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Thread: Weight Lifting

  1. #1
    qeySuS Guest

    Weight Lifting.

    I have a question for veteran MA ppl. I am interested in starting to incorporate weight lifting into my training and i was wondering about what methods have proved themselves for MA and not body building. Is it better to take lighter weights many times, or heavy weights and only do a few reps. I understand that taking heavy weights only a few times does do for more weight gaining and muscle growth. But does that translate itself to muscle endurance and muscle strength? Please do let me know what has been best for you.

  2. #2
    Strangelove Guest

    Mmm okay

    From what I know

    Actually heavy weights with little sets and reps build alot of strenght. Muscles resistance is with low weights but with alot of repetitions.

    For example if I want to maximize strenght gaining , I will lift very heavy weights for 6-10 reps for a few sets.

    if I want to gain strenghts and lean muscles mass , I go heavy weight for 10-14 for 3 sets

    and to gain muscles resistance you do a few sets with many reps [20+] using medium/low weights.

  3. #3
    jediman Guest

    Low weight, high rep

    I suggest doing low weight, high rep sets. You have two types of muscle fiber: slow twitch and fast twitch. For most martial arts, fast twitch is what you will utilize. However, I recommend you have a good muscle mass base before you begin training specifically for a MA or sport. So, do several months of basic weight training before you start to customize a work out. You can find countless work outs in magazines and on the web, so look for something that fit's your body type and life style, start slow and be careful. Good luck

  4. #4
    Paul DiMarino Guest
    I've done a lot of research and testing on the subject, and I've had the best results by far with the principles of a man named Pavel Tsatsouline. He has a discussion forum at <A HREF="" TARGET="_blank"></A>

    He advocates basing your routine off two lifts, and training those two lifts Monday-Friday by doing 2 sets of 5. This negates the need for recovery since fatigue is low and you don't tear down much muscle fiber (as you would in a higher volume or higher rep routine), and it allows you to gain amazing stregth while keeping a stable body weight. It's pretty much a powerlifters routine. (ie the 132 lbs guys that squat 700+ lbs) Although muscle endurance isn't drectly trained, the best thing for that is to a activity-specific exercise. In other words, do your forms, shadowbox, spar, etc.

    The two lifts he advocates are the deadlift and the sidepress. Also, you never train to failure. That's a body building thing. You should use a weight that you could do another 2 good form reps with. Personally, I rotate 3 exercises in two week cycles, to keep my body guessing and even out strength gain. My routine looks like this:

    Cycle 1 (2 weeks M-F)
    Sumo Deadlift 2x5
    Side Press 2x5
    Weighted Pull-ups 2x5

    Cycle 2 (2 weeks M-F)
    Deadlift 2x5
    Bench Press 2x5
    Weighted Chin-ups 2x5

    Cycle 3 (2 weeks M-F)
    Power Cleans 5x2 (demanding lift, so lowered reps)
    Push Press 2x5
    Weighted Pull-ups 2x5

    Cycle 4 (2 weeks M-F)
    Squat 2x5
    Incline Press 2x5
    Weighted Chin-ups 2x5

    This whole thing only takes 20-35 minutes, I'm not sore or fatigued at all, and my stretgth has skyrocketted while my body weight has stayed about the same. (+/- 5 lbs) I'd recommend getting his weight training book, "Power to the People" and his stretching book and ab training books are top notch as well. He was a strength trainer for Russian athletes and military, so a lot of his methods are different than ours, but everyone knows that Russia was light years ahead of us in these fields anyway.

  5. #5
    tricky-fist Guest
    For muscle endurance, I would have to recommend the exercises Matt Furey developed from studying with Karl Gotch. You can find his book and videos on the website that Paul mentioned in the previous post. His exercises are aimed at creating “functional” strength through a large range of motion, and body weight is utilized instead of free weights. Trust me on this one, my Sifu makes us do similar exercises – although in a smaller range of motion – and you will not believe the results… your legs will feel like they’re made of oak.

