Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Martial Artists Looking Good

Does a martial artist need to obtain a bodybuilder type physique in order to be a successful martial artist. Media and movies especially, have portrayed the ideal martial artist as strong, fast and flexible with a physique that could win professional bodybuilding contests. Is this necessary though?

Not every martial arts practitioner has a bodybuilder type physique. Go into any martial arts school regardless of style and chances are, only a small percentage of the practitioners have well defined six packs, and pecks like barrels. Also it is not always necessary to look like that. There are plenty of famous martial artists that do not have bodybuilder type physiques and they seem to do just fine holding strength, speed, stamina, flexibility and other attributes that every good martial artist should have.

The thing is though, in order to create a physique that replicas an ancient Greek statue one has to put in the time and effort. This would probably include, plenty of training with weights, some cardiovascular workouts and concentration on ones diet by eating nothing but the correct foods. Also chances are that this training is in addition to ones martial art training.

With this focused effort to improve ones physique certain additional advantages will also be offered, such as, • Strength gains via weight training • Increased stamina and muscular endurance via cardiovascular training • Flexibility of the muscles (if the weight training is correct) • An improvement in energy and ones metabolism through a well balanced, healthy diet

As a martial artist who is looking to improve his/her fighting abilities, these advantages are not only very beneficial but in some cases necessary in order to progress.

So as you can see, it is in ones best nature to try and improve their physique in order to better their martial arts but it must always be remembered that training to improve ones physique must not turn into bodybuilding and one must always keep in mind that the weights, cardio training and a healthy diet are there to help one improve as a martial artist. So things like cutting out carbohydrates to help shed body fat, or certain isolation exercises which help make a muscle look good but do nothing for your martial arts, may be used by bodybuilders to help improve their physiques but would not be useful for martial artists.


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Monday, 29 March 2010

Royce Gracie: Lessons From Legends

When it comes to submission grappling, one of the names that will stand for all time is Royce Gracie. Coming from the most successful grappling family to ever live, Royce gave the world a taste of Gracie Jiu Jitsu in the early 1990’s that left peoples jaws hanging. He dominated the early UFC’s and along with Ken Shamrock became the first UFC Hall of Famer.

Royce has had some great battles throughout his career and because of these, we are able to learn a thing or two from him.

Grappling matters – To be a successful fighter for the street or in competition, one must learn how to grapple when standing and on the ground. Without this knowledge, one will quickly learn that they are defenseless from these combat positions. Even for the streets, ground grappling is needed so one can know how to get up off the floor as quickly as possible.

Flexibility and relaxation when caught in submissions –Against his fight with Matt Hughes and Hidehiko Yoshida, Royce was caught in an arm lock and a foot lock which many fighters would have tapped out from. Through a lifetime of grappling however, Royce has learnt that being flexible is an important attribute to have for grappling, but most of all relaxation is needed. When one starts tensing there limbs it is then that joint locks can be applied most successfully on them.

Size doesn’t always mean success – Royce Gracie was one of the smallest fighters in the early UFC’s. However, because of his grappling knowledge and technical prowess he was able to dominate fighters much bigger and stronger than him.

Trust in ones abilities – Because of his size, people thought and said that Royce would get pummeled in the cage. However, because he had complete trust in his martial arts skills, he didn’t let these comments bother him.

Because of Royce Gracie and his family, grappling finally got the recognition it deserved and made people realize that it is vital for becoming a complete martial artist. Everyone who studies martial arts and who understands that grappling is important has Royce Gracie to thank and because of this he goes down in history as one of the greats.


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Friday, 26 March 2010

Catch Wrestling Shin Lock

Shrimping is a very useful way to keep the distance between yourself and your opponent when you find yourself with your back on the floor and your opponent in your guard. However, there are certain submissions that one must be very careful and aware of when performing the shrimp.

The following video demonstrates such a submission. It is so easy to apply but unfortunately not many people attempt it. As your opponent shrimps is it very easy to trap his shin with your knee and apply the lock as in the video.

The technique is demonstrated by Tony Cecchine who is a top authority on Catch Wrestling with many excellent dvds which I urge you to check out. Hopefully the video will be of interest to you. Enjoy!



