View Full Version : Fast twitch..Weights...punch power.

wisdom mind
08-03-2000, 08:09 PM
Any suggestions for weight training methods/exercises that promote fast twitch muscle growth to enhance punching and coiling power?

Paul DiMarino
08-03-2000, 08:54 PM
Lifting weights primarily focusses fast twitch muscle fibers. For better neaural recruitment of muscle fibers which will give you increased speed and power, try plyometric exercises in conjunction with weights.

08-03-2000, 09:53 PM
A big thumbs up here. Plyometric exercises are THE quintesential explosive power builder.


wisdom mind
08-03-2000, 10:28 PM
awsome thanks so much....what are plyometric exercises? many thanx

08-03-2000, 10:42 PM
Hi Wisdom Mind (soon to be Lion) /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

Here's one of the short program for My LY/BM

It's based on circuit training theory.

Warm up with 1 to 3 rounds of shadow boxing using LY/BM techniques such as Soy Kiew, Bui Gim, finger jabs, etc... 3 mins/round w/ 1 min rest.

Yoga based full body stretching. (15 - 20 mins) Important for LY/BM isnce their strikes involve the whole body.

Isotonic exercises using body weight 9 to 12 activities.

Specific techniques (limit them to 6) with dumb bells (less than 10 pounds) low reps varying speed. For example, 2 to 3 sets of 8 slow reps of Bui Gim, 8 tempo reps, 8 pulses. Stretch and rest 30 second between sets.

3 to 5 rounds of Combinations of the same techniques without weights

Warm down stretching and meditation

I do believe we fight how we train. That's the thinking behind this short program. IMHO, weight training is beneficial to a certain extend. Remeber, Bak Mei practice eventually becomes an internal art. Coordinations and balance should always account for. Just my thoughts. With the busy lifestyle that most of us have, I'd rather spent more time dealing with the muscle memory issue.

E-mail me for details discussion if it interest you.


Contraria Sunt Complementa

08-03-2000, 11:14 PM
You might also try altering your weight-training routine--use 50% of your normal 10 rep max, but lift with compensatory acceleration (i.e. move the bar as quickly as possible; make up for the lack of weight intensity by creating speed intensity).
I also recommend a book called "Complex Training" by Dr. Donald Chu.

08-03-2000, 11:26 PM
I agree with mantis 108. i have been lifting for a while now, but i have noticed it does nothing for my kung fu. i work 50 hours a week and have a family and still try to do at least 12 hours training a week. i have noticed that when i lift all the time, at least half of my training time is eaten up by it. i do like lifting, but i think it is more wise to devote more time to training and see lifting as secondary. i know alot of people here think that big muscles mean strong punches, but this simply isnt true. the strongest punchers i have seen are my skinny friends raatra and josh and a guy from my class that whom is short and has an avarage fraim. your punching power is going to come from technique and internal energy. you might think chi is bull****, but i see no other explanation for feeble 60 year old men having the ability to launch people accross the room with hardly any movement.

so to answer your question . . . i say lift cause your young and want to look good. the added strenth definately wont hurt your punching power or martial arts either. but when its time to practice for power weight lifting wont be as good as focusing on good body mechanics with slow form practice with/without light weights (i find 5lb ankle weights on the wrist work great), some speed training, and hitting stuff. doing lots of cross jabs on the heavy bag will build lats like crazy. i would also include breathing exercises for power, but not everyone even knows chi is really there, so that would be up to you.

Paul DiMarino
08-03-2000, 11:58 PM
Tell that to Lennox Lewis...

All things being equal, the bigger guy will hit harder. The reason why so many small guys (including myself) hit hard is because we need to focus on technique for power generation, so we are more refined while big guys generally muscle their way through things. All things being equal though (ie skill, technique, mechanics) the big guy will hit harder. Hence weight classes...

Anyway, you can use maximal weights as long as you are trying to push the bar rapidly. Even if the bar still moves slow because of it's weight, it's the intent that will neurogically transfer over to an increase of muscle fiber recruitment.

