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Old 02-04-2003, 05:58 PM   #1
otto
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Question Upper or Lower Body Development ?

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!

"Perfection is a Process"
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Old 02-04-2003, 06:06 PM   #2
shihonage
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Pushups never hurt anyone...

Neither did knee-walking...
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Old 02-04-2003, 06:12 PM   #3
mattholmes
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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

Last edited by mattholmes : 02-04-2003 at 06:14 PM.
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Old 02-04-2003, 06:28 PM   #4
PeterR
 
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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.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 02-04-2003, 07:24 PM   #5
otto
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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..

"Perfection is a Process"
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Old 02-04-2003, 07:42 PM   #6
paw
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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 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
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Old 02-04-2003, 08:04 PM   #7
PeterR
 
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Ottoniel
Quote:
paul watt (paw) wrote:
The best way to get better at aikido is to train aikido. Period.
I like Paul mainly because he usually agrees with me.
Quote:
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.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 02-04-2003, 09:25 PM   #8
Kevin Wilbanks
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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.

Last edited by Kevin Wilbanks : 02-04-2003 at 09:29 PM.
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Old 02-04-2003, 10:14 PM   #9
PeterR
 
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Excellent post Kevin.
Quote:
Kevin Wilbanks wrote:
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?

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 02-04-2003, 11:02 PM   #10
Kevin Wilbanks
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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.
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Old 02-04-2003, 11:41 PM   #11
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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

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 02-04-2003, 11:43 PM   #12
PeterR
 
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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 ).

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.
Quote:
Kevin Wilbanks wrote:
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.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 02-05-2003, 01:09 AM   #13
Dross
 
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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.

Last edited by Dross : 02-05-2003 at 01:13 AM.
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Old 02-05-2003, 07:56 AM   #14
Kevin Wilbanks
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Quote:
Dan Ross (Dross) wrote:
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.
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Old 02-05-2003, 08:13 AM   #15
Kevin Wilbanks
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Quote:
Peter Rehse (PeterR) wrote:
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.
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Old 02-05-2003, 10:05 AM   #16
gadsmf@aol.com
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Tongue Drop Dead Legs

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

DL Gadd
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Old 02-05-2003, 11:49 AM   #17
Michael Neal
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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.
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Old 02-05-2003, 12:30 PM   #18
Doug Mathieu
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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.
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Old 02-05-2003, 01:20 PM   #19
Erik
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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.
Quote:
Michael Neal wrote:
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.
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Old 02-05-2003, 02:53 PM   #20
otto
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Hi all!
Quote:
Lynn Seiser wrote:
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?
Quote:
Michael Neal wrote:
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?
Quote:
Kevin Wilbanks wrote:
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 .

Thanks ALL , Gotta Run..

Plus KI!

"Perfection is a Process"
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Old 02-05-2003, 03:05 PM   #21
Sharon Seymour
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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

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There is more to balance than not falling over.
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Old 02-05-2003, 03:49 PM   #22
Kevin Wilbanks
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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.

Last edited by Kevin Wilbanks : 02-05-2003 at 03:54 PM.
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Old 02-05-2003, 04:01 PM   #23
Erik
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Quote:
Erik Haselhofer (Erik) wrote:
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%.
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Old 02-05-2003, 05:21 PM   #24
Michael Neal
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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/endu...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.
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Old 02-05-2003, 05:39 PM   #25
Kevin Wilbanks
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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.
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