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10-06-2002, 09:03 PM
Well, I have no dojo :( the day I get my shodan the dojo closes! oh the nerve! sensei wants his students who got their black belt to start a dojo so he can work on his house! to bad I suck.. He even told my grand parents that I should be an aikido instructor! oh the nerve!

well, besides being depressed about having no dojo, I decided to start working out. Over the last 2 months i have felt my body get weaker, so I decided to try the Body for Life program. I have been working out all week! I am sore but feel great! My spirits are up, I have so much energy! ( without aikido I have been tired all the time.) My arms are feeling stronger, and I just feel happy all around.

So anyone who has worked out, does this conflict with your aikido training at all? I mean we try not to use muscle, and i am afraid if I get strong that I will hinder my training when I start again. I am also taking Yoga to stay flexable!

Any thoughts ideas? Have fun!

10-06-2002, 10:42 PM
Sorry to hear that your dojo has closed down. That really sucks.:(

In answer to your question, I workout weekly (or should that be weakly) at a local gym on a weights, cardio, abdominals and flexibility program. It takes about 90 minutes to complete. There's been no conflict because the program was specifically designed to complement the aikido training. I spent a lot time with one of the Gym Instructors in designing the program. Sat down with the guy to determine what In wanted to achieve, what aikido movements were and how the program could improve those movements and then he helped me with doing the program on the first visit so that we could make changes when exercises didnt work out as was first intended.

All the best and I sincerely hope that you can find another dojo to train at.

10-06-2002, 11:10 PM
Problem is that we live in a rather small area so we only have 1 dojo for aikido. Santa barabra has an Aikiai dojo but is kinda far to go for regular training. we do have an Karate and Jujitsu dojo. maybe ill check those out till I go to collage for Aikido!

10-07-2002, 01:55 AM

If its not too much trouble, can you post your training programme? Exercise, sets, reps and frequency?


10-07-2002, 03:02 AM
Hello Ahmad

I am more than happy to post the programme. I just want to add some words of caution. The programme was developed with my specific body shape, weight and muscle development as well as what I wanted to achieve.

I would strongly recommend that seek advice from a reputable fitness/gym instructor for a programme that meets your specific needs, physique and prior Gym workout experience. Also, should you continue with a physical exercise program, you get a thorough fitness test at the Gym so there's a way to see how you're progressing and what intensity you should be on when you first start out.

These are some of things that I did when I first started out doing the program. In this way, the exercises complement my aikido training and minimises the risk of injuries that could stop or delay my aikido training.

I'll need to get my programme out from the Gym so I can get the right terminology. I should be post it real soon...Watch this space :)

10-07-2002, 01:01 PM
No conflict. I lift on Tues, Thurs, and Sat, do Aikido on Mon and Wed, and Sundays is Golf! :D

10-10-2002, 05:59 AM
Thanks Mayland,

I'll try to heed your advice, but the club where I go to doesn't even have pros in the gym. Just some guys who did weight lifting on the side. Most of the guys who go there, and me too, we get our info from magazines like Muscle and Fitness, and plain trial and error.

Going to a real gym with the pros is a bit steep for me. Costs 1000s of bucks, which I rather use to go to Japan and train with.

That aside, your programme will give me an indication of the type of exercise that would be beneficial for aikido-like movements.

As it is, I gym on Tues and Thurs, in between the days I train. That gives me sufficient rest times but I understand that muscles deteriorate after 72 hrs. I just can't bring myself to go on Sundays as well.

10-10-2002, 10:08 AM
Thanks Mayland,

As it is, I gym on Tues and Thurs, in between the days I train. That gives me sufficient rest times but I understand that muscles deteriorate after 72 hrs. I just can't bring myself to go on Sundays as well.
That's completely untrue. As long as you continue to add weight, you can get stronger easily on working out twice a week.

If you're REALLY interested on weight training that translates over into functional strength for Aikido (or anything else for that matter) focuse on multi-joint exercises like squats, deadlifts, bench presses, chinups, and dips.

10-10-2002, 11:13 PM

Squats for the quads.

Deadlifts for the traps and back?

Benchpress for pecs.

Chinups for biceps.

