In Pursuit of Perfection part III

Let us diligently train the external factors. This will help us develop power. This is not just physical power, but strength that may help us walk the path of truth. Let our inner hopes, then, shine through.

Nonetheless, I will detail a few ideas for external training. The following routine is just an outline. Feel free to adjust this routine to suit personal goals & concerns. Also, one may instead use the Pavel’s Ladder method and/or a push/pull routine for one’s exercises of choice.

Warmup routine:
5 minutes of stretching
3 minute round of skipping rope
1 minute of pushups
3 minute round of skipping rope
1 minute of crunches
3 minute round of skipping rope
1 minute of squats
Take a water break

High intensity interval training routine
The idea is to supercharge your running routine by sprinting, then jogging, then sprinting, and so forth. Highly useful in losing excess fat (and therefore toning up) as well as building your overall cardio. Also, in any form of fighting, one needs both long term endurance and quick bursts. No matter how tired one gets, one should always have that one last burst.

One way to start H.I.I.T. is to begin with a four minute cycle. Sprint for 30 seconds, and then jog for 30 seconds, four times. Each week, one may add a sprint and a jog to the routine. Work up to doing 15 minutes or more of H.I.I.T.

This routine may be done every day that you are working out. However, it is recommended to have a nutritious, high-protein drink and “power snack” (such as a fruit or granola bar) after H.I.I.T. Also, after doing H.I.I.T., rest at least two hours before heavy weight lifting. On other workout days, rest at least half an hour before beginning another routine. However, be sure to consult your own age and health, as well as a local fitness instructor, to help design a well-rounded plan.

Martial arts routine:
Personalized variations of this routine may be performed every day that you are working out. However, after completing your martial arts routine, get at least one hour of rest and a nutritious “power snack” before performing a heavy routine with a weight bar.

Three 3 minute rounds of shadow boxing with one minute of rest between rounds.
Three 3 minute rounds of heavy bag work with one minute of rest between rounds.
Three 3 minute rounds of speed bag with one minute of rest between rounds.
Three 3 minute rounds of partner shadow boxing. One minute of rest between rounds.
Three 3 minute rounds of partner pad work. One minute rest between rounds.
Two or three minutes of slow stretching and breathing, then take a water break.

Three 3 minute rounds of light boxing with a partner, or three 3 to 5 minute rounds of light sparring using MMA rules. Use the appropriate equipment. One minute rest between rounds.

Three 5 minute rounds of grappling with a partner. One minute rest between rounds.
Two or three minutes of slow stretch and breathing, then take a water break.

Depending on your goals, add additional rounds of one or more of the above. Do not forget water breaks every several rounds.

Body weight conditioning routine #1 – Upper body:
This routine may be performed every day that you are working out. On days when you are doing a heavy weight routine with a weight bar, complete this routine first as a warm up for your muscles. One minute rest between rest between each exercise, and each set.

Pushups:
One minute rest between each exercise, and each set. Once you have mastered these exercises, no longer perform knuckle or regular pushups, and slowly increase the number of reps and sets for the other two types of pushups.

Knuckle or regular pushups – until failure.

Incline pushups – one set of 25 to 50 incline pushups with your feet posted up at a 45 degree angle.

One armed pushups – one set of 10 per arm. Build up to doing at least two sets of 20 per arm.

Pull-ups:
Two sets of 10, then pull-ups until failure

Abdominal:
One minute rest between each exercise, and each set.

Incline sit-ups – Perform 2 sets of 10. Eventually build up to doing at least 3 sets of 15.

Crunches – perform 25-50. Only the shoulders should be raised off the floor, as you breathe out and tense the upper abs, and then relax. A light to medium weight held slightly above the chest may be used to provide resistance. Build up to doing at least 3 sets of 25.

Double ended crunches – pull your knees as close as possible to your chest as you perform a crunch. Perform this 25 times.

Six inches
Lay your back flat on your exercise area. Your palms should be also flat on the ground, with your legs straight out and knees locked. Slowly raise your feet to 6 inches off the ground. If new to Six inches, keep your feet in this position for intervals of 30 seconds until you have held the position for a total of 2 minutes. Slowly build the intervals until you are able to hold the position for the entire 2 minutes without dropping your feet. Bruce Lee would commonly hold this position for 45 minutes while watching a television program!

Body weight conditioning routine #2 – Legs:
This routine should be only be performed on days that you are not doing a heavy weight routine with a weight bar. I personally recommend performing this routine after your martial arts workout. Be sure to eat a moderately sized, nutritious, high protein meal after this routine. One minute rest between each exercise, and each set.

Squat kicks – squat as low as you possibly can, and as you come back up, perform a front snap kick. Alternate legs with each repetition. One set of 20.

One legged squats – use a door or wall to assist balance. However, one should try to maintain balance during this exercise without relying too much on objects. To perform this exercise, one may place one leg in front of or behind the body (depending on what one feels more comfortable with) and squat with the other leg. At least one set of 10 each leg. Once proficient with one legged squats, add a dumbbell.

Normal squats – One set of 20, a set of 40, then perform squats until failure.

Horse stance training – sit deep in a very wide horse stance. To add difficulty, one may practice strikes, perform calf raises in this stance, and/or add two dumbbells (which may be balanced on the upper thighs, which should be perpendicular to the floor). Without weights, try to hold the horse for at least several minutes. With weights, try at least two minutes total (even if one has to do this exercise for one minute, rest, then go for the second minute).

Ankle weights may be used to provide resistance for the next three exercises.

