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otto
02-04-2003, 06:58 PM
Hi All...

wich one in your opinions should i emphazise more? , wicch one is more benefical to my aikido development on the long term?..

I very much would appreciate any drill or excersice you would recommend for solo training...

Many thanks in advance
Plus KI!

shihonage
02-04-2003, 07:06 PM
Pushups never hurt anyone...

Neither did knee-walking...

mattholmes
02-04-2003, 07:12 PM
I think it is important to have a balance with your physical development. I don't, obviously, know what kind of shape you are in, but if you are just starting to build appreciable muscle, I think it will come to bear that when you start to feel the benefits from training one part of your body, you will likely wish to feel this everywhere. I think neither one is more important. You need basic muscles everywhere.

Have a nice day.

Matt

PeterR
02-04-2003, 07:28 PM
You want a body designed for Aikido then do lots of full resistance randori.

You want a body designed for swimming then do lots of swimming.

You want a body designed for ballet then do lots of ballet.

You want a body designed for weight lifting then do lots of weight lifting.

This does not mean you should not vary your exercise diet (the ideal Aikido body is not everything) but you should ask what do I want and how am I going to get there.

otto
02-04-2003, 08:24 PM
Dear Mr.Rehse...

I suppose yes , thats the most logical answer to such a question...

Thought you pointed to me the over simplicity of my question and as Mr.Holmes stated , I didnt give you any info on my actual condition for you to make a particular suggestion , well i'm somehow fit...(amen to what mr.Sundeyev said about pushups :) ) , nevertheless i feel a bit slow and maybe sloppy when doing techniques like tsuki iriminage , wich requires a quick and "safe" step out of the way just to mention an example , same when doing suwariwaza...

Also , after long training sessions and trying to push myself to the limits...i end with pain on the plants of my feet and sore tighs...

Altough I sure would like to work this out the "Rehse" way , that is just doing more aikido , in my case is not possible , so thats why I asked what did u recommend for "solo" training , maybe talk a bit about how do you see your development if you look back at when you started....should i do a little homework or just wait for things to come naturally...?

I really really would like to "see" your personal experience about this.

Thanks again, and please keep the feedback..is very appreciated.

Plus KI!

P.D. Please excuse the broken english..

paw
02-04-2003, 08:42 PM
Ottoniel,

The best way to get better at aikido is to train aikido. Period.

As far as your question, for upper body vs lower body development, I would answer: neither. Or more accurately "both". It seems that a good deal of aikido is moving the body as a unit, so it seems prudent to engage in supplemental training that works the body as a unit.

Personally, I'm rather biased towards squats, deadlifts, snatches, cleans and the multitude of variations of each of the movements I mentioned (for example: zercher squats, box squats, front squats, one-legged squats, hack squats, etc....) On the downside, these movements often require resistance, which means a gym or odd objects (kettlebells, sandbags, medicine balls, etc....) Also, if you've not familiar with these movements, a competant trainer to walk you through the workout is a good a idea for a few sessions.

If you don't have those things available to you, try Scapper's bodyweight workouts (http://www.trainforstrength.com/workouts.shtml) Start with workout #1, and be prepared to WORK. For endurance, try Taku's interval training, listed on the same page.

As for solo training, I'm a bit of a heretic and say, forget it. If you can't train aikido with someone, improve your physical conditioning doing something you enjoy (dance, yoga, pilates, weight training, swimming, biking, hiking, etc....)

Anyway, those are my thoughts, take them as you will.

Regards,

Paul

PeterR
02-04-2003, 09:04 PM
Ottoniel
The best way to get better at aikido is to train aikido. Period.I like Paul mainly because he usually agrees with me. :D
As far as your question, for upper body vs lower body development, I would answer: neither. Or more accurately "both". It seems that a good deal of aikido is moving the body as a unit, so it seems prudent to engage in supplemental training that works the body as a unit.
I'm roughly in the same boat as you. Before I opened my dojo I was restricted to Aikido one full day a week. I had to find something to help improve my Aikido and keep/improve my fitness level. That is the reason I started Judo (local Aikido clubs didn't interest me). Other good suggestions are Dance (I'm just not the dancing type) or swimming (which bores me to tears - not that you could tell for all that water). All of these activitives are good all-body workouts. In fact the best Judo and competitve Aikido players all seem to have swimmers bodies.

Kevin Wilbanks
02-04-2003, 10:25 PM
I have to disagree to some extent with Peter's assessment. Anyone who is serious about just about any other sporting activity in the world other than select martial arts does not simply rely on the activity itself to impart fitness. Look at any pro, farm-league, aspiring amateur, college, or even high school athletes in any sport and you will find that they all engage in supplemental training to improve various aspects of their conditioning.

Generally, it is useful to distinguish between General Physical Preparation (GPP) and Specific Physical Preparation (SPP).

GPP is about developing some basic strength in major movement chains, increasing endurance attributes, building muscle mass, strengthening connective tissues, bones, etc... In general, it's about developing a fit, athletic, injury resistant body.

The problem with many Aikidoka is that they are deficient in GPP, as they have not been fit, active, and engaged in regular sports and recreation continuously since childhood. If you can't get through a few classes per week without battling chronic injury, or getting through a class is more about gasping and keeping up than working on skill development, you are probably deficient in GPP. Some people (like me) are (were) so deficient, that they need to take some time away from Aikido to work on it. If they don't, they can look forward to ongoing battles with chronic pain and maybe even debilitating career-shortening injury problems as weak links accumulate damage.

The idea of taking time to build up your raw materials before setting them to work seems weird to us, because we worship at the alter of immediate gratification, but in the old Soviet system they routinely trained athletes of all kinds in GPP for years before introducing any skill practice or even skill-specific training - one of the reasons that they were 20 years ahead of the US for decades in terms of training techniques and science.

SPP, on the other hand, is about developing and refining conditioning attributes that are specifically applicable to the performance of the given athletic skill. The skills of Aikido are so unique and varied, that I think there isn't a lot that can be done in terms of SPP. A few things like resisted tenkan exercises, select medicine ball work, and work on shoulder stability might qualify.

In my view, for those who need it, good GPP for Aikido consists of consistent, productive work with moderate duration aerobics, intense interval training, and resistance training in bodyweight and compound movements like pullups, body rows, overhead press, pushups, dips, squats, romanian deadlifts.

Olympic lifts would probably be more on the SPP side, and more questionable in relevance. On the one hand, they help to develop the general attributes of speed, power, explosiveness, and overall body coordination. On the other hand, all the force is generated vertically in moves that are starkly dissimilar to any which require explosiveness and speed in Aikido practice. Personally, I think twisting med ball moves and lunging and horizontally-oriented plyometrics would probably serve the purpose better.

PeterR
02-04-2003, 11:14 PM
Excellent post Kevin.
In my view, for those who need it, good GPP for Aikido consists of consistent, productive work with moderate duration aerobics, intense interval training, and resistance training in bodyweight and compound movements like pullups, body rows, overhead press, pushups, dips, squats, romanian deadlifts.
Um have you ever seen Shodokan randori? :D

Kevin Wilbanks
02-05-2003, 12:02 AM
No. Have you ever seen a professional basketball, hockey, or football game? I doubt if anyone in Shodokan would last very long in one of these, yet these athletes all devote considerable time and energy to both GPP and SPP, in addition to extensive skill practice, scrimage, and actual competition. It doesn't matter how strenuous the end activity is - it doesn't mitigate the usefulness of conditioning. My view is that one's conditioning routines should be considerably more strenuous than one's chosen activity, so that when one is competing, practicing, randori-ing, etc... everything that happens is within comfortable functioning parameters.

SeiserL
02-05-2003, 12:41 AM
Since most of your description of problems fall into the lower body areas, IMHO, I would stress some footwork drills on your own.

Skipping rope is a great one.

Tenkan training. Alternate 90 and 180 degree step turns. Keep your spine straight. Body relaxed. Hands held low at belt level on your center line. Keep alignment with eyes, shoulders, hands, hips, knees, and feet all pointed in the same direction. Move from the hip as one unified, upper and lower, movement. Keep soft distant focus, me-tsuki. Breath. Put on some good music and rhythm train by moving with the beat.

Until again,

Lynn

PeterR
02-05-2003, 12:43 AM
Joking Kevin - I was only serious when I complimented you on your post. The joke only meant that all the things you describe could be occuring in Shodokan Randori - well not really but I was JOKING (hence the :D).

