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Martial Artist: Increase Anaerobic Threshold? Increase Kicking Power?
I'm 16 years old, male. I have no injury history, unless you count cuts and bruises. My current training consists of 2 martial arts classes per week. I also train 5 days a week on a two one, 1 off program that stresses weight training, heavy bag, jogging, and other forms of conditioning. I've been training for 3 years, and have just received my brown belt about a month and a half ago. I probably have about 17 percent bodyfat. Here are my goals:
1) I would like to increase my anaerobic threshold. I jog a lot, but I still get winded in sparring. I need to know how I can increase my anaerobic threshold as well as maintain or improve my aerobic capacity.
2) I want to increase my kicking power. My upper body is weak, but my punch power is really good. My lower body is really strong, but my kicking power is weak. Why is this, and what can I do to increase my power?
3) I would also like to lose a bit of bodyfat, but I hate dieting. I know all about the protein, calories, carbs, and fat stuff. If there is any way I can lose a few extra pounds then it would be great, but my training should come first. I'm also a vegetarian.
Being a martial arts athlete is tough because many of the athletes are forced into traditional methods of conditioning versus scientific methods. Most rounds in all combative sports go no longer than three minutes. This means you should rely mostly on anaerobic training and conditioning and very little to aerobic. I can't think of any fight I have ever seen where the bout was low intensity and long duration such as the training in jogging.
One of my favorite ways of improving anaerobic conditioning is using density training. The whole premise of density training is to accomplish more work in the same or less amount of time. For example, a great exercise is the dumbbell (or kettlebell) swing or one-arm snatch. (View kettleball exercises here.) This is a great exercise for martial artists because of the powerful hip drive that is used. There are two different ways of using density training.
1. Select a number of repetitions (i.e. 100) and give yourself a set time frame (15 minutes). In your first workout time how long it takes for you to complete the 100 repetitions, then every workout try to reduce the time it takes to perform the 100 repetitions. Once you get to a low number (i.e. about 5 minutes) then move up in weight.
2. Select a standard weight (i.e. 60 pound dumbbell) and give yourself the same 15 minutes. This time, go for the whole 15 minutes and see how many repetitions you can achieve. Every workout try to improve the number of repetitions. When you are able to increase the number of repetitions by 15%, increase the weight. Recently while attending a seminar I was able to perform 170 repetitions of one-arm dumbbell snatches with a 70 pound dumbbell in 15 minutes. Definately a great conditioning tool!
If you lack power, chances are you need to improve your speed-strength. This means you may be strong, but are unable to translate that force in the appropriate amount of time. In this case you would want to focus on lifts that are outlined in my "Weightlifting 101" series. These explosive lifts will definately help your overall speed and power.
You say you know about carbs, fats, and proteins, but you didn't say if you were following any set routine. Knowing is one thing, doing is another. I have outlined some general recommendations in my other Q & A posts so that should be helpful. I am curious, are you a vegetarian because of a political view or health? If it is health I would recommend you open your mind to the fact that those that do eat meat have been shown over and over to be healthier. If it is some political or religious view point then I would highly recommend you make protein powders a very special part of your diet as well as combining the right vegetable proteins.