    I’ve found that weight lifting is looked down upon by a lot of Chinese martial artists… they say it will slow you down, make you less flexible ect., which usually triggers my BS alarm. The problem is that very specific principles have been expounded over the years to the point where they become generalizations. For example, standing around doing bicep curls is pretty useless in terms of what we – as martial artists – want to train. You want total body strength, endurance and flexibility… and much of that is based upon training where most of the fighting power in your body comes from: your trunk. That means strong abs, lower back, and the legs. Consequently, some of the best exercises you can do – from what I’ve experienced personally – involve squats, dead-lifts, good-mornings, lunges, ect…. Much of this can be done without weights, but resistance can help if you do it properly. I would recommend checking out <A HREF="" TARGET="_blank"></A> if you want a good stretching program to supplement your weight program (which I strongly recommend). Kurtz’s stuff is great.

    One last thing that always seems to get left out, proper deep breathing and what Buddhists call “mindfulness” are important aspects of any exercise program, especially strength building exercises. It may sound odd, but I would recommend looking into some basic yoga or chi-gong exercises to supplement any strength program.

    Jeez, that was a mouthful on my part. Just some ideas brother,


    " I'll play it first, then tell you what it is later..."
    - Miles Davis

  6. #6
    Braden Guest
    qeySuS - there's probably as many different specific answers to your question as there are weight-lifters. The best thing you can do is buy yourself a good book and work through it. (Well... getting a good trainer would be better, but probably less practical for you).

    I recommend "Getting Stronger" by Bill Pearl. It's an old classic, but has lots of great info including progressive programs to build you up from a beginner's routine to one designed for someone who is allready in shape, specific programs for various sports, and a big compendium of exercises. If you're serious, to compensate for the weak points in this book, you might also want to pick up a book on stretching and a book on plyometrics.

    Some tips I can offer:

    Warm-up. Especially if you get into advanced exercises, your body simply cannot go from watching Seinfeld to exercising; you'll hurt yourself. A half-assed warm-up specific to the exercise you're about to do takes all of 30 seconds, and even that will make a huge difference.

    Stretch. Stretches are a good warm-up and cool-down themselves: this saves time. Extend to point of tension, pause, extend beyond point of tension, pause, release. Repeat. Repeat. If you get real pain, stop immediately.

    Breath properly, move slowly. A slower exercise is a better exercise, for weight-lifting. Your breathing should follow the movements. In general, you should inhale during the contraction (ie. while pushing up during a benchpress).

    Work the negative reps. A negative rep is the opposite of what I just described (eg. lowering the weight towards your chest in a benchpress). There are some great negative rep exercises you can do with a partner. But even alone, you should NOT allow gravity to do the negative rep. Especially as a martial artist, the strength gains you can make here are extremely important.

    Exercise regularly and moderately rather than irregularly and strenuously. At bare minimum, have a day of rest for a day of work. Actual cellular changes require the rest period to occur. The work is only a signal to tell your body to do them.

    Focus on the muscle group. The muscle you are working should generate ALL of the movement. The rest of your body should be relaxed. Hardly anyone does this, because it's much more difficult and you end up only being able to do 1/10th the reps you could do while cheating; plus it takes some practice. But it saves time and increases gains.

    Make sure you do cardiovascular work. As a martial artist, you've probably got this allready. If you don't, you can incorporate it pretty easily. Hitting the heavy bag is an incredible CV exercise that is great for MAs and can also double as plyometrics. Skipping is another classic, and great for lower body plyometrics. Rowing, running, biking...