You are right no Shodokan person would. Not because they are not conditioned - the top players are very conditioned - but because they don't play hockey, or football or basketball (at least that I know of). I don't think anywere in my posts did I condemn the idea of supplemental training - what I did say is the primary method of developing a body for a particular sport comes from doing that sport. Further, like Paul stated, if you can't do that sport as much as you like, do something similar. If conditioning training interests you or there is a particular need - by all means do so. Hey it can't hurt.

So many times I've seen skinny first year university students enter Shodokan and four years later am faced with a superbly conditioned and confident young man. The secret is the drills and randori that they practice every single day. That doesn't mean that certain of most skinny are not quietly told to do some exercies to strengthen certain joints and muscle groups but I know for a fact that many of them do no supplemental training whatsoever. The Judo boys lift weights regularily but Aikido is skill and speed more than muscle power.
No. Have you ever seen a professional basketball, hockey, or football game? I doubt if anyone in Shodokan would last very long in one of these, yet these athletes all devote considerable time and energy to both GPP and SPP, in addition to extensive skill practice, scrimage, and actual competition. It doesn't matter how strenuous the end activity is - it doesn't mitigate the usefulness of conditioning. My view is that one's conditioning routines should be considerably more strenuous than one's chosen activity, so that when one is competing, practicing, randori-ing, etc... everything that happens is within comfortable functioning parameters.

Dross
02-05-2003, 02:09 AM
You need to train your whole body, not just upper or lower. I recommend running 2 or 3 times a week for a good half hour or more on top of your normal aikido training. And as someone said earlier, skipping rope is great too, especially to warm up. That should cut down on the "sluggish" feeling quite a bit. Weight training helps too but the consensus has always seemed to be that bulking up is bad for aikido due to loss of flexibiliy/mobility, so stick to lower weight and higher reps and make sure to stretch and warm up/cool down properly. And again, as someone said earlier, dancing is great for aikido. Being good at one generally makes you better at the other. So far it's worked great for me. :)

Kevin Wilbanks
02-05-2003, 08:56 AM
Weight training helps too but the consensus has always seemed to be that bulking up is bad for aikido due to loss of flexibiliy/mobility, so stick to lower weight and higher reps and make sure to stretch and warm up/cool down properly.
It may indeed be 'the consensus'. If so, it is a consensus of ignorance.

First of all, unwanted 'bulking up' is in itself a myth. Ask anyone who has seriously tried to gain strength and mass without the aid of steroids, and they will tell you that ballooning up from lifting weights just doesn't happen. Gaining substantial mass requires very particular, demanding regimen, in terms of diet, intense training, and minimization of endurance activity, for YEARS.

Secondly, there is nothing about gaining strength and muscle mass that inherently leads to reduced flexibility, mobility, or speed of movement. In fact, many weight training exercises can themselves be used to INCREASE flexibility. Supplemental stretching is not even necessarily required, and stretching before lifting or doing anything requiring the expression of strength can actually be counterproductive. ROM in joints can be maintained by merely using it.

Thirdly, if one is interested in mobility, your prescription of distance running and high-rep muscular endurance training is precisely wrong. Doing both of these activities extensively without additional strength, speed, and/or power training will cause adaptations that de-emphasize the size of fast-twitch muscle fibers and the body's neurological ability to recruit them.

Even if the person is overweight, and would like to reduce bodyfat to become more mobile, running and muscular endurance work are mediocre to poor choices. Gaining muscle mass and high intensity interval training are the best choices for long term fat loss.

One study showed that competitive Olympic lifters were on par with world-class sprinters for about 30 yards. As I implied above, if you want to see how slow, stiff, and immobile someone who is all "bulked up" from lifting weights is, check out an NBA game.

Kevin Wilbanks
02-05-2003, 09:13 AM
So many times I've seen skinny first year university students enter Shodokan and four years later am faced with a superbly conditioned and confident young man. The secret is the drills and randori that they practice every single day. That doesn't mean that certain of most skinny are not quietly told to do some exercies to strengthen certain joints and muscle groups but I know for a fact that many of them do no supplemental training whatsoever.
I don't deny that this is possible and works for some people. Most of the past masters of martial arts got their fitness training from nothing but manual labor and doing the art. Back then they didn't have scientifically based conditioning methods. They were also a self-selected lot: most of those who had too many injury problems or inadequate fitness probably just quit and we never heard about them.

The thing is, most Americans seem to come to Aikido from sedentary lives, and expecting the body to go from the couch and office chair to high-flying ukemi is unrealistic. Some people can get all the conditioning they need from Aikido itself, but it's a gamble. I tried it for years, with no other supplement but running, and I was no closer to participating as much as I wanted injury-free than when I started.

The point is, now we do have a large body of knowledge derived from science and collected experience of training international athletes of all kinds, so why not take advantage of it? ...if not for the sake of trying to expressly enhance Aikido performance, at least to provide a fitness foundation and injury resistance.

gadsmf@aol.com
02-05-2003, 11:05 AM
I've always found Aikido a vey leggy activity.

It's all the getting up from falling down. Even after a laid back class I feel it in my thighs and quads, so any exercise that increases upper leg strength may be of benefit. I'm not saying it'll make you a better Aikidoka, but it may make your life a little easier.

Also, I find working out on a punch

bag, although not very Aikido, I know, gives me the same "burn" as a randori session.

Hope this is usefull.

Cheers,

Daz

Michael Neal
02-05-2003, 12:49 PM
High intensity interval training and weight training has completely transformed my body since I started Aikido about 9 months ago.

When I don't slack off on my HIIT training, my endurance during randori is practically a cakewalk. Last week I did randori after skipping the HIIT for a number of weeks and I thought I was going to die.

Weight training, both lower and upper body, has given me the ability to take much better ukemi. Even when I mess up a high flying breakfall my muscle devlopment prevents injury and helps lessen the impact.

I have not lost any flexibility either. In fact, I continue to gain in flexibility so long as I stretch properly after lifting.

I am glad I listened to Kevin Wilbanks and others about this when I started because I can't imagine how horrible practice would be if I relied only on Aikido and distance running to get in shape.

Doug Mathieu
02-05-2003, 01:30 PM
Hi Ottoniel

I find my legs get the most workout just as Gadd has said. Consequently I think excersises that focus on them are good such as squats and lunges.

Also, something I would not have thought about was at 1st my neck would suffer and I realized that ukemi technique required protecting my head with chin tucking, etc. It took a while to develop some neck strength. This helps especially with any kind of ukemi where you fall directly backwards to the mat.

Abdomen wortkouts are good because it really helps with back strength. I find its not the fall itself that strains my back but some of the postures where you arc and stretch the back doing ukemi. Lastly stamina training such as running is useful as I find I need it for randori, etc.

Erik
02-05-2003, 02:20 PM
Alright! A testimonial, at last.

Guys, HIIT training works wonders and it's fast. Twenty to thirty minutes max. It burns a ton of calories and it will completely transform your aikido endurance. Aikido and HIIT are extremely well-suited to one another.

Another argument for lifting weights is the aging process. The average person loses 2% of their muscle mass each year after the age of 25. This is a double whammy. It's pretty common to gain 10 pounds over 10 years at this point. Unfortunately, what you've really done is put on 15 pounds of fat and lost 5 pounds of muscle. Weight training helps alleviate the aging process by helping you to prevent the bodies natural tendency to lose muscle as it ages. Aerobic training will not help here.

There is one more benefit to muscle. It burns more calories than fat. By adding muscle you literally burn more calories just by walking around. It's a double win, you look better by having more muscle and you look better because it helps you to lose weight.

Finally, as Kevin has so eloquently pointed out, every major sporting activity uses weights. Golfers, bowlers, NFL quarterbacks, NBA players, baseball players, all of whom require touch at an extreme level, lift weights. All of them. In my opinion, it's the single largest differentiator between today's athletes and those of 30 years ago.

Look into it, it works, and it fits with the art.
High intensity interval training and weight training has completely transformed my body since I started Aikido about 9 months ago.

When I don't slack off on my HIIT training, my endurance during randori is practically a cakewalk. Last week I did randori after skipping the HIIT for a number of weeks and I thought I was going to die.

Weight training, both lower and upper body, has given me the ability to take much better ukemi. Even when I mess up a high flying breakfall my muscle devlopment prevents injury and helps lessen the impact.

I have not lost any flexibility either. In fact, I continue to gain in flexibility so long as I stretch properly after lifting.

I am glad I listened to Kevin Wilbanks and others about this when I started because I can't imagine how horrible practice would be if I relied only on Aikido and distance running to get in shape.

otto
02-05-2003, 03:53 PM
Hi all!
Since most of your description of problems fall into the lower body areas, IMHO, I would stress some footwork drills on your own.