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Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Recovery After Martial Arts Training

A martial artist trains, then recovers, then trains and recovers and so on and so on. Training, to many martial artists is given thought, attention and a high level of respect. This is needed so one can learn, adapt and constantly improve ones fighting abilities. So why is recovery not given the same respect?

Aikidoka, judoka, BJJ fighters and many other grapplers take a lot of physical punishment when training. Muay thai fighters, kickboxers and karate ka also punish their bodies and muscles through constant punching, kicking and receiving blows. For this reason, recovery should be a top concern.

Recovery is needed so as ones body can work as efficiently and effectively as possible. If muscles are sore, ligaments are tender and joints hurt then one will not be able to train to their maximum and their fighting technique will suffer.

Some of the best recovery methods which many martial artists use include,

Take time off – This is the number one way to recover from workouts and although obvious to some, many people still do not do it. A lot of people will take maybe a day of from training, but if your muscles are in pain whenever you try and throw a punch or lift your leg for a kick then you simply have not rested enough. Take time off from training until you feel strong again.

A hot bath – A hot bath is a great way to relax your muscles. When using this method of recovery keep a water bottle handy and sip some every few minutes to keep getting in some liquid. Sweating occurs during a hot bath and its best to keep hydrated. Another tip which you may find useful is to keep a cool damp towel around your neck. Some people complain after a hot bath of dizziness or headaches and this may help.

A cold bath – As much as a hot bath is good for recovery after training so is a cold bath. It helps reduce the inflammation occurred during training to the muscle, joint and ligaments. This is always best to do straight after a workout if possible.

Calm stretches – Stretching to a couple of inches or so below your maximum is a great way to treat muscles that have been beaten through hard workouts. Don’t hold each stretch for more than 20 seconds as this type of stretching is only to help you recover a bit quicker. A good time to perform these type of stretches is straight away after a hot bath, once your muscles are well warmed.

Quality diet – Many martial artists, especially those who are trying to cut a certain amount of weight before a fight/competition tend to restrict the calories they consume. Whilst this is needed to lose weight, many people cut back too much and coupled with the fact they burn up extra calories through training, this can seriously increase the time needed to recover between workouts. Make sure you are eating enough quality food each day.

Water – A lot of people do not drink enough water. When training hard one must keep well hydrated. Muscle is made up of mostly water and without it you simply are not doing your muscles any favours. Keep hydrated always!

These are old fashioned rules that have been around for many years when concerned with recovery from training. Recovery is a very much neglected area to many martial artists and it is a shame. If one has recovered fully between workouts, they will notice that they will be able to train harder with extra strength and speed during workouts. Treat recovery with respect and you will be training for many years to come.


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Monday, 22 March 2010

Mike Tyson: Lessons from Legends

Mike Tyson has had one of the most extravagant boxing careers of all time. Known primarily as a power fighter, Tyson ruled the heavyweight boxing world during the mid eighties to early nineties.

Being a protégé of the great trainer Cus D’Amato, he learned the sweet science to a tee and coupled with his natural raw strength he quickly became champion of the world. However, some feel that life outside of the ring may have contributed to Tyson not reaching his full potential but nevertheless, there are still valuable lessons to be learnt from the great ‘Iron Mike’.

Head movement – Mike’s head movement when watching most of his early fights was amazing. Using Cus D’Amato’s peek a boo style of boxing, Tyson would constantly bob, weave and move his head from side to side in between punches. His opponents where left punching nothing but air most of the time!

Power gets the job done – Tyson hit hard! Most of his fights were won due to knock out in which he would display legendary punching power. Through years of heavy bag hitting, Tyson achieved this required attribute which all fighters should try develop to their maximum.

Heavy can still be fast – Heavyweights weigh over 200lbs. Some think that being heavy means one loses speed. Tyson, like many other great heavyweights like Ali and Frazier proved that one can still be heavy and super fast.

Take the centre – Tyson always came out of his corner and took the centre of the ring. By taking the centre of the ring, your opponent receives the initial feeling that you are ready to fight without running away. Psychologically, this may have overpowered his opponents, and provided him with a win before even having to throw a punch.

Although Mike Tyson’s boxing career probably did not go the way he wanted it towards the end, he will always be known as one of the most entertaining fighters to have ever graced the square circle. Like Muhammad Ali he is another heavyweight boxing champion that has inspired millions and should always be given a round of applause because of it.


