A guide on ho​​​​w to get stronger than​ your opponent – Part 1

If you’ve asked me about strength training related to your karate performance 5 or 10 years ago, the answer would have been different than the one I share in this episode.

Today, this is my answer in a nutshell.

The questions I usually get are:

What are the right exercises?

How many repetitions should I do?

What is the correct load and intensity?

Should I prefer weights or body weight exercises?

Fast or slow execution?

How often?

In this episode, which is the first of the series of episodes that will follow, I cover some general aspects of strength training and information that will help you to structure a maximal strength training routine.

Strength is the ability of a muscle or muscle group to generate muscle force under specific conditions.

Maximal Strength is the ability of a muscle or a group of muscles to produce a maximal voluntary contraction in response to optimal motivation against an external load.

Before you even start constructing a strength plan there are things you should take into consideration.

Factors you need to be aware of when developing a strength program:

  • The type of strength required for your sport (karate);
  • The type of muscle contraction involved in the movement;
  • The rest period between repetitions;
  • The sequence of exercises;
  • The development of an optimal static and dynamic range of motion;
  • The training history of the individual;
  • The level of sports proficiency of the individual;

Factors limiting the strength production:

  • Neuromuscular efficiency
  • Biomechanical efficiency
  • Psychological factors
  • Pain and fear of pain
  • Injury and fear of injury
  • Fatigue

The eight types of strength athletes need according to Pavel Tsatsouline, Founder and Chairman of StrongFirst:

  1. Real Strength – get stronger than another karateka, not stronger than a bodybuilder;
  2. Safe Strenght – stay with exercises that are safe;
  3. Strength Skill – have control over your muscles;
  4. Easy Strength – you should become stronger without getting tired and sore;
  5. Slow Strength – this is important for developing dynamic strength later on;
  6. Dynamic Strength – plyometrics and power training;
  7. Symmetrical Strength – develop a balance between the left and the right side;
  8. Simple Strength – stick to a limited number of exercises that provide most benefits;

General Information for improving strength (max. strength)

  • Load (%1RM)                               80-100%
  • Repetitions per set                      1-5
  • Sets per exercise                         3-5
  • Rest between sets (min)             2-6
  • Set duration (sec per set)           5-10
  • Speed per rep (% fo max)          60-100
  • Training sessions per week       2-3

In the next episode, I will talk about the next step in constructing a strength program that is specifically focused on making you faster, quicker and more explosive. Exactly what you need in karate.

If you have any questions or anything you want me to cover in the next episode, related to strength training, please leave a comment.

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