Skipping rope is a great one..

BUSTED! , yes Lynn quite frankly thats the way i see it and feel , i hope u dont think i'm stupid by posting the thread in this way , just thought i could see some interesting opinions and feedbacks making a general question and maybe it could turn out to be a more helpful thread that way.

About the Skipping rope excersice , could you be a lil more descriptive? , never heard of it under that name..maybe i know it like a "lagartija" "sentadilla" or some other weird spanish name :) )

I noticed something similar with my Neck too Douglas , and lately it has been al "creaky" when i do stretchs and some natural movements...is that ok?
High intensity interval training and weight training has completely transformed my body since I started Aikido about 9 months ago
Humm....are you talking about a particulary intensive Aikido Training Session Mike?..if so could you describe it a bit more in terms of lenght and excersises done , so i could maybe suggest something like that on my dojo?
The thing is, most Americans seem to come to Aikido from sedentary lives..... Some people can get all the conditioning they need from Aikido itself, but it's a gamble. I tried it for years, with no other supplement but running, and I was no closer to participating as much as I wanted injury-free than when I started.
Hi Kevin , thanks for some very didactic insights . Altought i'm not American i very much fit in that group you mention , i really feel Aikido is something u must give yourself out entirely for it to be authentic (not to mention efective )and lately i found my body not keeping with my mind on that , however i wouldnt like to hurt myself in the process thus shortening my life span on it.

I myself too shunned Weight training before , since coming from a "bit long ago" background on it , i was usually tempted to use muscle strenght instead of proper technique and body movement while doing waza...

Just to mention , doing the stretchs mentioned in "Ki in daily Life" after waking up in the morning semeed to have a very nice effect on my lower frame strenght and overall stability in aikido..you think that could be negative if not supervised??

Finally If you guys feel like and have the patience to share a bit more on your training sessions in and out of aikido with me , it would be really great and i'll put you all on my Buddy List :D .

Thanks ALL , Gotta Run..

Plus KI!

Sharon Seymour
02-05-2003, 04:05 PM
I often recommend Bob Anderson's wonderful book Stretching. 20th anniversary edition recently published. Flexibility & strength training with no more equipment than a wall, a chair, and maybe a towel. He keeps up on new knowledge in the area, so get a recent edition.

Yoga. I lifted weights for years, and really enjoyed it, and am finding that Yoga is as satisfying and challenging, with endless room to progress.

$.02 from Sharon

Kevin Wilbanks
02-05-2003, 04:49 PM
Otto,

Run a search through forum archives on "HIIT" and you'll find several relevant fitness threads that describe it and a posted document I wrote about it.

Erik
02-05-2003, 05:01 PM
Another argument for lifting weights is the aging process. The average person loses 2% of their muscle mass each year after the age of 25.
I need to post a correction. I got my numbers mixed up. 2% is the slow down in one's basal metabolic rate not muscle mass. You do lose muscle and strength as you age but not at this speed. The actual rate from a quick bit of research is probably about 1%.

Michael Neal
02-05-2003, 06:21 PM
Here is the HIIT program I use, you might try starting with the 30 second sprints since sprinting for 90 seconds is very difficult to start with.

I usually do this after a 2 mile run and a 15 minute rest.

http://www.straightblastgym.com/endurance.html#endurance

This is the weight training I do, I am no expert with this but it works for me. I do this only once a week.

-deadlifts

-crunches (w/ barbell plate on chest)

-Russian twists

-pushups

-barbell rows

-lateral raises

-curls

-tricepts

-hand exercisers for strong grip and forearms

-forearm curls (both versions)

I wish I could do two more exercises:

1)Squats, however I don't have the equipment at home or someone to help spot. If I had to go to a gym to lift I probably would never go so I just rely on deadlifts.

2) Medicine ball workouts I could do alone, but I only have seen workouts with two people.

Others here could probably suggest better weight lifting routines though.

Kevin Wilbanks
02-05-2003, 06:39 PM
Those instructions for HIIT are okay, but many of the claims they are making are unfounded. One does not need to keep moving during rest periods to remove wastes from the system. Given the extent of warmup, rest periods, and 'recovery under stress' principle they advocate, what they have is less of an HIIT workout than an aerobic interval workout, and the complexity of cycling the lengths of work and rest are probably not very relevant.

If you want to challenge your anaerobic endurance more, you need to take complete rest between intervals and make the periods long enough to let your heartrate drop down and short-term energy systems to recharge. Otherwise, you compound fatigue and end up with much less intense intervals and hence less anaerobic/high intensity benefits. I also think the same goes for using the same exercise for each consecutive interval. By always alternating/rotating between at least 2 different activities, you can minimize the extent to which local muscle fatigue will detract from overall intensity.

There is no reason why a couple minutes of dynamic limb movement a couple of half-intensity intervals won't serve as an adequate warmup, and the same for a cool down. I think doing a full 15-20 minutes of continuous aerobics beforehand is a mistake that lessens the value of the HIIT work. Better to do the continuous aerobics during a different session, or after the intervals.

PeterR
02-05-2003, 07:12 PM
This is getting interesting. They actually have a weight room here at work where, coincidently, I held a small Aikido class last night. Members of my dojo that work in the complex get an extra albeit short session some evenings - a few basic exercises and a couple of techniques. While there, with Kevin's posts on my mind, I actually found a how to book in English. More coincidence, this is getting scary. I've been looking for something to do after work but have shied away from the machine because - well I've found weight lifting boring. However, the program in the book sounds reasonable. I don't find I need more strength for the Aikido but I could do with some for the Judo. Now let's see if I can keep my promises.

Kevin Wilbanks
02-05-2003, 08:04 PM
I don't know what machine or what book, but I'm suspicious. In general, machines have much less benefits and more injury potential than free weight and bodyweight exercises.

If you want a basic starter plan, my advice is to choose one pushing move, one pulling move, one squatting move, and one hamstring/low back move, and stick with this basic 4 exercise routine for quite a while.

Pulls: Pullups, pulldowns, BB Row, body row, cable row

Pushes: Overhead press, Pushups, Dips, DB Bench Press variation

Squat: Back squat, front squat, deadlift variation

Ham/LB: Romanian deadlift, hyperextension, glute-ham raise

Start with two worksets of each, somewhere between 5 and 12 reps per set, about 1 rep shy of the point where you would fail to complete a rep. Do 2 warmup sets prior to the worksets, the first at about half workset weight and the second at about 3/4ths. Do this twice per week.

Keep a written log and make sure you are able to add a rep to each exercise almost every workout. If you can't, something is wrong, and you need to set about diagnosing why you are not getting stronger. If you decide to start training lower reps for maximal strength, or push closer to failure, adjustments in recovery time may be necessary. This basic plan is just a reasonable hypertrophy/strength starting point.

Aside from instruction in exercise form, there's all the beginner's book you need right there. You can get some reasonable idea of how to do many exercises on ExRx.net: http://www.exrx.net/Lists/Directory.html

I disagree with the way they taxonomize and list muscle emphasis, to some extent, and am skeptical about the safety of some exercises and advice thereon, but it has good images, and generally good advice.

Gregory King
02-05-2003, 09:22 PM
I have to say that in the past couple of weeks I have returned to weights as a means to decrease body fat, increase body strength and to speed up the process of recovery from a broken limb. In the short term I have lost weight, become more flexible, more alert, more energetic, happier and more positive in general. Weights have been an excellent supplement to my Aikido training due to all previous factors but probably have benifited me most by increasing my confidence to take ukemi and push through some of the more difficult techniques where my injuries have retarded my progress. Let's face it exercise is good for you it makes you feel great and whichever type of excersice you follow it is likely to benifit you, it's just a matter of degrees in how much it benifits your Aikido.

otto
02-05-2003, 09:24 PM
As the weeks go by, I'll gradually add more and more minutes to my HIIT training, until finally, at the end of week 8, I'll be doing 15 minutes nonstop. By that time, the lines between my abs will be so deep I'll have to periodically clean the lint out with a Q-tip. (So that's where I dropped my car keys!)
Well thats my KIND of results! :D

Now seriously , what you big guys think bout this program for starters?

http://www.musclemedia.com/training/hiit.asp

Looks like something i could do even in my office.

Plus KI!

Erik
02-05-2003, 10:02 PM
Ottoniel,

I don't have any gripes with what's written there.

