Applying Martial Arts To Strength Training

What you can take from martial arts to help you achieve your strength goals.

I’ve always been a fan of martial arts since I was a kid. I went from watching Jackie Chan movies to watching UFC fights. The more I understand martial arts, the more I see how it’s principles can be applied to other sports and activities for maximum results. One activity that can benefit from being approached from a martial art standpoint is strength training. This post I’ll share some martial art principles that can be applied to strength training.

Technique

The key to moving heavy weight is generating enough power. In order to do that you need to have good technique in your lifts. Martial artists are able to generate a ton of power in their punches and kicks because they spend time working on their technique. It often looks effortless in how they do it. That’s how you want your lifts to be.

Having good technique makes your nervous system efficient at the move you’re working on. The nervous system is the source of power for any movement.

Repetition

I mentioned this in my Bruce Lee article but you need to get your reps in for any movement you want to get good at. This goes hand in hand with technique. The only way to master your technique is to get a ton of high quality reps.

One of the easiest ways to get more reps in is applying Pavel Tsatsouline’s grease the groove technique. The method of this technique is to do an exercise as often as possible without fatiguing yourself.

White Belt For Life

The idea behind this phrase to always see yourself as a beginner. When you’re a beginner, you’re not satisfied. You always have that hunger to get better.

It’s ok to acknowledge your experience but don’t be attached to that image. When you approach your workouts as a beginner, there’s a different level of excitement. You see endless possibilities for improvement.

Another benefit of seeing yourself as a beginner is humility. The humbleness of a beginner will stop you from being hard on yourself if you miss a lift or have a bad workout. It’ll also stop you from ego lifting because you’ll be so focused on getting better, you won’t have time to try to show off to others. The humbleness of a beginner will remind you that you have time to achieve your goals. You don’t need to have it all now.

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Do A Random Workout

Breaking out of your routine and doing a random workout can provide immense benefit to your training program.

Consistency and discipline are important in any training program but sometimes you can benefit from doing a random workout. It doesn’t have to be something scary. You’ll find great benefit in just going to the gym on a random day and doing something simple.

Last Thursday , I felt the itch to go to the gym even though I had an intense workout the day before. I felt good and just wanted to get something done. I felt great at the end of the workout and it made me think about the benefits of doing random workouts.

Benefits of Random Workouts

Greater Appreciation: You develop a greater appreciation for your workout routine. Sometimes I take my workouts for granted since I’m so used to the same routine. It becomes automatic. By doing a random workout, you actually have time to think about your workout routine.

Recovery: Doing a random workout will help you with muscle recovery. The fact that you’re moving your body means you’ll be promoting blood flow throughout your body.

Learning New Things: Random workouts can teach you a lot about your body and what it needs to progress. By doing a random workout, you’re getting out of your comfort zone and that’s when you’ll learn a lot about yourself. You can take what you learn use it to help you achieve your goals faster.

Happiness: If you’re someone who loves fitness, getting in any workout will bring you joy. Personally, I feel like a kid in a candy shop when I step in the gym. The endorphin boost you’ll get from the workout also helps with the happiness.

How To Select a Random Workout

When doing a random workout, I recommend choosing something that will contribute to your fitness goal. Even if the impact of the random workout isn’t as large as your normal workouts, at least you’ll move a step closer to your goals.

You can do an intense workout or a workout with moderate intensity. The best way to decide workout intensity depends on what day you’re doing the workout. If the random workout is at the start of your training week, go for higher intensity. If it’s in the middle or end of your training week, it’s best to go for moderate intensity workouts.

This goes hand in hand with my personal training philosophy. I always like doing my hardest workouts at the start of the week. This gives me momentum that I can carry into my following workouts. I’m also fresher at the start of my training weeks.

My Workout

The random workout I did followed the moderate intensity approach since it was near the end of my training week . During my random workout, I did a lot of movements I was familiar with but the format was completely different.

Deadlifts: I did  five sets of three at 225 pounds. These were regular deadlifts at a steady speed.  My rest periods were four minutes, which is pretty long for this level of training intensity. The purpose of this was to get in some extra reps. I learned from Strength Coach Pavel Tsatsouline that you can get stronger by increasing the amount of times you do an exercise. By getting in more quality reps of a movement, I’m making my nervous system more efficient at that movement that movement. A more efficient nervous system means greater strength potential.

Weighted Dead-Bugs: I did dead-bugs while holding two 12 pound dumbbells. The added weight forced my core muscles to work harder. I want my core to be as strong as possible so I can generate more power and be safe during my heavy lifts. I did 10 reps of these in between my deadlift sets.

Iso-Lunge: I did one minute isometric lunges on each leg. The purpose of this was to improve muscle endurance, strengthen my joints, and to work my glutes.

Bag Work: I finished the workout with bag work. I did three rounds of hitting the bag. Each round was two minutes long. It was a good way to get in some cardio.

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The Greatest Strength Training Program Ever?

This post is about the famous strength training program called Easy Strength. The goal is to get stronger without struggling.

As a student of strength, I enjoy learning from all the top strength coaches. I like to take things from their teachings and apply it to my training. Two of my favorite strength coaches are Dan John and Pavel Tsatsouline. I’ve learned a lot from both of these legends. A strength program created by these two must be legit.

Their strength training program is called Easy Strength. The goal of the program is to get significantly stronger without feeling beat up after each workout. If you could get significantly stronger in all your major lifts without beating yourself up with heavy loads and intense training methods, would you do it?

How Does Easy Strength Work?

Easy Strength is an 8 week strength program in which you only do five main exercises. You’ll do the same workout every day for 5 days a week. Some weeks you’ll do different variations of the same exercise to avoid boredom. The key is choosing weights that you won’t struggle to move. At the end of each workout you should feel energized. It’s reccomended to choose a push, pull, squat, hinge, and loaded carry movement.

My approach: I decided to give Easy Strength a one week tryout. This will be my chance to get a feel for the program and reload. I’ve been pushing myself with heavy and explosive lifts lately so I’m sure my body will appreciate the relief. Since I’ll be doing the same movements for five days in the week, I’ll also be able to improve my lifting technique.

The five exercises I’m choosing are the squat, deadlift, chin-up, dumbbell overhead press, and farmers walk. I’m choosing these exercises because they’re the ones I train the most. The deadlift counts as a pulling movement but I’ll treat it solely as a hinge movement. I plan on doing some cardio at the end of each workout but it won’t be too strenuous.

Closing Thoughts: Easy Strength was originally created so athletes could get stronger in the weight room and still have enough energy for their sports. We’re all athletes and our sport is called life. Isn’t the ultimate goal of fitness to improve our quality of life? I get a thrill from pushing my body with heavy loads but there’s always room for a program like this. There’s so much information in the fitness industry so the best way to find it if something works is to try it. I’ll be sharing how my one week trial of Easy Strength goes.

 

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