Ok, so the topic of strength training has been covered by many people. Despite this, there still seems to be a little confusion over whether people should train with weights and the benefits of lifting heavy. In this article will be throwing my two cents in to the discussion.
The martial arts world and in fact the world in general has largely opened up to the idea that lifting weights is good for everybody. The idea of the huge, stiff bodybuilder has been replaced by a strong supple muscular human body. The question of should a martial artist should spend some time on strength training should have finally been answered. However, there are still some people that feel it somehow demeans what they do. These are the people that maybe believe that technique is enough and would rather spending their time in seated mediation than sweating in the gym or even the dojang.
Whereas meditation can be seen as an important part of marital arts training, we should not lose the site that our training is physical and having a strong body can only serve to make our practice better.
In my personal practice I use kettlebell training and some basic barbell work. I find the two complement each other and gives me a good balance of general strength and explosive power. Certainly at time when I have gone to training camps I have performed better and been more injury free than I would have been had I not spent some time on strength training.
This is not the whole story, you cannot go in start a strength program and improve. Our training should be balanced, if we add something to our training then we need to balance it in other areas of what we do.
As an example, a little while ago i was going through a specific strength training program, through the time spent in the gym gripping the barbell etc. I found that when I was working with my Arnis teacher I started to grip the stick too hard. This made disarming me as simple as snapping a dry twig. I didn’t want to stop my strength training so I had to balance out my training. I believe that this lack of balance in training was more responsible for the ‘stiff muscleman’ image that used to be held up as a reason for not touching weights.
To quote one of the UK’s best throwing and strength athletes you need to pay attention to the 5 Ss, Strength, speed, skill, suppleness, stamina. If you ignore or focus on one of these too much you won’t reach your full potential
One last word on strength training, if you are going to lift weights then learn how to do it right. Find a good instructor and tell them your goals. Lifting weights is as technical and dangerous as practicing martial arts