Dips for pecs and triceps?

Do you do lunges? What about for hip movements?

Right now my basic routine is:

Run on eliptical machine for 20mins for 4050 steps or 2 km.

Benchpress 50kg 10reps 3 sets.

Flymachine 50kg 10 reps 3 sets.

Alternate curls 9kg 10-12reps 3 sets.

Concentrated or preacher curls 11kg 10reps 3sets.

Triceps (2 benches, legs on one hands on the other, dip) 15reps 3 sets.

Forearm, twist a rod with 12kg weights forwards and backwards 3 sets.

Pulldowns, 90pounds 10reps 3 sets.

Rowing back 90pounds 10 reps 3 sets.

and the typical aikido stretches to cool down.

I don't do legs because I thought running would be good enough. Do you think this is a good programme or should I make some changes?

I've been stuck with the same weights for years now. Everytime I increase it, I can't make the rep requirements.

10-11-2002, 02:57 AM
wondering what a dead lift is.

I'm just back from a bad injury and have been told to build my traps.. I just haven't found a good exercise to do that yet.



10-11-2002, 06:07 AM
As a former competitive powerlifter, I'd like to add a few comments....

The workout looks like a bodybuilding workout. Nothing wrong with that, just be aware of it.

squats (http://www.stumptuous.com/weights.html) and deadlifts (http://www.stumptuous.com/baddl.html)are full body movements. (The links give a good explaination of the lifts.) Both terms are somewhat generic. There are many variations of squats (one legged, box squat, high bar, zercher, hack, etc...) and deadlifts (one handed, sumo, stiff legged, romanian, etc...). I'd encourage exploring the variations as well.

Powerlifting is a sport with three lifts, the squat, deadlift and the bench press. So, as a powerlifter IMO, the bench press is completely overrated and non-sport specific. Push ups would be a better alternative in at least the person must stabilize their body. A flymachine, if it is what I think, isn't a sport specific movement. I'd encourage dropping both.

I'd encourage ab work, specifically, adding twisting work. Full Contact Twists (http://www.t-mag.com/html/body_96ab.html), medicine ball throws .... something that engages your hips and core while twisting.

As for being stuck....change something. A routine only has value in so far as it can be changed. Try changing the protocal. Instead of 3 sets of 10, try 5 sets of 5. Or try a tabata protocal (20 seconds of work, 10 seconds of rest for 8 total rounds --- 4 minutes) Or dump weights for a week or two and do bodyweight conditioning then go back to the weights. (Visit
Scrapper (http://www.trainforstrength.com) for some ideas)



10-14-2002, 08:49 AM
Hello Ahmad

I agree with the suggestions that Paul Watt made. I think that they are worth thinking about.

Ok...here is the crux of workout routine I use:

Warm Up: 5 minutes on exercise bike with resistance set to 5 and my usual aikido stretching

Weights for Lower Body:

Calf Raises: 3 sets of 10 with weights increasing from 200 to 250 lbs

50 degree Incline Leg Press 3 sets of 8, 6 and 4 reps with weights increasing from 60 to 80kgs

Seated leg extensions: 3 sets of 8 6 and 4 reps with weights increasing from 30 to 50kgs

Leg curls (lying on your stomach and raising the leg towards your back. Its used to strengthen the hamstrings): 3 sets of 8 6 and 4 with weights increasing from 20 to 40kgs

Weights for Upper Body:

Bench Press: 3 sets of 8, 6 and 4 reps with weights increasing from 40 to 50 kgs.

Seated Supported Row: 3 sets of 8, 6 and 4 reps with weights increasing from 30 to 40 kgs

Shoulder Press: 3 sets of 8, 6 and 4 reps with weights increasing from 30 to 45 kgs

Lateral PullDown: 3 sets of 8,6,4 reps with weights increasing from 35 to 50 kgs

Bar Bell curls: 3 sets of 8, 6, 4 reps at 40kgs

The weights program is designed for explosive strength training - quick repetitions with low weights.


6kms bike set to resistance 8 to be completed under 10 minutes. Must maintain at least 110 revs per minute (its about 80 kw of power)

Atleast 2 kms on the rower set to resistance 10 to be completed in 10 minutes. Must maintain atleast 45 to 50 stokes per minute

I prefer the bike and rower to running, less impact stress on my knees, hips and ankles.

