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Thread: Martial arts muscle building!

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    -steve- is offline
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    Wink Martial arts muscle building!

    I know this isn't a bodybuilding forum(I never go on them as they tend to be filled with ego maniacs lol) but I just thought I'd share a few exercises that could add some size to your arms and shoulders while still being functional and potentially helping you training. I've been without a kickboxing club for some time now and have been slowly drifting towards the dark side and lifting weights!

    Anyway i'll cut to the chase. Most guys want bigger biceps so here's the answer. Chin ups.

    Yup that's it. If you are a beginner or ever intermediate lifter I frimly believe, narrow grip chin ups, palms facing in and preferably with some added weight attached yo your body, is the fastest way to get bigger guns. My kid brother, who's a classic ectomorph: lanky, skinny with bones sticking out everywhere managed to pack on an impressive amount of bicep mass from doing these twice a week. He looks like skeletor but his biceps are decent. The guy barely eats, and when he does he does so at a snails pace. If it worked for him it can work for you. I myself always include these and find them much more effetive then curls, though I do these as well. They're great for developing the biceps, back and foreamrs and will work your grip nicely too. If you can get more then 12 reps, then its time to start adding weight. I usually just stick a dumbbell between my legs but i used to put weights in an old bookbag. You can buy decent a chin up bar for relatively cheap and pick up a 5 or ten pound dumbell for when it starts getting too easy. If you have access to a gym thats even better. Just try to improve each workout, with either more weight, more reps, or more sets.

    To make this exercise a bit more martial arts oriented, try lowering youself nice and slowly then exploding on the way up. This will teach your body to recruit as much force as possible in the shortest amount of time while still inducing growth. Try to keep your form as good as possible, but dont be afraid to load it up everynow and then and just go crazy and see how much you can lift for 3 reps.

    If you cant do a single chin up, try this. Grab the bar, jump up and hold youself for a second before lowering youself in a controlled manner. OR get a partner to stand beneath you and hold you legs to give you a slight boost. Eventually you'll be strong enough to do it on your own. Smaller guys like me and my brother are able to do these allot easier then someone larger.

    Ok so thats biceps out of the way. Next shoulders. Shoulders are a nice muscle to develop because you can see them through clothes if someone has big shoulders. For this, I recommend hand stand push ups! Yeah they are pretty advanced but i'm going to post a video showing you a progression. These are also pretty effective. When i first started training i'd do pull ups(wide grip ands facing away from my body), bench press, and the begginer variation of handstand pushups. The first thing to sprout up was my shoulders. I couldnt believe it! Here I was this skinny little kid but my shoulders looked huge! Haha they were actually still pretty tiny but compared to the rest of me they were big! I'm not going to write a whole lot about this one because Jim brassard explains it way better then I ever could in words.

    So if you watched the video, I have one more exercise to add to the shoulders to help round it out and keep the shoulder healthy. There are 3 heads of the deltoid, handstand pushups work the front and to a lesser extent the side deltoid, but we need to hit the rear delt as well. Since we are talking functional exercises and i'm trying to avoid using traditional bodybuilding excersies but honestly if you want full shoulders you're going to have to try to embrace weight training at some point. I highly reccomend doing reverse flies with dumbbells. These are an isolation exersice, and I know how most people feel about isolations but hear me out. I actually used to do these at my kickboxing club, there were a few dumbells and machines that were available so i'd do some reverse flies before class and some times they were included in the cardio circuit training that wed do at the end of each class. The good thing about them is that having sore rear delts didnt really hinder my training. You do not need to use a heavy weight for these and should aim for a higher rep range. There are other more functional movements for rear deltoids but they require some equipment that you may not have access to. One of them is fat man pull ups.

    dont worry its almost over, I'll just add one more thing. For triceps and chest I'd recommend parallel dips. Chances are you are allready doing a lot of pushups so I wont mention them. Just like chin ups, I recommend adding some weight as soon as you are able. I haven't pesonally found these as effective as the handstand pushups or chin ups at developing muscle but they do work pretty darn well and i've certainly seen strength gains. I think dumbell bench presses are probably more effective at building muscle in the chest but I highly doubht that they will help you in your martial arts training. Dips, since they move your body through space are much more functional. Again, go slow on the way down, and drive it up!

