeral, not the sternoclavicular. Watch the ridges formed by the scapulae on a partner's back as they do pushups - they travel from squeezed together at the bottom to spread apart at the top. What you are aiming for is to keep them stable in an intermediate position throughout the movement. To start, it is likely that you will have to do the pushups from the knees, and use a limited ROM (sometimes as little as one inch).

Once you can do them properly, you have increased the functional range of movement for the glenohumeral joint, and helped create a more solid connection between the limb and the torso for the transmission of force - invaluable for Aikido.

Incidentally, that is why I chose pushups and bodyrows, a pushing chain and pulling chain movement with the line of force perpendicular/horizontal to the body. I would consider pullups, dips, and overhead presses secondary because the line of force is up and down/vertical to the body - which is less similar to what goes on on the mat.

Kevin Wilbanks, CSCS

virginia_kyu
07-30-2002, 10:01 AM
On the Navy seal workout page it notes that:

"These workouts are designed for long-distance muscle endurance. By performing high-repetition workouts, muscle fatigue will gradually take longer to develop."

I am not sute that we are looking to develop long "distance muscle endurance", I think we are looking more for explosive quick power.

Kevin,

You may be right, I don't know but I am going on the advice of another personal trainer.

Bruce Baker
08-05-2002, 07:20 PM
How strong do you want to be?

I have met too many people who can bend a small spike, 20d nail, and then they are tied into a knot by a slim sticklike water skier?

Tensile strength, verses muscle strength, what are you looking for?

My advice?

Simple pushups, squatthrusts, situps, stretching, exercises in quantities of 100 or more. Weightlifting with very light weights that eventually are moved up in repetitions of 100 or more every other day, are the way to go.

You must work up to breaking the barrier for doing repetitions of 100 or more, but don't force yourself to injury, it will take twice to three times as long to attain strength and speed.

I was a skinny, 165 pound kid at 19 years old. Then in my twenties I began to eat, exercise regularly, and do large repetitions with weights of 25-40 pounds until most exercises were at the magic 100 repetition level.

Until I married my wife and had kids in my late twenties, I would do 100 pushups twice a day, 100 situps twice a day, and 100 squat thrusts once a day. I pretty much stayed around 210-230 until my late thirties as the happy family man began to show the middle age spare tire. Two years of Karate took most of my tire away, and working in the boat business hauling boats, moving cement blocks, and various weights such as tool boxes along with 300 - 400 motor boxes with Aikido like pushing skills kept me in somewhat good shape.

I can't promise that tightening your muscles is not going to leave you with a spare tire in your later years, but as far as training in your twenties and thirties, high repetitions with light weights are the way to build speed, strength, and stamina.

After forty, your best training is stretching, as many repetitions as possible with even lighter weights as not to strain the old fella, and really really watch your nutrition without overdoing exercise or supplements for your diet. Natural food sources are the best way to get nutrition, not pills.

You will find that most Chinese methods of advanced training has you doing 200-300 repetitions as you increase the weight of objects used to exercise, but everyone's body is different. Work at your own pace, build up the repetitions, the lenght of practice, and your strength, stamina, speed over time.

If you have ever seen a skinny guy or gal beat a big muscular guy in an armwrestling match, then you will know what I am talking about.

Of course you will have to be a bit more gentler as you increase you physical strength, to do pay attention to angle and direction of how pressure points are activated as not to have all you ukes screaming in pain because you finally learn to press or twist the correct way instead of the strongarm beginners way ... another mistake of younger practictioners who think strength is the last word in practice.

Kevin Leavitt
08-05-2002, 09:12 PM
Weight training is not bad. But like all things muscle mass and strength is a double edged sword.

(I am qualified on this being 6 2 and 235 and no it is not all FAT!)

Size and mass can be an advantage in real life, and it can help you be martially effective.

Obviously I can afford to be a little more sloppy with my techniques than a small person.

But that is the bad point...I believe my size has been somewhat of a hinderance in someways to aikido practice.

Smaller people working with my simply are not going to move me unless they do the techniques correctly, so in someways they have an learning advantage.

But, overall, weight training should help you...it's not like you are going to go from 5 8, 165, to 6 2 235. So I don't think it is that big of a deal.

Also, if you train in aikido right after working out with tired limbs, you have to use your hips and posture more to do aikido since your arms and legs are tired...so that could also help!

virginia_kyu
08-05-2002, 09:15 PM
Well I have to say that lifting weights has helped my Aikido, I don't know about anyone else.

My balance has improved incredibly when doing techniques, I have much better ukemi, better endurance, quicker movements etc...

So long as I don't develop "Incredible Hulk" like muscles and stretch well after lifting I don't think I have anything to worry about. I am 5'11, 175 lbs so it will be a long time before I lose dexterity due to bulkiness.