Abs Component:

60 situps within 90 secs

60 situps for obliques within 90 secs

60 leg raises within 90 secs

The other one that I've added is hip raises while on my back. I lie down with my legs in the air, then I raise my hips of the ground about a 5 cms, hold for 5 secs then lower. 40 repetitions in 5 minutes.

Cool Down:

My usual Aikido Stretching

Hope this helps Ahmad. If you do decide to give this a try, let me know what you think about it.

To Paul Watt - Any thoughts about this program?

All the best for training

10-14-2002, 09:23 AM
ooops forgot to add some other comments...

The main objective was to have a basic body conditioning workout that would complement my aikido training. The program is designed to develop the muscles for some of the movements that are done in aikido. Hope this clarifies my earlier post.


10-14-2002, 01:01 PM

One of the easiest things to do is nit-pick someone's routine. The bottom line is, if the routine is working for you (getting the results you want) it's working. Even
so, I'd consider the following:

First off, I'd suggest ditching the machines. Machines limit movement by fixing
you in a specific plane. While this greatly decreases injury, in aikido (and life) we deal with three dimensions. Muscle isolation is, IMO a myth. Outside of the gym we move our bodies as units, many muscle groups working together, it makes sense to me to train that way.

Second, do ab work standing. That's how we train aikido, standing (or kneeling), so it
would seem more sports specific to do standing crunches, full contact twists, etc... rather than ab work lying on your back.

Third, I'd get rid of the leg sled, leg raises, handstring curls. Outside of the gym, when are you laying on your back, pushing with your legs against resistance at a 45 degree angle? You squat everytime you get up from a chair. You lunge every time you get up from seiza. As an added bonus, squats and lunges work more muscles, bringing your abs and back into play.

You can see my biases.... I strongly dislike machines for nearly all able-bodied people. I strongly favor multi-joint, full body movements as opposed to isolation exercises. I strongly favor activity specific movement over exercises that work the muscle in situations that are unlikely to occur.

To be honest, there's as much art as science in setting this stuff up. A good coach, like a good sensei is priceless.



10-14-2002, 01:16 PM
To give you an idea of where I'm coming from, here's what I'm doing (I'm 33):

Monday - Friday

bike 10 km to work/ bike 10 km home --- I don't really view this as exercise, it's transporation, but I figure I better list it.

Monday, Wednesday, Friday

SCRAPPER'S (http://www.trainforstrength.com/workouts.shtml) #1 workout (I usually stop at a park on the bike ride home)

Tuesday, Thursday

SCRAPPER'S (http://www.trainforstrength.com/workouts.shtml) #2 workout (at a park on the ride home)


Weight training in the gym (full body movements, multi-joint lifts are the focus (cleans, jerks, squats, deadlifts, pull ups, chins, dips, etc..... no longer than one hour)



Nit-pick all you want, I've got it coming!



10-14-2002, 01:42 PM
Why on earth would we nit-pick you when you're one of the few people doing things RIGHT? :D

Multi-joint exercises are the absolute functional strength. There are other things to do if you want to have the physique of a greek god.

10-14-2002, 07:46 PM
Thanks for the prompt feedback Paul its much appreciated :). Yes it is working but I'm always looking for improvements to the program and your suggestions are worth some careful consideration.

All the best for training

Kevin Wilbanks
10-14-2002, 08:21 PM

I wouldn't nit-pick on your workout, because, as you say, if it is working for your purposes, then it works. The only thing that I would caution others about that it is a heavily endurance-oriented regimen of someone who is already in extremely good shape - I presume geared towards facilitating long hours of martial arts training. The overall volume of work is so high that most people would not be able to develop strength, or perhaps even much endurance, on such an extensive regimen. So, if you can't do many pushups, pullups, etc... don't try this at home. Paul is strong enough that these exercises are more along the lines of jumping rope or something. If you're not already that strong, far less volume and frequency is in order.

10-14-2002, 09:18 PM
Greg and Kevin,

Thanks for the feedback, and the compliments.


