Donnie Yen
Martial arts require diversified training. You can't just train explosive fast movements all the time. For example, jiu-jitsu and karate are not like sprinting. Sprinting is an explosive sport, whereas martial arts uses explosive techniques. Martial arts require you to develop them all, slow and fast-twitch muscle fibers and your aerobic and anaerobic system. Try these training programs to develop all the different muscle fibers and systems.

Fartlek Training

Fartlek combines interval and continuous training. It is a mixture of jogging and sprinting and even walking if you so choose. The great thing about Fartlek is you train every muscle fiber. For example, you can jog for about 3 minutes and then increase the pace for 10 to 20 seconds for many intervals, returning to your pace without stopping. This effectively trains both your anaerobic and aerobic systems.

You can jog, sprint, jog at whatever interval you want. It can be timed or spontaneous. I like to do both. Another way is, while running, speed up slow down every 3-5 seconds to work on explosiveness. What this does is develop the synchronization between your slow and fast-twitch fibers.

Fartlek can also be used in martial arts, not just running. For example, go hard for 5 seconds. And after 5 seconds, continue moving around at a lower intensity using your martial arts movement patterns for a few minutes. Finally, you can shadow train or train with a partner.

Fartlek Recovery

Firstly, timed intervals allow you to get proper recovery. And secondly, random intervals prepare you for the unpredictable, where recovery is not timed or regular. Try not to lock yourself into specific, predictable recovery times because recovery is not predictable in martial arts. Only when the match is over.

HIIT

HIIT is High-Intensity Interval Training that sustains an intensity of about 85% for 15 seconds and has a rest period.

Alternating between high-intensity exercises and rest periods spikes and relaxes your heart rate. As your heart rate goes up and down, you train your heart and strengthen the blood flow through your body.

The short, intense bursts from HIIT are great to maximize athletic performance or for general fitness.

HIIT is a great workout routine to build speed, muscle strength, and endurance and is excellent for losing weight.

How Does it Work?

There are many ways to structure HIIT and your exercise to rest ratio. Some people prefer 1:1 who are more trained. However, if you are new to HIIT, try a 1:2 or 1:3 ratio. The rest time depends on your current fitness level. So, matching your martial arts training and rest is best.

Sample Routine- 10-15 seconds at 85% - rest 10- 30 seconds

Kettlebell Swings- Rest

Plyo Push-ups - Rest

Squat Jumps with dumbbells - Rest

Squat Press- Rest

You can do three to four exercises and rest 2 minutes after as well.

HIIT doesn't have to be done every day. All you need is two or three sessions every week, and you're good to go. However, rest days are a must and every two days is perfect for allowing your body time to recover. Skipping the rest day can lead to overuse injuries and burnout, as well as doing too much HIIT.

Tabata’s Training

Tabata training requires you to train as fast as you can for 20 seconds. It is explosive. It can be 15 seconds too. Don't get stuck in parameters because each individual is different. If you can't do 20 seconds, do less time, or else it works against you. Do what works for you. The same goes with recovery starting at 10 seconds or more. Try to complete 3-4 minutes, working twenty seconds, and resting for 10 seconds. This is one set. You'll complete eight sets of each exercise. And the same as HIIT, just a few days a week is good.

You can do pretty much any exercise you wish. Again, you can do explosive martial arts techniques for 15-20 seconds, then rest for 10 seconds. You can do squats, push-ups, burpees, or other exercises that work for your large muscle groups. Kettlebell exercises work great.

Sample Routine -10-20 seconds as fast as you can- rest 10-20 seconds

Squat Jumps-Rest

Push-ups- Rest

Alternate Split Lunge- Rest

Pullups- Rest

Tabata's are great to access the higher muscular fast-twitch fibers. After you fatigue in 10 seconds, you will proceed to the fast-twitch intermediates.

These threes workouts are great to do once a week. For example, do HIIT on Monday, Fartlek Wednesday, and Tabata on Friday.

Training anaerobically will improve aerobically. However, strength training is a different animal that I will address in the following article. Stay tuned.

For more info on strength training check out my books.

THE BALANCED BODY

https://www.amazon.com/Balanced-Body-Train-Better-Injury/dp/1530569915

Or visit my Youtube channel, The Balance, for more techniques and information based on strength, nutrition, and health.

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