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Friday, 19 March 2010

The Double End Bag

Today’s video is all about the Double End Bag.

A great piece of training equipment is definitely not used as much as it should be.

This bag will quickly speed up a fighter’s reflexes, timing, coordination and movement.

The video explains the basics of using the bag and is a great start for all to use if new to it. Enjoy!




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Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Seizing for Self Defence

Seizing is a very natural and ancient fighting technique. It does not need much practise for one to become efficient in seizing, but some basic training does help one develop this very effective part of fighting into a great asset of ones fighting arsenal.

Regarding combat sports, seizing is forbid in most. This is because many of the follow up techniques which flow from seizing your opponent are too dangerous for competition or seizing certain parts of the body cause great damage if applied properly.

However, for self defence purposes seizing can be vary effective and a great way of dealing with an attacker.

Some of the ways in which seizing can be effective include.

To create pain – The kind of pain that seizing can create depends on what part of the body is seized. For instance, if the bicep is seized via a clinch it causes pain, but is bearable to some degree. If the testicles are seized however, this is awfully painful and not bearable at all. Seizing to create pain is dangerous. If practising it is carried out then the seize should be very light.

To control – The hair can be seized to control the head, the forearms can be seized to control the arms and many other body parts can be seized in order to control. This is especially useful when defending against strikes and when delivering strikes. By controlling your opponent you can aim your strikes much more effectively and is a very useful method of fighting, especially when concerned with self defence.

To open up striking areas – When the hair is seized, the head can be pulled back in order to open up the throat for a strike. This is one way in which seizing can be used to open up striking areas. This is something that is worth researching and experimenting for all martial artists.

To lock – Especially useful when concerned with the fingers, seizing can be used to lock. By grabbing your opponent’s fingers, they can be locked quite easily. If one is involved in a self defence situation and the opportunity to lock your opponent’s fingers becomes available, it is worth taking.

Seizing is very useful. It is well worth every martial artist developing their skills in it and when used correctly can quickly become a major part of ones fighting method.


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Monday, 15 March 2010

Muhammad Ali: Lessons from Legends

“Float like a butterfly, Sting like a bee!” This is the famous saying that was attributed to Muhammad Ali who some feel was the best boxer and sportsman to ever live.

Ali was someone who defied the odds. Winning the heavyweight championship in boxing three times, he was and still is an inspiration to many people throughout out the world.

By being who he is, he has taught us so much and here are just some of the most important points we can pick up from him.

Speed gets you places, fast! – Muhammad Ali was fast! Watch any of his fights and the speed at which he would jab and move is amazing. His lightening fast striking and movement is what kept most of his opponents chasing him trying to get a punch in.

Never stay still – As mentioned, Ali’s movement was fast. But even if it where not as fast as it was, it would still be of benefit to him. By using constant movement, his opponents could never establish a solid base in which to strike him. Ali knew that this would help him stay away from hard punches and used it wisely.

Timing is key – Against George Foreman, Ali got pummeled by the heavy striker for seven hard rounds. The only thing he did was use the now termed “Rope a Dope” technique in which he stayed against the ropes, guarding himself and took the hits. However, he knew that Foreman was going to punch himself into exhaustion and when this happened Ali unloaded on him, knocking him out. Ali timed it beautifully.

When there’s a will, there’s a way – No one thought that Ali had a chance against Foreman or Frazier. People thought they where to strong for Ali, and because Ali was not as fast as he used to be he would not be able to cope with them. However, against all odds, Ali proved that with a game plan and more importantly a strong will, anything is possible.

Ali will always be remembered, not just in the world of boxing but by all people, even those who don’t follow sports, simply because he has shown that trust in ones abilities and strong belief in success can allow you to do anything.


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Friday, 12 March 2010

Malaipet Clinch Sensitivity Drills

In grappling competitions it is not uncommon to find blind people competing. Their fights start whilst already clinching to their opponents and from there, whether it is on the ground or standing the fight continues.

The attribute which blind people use to grapple is sensitivity. Through many years of practise, they are able to feel the movements of their opponents and can defend or attack because of this.

Muay thai fighters, via many years of clinch practise also develop their sensitivity attributes to such a level where they too can clinch fight whilst wearing blindfolds. Many muay thai martial artists actually practise the clinch in their daily training without even looking at what their opponents are doing.