Can you give Mayland a better critique of his program?



10-14-2002, 11:57 PM
Thanks a lot guys! Its my gym day today, so I'm going to be trying out some of those things suggested. Squats was something i've avoided like a plaque for fear it will injure my back (which already has a spinal protusion some years back and I never operated). But if its manageable, i will try it.

Good god! I thought Mayland was a woman, and then I see barbell curls at 40 kg... And suddenly paul mentions its a guy. Whew!

That biking regime sounds like a killer. I'll start slow on that. as well as my abs, which is plain jello.

Thanks again!

10-15-2002, 12:23 AM

Good god! I thought Mayland was a woman, and then I see barbell curls at 40 kg... And suddenly paul mentions its a guy. Whew!

That biking regime sounds like a killer. I'll start slow on that. as well as my abs, which is plain jello.

Hmmm...must be my feminine side showing again :D

Starting slowly is a good idea to avoid any injuries and to keep interest in the program. When I first started the cardio work it was tough...it took about 15 minutes to complete each apparatus. I set myself some small goals to reduce the time take by 1 minute every 4 months. It now takes me 10 minutes to complete the bike and rower and I still work up a good sweat. Always monitor your heart rate...a good aerobic workout should sustain your heart rate at between 140 to 160. Slow down if you ever feel pain in your chest or feel faint/nauseous.

All the best for training - aikido and gym...hmmm, I wonder if my wife would mind if I wore one of her dresses :p

Kevin Wilbanks
10-15-2002, 01:01 PM

I agree with your comments for the most part. I prefer bodyweight, bodyweight +, multijoint/compound, and free-standing exercises for the most part because they require balance and stability. However, some 'isolation' and machine exercises can be useful in some cases during cycles which focus on hypertrophy.

Contrary to what many trainers think, I think hypertrophy is not a waste for functional purposes. Muscle mass is of more general utility than neural adapatation, in that it is not movement-specific. Moreover, building up mass gives one more raw material which can then be adapted with more neurologically specific work during a later cycle.

As far as ab work that emphasizes spinal flexion goes, I think it's mostly a waste of time, as that movement isn't all that useful, and the abs get plenty of work during compound and bodyweight exercises. My abs are pretty prominent and never do ab isolations.

I'll write some more later, gotta go.

Kevin Wilbanks
10-15-2002, 02:52 PM
Anyway, more on the abs. What really doesn't make sense about the ab work in M's routine is that it is designed to elicit an entirely different kind of adaptation from the work targeting every other part of the body. Why would one need strength and size everywhere in the body except the abdomen, where one apparently needs incredible muscle endurance? This is typical in many routines, and I think it may derive from the myth of 'spot reducing' - that is, people think that doing tons of ab reps will make their abs leaner and more defined. This is, of course, not true. Fat loss occurs everywhere on the body or nowhere, and comes off in roughly the inverse pattern of how it went on.

Also a note on overall endurance/aerobic training:

"Always monitor your heart rate...a good aerobic workout should sustain your heart rate at between 140 to 160."

This is a myth. Most people have no need to monitor their heart rate, nor need to follow any kind of rigid intensity-length prescription for an endurance/cardio workout. High Intensity Interval Training, which alternates between short periods of near-maximal intensity and rest, is equal to, or radically superior to continuous aerobics at producing many of the same adaptations - VO2max, LT threshold, fat loss, etc... - and bears no resemblance to the quoted prescription. Doing continuous aerobics with randomly varying intensity levels (Fartlek) is also generally more productive than continuous aerobics for most things.

The only reason to follow a rigid HR prescription or get bogged down with expensive monitoring equipment is if you have CV pathology and/or are fresh out of cardiac rehab, or if you are a serious endurance athlete and need to monitor intensity precisely to do workouts that target specific energy systems/aspects of aerobic fitness. Most people would be better off using an intuitive/perceptual guage of workout intensity, and save themselves the money and complication of an extra gadget and mathematical headaches.

10-16-2002, 12:33 AM
I tried Fish's first workout.

My shoulders and triceps are killing me. :p Never imagined pyramiding lousy pushups would be that hard.

Have not tried some of the exercises pointed out cause I have no idea how to them properly. Not yet anyway.

