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Old 09-20-2009, 02:48 AM   #1
Akshat
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Aikido and Weight Lifting

Hello!

I have 2 question:

1. is it possible to combine Aikido with medium level of Weigth training?

2. My lower back is not that strong..i had pulled it badly about 3 years back but since 6-8 months i feel better.....IS Aikido safe?

Thanks!

Akshat
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Old 09-20-2009, 08:53 AM   #2
dalen7
 
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Re: Aikido and Weigth Lifting

Quote:
Akshat Srivastava wrote: View Post
Hello!

I have 2 question:

1. is it possible to combine Aikido with medium level of Weigth training?

2. My lower back is not that strong..i had pulled it badly about 3 years back but since 6-8 months i feel better.....IS Aikido safe?

Thanks!

Akshat
Akshat,

You can mix Aikido with Sushi if you want too.

Seriously, its up to you and what your body can handle.

If your having back issues you may need to talk to a physical therapist/doc, etc. Dont push it...

Is Aikido safe? Again depends on what you make it - as well as your training partner. In the right environment and setting, etc. it can be safe... but it can be the opposite as well.

Over applied Nikkyos hurt... for long periods of time too.

Peace

dAlen

dAlen [day•lynn]
dum spiro spero - {While I have breathe - I have hope}

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Old 09-20-2009, 09:19 AM   #3
Adam Huss
 
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Re: Aikido and Weigth Lifting

Yes, of course! Just be sure to do both safely, as Dalen mentioned. If anything, weight lifting can help aikido as it will increase your ability to have control over your body. Having proper form/posture in aikido can be difficult for many people (as many people do not have good posture in day to day life). Certain weight training (lower back, rotator cuff, core, hip flexors) will help you be able to have better control over your body, thus allowing better posture which results in an ability to create more power (due to proper alignment of your body, head over shoulders, shoulder over hips, hips centered, etc). Many aikido principles translate to safe lifting techniques as well (keeping feet flat and understanding that your heels are your center balance when doing weighted squats on a smith machine, for example).

You will need to try an strengthen your lower back if you can. Aikido can put a lot of pressure on your lower back as that is where many techniques derive their power from (well from the hips as well, but they are linked...big toe is important for power too). Regardless, the lower back and core are really important in day to day life, so work on strengthening it if you can. Just take it easy, and remember, just because your back isn't hurting while your training/lifting, doesn't mean your not putting too much stress on it. Often you won't feel it until you wake up the next morning and can hardly get out of bed (I have good form when lifting, but tend to forget lifting principles when I'm putting weights back in their rack! Not good!)

Ichi Go, Ichi Ei!
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Old 09-20-2009, 01:43 PM   #4
ChristianBoddum
 
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Re: Aikido and Weigth Lifting

I second Adam in that strengthening the lower back is well advised,
especially when doing breakfalls,
both the strength and the "padding" that muscletissue provides,
will make you less vunerable in the many throws you will encounter :-)

To much strength can be a bad thing, in the body to body communication, but a god muscletone of the whole body is recommended.
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Old 09-20-2009, 06:14 PM   #5
dps
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Re: Aikido and Weigth Lifting

Quote:
Akshat Srivastava wrote: View Post
Hello!

I have 2 question:

1. is it possible to combine Aikido with medium level of Weigth training?

2. My lower back is not that strong..i had pulled it badly about 3 years back but since 6-8 months i feel better.....IS Aikido safe?

Thanks!

Akshat
Try these for whole body weight training;

Homemade Gada ( Indian Mace)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ATw-95oWaP0&feature=fvw
http://maxwellsc.blogspot.com/search?q=gada+video

Bulgarian Training Bag

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y83NZ...e=channel_page
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=il8rU0H-9ps

Short Power Rope

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PmNaq...e=channel_page

David
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Old 09-20-2009, 07:42 PM   #6
Suru
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Re: Aikido and Weight Lifting

When I was lifting and training Aikido, I found the two practices to not only be fine together, but they complemented each other as well, as some have mentioned already on this thread. Ideally, a healthy adult's natural musculature should be enough to accomplish any technique in Aikido with any size and/or strength of uke. However, I have had a theory since soon after I began Aikido. Muscular strength and successful technique are directly correlated to some extent at first, but the correlation approaches zero as an Aikidoka trains for more and more years. Then there becomes an illusory direct correlation that increases and decreases, as an Aikidoka's confidence level lowers and rises, respectively. I believe that all the most venerable sensei in the world maintain confidence most of the time, but that perhaps even they feel brief, fleeting moments of insecurity.