    Plyometrics... in case you haven't encountered them yet. They are how you work your fast-twitch muscles in order to exercise crisp, explosive strength. Contrary to popular belief, doing high-rep, low-weight exercises does NOT hit your fast-twitch. However, plyometrics are definitely one of the key exercise for a martial artist interested in this kind of training. The basic model for a plyometric is compression followed by a single, explosive movement. For example, the classic upper-body plyometric is the explosive push-up. Instead of "pushing" up, you "pounce" up; exploding your palms against the ground to causes your body to bounce up. Plyometrics tend to be hard on the tendons, so it's best to be in relatively good shape before starting them. It's also good to start easy. For example, the "pounce-up" exercise can be done standing upright and pouncing off a wall (try going up on the balls of your feet during the pounce). You can extend your distance from the wall as you get better, and then transition onto the floor. The classic lowerbody plyometric is stepping off a chair and then doing an explosive pounce/jump as soon as you hit the floor. Skipping and bagwork done right can be good plyometrics.

    Once you get into it, you'll want to look at some more advanced methods to save you time and incrwase your gains. Supersetting is when, instead of resting between sets, you work an opposing muscle. With some creativity, you can set up a whole routine of supersets so that you hardly ever rest (or take very short rests). This gets VERY difficult, but can save you alot of time, and also include some CV work into your weightlifting (trust me, your heart will pound). You'll also DEFINITELY want to set up different routines to do on different days. At the very least, this minimizes your boredom. Doing an upperbody one day, a lowerbody the next day, then taking a day (or two) of rest, for example, isn't bad. It all depends on how much time you want to put in.

    The more important suggestion I can offer is to listen to your body. It's different than anyone elses, as are your goals, so your ideal workout is going to be unique. Your body is great at telling you what it wants when you get in the habit of listening though. Don't workout mechanistically. Watch for changes in your body. Watch for changes in your performance. I guarantee you'll find that "Perfect Workout A" won't address one of your concerns, and you'll have to modify it. Continually modify your workout to address your needs and to stave off boredom and mechanistic repetition.

  7. #7
    Paul DiMarino Guest

    I'm glad you like Fury's stuff. There are a lot of extremely good bodyweight program's on the web for free too. Check out this site:

    <A HREF="" TARGET="_blank"></A>

    The guy that runs it is top notch and has no problem answering any questions for you. I actually do a 4 week bodyweight/high rep cycle after I've done my other 4 weight training cycles. I still Bridge 3x/week though. That is without a doubt the most beneficial exercise that I got from Fury's book. The hindu push-ups were too easy for me, and I had a major knee injury before, so I can only do about 200 squats and then have my knee kill for 5 days after. :(

  8. #8
    crumble Guest


    I also suggest that if you add weight training to your work out, it should be for strength - low reps, high weights.

    There is a large strength component to endurance. If you train for strength you _will_ see benefits in your endurance. But the reverse cannot be said.

    Paul's comments are _very_ interesting! I've been working on ways to minimize fatigue but still feel like I've gotten a complete workout... Mostly I've been focusing on maximizing flexibility (which suffers when muscles are fatigued or in repair mode). I'm printing that info out right now... Thanks Paul!

  9. #9
    crumble Guest



    A question for you: do you expect the workout you described to plateau after a while?

    It seems like the routine would be great for maximizing the neurological activation of the muscles, but not necessary build new mass. Is that correct?

    I guess what I'm asking is: what triggers the growth of new muscle bundles? I seem to recall that new growth is only triggered by "micro-tears" which would also cause soreness and fatigue.

    Thanks in advance!

    (Oh, and what's a push press and sumo deadlift???)

  10. #10
    tricky-fist Guest

    Good stuff. Someone - probably you - posted that URL a couple of months ago, and I've used it ever since as the framework for my strength workouts. I encourage others on the Forum to try it out!


    " I'll play it first, then tell you what it is later..."
    - Miles Davis

  11. #11
    Paul DiMarino Guest

    There are two main types of hypertrophy that a muscle can go through:

    1) Sarcoplasmic - this is basically what training to failure will bring about. Muscle fibers are torn down, and when they heal a gel like filler grows around the new fibers.

    2) Myofabrill <sp?> - this is an increase in size and stregth of existing muscle fibers themeselves. This is not as overt as sarcoplasmic, and you're appearence doesn't change by much. However, this does explain why some of those Olympic powerlifters who definately don't have the body of a greek god can heft poundages that make Mr. Universe's knees give out just thinking about it.

    Training with the 2x5/5x2 method will premote the latter type of hypertrophy as long as you don't train to failure. ALWAYS rack the weight at least 2 reps prior to failure. After training like this for a month, you'll notice a huge difference in energy levels and strength. It may seem like 2x5 isn't much, but it's more than enough to get the job done.

    Any plateau can be taken care of by periodization schemes. Pavel himself advocates using a wave or progressive step scheme to avoid any plataeuing. The wave scheme looks like this:

    Lets say it's for the deadlift...

    Day 1 225x5 220x5
    Day 2 230x5 225x5
    Day 3 235x5 230x5
    Day 4 240x5 235x5
    Day 5 230x5 225x5 etc...

    A step cycle would look more like this:

    Day 1 225x5 215x5
    Day 2 230x5 220x5
    Day 3 235x5 225x5
    Day 4 240x5 230x5
    Day 5 240x5 230x5
    Day 6 245x5 235x5
    Day 7 250x5 240x5
    Day 8 255x5 245x5
    Day 9 260x5 250x5
    Day 10 265x3 255x5

    Start new cycle...

    Day 1 235x5 220x5
    Day 2 240x5 225x5
    Day 3 245x5 230x5
    Day 4 245x5 235x5
    Day 5 255x5 240x5
    Day 6 255x5 245x5
    Day 7 260x5 245x5
    Day 8 265x5 250x5
    Day 9 270x5 255x5
    Day 10 275x3 260x5 (you just added 10 lbs to your previous max in only 2 weeks!)

    I hope that was easy enough to understand. Besides progression schemes, you can mix up sets and reps to break through plateau's. You can do 5 sets of doubles, 3 sets of triples, 7 sets of singles, etc. Pavel goes into great detail about these methods and a lot more in his book Power to the People. It's $40, but the best buy on strength training I've ever had. (and I've made plenty) BTW, you are right about the nerological benefits... By hefting heavy poundages regularly, you neurological recruitment of muscle fibers becomes greater and a lot more efficient.

  12. #12
    mantis108 Guest

    About Hindu Push Ups

    Good points, gentlemen.

    Hindu Push Ups is a great Funtional Strength building exercise for martial arts. In essence, it is a variation of the classic Sun Salutation sequence found in Yoga. If you find the version too easy try the following:

    start from a incline plank position the arms wilder than the shoulder. The wilder the grip the harder you work on the chest. Arms straight. Legs apart and wider than the shoudlers as well.

    Bent the arms and lower just about 6 inches off the floor. Do not touch the floor. This is the start position

    Bring the left leg up without move other body parts. make it as high as possible and turn your head to the left and look over your left shoulder. This helps to elimination blind sport. Look at the left foot, breath in. Lower the leg and return to the start position.

    Repeat to the right side.

    Then from there you push forward but not getting up. Now the hands are close to the rid cage. Push back with the arms and with buttocks high in the air like the inverted v. Lower back to the start and go into cobra. Very important that you arch up slowly. Push back into inverted v again. From there back into a inclined plank as in the begining of the exercise. That's 1.

    Do 2 and then rest 30 sec. Pyrimad 2 - 4 -6 - 8 - 12 with wide grip and Lower form 12 to 2 with Narrow grip which works on the triceps more. If you wants the benefit of working the forearms also spread the fingers wide apart as well.

    I will echo the point about paying attention and have intent during these type of exercise. By adding the details, you will find a difference. BTW, the workout philosophy of Frank Shamrock sounds quit Yogic which is about balanced approach.

    Just a thought.