They are able to feel when their opponents move there arms or legs and can respond accordingly.

The following videos shows muay thai legend Malaipet showing certain attacks, counters, throws etc from the clinch. The techniques demonstrated work well if one has excellent sensitivity and timing and are great for all martial artists to practise in order to develop these very valuable attributes. Enjoy!





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Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Expell Students Who Dont Spar?

Whilst reading a post on a martial arts forum I occasionally visit, I found a topic posted by a taekwondo teacher. In it he stated that he expelled a student of his because he refused to spar because of his fear of it. (here)

This is something which I have never heard of before. I have heard many times of students refusing to spar because of there fear of it but expelling them because of it, is something completely new to me.

Sparring can be a daunting part of training for some. There are others who can not wait to spar when they start martial arts training but for the ones who have doubts and fears, this is nothing uncommon and something that can be worked on.

The reason why many people start martial arts training is so they can learn self defense. Ask your martial arts colleagues and chances are this is the reason they shall give for starting their training. Sparring is key for this and should be undertaken if one wants to improve there chances of defending themselves better on the streets.

Through training one will be presented with many new things. Kata, bag work, shrimping, rolling, partner exercises, calisthenics, stretching etc. The list goes on. However, one of the most important parts of training which will be new is sparring.

Sparring is the exchange of techniques against an opponent who offers resistance. During sparring the two combatants try there best to subtly, skillfully and cunningly gain the upper hand over there opponents. Sparring is not an exercise where one is beaten unnecessarily. Yes, contact should be used in sparring but hard contact should be worked up to.

Ones initial sparring should consist of light, slow sparring so as he/she can get used to it. This way they can get used to throwing punches and kicks etc and can also get used to receiving them. Through this method of slowly ‘breaking them in’ the doubts and fears experienced before sparring are slowly treated and worked on and through time, one will be able to treat sparring as just another exercise whatever the type of contact used.

Regarding weather one should be expelled because of refusing to participate in sparring is really down to the teacher. Although most people train for self defense, some train simply to get fit, to socialize and don’t want to take the risk of injuring themselves through sparring. If this is the case then it should be considered, and then a decision made. If one refuses to spar though because of fear, then this is something else.

This shows that one is not willing to try and conquer there fears in order to better themselves and this, being one of the key principles of martial arts training, may be enough reason to expel a student.

Which ever way you look at it, sparring is a part of martial arts training. It is needed if one wants to become a good fighter. But, if one has no interest in fighting then there may not be a need to participate in sparring, but then again if one wants to learn martial art techniques without sparring then maybe they will be better off attending some kind of cardio kickboxing workout.

What are your views on this subject?


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Monday, 8 March 2010

Lessons from Legends

Here at MarksTraining.com we shall be starting a new series of articles as of next Monday entitled Lessons from Legends.

As time goes by, occasionally we come across a certain type of fighter. Be it in boxing, MMA, K1 or any other combat sport.

This fighter will not only win most of his fights but will also display something that is rarely seen. Weather it is how they fight, how they train, how they speak outside of the ring/cage/mat, how they behave etc. Something that fans love and something that is talked about for many years.

With the gift of the Internet we are able to research, view and learn something from these great fighters. We are able to adapt to our own system of development in the martial arts, the many lessons that are on offer from these greats of the past and present.

Over the next few weeks we shall be outlining the lessons and learning points provided by some of these greats and examples of how they have used them for their own advantages and success.

Hopefully with these points outlined, you shall be able to think about them and decide weather or not any of them can be implemented into your own training methods in order to help you improve also.

There are so many lessons that can be learnt from past fighters and hopefully this series will be of value to you.



Muhammad Ali
Mike Tyson
Royce Gracie
Anderson Silva

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Saturday, 6 March 2010

Genki Sudo, What a Showman!

Today, we bring you the best of Genki Sudo. For those of you who have seen him fight, you will know that Genki loves to put on a show. From performing a robot dance to jumping of the ropes like a WWE entertainer, no one really knows what to expect from Genki as soon as the opening bell sounds.

Apart from a great showman, Genki is also a very talented martial artist with great Jiu Jitsu knowledge and also someone who seems to respect all forms of life. When he wins, he always shows his “We are all one” flag.