Bear crawls – get on hands and feet, with the body close to the floor (knees and elbows should be bent). Move forward swiftly  while staying low. Choose an area (20 to 50 feet) to bear crawl across. Grass and matted floors are preferable. Bear crawling the length of it, and back, is a lap. Do 4 laps, or until failure.

Bunny hops – completely bend at the knees while keeping your back straight, and your hands up. Jump forward explosively from the ground. Tuck your feet back in as you jump, and land lightly. The goal is to perform bunny hops in quick succession. Grass and matted floors are preferable. However, if using sidewalks to bunny hop, use excellent running shoes and a bit of caution. Do at least 10 bunny hops. Eventually build up to bunny hopping the length of your choosing. Masahiko Kimura, the legendary Judo player, once bunny hopped a kilometer!

Duck walk – start in bunny hop position, but instead move one foot in front of the other without coming up at all. The goal is to move swiftly without dragging one’s feet, or losing balance. Do 3 laps of duck walking on grass or a matted area or until failure. One may also use a sidewalk to duck walk, but remember to take the same precautions.

Dumbbell routine – upper body
If necessary, start with light weights – 5 or 10 pounds. Exhale sharply when performing a repetition, and to inhale deeply in-between repetitions (or reps, for short). This routine should be performed 3 times a week, on the same days as heavy weight training with a weight bar.

Rows – these work arms and back. Best with two dumbbells, which should be placed beside one another, and within arm’s reach on the floor in front of you. A.) Start with your feet shoulder width apart, then lean forward and stretch down your right arm and grab the right dumbbell. Use your left hand and leg for support if needed. B.) Then, pull the right dumbbell up as you bend your arm back to waist level, and carefully lower the dumbbell back to the floor. This should be done quickly. C.) From there, grab the left dumbbell and perform the same exercise. Perform 2 sets of 25.

Weighted shoulder shrugs – perform at least one set of 10 each.

Dumbbell curls – best done sitting, so as to enforce proper technique.

Dumbbell flies – Then lay flat on your back on a weight bench, with your feet planted on the floor. The dumbbells should be placed within arm’s reach, one beside each arm. Grasp both dumbbells from under – palms facing up. Instead of a curl-like motion, keep the elbows mostly locked, and squeeze your arms close enough together that the dumbbells touch. Perform one set of 10, then perform until failure.

Dumbbell routine – legs
If necessary, start with light weights – 5 or 10 pounds. Remember proper breathing during reps. This routine should be performed 3 times a week, on days when not doing heavy weight training with a weight bar.

Weighted calf raises and squats – at least one set of 10 each.

Weighted one legged squats – at least one set of 10 per side.

Weighted horse stance – at least one minute in deep horse stance with a dumbbells resting on each thigh, placed near the hip. Hold the dumbbells in place with your hands as necessary. Build up to using heavier dumbbells and longer intervals.

Weight bar routine
Only perform this routine three days a week so as to give your upper body enough time to recuperate. Remember to maintain a healthy, high protein diet. Creatine supplements and fruits are highly recommended.

Power cleans – start with light weight on the bar at first to practice the technique. The bar should be a few inches in front of your toes. Bend your knees slightly, and bend over to grasp the bar, with palms facing the floor. Your hands should be outside of your knees. Jump with an exploding movement as you jerk the weight upwards. As you do this, allow your elbows to bend in front of the body and the hands to come to shoulder level. Also, the knees should bend deeply as you land. Basically, you will be landing under the weight.

Put enough weight on the bar that you will not be able to perform more than 12 power cleans. If you are unable to perform 10, then you are using too much weight. Once you have completed 10 to 12 bench presses, take a one minute rest. Add enough weight such that you will be able to perform 8 to 10 reps.

Weighted jumping jacks – With palms facing down, pick up the bar and raise it to chest level, and bend deeply at the knees (it should look as if you just performed a power clean). Jump your feet outwards widely while quickly pressing the weight over the head. Then jump the feet back in as you bring the bar back to chest level. That is one repetition. Put enough weight on the bar that you will be able to perform 8 to 10 reps.

Military presses – With palms facing down, pick up the bar and lift it above your head. Lower the bar so as to let it almost completely rest on neck and shoulders. Slowly press the bar upwards above the head. That is one repetition. Perform at least one set of 10.

Dead lifts – At least one set of 10 at 2/3rd of your max.

Bench presses – Always take at least a one minute rest between sets. If you are toning and / or building stamina, put enough weight on the bar that you will not be able to perform more than 15 bench presses. If you are unable to perform 12, then you are using too much weight. Take at least a one minute rest between sets. Complete 12 to 15 for the first set, and rest. Add enough weight such that you will be able to perform 10 to 12. Complete this second set, and rest. Add such weight that you can perform 8 to 10. Complete your third set, and rest. Add a few more light sets as needed.

If you are lifting heavy – for size and/or strength – you may not want to perform more than 3 or 4 sets. Your first set should be enough weight such that can perform 6-8 or 10-12, depending upon your goals. Your following sets should move up in weight such that you will perform a few less reps per set. Take a 2 to 3 minute break if needed between sets.

For the advanced level, I recommend trying the cluster flux routine.

“Strength comes from health, speed comes from efforts, technique comes from experience, will power comes from faith, serenity comes from old knowledge, progress comes from new knowledge – today is now!” – Peter Urban, founder of American Goju-ryu Karate

This article is a part of the author’s concise guide to karate. Be sure to visit Johnston Karate Home Page to view the guide as well as many other free resources.

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