Plyometrics exercises are meant to be done explosive to increase muscle elasticity for explosive power. Exercises include box jumps, power push-ups (make your hands come as far off the ground as possible while maintaining a slight bend in the elbow), skips, stair sprints, and the like. I'm sure with a little searching, you can find tons all over the net.

As to weights being secondary... You're right. /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif Nothing is better than activity specific training, and nothing is more activity specific than the activity itself! /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif Any conditioning that you do outside of your chosen art should be done with a goal in mind, or else you may see little to no results. The way you lift (# of sets, reps, tempo during eccentric and concentric phases of each lift, etc) will play a huge part in what you are trying to accomplish. You can't simply do a good old 3 sets of 10 routine and expect to see results in everything or for an unlimitted time for that matter. The human body survives by adapting, so everytime you that you subject it to the same routine, you are getting decreasing routines. Switch things up every 3 weeks or 6-8 workouts.

wisdom mind
08-04-2000, 12:05 AM
is it possible? a thread withOUT flames
come on where are the insults /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif?

seriously, thanks alot gentlemen, I look forward to adapting this info to my training

Iron Spirit
08-04-2000, 01:21 AM
Try to do just full body exercises, Cleans, power cleans, squats , deadlifts, standing barbell presses, These kinds of exercises are great for teaching the body to act as one unit rather then isolated bodyparts, it also keeps your time required to work with weights to a minimum just pick any two full body exercises and do 5 sets of 3 for each then take off 3-4 days and do it again. Plyos are great too. Definetly try to work out a plan to periodise no matter what routines you decide on.

08-04-2000, 02:28 AM
heres my two cents worth
I tend to lift with a "heavy duty "frame of mind.I never do more than 10 total sets in a workout(usually less than 8).I work each body part directly once a week.An important point,when doing the positive part of an exercise(like pushing the weight up on a bench press),go as fast as you want,but on the negative portion(lowering the weight back)be sure to do it slow,taking 3-5 seconds to do it.IMHO,the time the muscle stays under tension is the single biggest factor affecting growth.You want the muscle under tension for 40 - 50 seconds per set,doing slow negatives allows this.

08-04-2000, 03:38 AM
that's pretty good **** jimmy.

Water Dragon
08-04-2000, 07:35 AM
I have to disagree with plyometrics. You might get a little faster from them. However, you can almost bet on ending up with arthritis, torn ligaments, blown out shoulders, etc. when you get older. It is possible that you won't get any of that. But hey, it's also possible you won't get cancer from smoking.

Do the weights in a slow and controlled manner. ALWAYS. Understand that you probably won't get huge unless you are predisposed to it.(genetics)

Here's a good workout. It's what I currently do. It takes up hardly anytime too.
Benchpress. do 1 warm up set then 2 sets of 8 to failure. Deadlift. 1 warm up and 2 sets of 8 to failure. weighted crunches. 2 sets of 8 to failure. Only takes about 20 minutes. I do it Mon and Thurs. and see good results. Failure means you couldn't possibly do another if your life depended on it.

As far as speed: There's not too much you can do to increase actual speed from point A to point B. For better results focus on...
Relaxing so that your muscles don't slow you down. Heavy bag work to understand what happens on impact. Slow soft boxing to work on 1 strike leading into the next, And timing and angles. This will make you much faster than working on increasing your speed specifically.

Although there are many styles, they all depend on the strong beating the weak and the slow falling to the quick. These are not related to the power that must be learned -- Taiji Classics

Paul DiMarino
08-04-2000, 07:35 AM
Jimmy brings up some very good points. Slow eccentric contaction not only will premote growth in strength in size, but also lessen the risk of injury. The deal with total number of sets is a great point too. 15 should be the ultimate maximum anybody with a full-time job and martial arts practice can really do. Supersetting helps a lot too. I've seen the best gains from doing only 8-12 sets and using a 5 day rotational routine:

Day 1 - arms
day 2 - legs
day 3 - off
day 4 - chest/back
day 5 - off

08-04-2000, 07:45 AM
Punching doesnt come from the chest or upper body. The most the upper body does is act as a guiding system. All good strikes come from the legs, are expressed in the waist, (different leg to waist ratio for hooks and strait punches) and delivered through the extremeties. You can never match with one body part the kind of power that can be achieved by using the whole body in unison.