For me, the best part of the video is his showboating at the start of the UFC match at 3:50, which had me splitting my sides with laughter. He certainly has guts to start of a fight in that fashion.

What’s surprising is that none of his opponents seem to take advantage of possible attacking opportunities as he his showboating. Why this is? Who knows, maybe they are just puzzled on what to make of it.

Some may think that he is a show off and disrespectful to martial arts, however, we like Genki here at MarksTraining.com and for that reason, we show this video. Enjoy!



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Friday, 5 March 2010

How You Can Look Like a Bodybuilder or Fitness Model in Just 90 Minutes a Week


By Michael Lipowski

Think it takes five hours of weight training, and six hours of aerobics each week to look lean and muscular? Think starvation diets are the only way you’re going to burn body-fat? If that’s the case then you’re about to get a healthy dose of reality…and you’re gonna love it. That is unless you’re completely turned off by the idea of discovering exactly what your individual requirements are for building muscle and burning body-fat and prefer to aimlessly follow what others do (who also are not training or eating according to individual needs) and continue to waste precious time in the gym.

If you’re one of those who simply loves to exercise regardless of whether you are making progress or not then much of what I’ll say is likely to fall on deaf ears. However, if you’re primary focus is on looking and feeling your best and you’re willing to take a different approach, maybe even workout less, if it means better results, then keep reading because this advice is intended just for you.

First let me give you a little background on myself so you can understand where I’m coming from and why I believe so strongly in the the advice I’m about to pass along. My fascination with looking like a bodybuilder started at a very young age. I was enamored by the muscles of Lou Ferrigno when he played the Incredible Hulk, as well as the WWF Professional Wrestlers and comic book characters like G.I. Joe, Superman, Batman, etc. Why? I have no idea even to this day. But what I do know is that it became a pursuit that pushed me into the fitness profession.

As I grew up I learned more and more about how most of the bodybuilders I followed in the muscle magazines were utilizing steroids, growth hormone, testosterone and a laundry list of other drugs to look the way they did. …Not for me. Besides, I wasn’t crazy about looking so huge that I’d get categorized as a “freak” and look strange when wearing a suit or getting dressed up. No, I was after that natural bodybuilder/athletic look. The one where you look good no matter what you wear and when the shirt comes off people are stunned at how muscular and defined you are and taken aback by your six-pack abs.

From age thirteen to twenty-two I trained (with never more than a 2-3 week break during the busiest part of the lacrosse season) 5-7 days a week for an hour-and-a-half or more. I was an iron addict and I had a goal. No one could ever say that I didn’t put forth enough effort. Yet I was never able to even come close to achieving the natural bodybuilder look I wanted.

What I was doing wrong is exactly what so many others who aspire for the bodybuilder or fitness model look, do wrong…they take the more is better approach to training. Now, that does not necessarily mean that less is more, though for most “naturals” this is certainly the better of the two approaches. What it does mean, as my friend Brian D. Johnston Director of Education for the International Association of Resistance Trainers, so eloquently put it, “precise is best”. And what we mean by precise is best is, performing the exact amount of exercise necessary to reach your desired goal based on your individual needs, abilities, and limitations. More specifically it refers to how many sets you perform, the length of each set, your frequency of training, your responsiveness to exercise, tolerance to exercise stress, and recovery ability. There is no one-size-fits-all training program or diet; you need to discover what works best for you and run with it.

This is precisely what I did to go from wannabe bodybuilder to bodybuilder. After carefully studying the principle components of exercise—Intensity, Volume, Frequency, Specificity, Overload, Diminishing Returns, and Individualism—I reduced my training to just three half-hour workouts a week and watched my results skyrocket after years of stagnation. Further study of nutrition and I began burning body-fat at a significant pace, to finally reveal all the muscle I had amassed with my new time-efficient training program.

The starting point to developing your own time-efficient training program is, understanding how individual characteristics (i.e., body-type, muscle fiber type and rate-of-fatigue) affect the amount of training you require for optimal muscle stimulation and recovery. (For more information about how to determine your muscle fiber type and rate-of-fatigue request the free report: Determining Your Muscle Fiber Type by emailing info@purephysique.com) Only when you’ve grasped this information can you predictably achieve your best results ever. Until then everything you do is simply a roll of the dice.

