Changing up the training a bit – achieving strength without size?

So, Easter’s over and I have eaten my fill of chocolate and hot cross buns. Over the last couple of days I’ve also started catching up on some blogs around the traps, and came across an excellent post on Jesse Crouch’s blog, The Martial Arts Explorer. To date, with my weight training between classes I’ve gone for mild intensity, emphasising reps ahead of pushing for heavier weight sets; this has seen the amount of muscle mass in my arms, back and shoulders increase over time (which is definitely a good thing!). However, I’m thinking of mixing things up a bit after reading one of Jesse’s recent posts, “Strength without bulk: Types of isometric training and what they can do for you”. While I’ve heard of these crazy terms before, I haven’t really looked into them all that much (will have to take a squiz at Wikipedia later on methinks!), but Jesse’s post introduced the concept of mixing up higher-reps training with short but super-intensive sessions to build up strength, but without the muscle mass behind it.

So, last night I gave it a go and really liked the change of pace. I’ve only been benching 40kg with an emphasis on the reps, and by the end of last night following a series of increases I managed to squeeze out a couple of reps at 50kg. This still puts me on the very low end of the scale in proportion to my body weight according to the chart on Jesse’s blog post, but at least it’s slowly getting me there 😛 My aim is to start mixing up this level of intensity with my regular reps-based exercises, maybe one week emphasising reps, one week emphasising intensity, something like that. Will keep everyone updated on how things go.

In addition to the new weight-training regime, I’m also adding a few other exercises to my between-training regime. Previously I’ve done 100 crunches and 50 leg lifts as a starter to work my toro/abs and get the blood flowing, before going into some light bag work for for 10-15 mins. I’ve now augmented that with progressive stretching on my legs to get myself back to being able to do full side splits (aka Chinese splits) again, with the aim of introducing more stretching exercises to improve my kicks.

I’ve also added Divebomber pushups to my start-up regime, inspired by Jesse’s posts on them here and here. I did 10 of these last night (2 x 5 reps), and they proved an excellent addition to what I’ve been working on. Mind, I don’t think I’m doing them anywhere near as gracefully in the YouTube vids posted in Jesse’s blog (I think the way I do it might look uncannily close to a self-indulgent dance move from a Rock Eisteddfod performance, though I say so in the spirit of the awesome Asher Treleaven, who wowed Fringe audiences a few years ago by channeling Space Invaders as if it were performed at the Rock Eisteddfod), but oh well, I figure since I can’t get any worse that I can only get better 😛

Since the foot’s not getting fixed up until Thursday, I’ll be trying to squeeze in extra training at home to make up for my absence in class, whilst still delaying the inevitable breaking of what’s left of my foot enclosure 😛 In lieu of training, I’ll try and add some random blogging madness, and perhaps write some more posts in response to other people’s blogs to continue facilitating discussion on all things martial arts or otherwise.

… and now that my car has finally been fixed with a new battery as of only a few minutes ago, I think I’ll post this and head off to work 😛

Share

2 Responses to “Changing up the training a bit – achieving strength without size?”

  1. Hey Sean –
    Thanks for the shout =)

    Keep in mind that chart is purely a weight-lifting-bench chart. There are other types of strength that won’t necessarily be evident by comparing to that chart.

    Guys who can bench 200lbs can’t necessarily do 100 pushups straight and vice versa. Also a yoga/isometric person may be able to hold a static pushup position for 3 minutes straight, but can’t do 100 pushups or 200lbs, but those guys may not even get close to a 3 minute hold.

    Now that I say all this I realize I need to add it to my post.

    Hope your training goes well!

    JC

  2. Hey, no probs on that one – your blog is a huge mine of great and useful information for budding martial artists out there, I’m sure this will just be the start of plenty of other links!

    Thanks heaps for your thoughts on things, I always forget to look at things with broader perspective. I’ve set myself a goal to be able to eventually lift my own weight on the bench using the max weight/min reps method, which I’m sure will take quite a while, but I think it’ll be useful.

    Your comments on different abilities is really interesting as well – when I first started doing weights I was hoping it would make doing pushups considerably easier so I could do more reps in class. While it’s made a slight difference, considering the difference in chest and muscle strength to, say, 3 years ago that I have, the change certainly isn’t what I thought.

    Mind, I could just do more pushups, but I’m not a huge fan. Loving the divebomber pushups though, they don’t take much time but they workout so many groups of muscles. I never would have really looked into it if I didn’t catch up on them on your blog, so a huge thank you for writing about them!

Companion blogs

Calendar

April 2009
M T W T F S S
« Mar   May »
 12345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
27282930