Mayland it wasn't anything... it was from your name.... you know May... sounds like Aunt May from Spiderman.

10-17-2002, 02:03 AM
To Paul and Kevin

Thank you very much for your very helpful comments regarding the program. Its much appreciated :). I'm going to be making some changes in line with some of your suggestions. Once again this has proven to be an excellent forum for the exchange of ideas.

To Ahmad

Hey no biggie...or in aussie speak...no wucking furries ;)

If you are ever downunder on the west coast let me know. All would be welcomed at the dojos that I train at.

Happy training

10-17-2002, 10:29 PM
Kevin, why is it that the scrappers workout may not be suitable for most ppl?

"The overall volume of work is so high that most people would not be able to develop strength, or perhaps even much endurance, on such an extensive regimen. "

I did maybe 75% of the 1st scrappers workout on tuesday. on thursday i couldn't even go back to my original routine, so the only chest exercise i did was the fly machine.

today... I'm dying from pain! :P

Am i going to build muscle mass from all those push ups, pull ups and dips or what? and are the workouts confined to machines and free weights what you term as hypertrophy?

I also bought this ab book that was designed using synergism or something... is that a good system for developing abs? not for show, just for the muscles so it would support my body structure.

Kevin Wilbanks
10-17-2002, 11:45 PM
Those workouts looked like good endurance work for people in extremely good shape - especially if you are planning to do them 5 times per week. They would have to be seriously pared down and done far less frequently to be useful for people who aren't in that kind of shape.

What kind of adaptation you can expect from an exercise, and how long it takes to recover from it, is largely a function of the load and intensity - that is, of how much resistance you use, how many reps you do, and how much that is in relation to the most that you can possibly do.

If you are serious about training for strength and/or muscle size (hypertrophy), you need to learn some basic principles about stress and recovery, and you need to get on a very simple, consistent exercise routine. Forget about machines, flyes, curls, supplements, magazines, and ab books. Basic strength and size is built with simple workouts that emphasize compound freeweight and bodyweight movements, and allow for adequate rest and nutrition. Using too many exercises, working at too high of an intensity, and allowing for too little rest are the worst and most common mistakes.

For an absolute beginner to resistance work, I recommend a routine like this:

1) Pullups or pulldowns

2) Pushups, dips, or incline press

3) Squats

4) Romanian/Stiff-leg deadlifts

The options on 1 and 2 do not mean rotating variations. Pick one and stick with it. If the goal is hypertrophy, then I recommend starting with 2 progressive warmup sets per exercise, then 2 worksets, in the 8-12 rep range, each taken to about 1 rep from failure (i.e, you could probably still do another rep). As far as recovery time, you determine this yourself by looking at your training log. You should get stronger/be able to do slightly more almost EVERY WORKOUT. If you stagnate or regress, something is wrong. With the above prescription, it would be safe to start out working out every third day or twice per week. Once you have established consistent progress, you could try adding a third workset, working out 3 times per week, or adding another compound pushing and pulling exercise (only manipulate one variable at a time). If any change causes progress to stop, go back - you have found a personal limit.

For general strength, I would use the same workout, except that you would use heavier weight and lower rep sets, say 2 to 7, and you may want to go a little closer to failure. This also necessitates longer recovery time, so you might want to start by doing the workout once per week, repeating the same workout with lighter (80-90%) loads mid-week to prevent muscle catabolism while you wait for the nervous system to recover.

To start with, I would suggest alternating between 4-8 week periods on such a strength protocol and a hypertrophy protocol - probably for at least a year.

This is just to give you a basic idea. You can read a lot of great basics about training science and practicalities in the 'articles' section of this site: http://www.weightrainer.com

If you or anyone else is serious about getting on a productive routine, I will be glad to help, but I'd like for you to try and read those articles and digest them first, at which point feel free to contact me off list.

Keep in mind that what I'm advocating here is
a basic routine for the purposes of building a foundation of strength and size - known as General Physical Preparation in trainer's lingo. In my view, the complicated, fancier stuff like power work, agility exercises, speed-endurance complexes are ill-advised until one has first built up a foundation with the basic compound movements. If we're talking bigger picture, some cardio and interval work would also be part of the GPP.