"Medium" is not a quantitative word, but for me medium weight training would definitely mean soreness during the first few weeks after taking substantial time (months) off. If you have already been weight training for awhile, great, otherwise expect a couple weeks to a month of muscle-range-restricting soreness.

Drew
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Old 09-20-2009, 09:40 PM   #7
Michael Varin
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Re: Aikido and Weight Lifting

I'm not sure why people have an aversion to weight training or suspect that it might be bad.

As long as you use good form and give the body time to recover, all the basic lifts and body weight exercises are extremely beneficial.

Many problems like lower back pain are due to muscular imbalances and lack of mobility. If you are lifting correctly, exercises like squats, deadlifts, and the plank should help this problem improve.

Adam said a lot of good things, like the following, however I disagree with his example.
Quote:
Adam Huss wrote:
Many aikido principles translate to safe lifting techniques as well (keeping feet flat and understanding that your heels are your center balance when doing weighted squats on a smith machine, for example).
You should never squat with a Smith machine, especially if you have back problems, and your balance will actually be into the bar. Besides, Smith machines don't necessarily protect you from the weight anyways.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1m6vcyQqx_Q

Quote:
Drew Gardner wrote:
If you have already been weight training for awhile, great, otherwise expect a couple weeks to a month of muscle-range-restricting soreness.
There is no reason why you should have soreness that restricts your movements when you start lifting after a layoff. Just work your way into it. Start of with very light weighs and keep your reps low, then increase the intensity as you progress.

Quote:
David Skaggs wrote:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ATw-95oWaP0&feature=fvw
Wow. Doing 5th suburi with a suburito has nothing on that.

I had never seen any of those before. That short power rope looks interesting.

-Michael
"Through aiki we can feel the mind of the enemy who comes to attack and are thus able to respond immediately." - M. Mochizuki
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Old 09-20-2009, 11:05 PM   #8
Suru
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Re: Aikido and Weight Lifting

Quote:
Michael Varin wrote: View Post
You should never squat with a Smith machine, especially if you have back problems, and your balance will actually be into the bar. Besides, Smith machines don't necessarily protect you from the weight anyways.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1m6vcyQqx_Q

There is no reason why you should have soreness that restricts your movements when you start lifting after a layoff. Just work your way into it. Start of with very light weighs and keep your reps low, then increase the intensity as you progress.
I am going to look up your link soon, but a Smith is perfect for squats, especially if you can't find a spotter for those long sets. Use a manta or foam velcro cylinder with the bar resting across the upper trapezius instead of the neck. It is important to not go past parallel, but to at least almost get there. There is a small device that can be strapped around an upper leg that will beep when it senses parallel, but I prefer a mirror in front of me. It is much better to get to parallel with light weight, even with just a 45 lb. bar or a lighter Smith bar, than to use heavy weight and drop partially.

Light (easy) weights will slowly develop muscular endurance and gradually get the lifter more cut. However, if you are actually working on pure strength or building muscle mass (getting bigger), you don't mess around with lighter wieghts for a month, then light weights for a month...

To achieve greater muscle mass (hypertrophy), reps should be from 8-12, and the last rep for each set should be lifted with a struggle, or require a spotter's light touch. Some lifters choose to precede the heavy sets by a lighter, warm-up set. This may help slightly with soreness, but there will be plenty of soreness at first, which will decrease with each workout (muscle groups spaced apart). Before you know it the soreness will be close enough to gone. A lifter going for pure strength, which would cause secondary hypertrophy and tertiary endurance, should keep reps in the neighborhood of 1-5 per set. Calves and abs respond to high reps - in the 20s or beyond.

Drew
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Old 09-21-2009, 05:35 AM   #9
Michael Varin
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Re: Aikido and Weight Lifting

Once again, I disagree. As I said before, the Smith machine encourages unnatural motion. It tends to add stress to the knees.

Here is a very nice tutorial on squating. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dbxxs1PErLQ
The biggest drawbacks to the above video are that the low bar position should be used, the hip joint should always go lower than the knee joint, and cushioned shoes are a poor choice. . . the more I think about it these days, I believe barefoot is the best way to squat.