I kind of have mixed feelings on the Phillip's brothers and the whole BFL gig. The basic program is decent and I think much of their stuff is actually fairly sound in the sense that it's good basics. So no real gripes with their programs.

Where I differ with them is in two areas. I think the BFL program is overhyped in that you get all of those before and after pictures which are extreme examples. Most people will never see those kind of results, or even close. Plus, I'm pretty certain that very few of them even follow the 12 week program.

Secondly, Bill Phillips (I'm not certain about Shaun) makes his money selling supplements. While the BFL program is light on directly promoting the supplements, the fact is, they've gotten rich selling snake oil which is what 99.9% of supplements are.

Oh well, you guys know how I feel about ki, just imagine that multiplied by a few factors and you get how I feel about supplements in the fitness game.

By the way, I'm not saying this should detract from the basic program, hell I even read their magazine, just that it's one of those things which has a good and bad side.

Kevin Wilbanks
02-05-2003, 10:40 PM
Body for Life is just standard bodybuilding info packaged for people that are afraid of the freaks on the covers of muscle magazines. There's nothing wrong with it, but realize that it is largely a hype and marketing machine, as Erik says. Also keep in mind that it is strictly appearance-oriented bodybuilding. Weight training and endurance training for general health and injury resistance can be substantially simpler in many ways, but is a little different in character.

I still prefer HIIT protocols with complete rest between intervals and rotating exercises. The point is hitting each interval as hard as you can. Jogging between intervals or extensive warmups will only detract from that intensity.

PeterR
02-05-2003, 11:09 PM
How much time commitment are you talking about Kevin. My goal is to improve my Aikido and somehow I get the feeling that to do what you are talking about right I would have to cut back on what I love best. That would of course be counter productive as at this point I still think my Aikido would improve more by just doing more Aikido.

Weight training two maybe three times a week on days when I do not do intensive Aikido or Judo training might work but the dody needs to rest does it not?

Kevin Wilbanks
02-05-2003, 11:32 PM
Perhaps it doesn't read clearly, but I advocated a 4 exercise workout, twice per week, with 2 worksets and 2 warmup sets per exercise. It doesn't get much more minimal than this. If you do it straight up with a three minute rest between worksets, and something like one minute between warmup sets, you're looking at two 45 minute sessions per week. Read carefully. Those lists are options - pick one of each type of movement and stick with it.

As far as interference with other training and rest, you wouldn't want to do a strength workout in this rep range much less frequently than 2 times per week. If you drop to really heavy 1-3 rep work, once a week is in the ballpark, but you're looking at mostly neurological adaptations, which are highly specific to the particular exercise, and hence less useful for martial arts. Staying 1-2 reps away from concentric failure and above 5 reps in worksets is the best way to avoid overloading your recovery abilities.

PeterR
02-05-2003, 11:43 PM
So you did - sorry. I got confused by other posts and some of the other web sites I was pointed to.

Kevin Wilbanks
02-05-2003, 11:54 PM
My whole focus as a trainer is to make things as simple and minimal as possible. My own training doesn't get much more complex than what I outlined above, and I don't expect it to ever get very baroque. Many people, including me, are turned off by excessive complexity and anal-retentiveness in workout programs. I think it is unnecessary for all but seriously competitive athletes and my mission is to deliver the info and the workouts to prove it. Just because the science and planning behind training is complex doesn't mean the training itself has to be. In my view, the simpler and more straightforward the program, the more likely the trainee is to understand how and why it works and successfully adapt it to themselves as an individual. The downfall of most cookie-cutter approaches is that they give you an arbitrary program and it either works or not, but you emerge none the richer in knowledge. My idea is to give trainees the tools to make their own routines and find out real facts about their own idiosyncracies, thus mitigating the need for trainers and susceptibility to marketeers.

Michael Neal
02-06-2003, 07:37 AM
Those instructions for HIIT are okay, but many of the claims they are making are unfounded. One does not need to keep moving during rest periods to remove wastes from the system. Given the extent of warmup, rest periods, and 'recovery under stress' principle they advocate, what they have is less of an HIIT workout than an aerobic interval workout, and the complexity of cycling the lengths of work and rest are probably not very relevant.

If you want to challenge your anaerobic endurance more, you need to take complete rest between intervals and make the periods long enough to let your heartrate drop down and short-term energy systems to recharge. Otherwise, you compound fatigue and end up with much less intense intervals and hence less anaerobic/high intensity benefits. I also think the same goes for using the same exercise for each consecutive interval. By always alternating/rotating between at least 2 different activities, you can minimize the extent to which local muscle fatigue will detract from overall intensity.

There is no reason why a couple minutes of dynamic limb movement a couple of half-intensity intervals won't serve as an adequate warmup, and the same for a cool down. I think doing a full 15-20 minutes of continuous aerobics beforehand is a mistake that lessens the value of the HIIT work. Better to do the continuous aerobics during a different session, or after the intervals.
What two alternating/rotating activities do you recommend (I don't have any equipment other than freeweights) and for how long should I do the activity(s) before resting in between?

Kevin Wilbanks
02-06-2003, 07:58 AM
Try switching between rope jumping (beaded rope <$10) and fast running, if you're already comfortable with fast running. I normally don't recommend sprinting, as it requires good hamstring flexibility and skill to avoid injury. For running intervals, I never go 100%, and I usually tack on a 10 second ramp up/ramp down onto each interval, for safety.

I usually make the work intervals about 30 seconds, and the rest intervals about 30 seconds.

For even more anaerobic work, and more intense intervals, you could try waiting longer between. Olympic lifters do 'interval' training, waiting 3-5 minutes between lifts for near-complete recharge of short-term energy systems. There are no rules, but if you intervals go longer than a minute or rest intervals go down below 15 seconds, you'll be doing something more on the aerobic spectrum.

Kevin Wilbanks
02-06-2003, 08:25 AM
Sprinting a bicycle up a steep hill in a medium gear makes a great interval. Alternating that with rope jumping at the top of the hill is the most intense setup I've ever used. It felt like my entire trachea and lungs had been sand-blasted afterwards.

A good in-dojo aikido specific setup would be rope-jumping alternating with rapid forward rolls back and forth.

Use your imagination. Anything that's safe, uses most of the body, and you can do fast is fair game. Running stairs is another good one.

Anyone who has any significant cardio risk factors should be careful though - see your doctor, get a stress test done, etc... Out of shape types should start with 5 or 6 moderate intensity intervals and gradually increase. Also if one is overweight, be sure to do a long mellow cool-down to avoid blood-pooling.

otto
02-06-2003, 08:57 AM
hi All

Kevin

That does sounds interesting , I happen to live in a 2 story building , how could i mix running stairs there with the examples of pulling , pushing , Ham/LB and Squat sets?

Are weights a must with Squats in your opinion? I would have to make this either on early morning or late at night..wich one would you recommend?

Also you adviced to start with 2 sets of 5-12 reps per each excersice choosen , plus 2 sets of warmups...that would make a total of 20-48 reps on each , or do you advice to lower reps count on warm ups?.

Finally ,lets say i choose the pushups as the push excercise , should the warmups be done slow and easy and the rest of the sets as fast as i can?..how about time to rest between sets , think you mentioned to let the body recover fully before starting again , did i get it right?

BTW the ExRx site is excellent.

Oh well, you guys know how I feel about ki....
I dont really , and would like to hear any comments you have on this rather "shadowy" issue Erik , feel free to send me an email about this if you like.

Thanks ALL

Plus KI!

Jonathan Lewis
02-06-2003, 09:15 AM
In general, machines have much less benefits and more injury potential than free weight and bodyweight exercises.
Or, to paraphrase an author of a weight training book...

Machines are great in that they can "be melted down into something heavy and therefore usefull"

:D

Michael Neal
02-06-2003, 09:42 AM
Thanks Kevin, I will try some of those suggestions with the HIIT. Do you see any problems with my weight training that I listed before?

Kevin Wilbanks
02-07-2003, 11:47 AM
That does sounds interesting , I happen to live in a 2 story building , how could i mix running stairs there with the examples of pulling , pushing , Ham/LB and Squat sets?

****** I wouldn't mix up HIIT with resistance training in the same workout unless you are really pressed for time. You'll end up short changing yourself on both.

****

Are weights a must with Squats in your opinion? I would have to make this either on early morning or late at night..wich one would you recommend?