Another good reason for me to lift is so that I can survive practicing with guys like Kevin Leavitt who can crush me with their little finger. :)

Erik
08-05-2002, 11:11 PM
What's the difference between what is in the book and what is on the site? Is it basically the same exercises with different loads or what?
I don't know. I've been to the site a few times but never really looked at what he has there. I'd guess that he doesn't have these workouts there.
How did you blow your shoulder out? Was it as a result of the exercises?
I believe it was the dips that did it. I had to do a lot of negatives, which should have been a warning, to meet the numbers. My shoulders have taken a bit of a beating the last couple of years and the workout was more than they were ready for. It was probably a classic case of a thick head colliding with the mid 30's. The actual tweak happened around 3:00 am when I heard my shoulder pop and went back to sleep. The next day I couldn't move it. Of course, it may have happened without the workout but I stressed it pretty hard.

I've since gone down a few notches and am working my way back into the physical training realm. It's going much better this time around.

Kevin Wilbanks
08-05-2002, 11:23 PM
"I had to do a lot of negatives, which should have been a warning, to meet the numbers."

'Negatives' only, beyond the point where you can do the 'positives' is a supra-maximal training technique that should be used very sparingly, or not at all. I actually advocate rarely even training to failure, much less beyond it. Training at this kind of extreme intensity is not necessary to make progress - in fact, it is counterproductive in that it extends recovery time and invites injury. You should never push yourself beyond honest limits in order to keep up with any sort of generically prescribed training regimen. Everyone's ability to adapt and recover is different, and training must be carefully tailored to each individual.

Kevin Wilbanks, CSCS

SeiserL
08-06-2002, 10:29 AM
Sport psychology research indicates that weight lifting is one of the fastest and best exercises o increase self-esteem. You both feel it while your doing it(and also after) and you can see faster results.

I am that bigger weight lifter in class (6'4", 215). When i focus on staying relaxed during waza, weight lifting has certainly not hurt my execution provided I don't try to muscle through it, which was an inital obstacle. I do think that it has made some of the locks easier for my tori, since I do lack some flexibility due to uscle mass.

As i said earlier, if you want to lift then lift. If you you want to practice Aikido then practice. Just don't confuse he two.

Until again,

Lynn

jimvance
08-09-2002, 01:06 PM
Size and mass can be an advantage in real life, and it can help you be martially effective.I disagree, if only due to semantics. Size and (lean body) mass can be advantageous, but in what respect?

Martial effectiveness is determined by the ability to kill someone, not by one's ability to barfight, wrestle, grapple, pugilize, etc. Most of the elite combat forces in this world are not composed of large, massive guys (contrary to what Arnold and Sly would have you believe). Big guys make big targets.Obviously I can afford to be a little more sloppy with my techniques than a small person.Wrong. You cannot afford to be sloppy at all. Cheating is one thing, sloppiness an entirely different animal altogether. This tells me you rely on your innate physical ability more than what you are being taught, and that is a weakness.But that is the bad point...I believe my size has been somewhat of a hinderance in someways to aikido practice.

Smaller people working with my simply are not going to move me unless they do the techniques correctly, so in someways they have an learning advantage.From the above statements, you are obviously aware of your "weakness", but you also have the way to correct it. I suspect that you like to feel what is happening in your body, and get some feedback that feels correct, then decide to go along with the technique. Try this, it may get you ahead of the loop.

Don't wait for the correct feedback. Go where the nage puts you, like a cloud blown around by the wind. Too wimpy? Do it for six months and tell me it is too wimpy. It will build the sensitivity you lack, the same sensitivity that smaller practitioners must develop in order to move you around.

Jim Vance

JamesDavid
03-18-2005, 10:53 PM
I have been weight training to gain muscle mass for years now. I believe it complements my aikido. I started weight lifting after breaking my back in a few places. With physio guidance I now have no back pain. My life is easier because I have more advance muscle development that the average person.

Strength training aids in the following

• Aikido is not a holistic exercise. At my dodo there is heavy emphasis on pushups during warm-up. Many of the senior students have some chest muscle development as a result, but little back development. It’s a recipe for bad posture.
• Aerobic exercise alone isn’t effective at preventing muscle atrophy
• Brute size and strength will aid in real life self defense situations through injury prevention (you have to get hit harder for it to hurt). Your attacker doesn’t know that they are uke. You might have to correct their position a little before executing (at least keep this as an option :0).
• Injury prevention
• Keeps off fat


One point not made in this thread yet is that bodybuilders have extremely advanced muscle mind connection. They can feel the muscle and how it works. I have not experienced this in other sports. Perhaps I have to some degree after years of cycling. However I believe this would be difficult to achieve with compound movements of aikido alone. It takes a lot of concentration. I try to practice it.but……this is a kind of self awareness..

There is a lot of bad information and misconception about body building. Not to mention media driven image issues to wade through.

Lets keep it real here. No one going to end up looking like a bodybuilder by accident. Look at the musculature of an Olympic sprinter. Those guys are big. Their body would be every bit as capable of aikido as an Olympic marathon runner (string bean). If you want to think about negative body composition, think fat. If you want to get rid of fat think muscle, unless of course you want to run 100km a week like a marathon runner…..