08-04-2000, 09:25 AM
True 8 step,but greater overall strength can really help a MA.There is much more to combat than who is the strongest,but strength IS a real factor.

08-04-2000, 09:34 AM
Speed: do plyometrics and avoid isometrics.

Plyometrics done bad can destroy your body like WD said, but this is true of any exercise. Learn how to do them properly, and you should be fine.

Despite the fact that good striking *is* a full-body motion, plyometrics will still have an immense effect on your ability, especially if you get some good upper and lower body exercises going.

Straight weight-lifting won't do a whole lot for your speed.

Just as an interesting note, the push-up/pounce plyometric exercise is one of the basic warmups of Fu Style Baguazhang.

08-04-2000, 06:23 PM
Actually I am totally against weight training in my own training. I used to box and I have a punch of 750 lbs per square inch without weight training. Thats because as mentioned earlier punching and kicking power comes from the waist not the arms or chest. I have always been able to hit much harder than guys with arms twice to three times my size. In my observations, weightlifting only adds weight to your arms wich can be a detriment to your fighting ability(I site the UFC fight-Maurice Smith vs. Mark Coleman.) If you really want to learn how to increase your strikes considerably within a short period of time then let me recommend "Championship Streetfighting-Boxing as a Martial Art" by Ned Beaumont. Using Beaumonts methods you should be able to triple your punching power within a few weeks.

08-04-2000, 08:53 PM
I disagree brat,although im very interested in the book you mention,whos the publisher?Weights may or may not help punchiing power,depends on the individual,they can definately help on the ground.I refer you to Smith vs Randleman to show that a very strong fighter,even one with limited hand skills,can punch weel enough to discourage a skilled striker from closing the gap

08-04-2000, 08:57 PM
NM brat found it on amazon,good customer reviews,i ordered it!Thx for the info!

08-04-2000, 10:23 PM
I am skeptical about ploymetrics. We have to ask the question if it is functional speed that we are building with ploymetrics. In track & field events, the answer is affirmative. In martial arts, however, I doubt its benefit. Correct me if I am wrong. Theoretically speaking, aren't ploymetrics supposed to boost your initation phase not the completion phase of an event? In martial arts, the completion phase is the convergent point of all that you have gotten. If you are strong on initation and lack on the completion than you are doing a push motion rather that a strike motion. That is obvious to me that this is not a desirable effect. So, I would agree with WD that ploymetrics aren't the best options out there for speed for MA. I think functional speed for MA is more about economy of motion. I have seen people generate power from the root up, yet there is a "S" sharp vibration in the body and so much of the power generated diseapated as a result of hurrying of a technique. I would focus more on the body mechanic than a fast initation. Just a thought.


Contraria Sunt Complementa

08-05-2000, 01:26 AM
mantis - plyometrics are about explosive movement, plain and simple. Of course they're not going to teach your striking mechanics. That's what you have kungfu for! What they are going to do is exercise your body's physiology which gets involved in punching mechanics.

Plyometrics are well documented both in western sports research AND in the lineage past down by our kungfu forefathers. But you don't need to rely on these secondary sources, you can use your head.

If you want to train the physiology behind punching, what do you do? CV work? Basic weight-lifting? Isometrics? Form work? None of these things address what actually happens during a strike.

Use your kungfu exercises to get the mechanics, your plyometrics to get the physiology, and a heavy bag to get used to doing it.

08-05-2000, 04:13 AM
Hi Braden,

Thanks for the info. I might have misunderstood plyometrics. The explaination you gave is similar to a statement in an article of plyometic training by Jeffrey Rauth. In that case, in would make sense to train for the physiology with plyometrics. Initially, I thought that plyometrics are about building speed. My concern with them is that practitioner may build a reliance on speed plus that the program from that article seemed to suggest that warm up prior to plyometric training is not necessary which is another reason that I fear may cause unnescessary injuries. Frankly, I am for a balanced approach which will build but not break my body. BTW, plyometric training in BaguaZhang, that's interesting. Would you mind giving a few example? Always, good to learn something new. /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif Thanks.