****** I think everyone should do weighted squats or parallel grip deadlifts, as the benefits are numerous and varied. Without added weight, one can only develop a minimal level of absolute strength. Body weight is just too low in relation to squatting strength potential. However, it is absolutely vital to do them properly and safely - this means getting knowledgeable feedback/instruction on proper form and using a safe training equipment setup. The safest, cheapest home option is to buy one of these - http://www.newyorkbarbells.com/im-0022shr.html

- and an Olympic weight set. These plus a pullup bar and a belt to hang weight from the waist is pretty near all one need ever own.

****

Also you adviced to start with 2 sets of 5-12 reps per each excersice choosen , plus 2 sets of warmups...that would make a total of 20-48 reps on each , or do you advice to lower reps count on warm ups?.

****** Don't worry about the math. Do about as many reps on warmup as work sets.

***

Finally ,lets say i choose the pushups as the push excercise , should the warmups be done slow and easy and the rest of the sets as fast as i can?..how about time to rest between sets , think you mentioned to let the body recover fully before starting again , did i get it right?

****** Do all your reps at a comfortable, controlled pace, with proper form of most importance. Save ballistic work for later. This is about laying the foundations. Warmup sets for pushups will probably pivot on your knees to start. I advocate a very particular form on pushups where one holds the scapulae stable - they are about as hard as bodyweight dips this way. Unfortunately, it is difficult to teach via email.

****



BTW the ExRx site is excellent.

I dont really , and would like to hear any comments you have on this rather "shadowy" issue Erik , feel free to send me an email about this if you like.

Thanks ALL

Plus KI![/QUOTE]

Kevin Wilbanks
02-07-2003, 11:57 AM
Micheal,

Your workout has too many piddly bodybuilding isolation exercises in it for my taste. Even if the goal is drug-free bodybuilding, you would still be better off with fewer exercises and more focus on core movements. Exercises like crunches and forearm curls are pure vanity moves and not even that useful for such. Try the workout I outlined above. If you want to do more, do three worksets or choose 2 pulls and 2 pushes. I also suggest looking into the above-referenced parallel grip deadlift/"squatlift" bar.

BTW, if you have a hard floor and a brick wall somewhere, there are loads of med ball exercises you can do with a bouncing med ball.

KevinK
02-07-2003, 03:57 PM
Kevin Wilbanks has a lot of solid information. I used to incorporate a lot of weight training in with my Aikido. The problem I always came across was not bulking up nor loss of flexability. It was muscle memory. My muscles would remember the resistance training and momentarily fight against an attack instead of moving with it. It was as if uke was a dumbell (pardon the pun). I have changed from isolation exercises to group exercises and it aleviated most of the issues.

YMMV

KevinK

Erik
02-07-2003, 06:53 PM
I dont really , and would like to hear any comments you have on this rather "shadowy" issue Erik , feel free to send me an email about this if you like.
Shadowy?

Not at all.

Ki is easy.

It doesn't exist.

A topic for another thread though.

Andrew Wilson
02-08-2003, 03:17 AM
Morihei definatly looked like he worked out all the time. In fact, I have never seen anyone with a better body in my life.

/end sarcasm

Isn't the point that this doesn't take much strength and energy? If you want to work out, GREAT! but personally, I do it for its own merits not for aikido's benifits.

PeterR
02-08-2003, 03:46 AM
Andrew - take a look at some of the earlier pictures - the man was a rock.

He trained to be a fighter - it was the ability to project that image that got him noticed by several high ranking military people, other major Budoka, and had a lot to do with his position in Omotokyo. Strength training was part of it.

Generally I agree with you though - hence some of my earlier posts on this thread. Still if you take a look at young well and intensely trained Aikidoists they have superb bodies. If you can't train that intensely - perhaps the weight lifting has some merit.
Morihei definatly looked like he worked out all the time. In fact, I have never seen anyone with a better body in my life.

/end sarcasm

Isn't the point that this doesn't take much strength and energy? If you want to work out, GREAT! but personally, I do it for its own merits not for aikido's benifits.

Andrew Wilson
02-08-2003, 08:57 AM
Peter,

Didn't morihei once say that he didn't truly understand/appreciate aikido till he lost his strength? I can't remember but I heard about something to that degree in my readings.

In my very limited experiance, I have found that even the most out of shape people can be really great aikidoka. The only thing my personal physical abilities have really helped is with the knowledge that I could run away from them if we ever got into a fight :)

I am not saying there are no advantages to lifting and being in shape. but to quote a sempai. "hmm... your in shape. thats nice. not needed, but nice"

Michael Neal
02-08-2003, 04:04 PM
Micheal,

Your workout has too many piddly bodybuilding isolation exercises in it for my taste. Even if the goal is drug-free bodybuilding, you would still be better off with fewer exercises and more focus on core movements. Exercises like crunches and forearm curls are pure vanity moves and not even that useful for such. Try the workout I outlined above. If you want to do more, do three worksets or choose 2 pulls and 2 pushes. I also suggest looking into the above-referenced parallel grip deadlift/"squatlift" bar.

BTW, if you have a hard floor and a brick wall somewhere, there are loads of med ball exercises you can do with a bouncing med ball.
Thanks, I will try it out.

otto
02-08-2003, 04:10 PM
To you all for your generous insights and shares..

On a final note guys , and specially from workout guru Mr.Wilbanks , i would like to hear your general recomendations and advice on keeping healthy Knees , because i've started to notice a slight craking everytime i crouch or bend a little.

Que esten todos muy bien!

Plus KI!

PeterR
02-09-2003, 06:54 PM
I don't recall the quote but then again I got half way through John Steven's Doka book before I fell asleep.

My original contention in this thread is that you don't have to lift weights to get the ideal Aikido body - just do lots and lots of Aikido. I bow to the more knowledgable who suggest supplemental weight lifting would be beneficial.

And I am sorry I have real problems with the statement even the most out of shape people can be really great aikidoka. I know several people through age and infirmity that can not perform as they used to and in my mind they are not lessened because of it. However, they did perform and became Great Aikidoka because they went through that period. I even allow for a wide variety of fitness and body types getting substantial benefit from Aikido and developing skill levels but most out of shape becomeing Great Aikidoka no way.

I don't equate strength with fitness but the ability to move.
Peter,

Didn't morihei once say that he didn't truly understand/appreciate aikido till he lost his strength? I can't remember but I heard about something to that degree in my readings.

In my very limited experiance, I have found that even the most out of shape people can be really great aikidoka. The only thing my personal physical abilities have really helped is with the knowledge that I could run away from them if we ever got into a fight :)

I am not saying there are no advantages to lifting and being in shape. but to quote a sempai. "hmm... your in shape. thats nice. not needed, but nice"

otto
02-09-2003, 07:30 PM
If I remember right , it was O'Sensei who said:

"If you can walk , you can make Aikido".

So fortunately Aikido could be done almost by anyone , be it Mr.America or the average "6 cokes a day guy" (me :cool: ) , but isnt true also that if you look after your body he will take care of you?

As i see it , keeping a healthy body will (luckily) means having a longer life ...wich also means more Aikido :D.

seeyaall....

Plus KI!

ikkainogakusei
03-02-2003, 08:12 PM
(2 cents)

Weight training is fine for isolation of specific muscles. Running is good for cardiovascular conditioning.

Specificity of training might require a closer look. I have found weapons work has benefitted both my grip and my upper body. Certain yoga positions has helped the stability of my base of support. Swimming has benefitted me both cardiovascularly and helped condition me for turning-on-center movements. The twisting motion in water with the resistance increasing as I try to swim faster is a good CV workout as well. Playing an aiki version of tag (chasing by doing forward rolls, backward rolls, etc.) with children is a fantastic vestibular conditioning tool. It keeps you from getting too much vertigo info from inner ear, and helps ukemi.

As for those who believe that only aikido will help aikido, you may want to consider that the number of micro-tears (musculo-tendonal or other) which occur with training can be reduced if the body is given a rest, yet one can rest and still train if there is variety in training.

:ai:

PeterR
03-02-2003, 08:27 PM
As for those who believe that only aikido will help aikido, you may want to consider that the number of micro-tears (musculo-tendonal or other) which occur with training can be reduced if the body is given a rest, yet one can rest and still train if there is variety in training.
A very good point.

I don't think anybody said only Aikido will help Aikido but more along the lines of the best thing for Aikido is Aikido.

That said, I just spent two very hard training days and at my age there is no way I could keep up that intensity without rest. Nothing stopping me from improving on some other aspect using either an Aikido related exercise (bokken work) or something else. A bit of variety also keeps things interesting.

ikkainogakusei
03-03-2003, 07:32 PM
A very good point.

I don't think anybody said only Aikido will help Aikido but more along the lines of the best thing for Aikido is Aikido.
Hi Peter :)
The best way to get better at aikido is to train aikido. Period.
I guess this is where I assumed that the '..only aikido will help aikido..'assertion was made. I can't quote chapter and verse for studies that have shown improvement of performance but I can leave references.

McArdle, Katch, and Katch (Energy, nutrition and human performance, 1996)address Specificity of training as well as Brooks, and Fahey (Exercise Physiology: Human Bioenergetics and its Applications 1996), and Powers & Howley (Exercise Physiology: Theory and Application of fittness and Performance 1998). There may be more updated versions of these books but these are the ones I have access to. They all discuss the benefits of training in areas that may have similarity of application to movement or strength. Certainly, a movement that is thoroughly dissimilar to aikido would do no good for application of skill, but some things may actually improve the application of a particular technique.

If for example, you understand a movement in theory, but have a noodle for an arm, and just need a little more grip strength to get a better 'grasp' of the technique (that is; grip strength is your rate limiter), then working on that grip strength might help, be that through simple grip exercises, or by doing tanren uchi (sp?).

Maybe one might find it challenging to turn on center, and the twisting motion of the crawl stroke (swimming) might reveal conceptual poor form by doing a lateral bend rather than a transverse twist. Again, somatic awareness is your rate limiter.

Anecdotaly, I have known others who have benefitted from 'cross-training' and aikido, and sometimes that breakthrough has come from an indirect source of training.

Food for thought.

:ai: :D :ai:

Kevin Wilbanks
03-03-2003, 09:34 PM
Weight training is fine for isolation of specific muscles. Running is good for cardiovascular conditioning.
It seems that countering this kind of cartoonish thinking is my job here. The isolation of specific muscles in weight training is actually impossible. The body knows of movements, not muscles. Even so-called 'isolation' movements on special machines are really nothing of the kind, just really impractical movements lacking components of balance and control.

You have some good ideas about specificity in training, but keep in mind that there are both general and specific components to training. Weights and bodyweight exercises can be used to further one's general physical preparedness, and most definitely NOT just in terms of "isolating specific muscles". The best weight moves (compound freeweight and bodyweight exercises) develop muscle strength and size, bone strength, joint strength, active ROM, balance, neuromuscular coordination in multi-jointed movements for starters, and can help foster strong, injury-preventive movement patterns such as proper squatting and standing hip flexion. Special weight moves like the Olympic lifts and variations can also develop general motor qualities such as maximal power and rate of force development.

As far as cardiovascular goes, running is OK, but interval training is much more efficient and applicable to Aikido. Search for some of my posts under HIIT for more info.

In my view, supplemental/additional physical training for Aikido probably should not take the form of dissecting a particular move for weaknesses and coming up with a specific conditioning supplement, as you postulate. Instead, one should use sound general conditioning methods in order to make sure that one has more than ample 'raw materials' to work with, then one can let the specific demands of Aikido continue to shape and adapt the body. Nothing is more specific than the activity itself, and in the case of Aikido, the movements are so unique and various, that I don't see a large role for supplemental specific work.

ikkainogakusei
03-04-2003, 02:06 AM
It seems that countering this kind of cartoonish thinking is my job here.
Well hello Kevin, I see you've decided to take the low road and cast aspersion rather than ask for origin of assertion.

Bummer.

In Neurophysiological Basis of Movement ( Latash 1998) the author discusses a technique used to isolate a motor unit (for those of you who unclear on the term MU means 'The motorneuron and the muscle fibers it innervates...' -Latash 98) called needle electromyography whereby "...a thin needle (with a diameter of less than 1 mm) is inserted into a muscle (figure 6.6). Inside the needle is a very thin wire that is electrically isolated from the needle. The tip of the wire is not isolated." "Such electrodes are designed to record the patterns of activity of individual motor units." (Latash 98).

Interestingly enough, though I have already addressed this research in Motor Development and Motor Learning, we were just discussing (in Neuromotor Control) last week the study whereby using this technique combined with biofeedback a person can actually isolate a single motor unit and contract only those fibers without contracting the full muscle. Not only can we choose consciously to contract one muscle, but we can individuate a set of fibers within that muscle.
The isolation of specific muscles in weight training is actually impossible.
I would agree, had I known that a simplification which I used to discuss training, for the sake of avoiding ad nauseam forensic discussion, would be flagged and labeled 'cartoonish' I'd have been more careful. I think for the sake of others though, discussing enough curricula to enable one to attain a BS in Kinesiology should be unnecessary.
The body knows of movements, not muscles.
Hmmm, I don't agree. How do you come by this assertion?

True, the body develops coordinative structures, but it is possible for the body to respond to an action potential meant for a specific motor unit, and depending upon recruitment need, possibly more than one.
Even so-called 'isolation' movements on special machines are really nothing of the kind, just really impractical movements lacking components of balance and control.
These components, would it be too much to ask if we are talking about vestibular, visual, or kinesthetic components of balance? (<<my emphasis of study) When you speak of control, are you speaking of neuro-motor control? Is that too specific, should we simplify? Would that be cartoonish?
You have some good ideas about specificity in training,
Oh, hey thanks.
but keep in mind that there are both general and specific components to training. Weights and bodyweight exercises can be used to further one's general physical preparedness, and most definitely NOT just in terms of "isolating specific muscles".
Yes there are agonists, antagonists an synergists, but do you think everyone wants to hear the long of it?

You're right. For those of you still reading this discourse: when you use the 'Lat' Pull-down Machine' you are using more than your latissimus dorsi, in fact you would not be able to grip the machine if you could only use your lats.

I would assert that by using weights in a fashion that targets a particular muscle to be used as the Prime Mover, one is reducing the number of Degrees of Freedom, and reducing the need for complex Coordinative Structures used in a more complex movement, so that one can concentrate on a possibly more weak area, though it should be noted that weights are not purely isolationary in their function.

Is that verbosity necessary?
The best weight moves (compound freeweight and bodyweight exercises) develop muscle strength and size, bone strength, joint strength, active ROM, balance, neuromuscular coordination in multi-jointed movements for starters, and can help foster strong, injury-preventive movement patterns such as proper squatting and standing hip flexion.
Okay, if we're going to to go down Forensic Lane, you may want to rethink some of your uses of the term 'strength', some might argue that you've malapropped.
Special weight moves like the Olympic lifts and variations can also develop general motor qualities such as maximal power and rate of force development.
Oh, I get it, this is a sermon.
Search for some of my posts under HIIT for more info.
No wait, it's a sales pitch.

:straightf

paw
03-04-2003, 05:50 AM
Jane,
I guess this is where I assumed that the '..only aikido will help aikido..'assertion was made. I can't quote chapter and verse for studies that have shown improvement of performance but I can leave references.

No question that secondary activites can be used to improve performance in primary activities. Be that as it may, to improve preformance for an activity, the majority of training time should be spent on the specific activity. Football players are best served by playing football, by engaging in running drills that improve football performance, by using strength training protocals that mimic and benefit football performance, by choosing a nutritional program that supports football, etc....

So, yes, a football player will run, will strength train, etc. to improve their performance. But the majority of a successful football player's time is spent in football specific drills and secondary activities are geared to improved football performance. Which, as I understand it, is what you're asserting. (Please correct me if I've misinterpreted your position).

Regards,

Paul

Kevin Wilbanks
03-04-2003, 09:26 AM
<In Neurophysiological Basis of Movement ( Latash 1998) the author discusses a technique used to isolate a motor unit (for those of you who unclear on the term MU means 'The motorneuron and the muscle fibers it innervates...' -Latash 98) called needle electromyography whereby "...a thin needle (with a diameter of less than 1 mm) is inserted into a muscle (figure 6.6). Inside the needle is a very thin wire that is electrically isolated from the needle. The tip of the wire is not isolated." "Such electrodes are designed to record the patterns of activity of individual motor units." (Latash 98).

Interestingly enough, though I have already addressed this research in Motor Development and Motor Learning, we were just discussing (in Neuromotor Control) last week the study whereby using this technique combined with biofeedback a person can actually isolate a single motor unit and contract only those fibers without contracting the full muscle. Not only can we choose consciously to contract one muscle, but we can individuate a set of fibers within that muscle.>

And this has what to do with training?

<I would agree, had I known that a simplification which I used to discuss training, for the sake of avoiding ad nauseam forensic discussion, would be flagged and labeled 'cartoonish' I'd have been more careful. I think for the sake of others though, discussing enough curricula to enable one to attain a BS in Kinesiology should be unnecessary.>

I deliberately strive to avoid unnecessary complication in explanation, and talk about training in practical terms. What was 'cartoonish' was your reduction of the whole field of supplemental and preparatory conditioning with weights to 'isolating specific muscles', not the lack of technical jargon.