Going below parallel won't injure the knees if you control the motion, use proper form, and start with light weights. It is a much better exercise and goes a long way to restoring proper hip function.

Now, it's possible that someone's hip and ankle flexibility is so poor that it prevents them from doing the exercise. In that case, they should start will mobility exercises, not squats.

Compare to this very poor squat. Bar too high, grip too wide, motion starts at the knee instead of the hip, not deep enough.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ni0bc_gaGrA

This is an awesome squat.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L0lF4lm3efA

-Michael
"Through aiki we can feel the mind of the enemy who comes to attack and are thus able to respond immediately." - M. Mochizuki
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Old 09-21-2009, 05:36 AM   #10
Adam Huss
 
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Re: Aikido and Weight Lifting

I'm a believer that squats are actually one of the best full-body workouts one can do. I'm no stud or anything, I rock like 45's when I do squats...but I ensure my thigh is parallel to the ground. Some people brag about going past 90 degrees, but in my unprofessional opinion I think that could be bad for the knees. As far as terminology is concerned: is it only a Smith machine if its on a guided rail? I was always under that impression, but a friend told me earlier in the summer that the unguided squat rack was also considered a smith machine. No question mark there, but that was a question...anyone know for sure?
cheers!

Ichi Go, Ichi Ei!
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Old 09-21-2009, 05:53 AM   #11
lbb
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Re: Aikido and Weight Lifting

My biggest concern for aikido and weight training would be adequate recovery time (which is the only reason I'm not doing weight training now -- that and not being able to find a decent gym in Boston that doesn't cost a small fortune -- given that I'd only be able to use it twice a week, cheap is pretty essential).
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Old 09-21-2009, 06:41 AM   #12
bkedelen
 
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Re: Aikido and Weight Lifting

It is amazing how many people pursue martial arts without at least understanding how to change the height of their hips under load. For that reason alone I believe weight bearing exercise is a critical element in martial arts training. It just plain makes sense to pursue a foundation of general physical preparation if you wish to improve in any physical discipline.
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Old 09-21-2009, 08:27 AM   #13
Michael Hackett
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Re: Aikido and Weight Lifting

I'm unable to do squats due to an old shoulder injury (not related to aikido or weight lifting) so I use both a hack squat machine and a leg press machine. I would prefer the actual squats, but these are better than nothing. I also like to do lunges, forward, backward and lateral with dumbells and those seem to pay off when dropping my weight in the dojo.

I DO NOT use the gym on aikido days, but I do a light workout at home instead, usually skipping rope, some ab work, push ups, and some kettlebell swings.

That schedule works for me.

Michael
"Leave the gun. Bring the cannoli."
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Old 09-21-2009, 10:33 AM   #14
Suru
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Re: Aikido and Weight Lifting

Quote:
Adam Huss wrote: View Post
As far as terminology is concerned: is it only a Smith machine if its on a guided rail? I was always under that impression, but a friend told me earlier in the summer that the unguided squat rack was also considered a smith machine. No question mark there, but that was a question...anyone know for sure?
cheers!
A plain, free squat rack with a rest, bar, and barbells, is not even a machine, so is not a Smith machine. The only drawback I see from a Smith machine is that the bar stays balanced on its own, therefore not working as many stabilizer muscles. It is certainly much safer than a basic squat rack because the bar can hook and lock with a turn of the hands. Also, pins can be placed at or below parallel, which will stop the bar in an emergency situation. The guy in Michael's first video did not have the pins in; plus as I recall, the most common Smith machine wont let the bar drop that far anyway.

Free weights in general are more effective than machines. If working out with a buddy, free weights are easy since you have a spotter. There have been a couple times I've done flat bench without a spotter, tried to get in that last rep, then had to lower the bar to my chest and tilt it for the plates to drop off. The thing is that many strangers in the gym are looking for spotters also, so it works out, quid pro quo.

By the way, Michael, that last video was pretty amazing. That guy's thighs are the size of my torso!