While Individualism is the principle component responsible for maximizing your results Intensity is the key to an effective and time-efficient workout, and something you can put into effect immediately. Everything begins and ends with this component. If you are not training with the proper amount of intensity you can rest assured that you will never get the optimal effect from your workouts. The reason being is that only when you are working at or near one-hundred percent of your physical effort do you recruit those muscle fibers responsible for growth and strength as well as trigger the hormonal responses that lead to these gains. This most typically means you must perform your exercises to point of momentary muscular failure, to the point at which despite your greatest physical and mental effort you cannot move the weight at all.

What this essentially does is provide your muscle with a need to increase size and strength. Only work of the most demanding nature can achieve this. Think of it this way, if you’re muscles are capable of performing a certain number of reps of a given exercise before you stop (by your own decision and not because you are physically incapable of doing more) then what reason would they have to develop any further? If your muscles can do all the work that’s being asked of them then there is never a reason to increase in size since doing so would be metabolically more demanding.

After establishing a high-intensity style of performing your exercises you can then begin to accurately determine the number of sets you need per muscle group for optimal muscle stimulation as well as the frequency of these bouts based on your individual characteristics (muscle fiber type, rate-of-fatigue, body-type, responsiveness, tolerance, recovery, etc.). By putting emphasis on the principle components, Intensity and Individualism, you will be well on your way to developing your bodybuilder/fitness model physique in less time than you thought possible.

Michael Lipowski is a certified fitness clinician and the President of the International Association of Resistance Trainers. He is a competitive natural Bodybuilder in the INBF, a consultant to other drug-free body builders, and was the personal trainer for the winner of the 2009 Men’s Fitness Fit-to-Fat competition. Michael is a writer for Natural Bodybuilding & Fitness and has written for a number of other health and fitness publications worldwide. You can purchase Michael’s new book Pure Physique March 1st at bookstores nationwide and SportsWorkout.com.

Click the links below to get a sneak peak inside the book.


Table of Contents
Sample Chapter

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Thursday, 4 March 2010

Workout at Work


By Trainer to the Stars Cornel Chin

If you’re one of many who work in an office and find yourself seated at a desk for prolonged periods of time, then you’re asking for trouble. The mass office working culture has led to more sedentary lifestyles. Your body is designed for movement, so sitting for long hours at a time doesn't do your body any favors. It’s therefore vital that you find ways to move around in order to keep the circulation in your body moving and to stave off unwanted fat or weight that may well be creeping up. Staying stationery for long periods can also lead to backache, stiffness and headaches.

If you don't even get up and move around every so often you’ll gradually begin to feel uncomfortable, your energy level’s decline, and you’ll probably feel lethargic and possibly begin to lack concentration resulting in below par productivity.

Office exercises isn’t a total replacement of your regular exercise routine but it will help to keep you active, burn off the excesses of the day and hopefully give you the motivation to partake in regular exercise to keep your body trim and healthy.

There are plenty of different types of exercises you can do in the office. A lot of it depends on the space you have and what kind of building you're in. Keep them simple and easy to remember. The following are some stretches that you might like to try at your office desk. Slightly increasing your level of activity will aid in increasing your energy level. All it takes is a few minutes a couple times a day to relieve work related stress, increase your energy level and ultimately make you healthier. Remember to breathe while you are stretching in order to maximize the benefits of the exercise. You should ideally hold each stretch for a minimum of 20 seconds. Hold for longer if your boss isn’t keeping an eye on you!

Chest Stretch - Sitting or standing, interlock your fingers behind your back. Making sure your shoulders stay back and down, lift your hands up as far as you can. Relax.

Triceps Stretch - Sitting or standing, bend your right arm back behind your head, so that your palm is between your shoulder blades. Use your left hand to assist the stretch, by pushing your right elbow slightly back. Relax. Repeat with your left arm.

Lower back stretch - Sitting in the middle of your chair, both feet flat on the floor. Grip the top of your right knee with both hands, and pull it towards your chest. Repeat with your left knee. Move your head slightly down towards your knee for a further stretch.

Neck Stretches - Slowly tilt your head toward your shoulder and hold. Change to the other side. Ease into this one slowly and steadily as the neck is easy to injure.