<Hmmm, I don't agree. How do you come by this assertion?

True, the body develops coordinative structures, but it is possible for the body to respond to an action potential meant for a specific motor unit, and depending upon recruitment need, possibly more than one.>

Once again, acadamic irrelevancies. When one is training with weights, training in Aikido, or doing anything outside of a biofeedback lab, in terms of intent and action, one can only do movements, and every movement is a coordinated effort of many muscles and motor units, some isometric, some kinetic. To break it down in terms of individual muscles is an impractical and possibly misleading oversimplification of a complex process. Luckily, one need not go down that road - one can learn movements and train movements quite productively without ever referring to individual muscles.

<These components, would it be too much to ask if we are talking about vestibular, visual, or kinesthetic components of balance? (<<my emphasis of study) When you speak of control, are you speaking of neuro-motor control? Is that too specific, should we simplify? Would that be cartoonish?>

Once again, academic overload. If one is performing an elbow extension movement in a chair, with one's upper arm in a fixed position, pushing against a lever arm that can only move in one plane of motion, one cannot balance the weight nor exert any control over it, other than to merely push within the fixed track set by the machine. If one does a leg press in a machine, once again, there is nothing to the movement except pushing along a linear track. However, if one does a back squat with free weights, in addition to pressing through roughly the same range of hip, knee, and ankle motion, one must also balance the body plus the weight in two other planes of motion - which components of balance aren't important, in one exercise one is challenging one's ability to balance and stabilize, in the other, one is not.

<Yes there are agonists, antagonists an synergists, but do you think everyone wants to hear the long of it?

You're right. For those of you still reading this discourse: when you use the 'Lat' Pull-down Machine' you are using more than your latissimus dorsi, in fact you would not be able to grip the machine if you could only use your lats.

I would assert that by using weights in a fashion that targets a particular muscle to be used as the Prime Mover, one is reducing the number of Degrees of Freedom, and reducing the need for complex Coordinative Structures used in a more complex movement, so that one can concentrate on a possibly more weak area, though it should be noted that weights are not purely isolationary in their function.

Is that verbosity necessary?>

No, especially since what you are saying is incorrect. Your 'Prime Mover' analysis is a classic case of putting the analytic cart before the horse. 'Prime Movers' only exist in the minds of analysts - it only has utility as a description, yet you are working backwards from the observation that one muscle does more of the work than the others in a move and making poor assumptions about how the movement works. In complex multi-joint movements such as a pulldown, one is only 'reducing degrees of freedom' insofar as doing any specific movement requires one to do something specific, thereby reducing movement possibilities - this has nothing to do with a taxonomical scheme of primaries vs. secondaries or isolating muscles. Virtually every muscle from the waist up is involved in the pulldown - which one stabilizes where, or generates motion where isn't of much practical import. Do the free-hanging version: the pull-up, and even more muscles come into play. Pulling something heavy down, or one's body up is not even close to 'isolationary' in any way - but it is a useful movement chain to become strong at.

<Oh, I get it, this is a sermon.

No wait, it's a sales pitch.>

Talk about the low road. I wrote what I wrote because you threw out a couple of flippant sentences that seemed to presume some very simplistic, dismissive things about training methodologies. My reply was to counter these, because too many people in Aikido seem to ignore or dismiss the usefulness of training methods that are universally used and valued in virtually every other athletic endeavor from the high school level up. It had nothing to do with your ego or academia, which seems to be what most of what you've written here is about.

Kevin Wilbanks
03-04-2003, 09:44 AM
No question that secondary activites can be used to improve performance in primary activities. Be that as it may, to improve preformance for an activity, the majority of training time should be spent on the specific activity. Football players are best served by playing football, by engaging in running drills that improve football performance, by using strength training protocals that mimic and benefit football performance, by choosing a nutritional program that supports football, etc....

So, yes, a football player will run, will strength train, etc. to improve their performance. But the majority of a successful football player's time is spent in football specific drills and secondary activities are geared to improved football performance. Which, as I understand it, is what you're asserting. (Please correct me if I've misinterpreted your position).

Regards,

Paul
I think you may be overemphasizing the specificity aspect of some elements of football training. Most weight protocols aren't that specific to football movements, and the purpose of them is often to develop general attributes. Olympic lifts, for instance, are incorporated to develop general motor qualities such as explosiveness. Squats and many other weight exercises are often used just to develop general muscle size and strength. Often whole cycles of off-season training are dedicated to hypertrophy.

I also wonder about your correlation between the relative amount of time spent on an activity and its importance. It is true that a football player spends a relatively small fraction of their training time lifting weights, and the majority of their time doing more football-specific activities. However, a lot of this seems to be about physiology.

One can only productively train a specific weight movement for a few sets one to three times per week, whereas there is less physiological limit on how much skill practice one can do. For instance, let's say a lineman can squat 600 pounds and bench press 350 as they train now. If his body were different and he could receive unlimited returns on putting more time in, don't you think he would? What if he could devote 10x as much of his training time to weights and get proportionally stronger - say strong enough to squat 6,000 pounds and bench 3,500?

Kevin Wilbanks
03-04-2003, 09:50 AM
I think another physiological reason a pro football player spends a small amount of time on weights is that such training brings diminishing returns when one nears one's potential. By the time they reach the NFL, they are probably all within 5 or 10% of their maximum potential in terms of raw strength, speed, etc... However, if you took some 160 pound guy off the street and decided to prepare him for the NFL, and he had the potential to become stronger by, say 200%, what would be the training focus?

It's useful to take a look at Soviet Russian training methods during the periods when they were about 20 years ahead of the US, and dominating the world in international athletics, despite having a very narrow genetic stock to choose from. On average, they conditioned their athletes for 3 full years on general training protocols (weights, gymnastic moves, running, etc...) before introducing any specific skill training in their sport, or even any elements of training specificity.

ikkainogakusei
03-04-2003, 09:53 AM
Jane,



No question that secondary activites can be used to improve performance in primary activities. Be that as it may, to improve preformance for an activity, the majority of training time should be spent on the specific activity. <snip> But the majority of a successful football player's time is spent in football specific drills and secondary activities are geared to improved football performance. Which, as I understand it, is what you're asserting. (Please correct me if I've misinterpreted your position).

Regards,

Paul
Oh yes I agree, I didn't mean to impart that one could train for an activity by mostly training in another activity. My (general) suggestions were meant as a supplement rather than a metaphoric meal. I guess I was addressing the possibility of an aspect of a person's activity being a rate-limiter, and addressing the limiter in order to enhance the training.

Yes, football drills are a significant part of a player's training, but they do also weight train, which isn't exactly a football drill, but helps on a secondary or even tertiary level.

The assistant swim coach here was very resistant to using weight training as a suppliment, and believed that it would not help his performance. Now that he was no longer competing, he had decided to try weight training simply as an activity. After several months he decided to get into the pool with the team and swim. His time was better than it ever had been.

Now, it might be possible that there was another factor in his improvement, and I asked him if there was anything else that he had done different; was he eating different, did he over train before, anything? Nope.

Yes, training in aikido is good for improving skill, but other activities can help in that improvement.

:ai: :) :ai:

(Kevin, Please note that the above anecdotal account is not meant to be sweeping empirical fact, but as example.)

paw
03-04-2003, 11:09 AM
Kevin,
I think you may be overemphasizing the specificity aspect of some elements of football training. Most weight protocols aren't that specific to football movements, and the purpose of them is often to develop general attributes.

What I meant was that a football player should weight train with an eye towards football. While a football player may incorporate squats, I don't believe that they would adopt a powerlifting protocal, since football players aren't judged on a one rep max in the squat. Neither would a football player incorporate a multi-workout bodybuilding split for weight training either, since football games aren't determined by a group pose-down.

Anecdotally, The Renegades (http://www.renegadetraining.com/code_08_14_02/code_dan_fichter.html) have had great success with improving their client's performance. They are known, collectively, to have very demanding work protocals (averaging 1 1/2 - 2 hours per day, everyday).

When you get a chance, post what your impressions are of their training protocals.

Regards,

Paul

Kevin Wilbanks
03-04-2003, 12:26 PM
Paul,

I know bench press wasn't the best example, but my point was that although increasing one's bench from 300 to 350 might be of little use for football, increasing it to 3,500 presumably would - how could it not? If he could become as strong as ten men by training ten times as much, I don't think all the wise, specific training in the world would make much of a difference against him.