Drew
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Old 09-21-2009, 12:42 PM   #15
Suru
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Re: Aikido and Weight Lifting

Overall, the Smith is safer than free squats, but I remembered another drawback of the Smith. Since the bar stays horizontal, it is natural to use the stronger side of the lower body, to favor it. Therefore a conscious effort has to be made to use both sides for an even workout. This goes for most machines versus free weight bar exercises, as keeping the bar level ensures a more equal usage of the lifter's weak and strong sides. Who wants a pec, quad, or deltoid that is twice as big and/or strong as the other? With dumbbells, the strength of one side versus another becomes crystal clear.

All the way from the start, safely and properly training with weights can be mixed with Aikido training to form an enjoyable combo. I have noticed this for myself, and I have trained with guys who are really muscular. They have demonstrated excellent technique, with their strong and massive builds not seeming to get in their way at all.

Drew
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Old 09-21-2009, 12:59 PM   #16
lbb
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Re: Aikido and Weight Lifting

Quote:
Michael Hackett wrote: View Post
I DO NOT use the gym on aikido days, but I do a light workout at home instead, usually skipping rope, some ab work, push ups, and some kettlebell swings.

That schedule works for me.
Michael, what would you say is needed for recovery time after aikido -- let's say a class that makes you feel fairly "crunchy" (muscles sore or fatigued the next AM)? And, if that's your typical aikido workout, how much time after a strength training workshop before you'd go to aikido class?
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Old 09-21-2009, 02:34 PM   #17
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Re: Aikido and Weight Lifting

I will chime in with a different take on squats. I believe, and this is just my opinion, that a smith machine is only useful in that it can be melted down into something heavy that can then be used for training. Learning to squat safely is much more than just being able to twist the bar hooks into place. People wishing to learn to squat need to first learn the air squat, a few of which can wear out even the toughest athlete when really excellent technique is the challenge. Once a significant amount of skill in the air squat has been achieved, load bearing squats like the front squat, goblet squat, and back squat are then trained. The front and goblet squats are not as valuable as the back squat for developing absolute strength, but mimic normal activity, particularly for a martial artist, much more precisely than back squats. Back squats are typically trained by doing box squats and really working on keeping the knees back over the top of the foot, keeping the knees out, really getting the butt back, and developing explosive potential in the glute-ham chain. Skill in these intermediate squats is then used to develop the overhead squat, single-leg squat and all the myriad other variations. All of these skills combine to provide tremendous confidence in how the body works under a load, the structure and neurological interface to effortlessly control the lower back (very important for developing internal skills), and a variety of other martially critical benefits such as dramatically increased bone density, resistance to metabolic disease, etc..
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Old 09-21-2009, 03:28 PM   #18
Michael Varin
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Re: Aikido and Weight Lifting

Quote:
Benjamin Edelen wrote:
I believe, and this is just my opinion, that a smith machine is only useful in that it can be melted down into something heavy that can then be used for training.
That's a good one.

In all fairness to the Smith machine, you can use it for pull ups and inverted rows.

-Michael
"Through aiki we can feel the mind of the enemy who comes to attack and are thus able to respond immediately." - M. Mochizuki
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Old 09-21-2009, 04:01 PM   #19
Suru
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Re: Aikido and Weight Lifting

The Smith can also be used for bench press and shoulder press, but again, free weights are better for the reasons I have mentioned. Squats in general are hardcore forms of exercise, in the same family with power cleans. There are many slightly less effective, much safer, and just flatout much less unpleasant forms of building hamstrings, quadriceps, and glutes. There are machines at many gyms to target each muscle group. They work. The lifter should focus on using both sides equally, even though muscles will never be perfectly symmetrical.

Since the original thread starter is curious about "medium" weight training, squats should not be part of the regimen. Unless someone is trying to get legs like the guy in the video, all squats really do is fill a person with stress, pain, and all kinds of other bad feelings.

Drew
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Old 09-21-2009, 04:33 PM   #20
Michael Hackett
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Re: Aikido and Weight Lifting

Hi Mary,

I haven't had that feeling you describe in the last few years. When I go to the gym, I probably do too much at a time and it would kill me on the mat if I tried to train that night. I really focus on my legs and cardio in the gym and wouldn't be able to get back on my feet 100 times a class. I get the kinks out by doing a short warm-up on an elipse machine and that seems to work any soreness out from class the night before. My normal routine is MWF nights for Aikido, TThurSat in the gym for resistance and cardio (yeah, I know they should be on separate days). MWF mornings I do a light work-out at home that I previous described; about a half-hour is all. I am soooo fighting this whole aging process! Hope that answers your question.