    If you're training hard in you art, maybe just focus on one of these exercises at a time. Say you train boxing/jui jitsu,karate 3 times a week, take one day a week to do chin ups. do this for 3 weeks then switch to dips or hand stand pushups. Anyway thats my post! If any of you have any more functional exercises that you think should be added or have any comments please share. I didnt know how interested people would be in this so I only talked about the areas I think most people would like to improve. I mean come on what guy dosent want big biceps and chest?

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    Re: Martial arts muscle building!

    I'm surprised you left out pull-ups. They are a great compliment to chin-ups, and build the back and chest more. You can use the same equipment and technique, just spread your hands a bit, and face your palms away. I have one of those Iron Gym doorway pull-up bars, and it also has a way for me to hold my hands sideways (90 angle to chin-up or pull-up). I feel these more in my forearms, which has to be good if you're practicing a grappling art.

    Rick
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    Rick

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    -steve- is offline
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    Re: Martial arts muscle building!

    Pull ups are definitely one of the best back builders and its great to switch up the grips. I've always have had poor forearm genetics and smaller hands so I'm always trying to improve my grip strength and forearm size. Doing chin ups with a towel is nice way to work your grip. Simply wrap a towel around the pull up bar and grip both ends of the towel and pull yourself up like you would a normal pull up. Another good one is one hand pull ups, not to be confused with one arm pull ups. Grab the bar with one hand, palm facing towards you like you would normally. With the other hand grasp your wrist thats holding the bar and pull yourself up.

    One of the common things that you will hear in bodybuilding circles is that a wide grip pull up will build the outer lats, while a narrow grip will build the inner lats. Whether this is true or not remains to be proven by science but still better to mix up the grips, if only to keep things interesting.

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    Kenpo Missle 47 is offline Banned User
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    Re: Martial arts muscle building!

    chin ups and pulls ups are the way i close some of my m.a. workouts

    depends on what i do but i usually finish with 200 to 300 of them.

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    Re: Martial arts muscle building!

    All of the above are excellent because they are compound movements that bring a lot of muscle mass into use. This has several advantages; builds strength while conditioning the muscle, burns more calories thus helping to reduce your BF %, being functional from the standpoint of using the body as one whole unit rather than 'parts'. Other great exercises would be:

    • Squats (such as hindu squats or plea squats).
    • Lunges (which often is a truer measure of lower body strength and balance).
    • Push ups (hindu, dive-bomber, wide, narrow, sphinx etc).
    • Dips.
    • Thrusters (doing a squat and a press in one continuous motion).
    • Dynamic tension.
    All the above can be done in a very small space and with only body weight. For those wishing to go 'above and beyond' I suggest the pyramid.

    What is a pyramid? Glad you asked

    Simply pick several exercises. My latest pyramid routine used the following, in this order;

    • Regular squat
    • Plea squat
    • Lunge
    • Calf raise
    • Push up w/push up stands
    • Chin up
    • Dip
    • Hanging crunch
    Now what you do is perform 1 of each exercise with good form. When you have completed each for 1 rep, you repeat and do 2 of each, and then 3 of each and on up to your target number. Once you've reached your target, you then begin down the pyramid by decreasing the number of reps in each set. A pyramid of 1 - 5 - 1 would look like this;

    1-2-3-4-5-4-3-2-1 for a total of 25 of each exercise. Going 1-10-1 would = 100. 1-20-1 would equal 400 of each. My personal best so far is 1-17-1.

    This is a great program as it has built in a natural warm up and a cool down. You work throughout various rep ranges and it has a pre-exhaust as well.

    Give it a try.

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