    Contraria Sunt Complementa

  13. #13
    Rolling Elbow Guest

    Man you guys are excelling in the conditioning department...!

    I am getting soo tired of my standard high rep monotonous workout, i was thinking i should try the failure Navy Seals workouts..what i am after is stamina and getting solid muscle. I could care less about the size of it..I want to be as ripped, fast, and powerful as those crazy Choy Lay Fut guys you see in the demos.

    Any suggestions or comments. A high five to he who can come up with the best program. I don't care about weights, i already do chin ups and push-ups anyway..

    P.S- Tricky Fist, check yer mail.

    Michael Panzerotti
    Taijutsu Nobody from the Great White North..

  14. #14
    qeySuS Guest


    ok thanks for all the advice and i got a lot of info here on muscles and so on :) But the one i intend on using is the one Paul DiMarino posted. I really liked the sounds of it, plus the fact that it doesnt involve a lot of weightlifting (none at all that i could see) fascinates me since i really dont like going to a public gym and working out. So if i could get access to the Jiu Jitsu GYM during the day i could do these excersices in private while doing some forms and other things alongside with the practicing.

  15. #15
    Black Jack Guest
    As long as you are streching and working on a full range of motion in your lifts weighttraining is one of the best things a person can do for themselves.

    I have been working out hard since I was a teenager with a few short time off spans in between and my best results have come from a mixture of high rep and heavy lifting sessions.

    I find it easier to workout early in the morning as well so the night can be spent on other activites like having fun and training martial arts.

    Here is a standard workout routine I will do in the gym and change it depending on what I need to do or out of boredom.

    I also do light stretching between every set.

    Chest: Flat Bench Press-155 lbs 20 reps/175 lbs 15 reps/205 lbs 12 reps/225 lbs 10 reps/250 lbs 6-6 reps.

    Cable Cross-Overs-I do these more for defination than strength. 4 sets with starting reps of 25/25/20/15.

    Dips- I do about 3-4 sets of 15-20 reps of full range dips with or without weight.

    Back: Cable Rows/Machine Rows-120 lbs 25-30 reps/130 lbs 20 reps/140 lbs 15 reps/150 lbs 10-12 reps and I will end with a burn set of around 80 lbs that I will row tell failure.

    Lat Pull Downs (In Front) 4-5 sets with a failure set towards the end.

    Pull Ups (without weight) I do around 3-4 sets tell failure on each one.

    Shoulders: Military Press-4 sets of that starts at 15 reps and goes down tell ten with a failure set at the end.

    Lateral Raise Dumbells or Cables-4 sets with a failure set at the end.

    Upwright Row (works the trap)- 4 sets of high reps.

    Neck: Extension Machine/Forward-Backward-Sides: 3 sets of each angle-high reps low weight.

    Abs: Leg Raises-4 sets of 30-35 reps.

    Crunchs-4 Sets of real slow reps. Amount varies on how I feel. I do failure sets most of the time.

    Day Two:

    Biceps: Preacher Curl 4-5 sets starting at 20 reps.

    Standing Dumbell Curls- 3 sets each of around 10-15 reps.

    Pullups-I will end with a quick blast of one or two failure sets of full range pullups.


    French Curl-4 sets with the weight going up. I try tp go heavy with this excerisce.

    Cable Pressdowns of 4 sets with constant movement and strict forms. High reps of around 25-30 reps of medium weight with a extra failure set.

    Tricep Push Ups-3 sets tell failure.


    Cable Curl-4 sets tell failure

    Cable Extensions-4 sets tell failure

    Behind the Back Barbell Curl-3 sets of heavy weight tell failure.


    Leg Extensions-4 sets of high reps

    Leg Curls-4 sets of high reps

    Calf Extension-4 sets of high reps

    * I will sometimes do dumbell lunges as well or inplace of one excersice.


    Twisting Crunchs-Fast speed and full motion. 4 sets tell failure.

    Day Three

    Cardio work


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