Michael
"Leave the gun. Bring the cannoli."
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Old 09-21-2009, 06:24 PM   #21
gdandscompserv
 
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Re: Aikido and Weight Lifting

I have played with lifting weights for a while. Lately, I've been lifting with very light weights in very slow motion.
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Old 09-21-2009, 07:36 PM   #22
Adam Huss
 
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Re: Aikido and Weight Lifting

I certainly don't want to come off as a weight lifting addict...

I would like to caveat off what some others said, particularly for the budoka who wants to increase some strength without worrying about getting into hardcore lifting techniques:
My theory has always been if you are getting worn out doing unweighted (or light dumbbells) lunges and free squats (or unweighted squats) you have no real business doing full-out squats. Similarly, if someone can't do a dozen pushups, they really don't need to be trying to bench press as much weight as they can three times. I understand pushups and bench/chest press are not exactly the same, but there certainly is a correlation. My point being, many people often try to overwork their ability and end up 'cheating', whether knowingly or not, on their form in order to lift the weight they feel they should. My favorite workout day is when I run to my gym and do a pull-up, pushup, dip, (+one random favorite like plyo-box drills or high-rep light weight clean and press or light weight high rep body builders) workout. I would say that pull-ups, push ups, dips, and core are really important and neglected exercises (leg stuff too; plyo's, hill workouts, etc).

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Old 09-21-2009, 07:41 PM   #23
Adam Huss
 
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Re: Aikido and Weight Lifting

...oh and thanks for the quip about the smith machine. Especially the one about a squat rack not even being a machine...that's pretty obvious, I can't believe I didn't argue that point with my buddy! I agree that the smith can often be used as a crutch because it makes lifting a little easier (and doesn't work the stabilizers as much). I usually use it when the benches are full or military press (for some reason I am weak in that area. On Week 1 of shoulders i'll use the smith or squat rack...the following weak i'll use dumbbells or resistance bands..in order to keep things from getting too repetitive).

Add: I also actually frequently use the smith machine for inverted rows....and also tricep extensions with my body weight (like up on toes, straight back, palms facing away on top of smith bar with back of hands near the head or chest and extend).

Ichi Go, Ichi Ei!
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Old 09-21-2009, 10:13 PM   #24
Suru
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Re: Aikido and Weight Lifting

Adam, I know you were referring back to the Smith when you talked about using it for triceps. I agree with switching it up; not only does this make lifting less boring, but different exercises, even for the same muscle group, work in subtly different ways. I have always used the pulley with tricep bar attached as one of my main exercises. There is no better tricep workout I have found than skull crushers.

I agree with your respect for workouts not even necessarily involving a gym. Pull-ups for back and biceps, push-ups for full upper body (primarily chest and tris), and squats without weight or with dumbbells in hand for legs. Dips on a bed edge will isolate primarily triceps and secondarily pectorals. Add calf raises on a big book or 2x4 and crunches, and you've got yourself a full-body anaerobic workout. Utilizing gym equipment makes workouts more precise, and therefore better. But like I was saying, a quite productive home workout is certainly possible.

Drew
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Old 09-22-2009, 07:51 AM   #25
lbb
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Re: Aikido and Weight Lifting

Quote:
Michael Hackett wrote: View Post
I haven't had that feeling you describe in the last few years. When I go to the gym, I probably do too much at a time and it would kill me on the mat if I tried to train that night. I really focus on my legs and cardio in the gym and wouldn't be able to get back on my feet 100 times a class. I get the kinks out by doing a short warm-up on an elipse machine and that seems to work any soreness out from class the night before. My normal routine is MWF nights for Aikido, TThurSat in the gym for resistance and cardio (yeah, I know they should be on separate days). MWF mornings I do a light work-out at home that I previous described; about a half-hour is all. I am soooo fighting this whole aging process! Hope that answers your question.
Hi Micheal,

Thanks, that's very helpful. I"m trying to find a way that makes it work for me. On a typical week, I go to class on Monday and Tuesday evenings and Saturday mornings. Wednesday through Friday I'm usually in Boston for work, so I can't train. I've been trying to find a way to fit strength training into that schedule, and I can't find a good way that doesn't involve purchasing two gym memberships. I do cardio when I'm in Boston (heh...bicycle commuting) but no weights.

Thanks,
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