10-18-2002, 10:08 AM
There is an amazing amount of detailed and interesting information in this thread. I was particularly interested, Kevin, in your discussion of aerobics. I started going to the gym a couple of months ago. All I do is row (I love to row). I started with 30 minutes and have worked up to an hour, more or less at steady state, three times a week. I really enjoy it, and I'm probably not going to think too seriously about changing it (I think I should do what I enjoy or what I feel like doing because that will keep me coming back), but I am very curious where that sort of workout -- 1 hour, 3 times a week -- fits into all of these sophisticated ideas. Also, if there are small ways that I could change it and better achieve my goals (strength and endurance with out much regard for hypertrophy), I would certainly be interested.

10-18-2002, 12:54 PM
Kevin (and all of you fitness experts out there),

Based on your experience and expertise, do you think the personal trainers in the popular fitness clubs (like Bally Total Fitness, for instance) are trustworthy in providing qualified advice on appropriate workout routines? I understand that it's hard to generalize, I was just wondering if you had a formed opinion on this.


Kevin Wilbanks
10-18-2002, 01:10 PM

Rowing continuously for an hour 3x per week is good for your overall cardiovascular health, and will give you good muscular endurance for rowing a boat. The muscular endurance will likely carry over to a large extent to other movements that are similar to rowing - involving leg extension and pulling motions.

As a workout program for long term health, it has deficiencies. It won't do much to promote bone density, joint strength, overall muscle strength, proficiency in pushing motions, and doesn't train the strength and movement patterns needed for proper squatting, which I consider a key to long term back health.

As an Aikido conditioning routine, it also has deficiencies. Aikido often requires repeated, more intense exertions for varying intervals of time - continuous aerobic conditioning is only marginally useful for this. Squatting again - building up strength in free standing squat and lunge exercises will make it much easier and more natural to 'bend your knees' in Aikido, and is essential for Koshinage. Also, working on a machine does little to develop balance or stability the way standing exercises would.

In terms of other Aikido performance specific areas, I think doing tenkans against cable resistance is a good idea to develop shoulder stability and torso resistance to twisting. I also favor pushing and pulling resistance exercises in which one works to keep the scapulae stable, and move from glenohumeral joint (very strict pushups and body rows are probably the best). Also, power exercises like plyometrics or 'the Jerk' could be helpful to develop explosive irimi power.

What you are doing is good, because it's exercise and you like doing it. As far as not wanting to change, if you start to try other activities, you may be surprised. I was an avid runner for many years and thought I would love it forever. Then I started getting serious about resistance training and mixed interval workouts. Now I find running at continuous pace longer than 15 minutes interminably boring, and only go on 2 mile runs once or twice per week at most.

I suggest trying to row in intervals of varying intensity one day per week, or even alternating between rowing and fast rope jumping, with rest periods, HIIT style... you might like it.

10-18-2002, 10:46 PM
Great stuff, thanks!

10-19-2002, 12:53 PM
Thanks, Kevin. I appreciate the thoughts.

Actually, we have a climbing wall down at the gym, and I've been messing around on that about once a week. That's still more pulling than pushing, but it is a good balance and strength thing.

Back when I used to row in college, we alternated heavy weights (3x7 reps) with something we called weight circuits. We had about 12 stations of different low weight exercise (bench pulls, squats, cleans, jumpies, etc.) and would rotate through them in a 45 second on 15 second off type of pattern. I remember really enjoying this although I probably couldn't keep something like that up today.

I've thought seriously about making one day a week into intervals, especially now that my cardiovascular abilities are getting back into a reasonable range. I'm sort of torn between 4x10' and 6x5'. Actually when I write either of those they sound really scary, but is this what you mean by intervals or are you talking about even shorter intervals?

Kevin Wilbanks
10-19-2002, 06:55 PM
Any intervals longer than about 6 minutes aren't going to work your energy systems in an appreciably different way than continuous training. My favorite kind of interval training is HIIT, which improves aerobic endurance qualities as well as anaerobic endurance. You can read more details about it in this chunk of an aborted draft of a basic fitness book I was writing: