Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Martial Arts and the Deadlift

The deadlift is old school. It is a weight training exercise which many consider to be number one for building all over body power. It is one of the very few movements which uses up nearly all of the muscles in the body and requires a tremendous amount of energy in order to complete several sets of it. For martial artists, it is an excerise which can be of great value regardless of style and it is a shame that many do not practise it.

Its bad for the back, it places too much pressure on the knees, you can lose flexibility doing it, you can become too big and bulky which is not good for martial arts etc. These are all excuses which people use in order to simply get out of doing them becuase they are hard, instead favouring bench presses and bicep curls which for some reason the statements don’t apply.

With proper, strict form, free from any kind of ballistic jerky motion, the deadlift is a movement which will benefit the martial artist more than most others. Some of the benefits of the deadlift for martial artists include,

Leg power – The initial movement of the deadlift requires a strong push of the legs in order to take the weight from the floor to a resting point on top of the thighs. This builds powerful leg muscles which will benefit kicking and throwing, and will help provide a more explosive shoot in order to take down an opponent.

Back power – The whole of the back is heavily involved in the deadlift, especially the lower portion. A strong back is needed for all aspects of martial arts, from twisting the hips when punching to clinch fighting, to scrambling around on the floor during ground fighting.

Traps and neck power – By holding on to a heavy load at the top of the movement, the traps and neck get an isometric workout. Grapplers will understand the importance of having a strong neck which is vital for bridging and escaping choke holds. Likewise, strikers need a strong neck which helps in minimising the chances of getting knocked out.

Grip power – Judo fighters are forever practising obtaining a solid grip on there opponent. A strong grip helps you control your opponent and if you control your opponent, you control the fight. By holding such a heavy bar, the deadlift provides wrist and forearm strength in order to obtain this desired solid grip.

Cardio workout – The deadlift uses up nearly all muscles in the body and as mentioned a tremendous amount of effort is needed to complete several sets. By deadlifting you can work your cardiovascular system in order to boost your stamina. The best way to do this is to lighten the load so you are able to perform 20 reps but no more, and complete 4 sets of this.

Psychological factor – By performing heavy deadlifts, in order to complete the movement, there needs to be instilled in the mind the thought of success. The same thought of success is needed in your first day of martial arts training, your first day of sparring and during each competition /fight. Deadlifting is one of the best weight training exercises to train this, and by performing it regularly you can boost the thought of succeeding in your mind, which will carry through into other areas of your life.

All weight training exercises are important for martial artists, but deadlifting could be the most important, and I urge any one who does not do them, to start as soon as possible.


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Elias said...

Sounds awesome.

I'll have to get someone to show me, I don't think I'd be able to do it just by learning on youtube...

Thanks for the pro tip!!

MARKS said...

Elias, Yes it always best if you ask someone experienced to show you so they can correct any bad form you may have from the start.

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