Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Weight Training Mistakes for Martial Artists

Weight training is the best way to improve ones strength. Nothing compares to it. For martial artists it should be supplemented along with technique training, sparring and cardiovascular conditioning. If two fighters are equally talented and are competing in a fight, it is there bodies that is going to decide the winner, i.e., the stronger and fitter fighter.

However, without proper knowledge, weight training can not only be a waste of time but it can actually be detrimental to martial artists. Some common mistakes which are witnessed and heard of are the following,

Not consuming proper nutrition – When you train with weights, or martial arts for that matter, you are breaking down your muscles in order for them to grow back stronger. Proper nutrition is what repairs and builds your muscles once they are broken down through weight training and without it your muscles will struggle to do these things and shall lose out. Consuming the correct amount of quality nutrients before and after training is crucial for maximum benefits.

Training too heavy – As martial artists, you should be obtaining 8 to 12 repetitions on each set (apart from certain occasional power sets where you use enough weight for 6 or less reps depending on the weight). If the majority of your sets don’t allow you to do this or you are using extra muscles which are not meant to be used for the exercise to lift the weight, then drop a few pounds so you are in your rep range and are using strict correct technique.

Training to light – Many people believe that training for more than 15 reps per set will pack on the strength or will enhance muscular endurance. Although every now and then this will benefit you, the majority of your repetitions should be between 8 – 12 per set for maximal strength gains. If you are performing more than 12 reps per set, add more weight.

Not training the full range of motion – Many times in order to lift more weight people perform only half of the movement of a particular exercise. Take the bench press for example. Instead of lowering the bar so it touches your chest and then pushing it back up, some will lower the bar only halfway. By doing this, you are not fully working the muscle, and are not reaping in the full benefits of the exercise.

Resting adequately between sets – It is very easy to become side tracked when resting between sets. A cute girl (or guy) walking past, a conversation with someone, writing a text message etc. Make sure that you are not resting more than 1 min – 2 min, (depending on the intensity of your training) between sets. Also make sure your taking enough rest needed between sets in order for you to have enough energy for each set.

Training with weights after cardio or martial arts – To gain maximum strength your muscles must be fresh and full of energy. If you weight train after a cardiovascular workout or martial art workout you will not be fully energised and will not be able to lift as much weight. This will hinder your strength gains.

Rest between training sessions – With the weight training, martial arts, cardio etc, your body will need a good amount of rest. Make sure you give it what it needs along with enough sleep and good quality nutrition.

These I feel are the most common mistakes which martial artists make when weight training. It is important that martial artists conduct research on the best methods of weight training and how it can be used to enhance performance. There are plenty of websites which give information on this subject, however, I feel that provides the best articles and information for this.


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Anonymous said...

Is it ok to post a question here?

I took up karate around 4 months ago and joined the weights gym in the same building a few weeks back. Due to my newness I don't have much knowledge yet of either one. As I work shifts and don't have a huge amount of free time, I tend to use the gym straight after a session in karate. I have just stumbled on this site and it would appear, reading above, that I have been doing it wrong. How should I change my workout? Should I try to use the weights gym before a karate session? Or would it be better to do both on different days (shifts allowing)? I would be interested to hear your views.

Looking at the date of the article, may just be posting into the ether, ah well.


MARKS said...

SUE - feel free to comment on any post from any time and I shall answer you.

I have always trained martial arts and weights on different days. For martial arts you need a high level of energy so as to work speed, strength but also a high level of cencentration to learn new techniques (if you are a beginner). It is obvious how you need a high level of energy to fully reap the benfits of weight training and for this reason it is best to train both on different days. If that is not possible, try to have at least 5 hours gap before each session so as you have a chance to recover.

However, performing weights and cardio straight after on the same day is advised. Becuase cardio training (eg running) does not require much thought one can hit it hard after weights so as to shed away any unwanted body fat. It is always best to do cardio AFTER weights so your first energy is used up on lifting heavy weight (with good form).

Good luck.

The website I mentioned in the article is great for any questions you may have, providing much more information than this website.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your reply Marks. I'll check out that website.


Danish said...

The tip given how to make a great built are really good and i will try it.Great work.
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KarateStudent's (KS) comment on MARKS weight training for martial arts.

KarateStudent(KS) is not a big proponent of conventional weight training for martial arts. Furthermore, some martial arts depend more on pure, physical strenth more than others, and weight training is more appropriate for these physically forceful arts. Perhaps good examples are the Hard Style karate's such as Lyoto Machida's Shotokan Karate and KS's Tang Soo Do.

Mark's comment that the bigger strong, fighter has the clear advantage in winning a real fight; KS doesnot completely agree or give it the same weight. KS does agree that a poor or mediocre conditioned fighter is at a seriously, possible fatal disadvantage against a properly conditioned opponent. This is evident in watching MMA type contests with those grueling five minute rounds and seeing one fighter run out of 'gas' while his opponent is not tired.

KS will also go on record saying that a truly physically superior strenth opponent becomes extra dangerous (KS has encountered this super, physical type) because this person can physically overpower you above and beyond the threat of a a normally fit and strong individual can pose.

KS has lifted weights, and weight-lifting can help performance and make your karate better. In this regard, KS believes Mark's (this) article is one of the BEST, comprehensive overview's of weight-lifing KS has ever come across. KS strongly urges anyone who wishes to add physical strength through weight-lifting to their martial arts training regimen to adopt the advice and guidelines presented by MARKS here.

MARKS said...

KARATE STUDENT - I think it is different with everybody. For instance I once read an article in which Wado Ryu's Tatsuo Suzuki said that one weight session should be balanced by two Karate sessions and even then, the weights should be light with more reps. Other articles state that frequent weights sessions are something needed for all martial artists to build strength and muscle stamina. After all when two black belts of equal standard fight, these other attributes would probably decide the outcome off the fight as opposed to there skill levels in martial art techniques.

KarateStudent said...

KarateStudent("KS") follow-up reply to MARKS December 2 response to KS's post.

Let KS reiterate that a weight-lifting program must have the proper components and training. Your post(s) on weight-training are so valuable because you advise on how to have that proper program, especially tailored for martial arts.

The Japanese Karates generally fall into the Hard Style, and KS recognizes the conventional wisdom that (appropriate as MARKS has so well outlined) weight-training is usually advocated for the Hard Styles.

KS would rephrase MARKS position (with exception that it is a generality) that for practical purposes with two Hard Style karate fighters of equal skill, the physically stronger of the two HAS THE EDGE and that edge could well decide the fight.

To the extent the martial artist views fighting as an athletic activity, MARKS position becomes closer to a universal truth as stated.

The reason for KS's 'hedging' is that karate training is a comprehensive program), of which physical conditioning is a vital component. Furthermore, KS believes that there may be different type of physical strength(s) produced, in KS's case of Hard Style Karare training, than that developed by weight-lifting activity.

Let KS close by saying that those karate practitioners that want to add weight-training according to MARKS advice or by the Wado Ryu master's advice, those practitioners should at least design their training around MARKS post.

Look for KS upcoming post on MARKS, "What Makes a Black-Belt." KS will offer a small insight on karate power vs. athletic power in that post.

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