Conditioning Principles, Part I

by Stephen LaBounty (2007-10-21)
Sit up guy

Many people have requested that I offer suggestions on how to improve their martial arts performance, i.e. being stronger, faster, more explosive, with more penetration and endurance.

This is a bit much for just one time, so for the next three or so updates, I'll give the things that work for me and for many students who wanted to compete in karate tournaments, power lifting events, wrestling meets and so on.

For this time, let me start with the "Ten important principles of conditioning" These can change with each person's current physical condition, age, health, time commitment, but you'll be pretty safe in starting with these "base" and yet significant applications.

1. Warming up: Without a doubt this deserves to be number one for any performance. In combat, you don't have the luxury of warming up, but the body has a "memory" that will bring in to full peak rapidly, IF you have used your workout time properly

2. Gradualness: Add small daily (weekly) increments of work. Remember, it takes 6 to 8 weeks of good, authentic, correct training for a person to get into top level condition.

3. Timing: Don't overdo anything! Relate all the work to your general condition at the time. In my opinion, practice periods should extend for 1 hour to 1 hour, 45 minutes depending on the skill you are trying to develop. Overdoing it to get in condition quickly will produce a tired athlete, and the tired athlete is prone to injury, sometimes serious injury.

4. Intensity: Important in the Martial athlete who may have to defend his/her life someday. Stress the intensity of the work rather than the quantity. Don't make the mistake of prolonging the workout rather than increasing the tempo or the work load. As the degree of training increases, the intensity of training must also increase.

5. Capacity level: Expect to perform to that which is as close to your physiological limits as health and safety factors will allow. Only in working to capacity will the desired results be achieved.

6. Strength: Develop strength as a means of producing greater endurance and speed.

7. Motivation: To me, the prime factor. Use circuit style training and body weight isotonics (push ups, pull ups, push/pull drills with a partner) to continue to motivate your self.

8. Specialization: All exercise programs should include exercises for strength, relaxation, and flexibility. In addition, special exercises geared to the demands made upon the body in specific activities should be used to develop specialization.

9. Relaxation: Relaxation exercises, which aid in recovery from fatigue and tension should be used. If you do not know any, learn some or develop a way to let the body heal, the mind relax and the stress disappear.

10. Routine: A daily routine of exercise before performance, or as the habit of training, should be established. I always wrote things down, which gave me new goals to reach for.

So there is the start. You can certainly re-arrange the order, or use the Equation Formula if you like. The most important part right now, is make the decision NOW!