Making progress on the bench

Just a quick post on the progress of my supplemental training – I’ve started throwing in some freestyle work on the bag before hitting the bench to work on my ability to move in and out of fighting range, throwing in some kicks and working on elbows, punches and backhand attacks. I’m actually not sure how effectively I’m training though, and I keep meaning to check out the videos and guides Wim’s added to his blog as the previews I’ve seen look fantastic.

Anywho, in addition to this I’ve also been working on gradually increasing the amount of weight on the bar and have got it up to 60kg now, but I’m only just managing one rep, and it’s not all the way down to my chest either. It does make me think that I might be starting to hit a bit of a threshold, but I’m pretty strong in my conviction to get to my body weight (70kg). Mind, I don’t know how much the bar weighs so I don’t know how much over 60kg I actually am, but I’ve decided I want to load the bar with 70kg, so that’s what I intend to do 🙂

Looking back though, I remember that the first time I pushed 53kg on the bench I struggled, but now I can do multiple reps, so it’ll come down to simply continuing to work on it. I think I might give myself another two weeks at 60kg, then start pushing it 1kg a week at a time again and see how I go.

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Getting back into weight training (again!)

As part of getting back into the habit of regular karate training, I’ve finally cleaned up the space I use for weight training to get back into a routine. Partly motivated by wanting to erode some of the pre-winter “padding” around my belly and increasing my strength, I’ve jumped into things with enthusiasm and am already feeling the results.

I’ve got a myriad of dumbells, barbells and weights lying around the place, and to make it easier to constantly push myself that little bit extra in each session, I’ve gone ahead and preloaded a number of dumbells with various weights to make it more convenient to try different combinations of weights. This means that if I’m doing an exercise that is exercising less-developed muscles, I can grab a lighter set of dumbells and gradually increase the weight without having to manually swap and change weights on either end – I just grab the next pair. On the other hand, if I’m working with muscle groups that are more developed, there’s no need to manually load up a set of dumbells, I can just grab another pair off the floor and roll with it. I’m finding that because it’s so easy to change to different sets of weightings, I’m mentally prepared to push myself a bit harder since I can see the goal of higher weight sets preloaded in front of me.

Mind, the reason I have the luxury of this is due to my father-in-law’s generosity in leaving me a great selection of equipment when my in-laws moved interstate last year. Thanks Dave 🙂

So, apart from gradually increasing the dumbell exercises, I’ve also been pushing a bit harder on the bench. But at the same time, I’m being realistic with the weekly goals I’m setting. My main goal at this stage is to be able to bench-press my own body weight, and so to get there, each week I’m trying to increase the weight on the bar by 1-2 kgs. I thought that by using small increments, this will assist in avoiding an injury and also reduce the psychological barrier experienced by big leaps in terms of the amount of visual weight on the bar. I’ve been able to achieve an extra kilo for the last two weeks, so I’m now sitting at 57 kg. In line with this, next week I’ll shoot for 58 kg, 59 kg the week after, and 60 kg the week after that. Then it’s another 10 kg until I get to my first long-term goal on the bench.

Fingers crossed if I approach it with a solid methodology and patience, I’ll be able to gradually increase my strength effectively and efficiently. But most importantly, it’s great to be back into weight training, as it’s something I really enjoy as auxillary training between classes.

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Back into weight training

For the first time in a month or so, I jumped back into the shed to go a weights session – it’s good to be back into it, too! I actually meant to do a set last night after work, but spent my time tidying up the shed, re-bolting the boxing station into the floor, setting up other things and re-organising my weights’ storage.

Anywho, I didn’t do too badly tonight considering it’s been a while – managed to just squeeze out 53kg on the bench, which is about on-par to what I was able to do before, and got to about ~80% of what I could lift on my other exercises when I was training more regularly. Overall I’m surprised at the results, but hope I don’t feel it too bad tomorrow since I’ll be back in the dojo after a three-week break 🙂

I’m crossing my fingers now that I’ve broken the cycle that I’ll be able to start doing this regularly again. Stay tuned!

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Good workout

Just finished up a reasonably quick after-work session, and I have top say, it feels really good to get back into some good physical training. I’m finding that I’m gradually increasing the scope of my training sessions between classes – I’ll now do 50 leg lifts, 100 crunches (with a mix of light- and medium-intensity focus on them), 10 divebomber pushups (yes, only 10 :P), and in an attempt to improve the quality of my kicks, I’ve also added a stack of leg stretches into the mix. The awesome bit is that I’m now back to being able to do side-splits all the way down to the floor again – it’s been a while, but it’s good to get back there. In response, I’m finding my leg is more limber than it normally is, and the muscles around my knee (and remember my knee’s prone to being a bit shonky every now and again) are more relaxed and strengthened… if that makes sense 😛

Anywho, now that I’ve cleared enough space, I also went through my grade kata a few times before hitting the weights. Following on from the principles I read up a while ago on Jesse’s blog, The Martial Explorer, I went for max intensity and minimum reps – got 51kg on the bench (no improvement from last time, but its been a fortnight since I last hit the weights, so I figured this wasn’t too shabby), hit higher weights on my other exercises, including 45kg on the… erm, I’m not sure the name of it – pull-downs or something? It’s the one where you pull down the long horizontal behind you and stuff, working your shoulders and back. I’ve found it’s helping balance out my muscle around my shoulders as well, which I think were becoming too front-heavy and not properly balanced on both sides – this has happened before when I used to do only light weight training and focused too much on my arms instead of dedicating enough time on my shoulders and back to support the extra muscle mass.

… not that I know a lot about weight training mind, just what I’ve read up on and learned from those more experienced than I, like my father-in-law, and other martial artists out there.

So yeah, good workout tonight – looking forward to having another one tomorrow night in prep for getting back to training this week!

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My foot’s still mangled :P

Well, dropped into the leg people yesterday to get them to do some work. Y’know, like a car service, but for a leg. I reckon I should slap on one of those “Your next service is due by June 2009, or 5,000 kms” on my leg. That way I’d be a bit better in getting it serviced regularly 😀

Anywho, the new foot enclosure is still on its way, at this stage it looks like I should have it done before Wednesday next week, which is good as I’m driving Wifey up the wall at the moment from walking around the house doing karate. Due to the foot I haven’t done anything too stupid (like running up and down the hallway doing jumping side kicks :P), just punches, shuto and the occasional kick. It’s now been three weeks since my last class, and I’m starting to worry about the quality of my kata, so I’ve started going through it in my head every now and again and trying to visualise it and train the pattern in my brain that way. In the meantime with my foot, they’ve fused the toes back onto the rest of the enclosure which should abate any paranoia I have about them breaking off entirely if I keep to my currently level of activity. They also serviced the knee while I was there – I hadn’t snapped the spring this time, but it was given a thorough once-over and its working much nicer now.

Anywho, in general training news stuff, I manage to squeeze back up to 50kg on the bench on Wednesday night, which was good (I could only get to about 46kg the night before). I was going to do weights last night as well, but the week’s catching up already so I gave it a miss as I had a few other things to do after work anyhows. So this ends my first week of minimal reps/maximum weights that I wrote about earlier on after reading Jesse’s blog. Obviously it’s still early days, but I enjoyed the challenge this week, and we’ll see how it translates into my usual training regime for next week. In the long run, I’m hoping it will be a positive addition to my between-class training.

More importantly, hopefully I’ll be able to get to class next week!

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