The overall point I was getting at is that what type of training one does, including how specific, depends upon where one is in an overall program and where one is in relation to one's potential.

If one is severely out of shape, six-months to a year of bodybuilding and powerlifting routines and lots of food might be a wise preamble to any specific training, just to build up one's 'raw materials' in order to be able to adapt to and benefit from more specific work. Incidentally, I think most out-of-shape Aikidoka who ask open-ended questions about fitness probably fall into this category, hence I recommend a general resistance routine often.

Also, since Aikido is non-competitive and not geared toward full-blast, all-out application, it seems to me that maximizing athletic attributes such as power or strength in ways specific to throwing or taking ukemi wouldn't be all that useful. It seems like the main benefit of conditioning for Aikido is just to become generally prepared and capable of doing lots of Aikido injury-free.

****

I have read some of Coach Davies' articles before, and have met Charlie Newkerk down here in Florida.

Charlie was aware of a lot of exercises and principles, but I sensed a lack of 'big picture' in his thinking - it seemed sort of a hodgepodge. The virtue of a good coach is the ability to put together all the info into a long-term, periodized plan of action that organizes the various elements of training toward optimal performance at the appropriate time (season and/or competition). I certainly have only inklings of this, and will probably not go into training highly competitive athletes anyway.

As far as Davies goes, I spotted some serious problems in the article I studied: doing intense anaerobic endurance work before power exercises, photos of exercises done with what I consider dangerously improper form. Then again, it was in T-Mag, so it may have been dumbed down.

It seemed the general gist of his philosophy is a wide variety of exercises and an emphasis on developing a vast overall work capacity. There is definitely some virtue to developing a large work capacity. Reminds me of an interesting soviet vs. american anecdote I read once: some soviet wrestlers came over for a training exchange. So the US team was going to try their workout. Their usual warmup was a half-hour game of full-court basketball. By the end of the warm-up, the americans were nearly worn out, and couldn't really get started on the actual training session, while the russians were merely warmed up and ready to go.

I'll look through the site and see what they've got there. If you want my reading recommendation, I think the king of all training resources is Supertraining, both the book and the discussion group, run by Mel Siff. I have yet to see anything that comes close in terms of breadth, depth, and critical vigor: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Supertraining/

Kevin Wilbanks
03-05-2003, 12:35 AM
Paul,

I looked through some of the articles there, written by Davies. Unfortunately, for me, the most salient aspect of these writings is the hype-ridden, melodramatic writing style. The ratio of actual ideas presented to bragging, self-promotion, and poetic flourish is a little low for my tastes. But, hey, it's marketing, and the guy is trying to make money.

The articles I looked through definitely had some good exercises, and the general idea of doing varied power exercises with an eye toward specificity for athletic enhancement is good.

I saw some problematic myths being thrown around in places - for example, the idea that certain exercises are inherently 'functional'. Functionality really has no meaning outside of a specific context, and the judgement should be about the functional carryover from the entire training program to the activity, not just specific exercises. Well-designed training protocols can incorporate exercises such as bodybuilding moves, machines, or other activities seemingly unrelated to the movements of the activity - often they are part of a hypertrophy phase, for stages of injury rehab, used during a recuperative phase, or used to address a specific weaknesses.

Another example of a problem I have with this kind of information source: in one article he touts the virtues of 'towel chin ups' as being an essential exercise and decries those who don't know about them. He cites the fact that your forearms and biceps will get extremely pumped and sore when you try them as proof of their superiority in eliminating grip weakness. Since it is an unusual grip angle and object, such a reaction to trying the exercise is exactly what one would expect, and actually proves nothing about the effectiveness or usefulness of the exercise for any particular purpose. I would be willing to put regular bar chins plus work on spring-loaded grippers up against the towel chin. I see no reason why it couldn't achieve equal or superior results - however, both of these exercises are standard and confer no mystique to me or foster the impression that I am letting you in on a little-known secret.

In general, I spend little time getting information from these kind of sources, because there is so much extraneous junk in the way of the actual information. Try Supertraining. Dr. Siff also holds inexpensive weekend camps in Denver which you might want to look into. I think you have enough training background, experience, and knowledge of your needs to move beyond any of these prepackaged products or systems, and develop your own custom periodized programs. I consider myself still in the 'building up the raw materials' stage.

ikkainogakusei
03-05-2003, 11:06 AM
Hello Kevin,


And this has what to do with training?
It is an answer to "The body knows of movements, not muscles." "The isolation of specific muscles in weight training is actually impossible." as well as the 'cartoonish' aspersion. Remember I had said "Not only can we choose consciously to contract one muscle, but we can individuate a set of fibers within that muscle."

**********

assertion(body knows of movements, not muscles)= wrong. Where did you get this information?

**********

I deliberately strive to avoid unnecessary complication in explanation, and talk about training in practical terms. What was 'cartoonish' was your reduction of the whole field of supplemental and preparatory conditioning with weights to 'isolating specific muscles', not the lack of technical jargon.
You're right I did reduce this because this was not the main subject of my post. You however, took a full post and reduced it down to a cursary statement (which I'll admit I did say something that could have been worded better) and ran with it. If you deliberately aviod unnecessary complication in explanation, why do you pick a single line and label someone's statement without asking how they came about this decision, or if they'd like to clarify? What's behind this tactic?

Restatement:

Isolating specific muscles=> reducing the degrees of freedom to increase work on a smaller number of muscles.

If I wanted to discuss a completely different area of training, but still recognise the legitamacy of weight training, wouldn't it seem easier to say the first?
Once again, academic overload. If one is performing an elbow extension movement in a chair, with one's upper arm in a fixed position, pushing against a lever arm that can only move in one plane of motion, one cannot balance the weight nor exert any control over it, other than to merely push within the fixed track set by the machine. If one does a leg press in a machine, once again, there is nothing to the movement except pushing along a linear track. However, if one does a back squat with free weights, in addition to pressing through roughly the same range of hip, knee, and ankle motion, one must also balance the body plus the weight in two other planes of motion - which components of balance aren't important, in one exercise one is challenging one's ability to balance and stabilize, in the other, one is not.
Okay, you're preaching again. I did not discuss the differences between machines and free weights. If you wish to discuss balance, I'll be happy to clarify the oversimplification you just made, but we can do that through email.
No, especially since what you are saying is incorrect. <snip> 'Prime Movers' only exist in the minds of analysts - it only has utility as a description...
Okay now this is silly. The terms flexion and extension have the utility of description so that we may better understand a movement. The term 'Prime Mover' used interchangably with agonist, it is significant to the direction of a movement within a simple action. I would agree that the more complex the movement, the greater number of agonists, the less likely a prime mover is to be named...is this the point where you will again accuse me of being too academic or wait no, it's oversimplified...no wait...

(hmmm..say she's wrong...make a sermon...then when she clarifies...tell her she's saying too much)

In complex multi-joint movements such as a pulldown, one is only 'reducing degrees of freedom' insofar as doing any specific movement requires one to do something specific, thereby reducing movement possibilities - this has nothing to do with a taxonomical scheme of primaries vs. secondaries or isolating muscles. Virtually every muscle from the waist up is involved in the pulldown - which one stabilizes where, or generates motion where isn't of much practical import. Do the free-hanging version: the pull-up, and even more muscles come into play. Pulling something heavy down, or one's body up is not even close to 'isolationary' in any way - but it is a useful movement chain to become strong at.
Didn't you just say "I deliberately strive to avoid unnecessary complication in explanation"

?

I wrote what I wrote because you threw out a couple of flippant sentences that seemed to presume some very simplistic, dismissive things about training methodologies.
Uh, if you mean (by flippant)that it was disrespectful levity, you misinterpreted. I was recognising that wieghts are a legitimate area of conditioning, and so was running, but there are other possibilities as well.

My reply was to counter these, because too many people in Aikido seem to ignore or dismiss the usefulness of training methods that are universally used and valued in virtually every other athletic endeavor from the high school level up.
Okay now this is a sweeping generalization. Again, I'd say you tout this one program too much. There are other possibilities.

It had nothing to do with your ego or academia, which seems to be what most of what you've written here is about.
Hmmm, ego. Okay, I'll give in. I got poked in the eye with aspersion and I said "Hey!". I adressed your aspersion when I could've spent time in constructive conversation about conditioning. oops. So I'll put it to you, if you'd like to address any more of this discussion, send me an email so that we can leave the constructive discussion about many different training possibilities.