Arm Shoulders - Place your arm across your chest, hook your other arm around your elbow to ease the tension out of your upper back and rear shoulders.

Abs hold - Sitting in the middle of your chair, hold the edge of the seat with both hands. Contract your abs whilst lifting your knees towards your chest (keeping knees together). Relax. Make sure you don't lean back.

Back of Legs - Lean forward at the waist either from the standing position or sitting and bring your chest toward your thighs. Slowly try to straighten your legs, stretching your hamstrings.

Thigh Stretch - Sit on the left edge of your chair or stand. Grasp your left ankle and gently pull it upward toward your buttocks. Switch sides.

Calves Stretch - Stand and lean into your desk with your heels on the floor. Bend your knees slightly to stretch your achilles tendons.

For more dynamic exercises, which involves more movement and that you can do around common office areas (e.g. empty conference room or photocopy room or stair well) check out the exercises below. They should be performed in a controlled and un-rushed manner. Make sure you warm up prior to starting these with a few mobility exercises or a gentle stair walk first. Add a few more repetitions if you feel comfortable.

Message in Person- At work, try to communicate with your colleagues face-to-face as much as possible. Instead of using the phone or e-mail to send a message, simply walk to your co-workers desk or office. Not only will you earn valuable steps throughout the day, you might start a trend in your workplace.

Stair Walking- walk up and down a few flights of stairs several times. You can increase the intensity by taking two steps at a time. This will ‘fire up’ your thighs and buttock muscles to make them work harder.

Side Stepping Stair Walking- As before but this time start walking sideways up first! Try walking a whole flight of stairs with your right side leading, then swap over sides for the next flight of stairs. When you reach the top, do the same again on the descent.

Bench Dips - Using your chair or sturdy table, place your hands on the edge and bend your arms to slowly lower yourself until your arms are at a right angle. Raise yourself by extending your arms. Aim to achieve 10 to 15 repetitions..

Assisted Push-up - In the office, you can do pushups anywhere there's a solid object. Against the wall, desk or door frame. For example, lean up against your desk and push yourself away from the desk while in a leaning position. Ensure your chest touches the desk for maximum effect. Aim to achieve 10 to 15 repetitions.

Leg Squats – In a standing position, have your feet shoulder width apart. Bend your knees in position so your bottom goes back and down. Extend your legs to return to the start position. Aim to achieve 10 to 15 repetitions.

Calf Raises- Stand up and place your hands on your hips for balance. Now raise all your body weight on the balls of your feet. Slowly lower until your feet are flat on the floor again. Aim to achieve 10 to 15 repetitions.

Exercising in your office is about making life easier for yourself. Whether you're having a good or bad day in the office, any sort of exercise will make you feel better. A few minutes of office exercise will refresh concentration and relieve muscles. So break up your work day to include some or all of these simple, yet effective exercises. It all leads to a more productive and healthier you. In fact, while I am writing this article and working on the computer, I’m sitting on my stability ball and set an alarm clock to remind myself to get moving every 30 minutes!

Please Note: Consider your company's health and safety regulations when doing any of these office exercises.

Cornel Chin is a high profile fitness expert to the Stars with more than 20 years of experience as a fitness professional. He integrates his diverse background to create an all-encompassing approach to fitness. Cornel is credited for getting Leonardo DiCaprio into shape in double-quick time for the film The Beach, and, as a leading fitness expert, he is a frequent guest on numerous television and radio shows throughout the United Kingdom. Cornel has also been featured in, and regularly contributes to, a host of leading international publications. He writes a monthly feature for Women’s Fitness magazine and is also the author of two popular fitness books which are both endorsed by his celebrity clients. You can purchase Cornel’s new book Celebrity Body on a Budget March 1st at bookstores nationwide and SportsWorkout.com.

Click the links below to get a sneak peak inside the book.

Table of Contents

Sample Chapter

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Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Defending - Back Pedaling

A while back we posted an article on the theme of using circular movement to defend as opposed to defend by moving backwards.

Today’s article goes into more depth on the disadvantages of “back pedaling” and why one should practice alternative methods.

Back pedaling is something that all martial artists do. Beginners rarely know nothing else. It may seem that it gets you out of trouble but against a constant flurry of combination striking it may not be the best thing to do.