Contraria Sunt Complementa

08-05-2000, 05:07 AM
mantis -

I'm also strongly in favor of a balanced training approach which does not harm the body.

Popular mythology tends to hold that exercising creates "bulky" "uncontrolled" improvements - whether in the area of strength, speed, endurance, or any other facet. I could be wrong, but this is what I'm getting from your post - that plyometrics will unbalance someone's capacity for speed, thus decreasing their ability to have economy of motion. This is, of course, far from the truth. Properly done exercises increase both capacity and control of the character being exercised. A die-hard weight-lifter doing his thing right should be more flexible than the average man, for example, not the muscle-bound stereotype that seems to occupy the public stereotypes.

Of course, we can't really fault anyone for believing these stereotypes, because the exercise community (like any other community, I would suggest) has largely been irresponsible and just generally unhealthy in how it does things. In other words, most people in the community simply do things wrong. The grossest example of this is body-building competitions. The average spectator sees these body builders as the apex of human fitness. In actual fact, they are hideously ill. After a professional body building show most (all?) of the performers will spend a couple days puking and passing out because their bodies are so sick.

Of course, just because most people do it wrong and some people do it ridiculously wrong doesn't mean it can't be done right. You just owe it to yourself to do the footwork to find out HOW to do it right if you're going to get into it. I would strongly recommend warm-ups before plyometrics, and also you should not attempt them until you've been doing a general conditioning program for a few months (and ideally until you've had someone show you how to do them right, or at least read a few books on the topic so you can teach yourself).

As for plyometrics in baguazhang, I don't have my books here, as I've leant them all to a friend who's getting interested in the neijia - so I can't give you an exact reference. But the various schools of baguazhang tend to have what could be called "warm-up exercises." I haven't heard any particular, esoteric chinese term for them. /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif Generally, these are just basic single movement exercises which are designed to prepare the body for baguazhang practice and also train the fundamental skills required - so they focus alot on whole body coordination and the like.

The lineages stemming from Yin Fu's bagua, including Fu Zhensong's (which also has Cheng Ting-Hua influence) typically also contain "springy-leg" (tantui?) kicking exercises in their warm-ups.

Anyway, one of these exercises in the bagua taught my Fu YongHui (Fu Zhensong's son) is essentially the basic upper body plyometric. They begin doing it against a wall, elbows bend out, palms against wall, body straight, heels raised. Pounce away from wall. Later, more distance is added in between the practitioner and the wall until they're ready to do it against the floor.


08-05-2000, 11:47 PM
Hi Braden,

Great that we see eye to eye on the topic. It is quite often that people, who are good at strength training, fight with lot of their "muscles" behind them and people, who are good at "explosive" speed, fight with jump the gun mentality. Right timing and techniques are thrown out of the door when they rely too much on their "physiology". Bull fighting and Cha Cha dancing are so common. Especially, when bull fight, Kung Fu becomes Kickboxing. Involved parties become so basic that it is but a match which involves trading punches and kicks only. Anyway, that's just how I feel about it.

Are there good books on BaguaZhang which you would recommend? Preferrably with the plyometric type of exercises that you've decribed.

About the exercise, to add distance meaning to get close to the wall or away from the wall? The push off - is it with the palms only or the arm? Are we supposed to stay on the ball of the feet at all times? Thanks for the info. I can't wait to try it out.


Contraria Sunt Complementa

08-06-2000, 05:01 AM
There are a couple good books on bagua, but they tend to be more trade books than introductions.

I can't think of any that are good for detailed description of exercises. I like the books mostly for the theory and for keeping my interest up when I'm not training. /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif I've been told Park Bok-Nam and Dan Miller's two books are good for this, but I haven't read them myself.

The distance from the wall increases, and the pounce should be more holistically upper body like a push-up, not just with the hands. I'm pretty sure you're supposed to stay on the balls of your feet the whole time. Any book on plyometrics should detail the same exercise much better than I could here. /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif