Im a 10th kyu trainee, and quite a large one (lets call me super heavyweight for now). At my grading, which i thankfully passed, it became clear as ever that i struggle a bit with the physical endurance tests. I am able to do one or two "proper" pushups, but barely. This is partly because of my weight (i used to be fat and lazy, now im just fat :P) and the fact that i havent really been focusing on my muscles, ever. Im by no means a weak man, but im not able to push the pounds on my body yet. Im gratefull that my senpais look more on will than what we can actually push out in these initial gradings, but i cant accept limping through a physical test.
So i need to find out how to build up muscles for pushups. The problem with this, unlike situps, is that i cant simply "do more" cause theres not a whole lot of training in two of them. What would be the best way to get around it? One thing i am considering is using weights (our dojo also offers a training room fully equipped with weights, included in our membership, that we can use whenever the dojo is open), or doing "standing" pushups against a wall so i can start off at an angle and "work my way down" (i have a currious idea to use my work table, which has an adjustable height).
Obviously, i know that as i lose weight, pushups (and those thighburning knee bends) will be easier, but i want to improve thre rest of my body anyways.
The second thing i struggle with, is flexibility. I can currently kick "myself" in the throat or just below it, with a standard front kick (excuse me for not using the proper names, im still swimming around in them), but i am largely hindered by my limbs being big, heavy, and not very flexible. I have a lot of strength in my legs, but it seems that all that muscle is not really willing to go very far.
How can i improve my kicks? Is there certain stretches that i can use to get more flexibility, or will i simply have to practice the kicks and get a few more inches on once in a while?
I know, again, that my weight is a major factor, and that my overall endurance will improve as i lose weight (and i seriously expect that i will, going from doing nothing for several years, to suddenly doing a lot of hard training, even though i saw a video of a huuuge kyokushin black belt today), but id like to know how to focus my home training to speed up the process a bit.
How do i get started on pushups?
How do i improve my kicking height?
Can anyone help? :)
EDIT: Oh yeah, i did have a freak out one night, thinking "Ill just see how high i can get" which is where i reached neck-height compared to myself. I did about 50 kicks with each leg that evening, and i learned the hard way of the importance of warmups and stretching - the next day, and two weeks after that, i walked around with torn adductor muscles - "thankfully" i had to go on a business trip the week after, but i still had to do my grading with a stiff left leg. I think im going to work on doing it the proper way now ;)
10-13-2008, 12:33 PM
Good on you for having a go! It isn't easy making the first few steps, and I think you will find plenty of encouragement here, and in your real dojo.
Getting started with push-ups is really tough when you have a lot of weight to push...it makes the "up" part of push-up seem almost impossible. Here are a few tricks I have learned that help people who find the first leap really tough.
forgive me if the beginning of this build is too easy - it might help someone who is even worse off than you....:)
My view on getting knuckles sorted out is to just do it...from day one, start doing all your push-ups on your knuckles, including in the steps below. Nothing makes it easier...and it is well worth it. Flat-palmed pushups weaken and strain the wrists (especially if you are heavy).
Step 1: Pushups against the wall - part 1.
Start with your feet about an arm-length from a flat, strong wall. Put your hands on the wall in fists (the "seiken" position), with the backs of your hands facing outwards, curled up fingers facing inwards. If your hands just reach the wall, you are in the right position.
Now move your hands down the wall to waist height, still in seiken.
Now do a perfect (but almost vertical) pushup. You will probably (hopefully) find that you can do this position relatively easily, but if not, then that's where to start. Work in this position until you can do 50 perfect pushups.
Step 2. Pushups against the wall - part 2.
Same as before, but now stand TWICE as far away from the wall. Put your seiken fists lower down - and do again, a perfect pushup. Work in this position, until you can do 50 perfect pushups.
Step 3: Pushups on the steps.
You have now progressed too far to be able to do this on the wall...it's time to find some steps.
Put your seiken on the 3rd step from teh bottom, with your feet sticking out from the bottom of teh steps. again, work up until you can do 50 perfect pushups.
Then go to the 2nd step
then go to the 1st..
then go to the ground...and presto...you can push-up with the rest of them.
If you want to get really smarty-pants about this....you then start putting your FEET on teh steps, and you work your way up, progressively making it harder....:)
In the meantime...(while you are still needing to practice on the wall or the steps) you need to build core strength by doing an exercise called the "plank (http://exercise.about.com/od/abs/ss/abexercises_10.htm)" - which will help you get ready for holding your body rigid during proper "on the ground" pushups, without sticking your backside up, or sagging in the middle like a banana. Start at 10 seconds, and work your way up.
Now - during this phase when you are in class, you obviously won't have a wall or a set of steps, so you need to survive. I'd suggest ask your sensei what he/she expects of you, but if there is no specific guidance, then do the folllowing:
Firstly - it is much better to do 1 perfectly formed pushup than 10 silly ones. So aim for perfection, rather than volume. By perfection, I mean perfect hand positioning, deep press, so your nose is almost on the ground, strong push upwards, good control downwards, and with your body held in a rigid line, like you have been practising in the plank (http://exercise.about.com/od/abs/ss/abexercises_10.htm).
Do what you can in the normal class position, and when that is too much, put your feet wide apart. This helps to shorten the "lever" you have to push, and is a sort of intermediate step between doing them from your toes, and doing them on your knees.
Once you are fatiged with feet wide apart, go to your knees. it is better to do them with perfect form on your knees than to do bad ones on your toes. You will build strength one perfect technique at a time.
Best of luck...look forward to hearing of your progress...and don't forget to be kind to your body.
10-13-2008, 01:21 PM
Wow, i just tried part one - just had a few pushups at work (thank god for my own office ;)). That worked out great! Im definately going to start doing that. How often should i do sets of how-many-i-can-do?
Also, how should i position my knuckles? Since middle-finger knuckle is out higher, should i put weight on that, or "balance" it between first and middle finger knuckles? The thing is, my wrist is bent if i put pressure on both knuckles, and if i am to keep a straight wrist, then ill have to be only on the middle knuckle.
Step 2: Arent i going to be near falling down on my face when im that far away? It feels sorta edgy, but maybe i just need to try it a bit.
On the stairs: Oh yeah, i can do that already. Ill place my feet at the 10th step, and then just lie on the staircase! Works for me ;)
My senpai (Christina Petersen - the killer kata queen, here in an old video*) seems to love the plank, but she's quite a little "sadist". We'll do a round of techniques and she will stop it saying "Alright guys, down and take a break", dropping down to the plank. "Look at me guys" she sais, followed by "Smile at me", and we're all here struggling while she's laying there like it was the best position in the world. Up again, 50 kicks, and "down to relax" again she goes, and she asks us "why we are moaning? We're just relaxing!". Awesome senpai, but i think she enjoys it a bit too much :P
I did talk to my senpais about my general endurance, and they assured me that as long as they can see that i am putting in effort, then they will give me the time to advance. First training completely ruined me, and now, three months after, i can see a major improvement in my stamina already. I tend to do pushups from my knees in class as it is, but i will definately begin training up against a wall for now! :)
Great guide - i will definately try and do this as often as my time and body allows it. I also get the point with starting out on the knuckles, especially when im not putting a full body weight on them from the beginning.
Do you (or anybody else) have any advice on the kicking high thing?
* I cant post links yet, but if somebody wanted to see the video, the youtube blabber is IwRtEfd9dY0 after the main link :)
10-14-2008, 09:37 AM
Regarding Seiken - it is hard to give advice without seeing your fist, but in general, you do balance on the two knuckles.
The idea of this is to make the long bones in your hands (the metacarpals) line up in a straight line with the long bone in your wrist (the radius). Even though the wrist will be bent at the edge along the little finger, the metacarpals beneath your index finger and middle finger will probably be straight.
ask your sensei to check the position and guide you. Some things cannot be safely taught on line.
Re reps - If you can manage 3 sets to fatigue, at least 3 times a week, then you will make amazing progress. But as written above, in my view, once you hit the ability to do 50 perfectly at one level, it is time to move to the next degree of difficulty.
There are lots of other threads about flexibility (and several about push-ups). Have a go at using the search tool, and see what you find. Then, if you have some specific questions, you can resuscitate the thread by asking them there!
10-14-2008, 09:54 AM
Fair enough. Oh, the dreaded search-comment :P
I had some idea that i might have had to do the wall pushups several times a day - i was almsot ready to do that :P
10-14-2008, 03:12 PM
The only advice I have re push ups is follow seienchins' post, it's spot on.
Re flexibility, this is a different matter, I don't mean to sound preach but stick with the basic stretches that you do in the dojo and just do them more often, everyday if you have time, dynamic ones are better for increasing your kicking ability (Ke-Age kicks) but again build up to them - foremost is to enjoy your karate. Try and find things that you do well and appreciate them, focus on them, then work on the things that don't come so naturally - if you focus on the things you don't find natural too early you may feel like your not moving forward which could lead to disappointment.
11-10-2008, 04:15 PM
I can't give you much more than these guys already have in terms of training, good stuff. And you obviously don't need motivational advice, you're clearly highly motivated already. But nonetheless, allow me to add my two cents.
What I can tell you is that this thread caught my attention because when I started training in Goju Ryu a few years back I was 70 pounds over weight. The first week I tore an abdominal muscle clean off the bone from throwing so much wieght around in class, break falls and such. Doctor couldn't believe it, what was I thinking pushing so hard right out of the gate. I was a mess.
But I got back at it and was patient, took a year to get down to 180 and 11% BF. I learned four things.
First, that these 12 week programs are nonsense, you have to be more patient than that, could take up to a year. And there will be multiple plateaus along the way. But it will happen if you are patient.
Second, that nutrition is where the hardcore training really happens. In my opinion, sometimes the hour and half training session is easy comparted to the next 24 hours of practiciing disciplined nutrition. But most of your fitness progress will be outside the dojo. My key factor was my nutrition journal, wrote down every calorie for months until I was confident I had nutrition under control, and actually knew how to manage calories.
Third, not to underestimate what you can achieve with patience. I figured I just would never be as quick or strong as some of the other students. I couldn't believe it when my initial discipline turned into habit and before I knew it I was the most fit in the dojo by far. So never succomb to the "unfit is my destiny" mental block that can creap in when you hit a plateau.
Fourth, there is a compounding benefits aspect to training that didn't become obvious to me until some time after I started. You already alluded to this a bit. But in other words, as you get lighter you don't need as much strength to keep up with the pushup routine, moving less weight. And your flexibilty gains speed up because the muscles are not moving as much weight when kicking. Technqiue just gets sharper automatically to some degree.
Best of luck. Osu
11-16-2008, 07:16 AM
Websites like *(google 'fitday') will help you learn what foods you should be eating, and can keep a diary for you aswell.
If you already know what your calorie and fat/carb/protein intakes should be then
(google calorie king) is also good for checking the stats for various foods.
* I can't post links sorry
11-26-2008, 09:58 AM
Just wanted to give you a general update since my original post. Just in the last month, ive felt a great increase in my own physique. Im still struggling with pushups, but where i couldnt do a single one on the floor to begin with (because of my weigh i suppose), i can now be in push-up state and do several halfbends. I can feel how my arms are getting stronger so its all great. Im not looking for the "quick fix" - i know as well as any that its a fight in itself to get fit, so im just taking it one day at a time.
In terms of flexibility, ive seen a great improvement here aswell. My height has increased *normally*, without me destroying my legs just to get higher. I can actually do a reasonable front kick (dont expect me to use japanese terms yet :P) to my own face hight, and ive gotten some great tips from my instructors aswell.
So overall, im very gratefull for your tips, and i see this moving along.
Ps. A benefit from walking around with this weight on me for so long seems to have done wonders for my leg muscles. It quite good at catching techniques, and going from the things i hear, im producing some quite powerfull roundhouse kicks ^^