Below are some reasons why it is best to not defend strikes by back pedaling.

Your opponent will move forwards faster – It is quicker for your opponent to move forwards then for you to move backwards, which means that if you back pedal, hoping that your opponent wont have the distance to strike you, you will quickly find out that you are wrong.

Sometimes you may not be able to move backwards – Ropes, fences, walls, cars, trees etc. There are many things in sporting events and on the street that can stop one from moving backwards. If you constantly use only backward movement to defend, when these obstacles get in your way, your chances of defending yourself well will become limited.

It is hard to counter attack psychologically - When you move backwards, your mind naturally goes into defense mode. With an opponent attacking whilst rushing in towards you, it is only a matter of time before you get hit.

It is hard to counter attack physically – When moving backwards it is very hard to throw solid punches or kicks. Try this. Stand in front of a heavy bag and push it forwards. As it swings back towards you, move backwards and try and strike the bag as hard as possible. You should notice that the strike will not be very effective.

NOTE: With the last two points above, it is possible to train body and mind to attack whilst moving backwards and something that all should try and do as part of there training, however it is never as effective as attacking when moving forwards, or sideways.

So what are the alternatives? Well, firstly it must be noted that no one ever spars/fights etc without moving backwards sometimes. It is natural and not necessarily wrong.

However since it does not offer many advantages with regards to gaining the upper hand of an attack one should try to use alternative methods, whenever possible. Stop strikes/kicks, sidestepping, bobbing and weaving, simultaneous parry and striking etc. There are things one can be doing to defend themselves rather than back pedaling, and its best you research these alternatives and try to incorporate them.


Marks
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Monday, 1 March 2010

MMA and Boxing

MMA is the number one combat sport in today’s world. Over the past sixteen years or so it has not only opened peoples eyes to the realities of which martial art techniques work and which do not, but has also overtook boxing with regards to popularity, excitement, and caliber of fighters.

Rocky Marciano, Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier, George Forman, Mike Tyson etc. This article alone could easily be filled with names of past boxing champions who have inspired, entertained and provided some of the greatest demonstrations of human spirit, endurance and will to succeed. Names such as these and many others will be remembered for many years to come and quite rightly so!

However, names such as Gracie, Shamrock, Machida, St Pierre, Silva, Emelianenko and many others have cropped over the last couple of decades which have helped develop the sport of Mixed Martial Arts. Such is the popularity of this combat sport that it has attracted the best fighters in the world to compete within, which unfortunately has left boxing in a predicament where it is no where near as popular as it once was.

This is not to say that boxing does not provide viewers with some great fights still. Fighters like Manny Paquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr still provide us with the occasional night of action with the anticipation and excitement that re kindles dormant feelings of the past, that where experienced when we used to watch Tyson knock out some one, or Ali dancing around the ring with lightening fast punches.

However, unfortunately, this is a rare treat which we are gifted with, when compared to the fast and furious MMA fights that now occupy our pay per view channels on a regular basis.

To some, it could seem that boxing is a dying sport. After all, there are only four punches with a few variations to them that are seen during a boxing fight. In MMA, not only does one see these punches, but they also see kicks, knees, elbows, clinch fighting, ground grappling and submission holds. It is a sport which encourages and allows many different elements of a fight and some prefer to watch this, rather than see a referee brake up two fighters as soon as they start clinching as in boxing. Such opinions lead one to question the need for boxing. Should boxing events be stopped? Put to rest? A thing of the past?

Simply put, no they should not! Boxing provides so much too so many. It provides a way out of trouble for many youngsters in the world. It is not uncommon to hear champion fighters of the past comment on how boxing is what saved them from becoming convicts or even worse, dead. Boxing provides many with a goal. Something to focus there energies towards that can help them become a respected person and simply because of this, it should always have its place in the world of sport.

For MMA fighters, western boxing should never die. It is a vital part of MMA and every fighter will do well to absorb the teachings of a qualified and respected boxing trainer. For MMA fans/fighters/enthusiasts to disrespect boxing is silly because it is a part of their new sport which they love so much. A solid boxing background is a great way for people wanting to get involved in MMA to start. By learning boxing, one learns timing, rhythm, and many other attributes which are applicable and vital for MMA. It should always been seen as a vital part of MMA and never just an expendable asset.


Marks
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