I was curious if anyone had any comments regarding the issue of weightlifting and Aikido? When I was involved with Karate and Tae Kwon Do, we were always told to stay away from lifting weights. The reason being that it would make our bodies unflexible and sluggish. Though studies have shown that weight lifting will increase your power (Obviously 8-)) and also improve overall performance in any type of activity. So, I was curious if anyone had any thoughts on how lifting weight would affect your Aikido techniques?
From: Fred Rachford
My karate sensei said the same thing; I ignored him but eventually age and injuries forced me to lay off heavy lifting. With 20 to 25 lbs less muscle on my upper body I became more concious of moving from my center and coordinating the whole body in punches, kicks and, taking up Aikido, in my throws. Building up your upper body raises your center of gravity and probably can not help stability. A general distribution of muscle padding does help protect you from impact, whether it be kicks and punches or high falls.
From: Doug Barnard
I'll second Tony's plug of lifting as a good extension to Aikido training. His procedure of medium weight, medium reps is a good one. I would add some light weight-long reps to the equation. Weightlifting can work opposing sets of muscles to the ones that you train Aikido with. For instance, your quadriceps can get very built up from taking nice, deep stances. If you don't also work the hamstrings, the imbalanced forces can pull your knee to pieces.
Tony was right on with the statement that overly bulked up muscles won't do your Aikido much good. Tight muscles can lead to injury. Stretching is a good thing! The more that you can cross-train, the more that your body will be prepared to receive the punishment that Aikido can dish out!
From: Vee Schade
Personally, I enjoy all manner of fitness activities, weight lifting is certainly among them. I've been weight training at least as long as I've been training in the martial arts and have yet to experience any negative effects from it on my karate performance. As a beginner in Aikido, I still have a tendancy to try muscling through a lot of techniques (especially suwari waza), but I think this is the natural tendancy of "most" beginners regardless of their physical condition. However, when I make a conscious effort to relax when I am reminded of my mistake, I think I am able to relax much easier than I would be if I had never weight trained or, at least, not very much. Afterall, weight lifting is as much about muscle control (including relaxation), and concentration as it is about the obvious strength, power, and endurance development.
> we were always told to stay away from lifting weights. The reason being > that it would make our bodies unflexible and sluggish. Though studies have
Hmmm... Bruce Lee was as avid a weight lifter (he *really* enjoyed bodybuilding), as he was a martial artist. I don't recall anyone ever commenting on how "unflexible and sluggish" he was! Actually, though, this is a valid concern. It's a matter of -how- you train. If you train with lots of heavy weights for the express purpose of bulking up and/or amassing strength, then you certainly run the risk of limiting your range of motion and inhibiting quickness. However, if one takes time to stretch completely after the weight lifting session the negative effects can be limited, if not counteracted. In fact, increased muscle size can be beneficial to flexibility since there is more available muscle to stretch through the desired range (imagine a large rubberband compared to a smaller one; which one can be stretched farther?), provided that time is taken to keep the muscle fibers from tightening-up. I prefer to work-out with moderate weight at medium rep levels (with a full stretch after each session, of course). I find this type of workout best improves my power and endurance levels while giving me a good muscle size, for flexibility, without being "bulky."
> shown that weight lifting will increase your power (Obviously 8-)) and also
Being that "power" is essentially the product of "force" (strength) and "speed" (reflexive quickness), weight training can most definitely help here.
> improve overall performance in any type of activity. So, I was curious if > anyone had any thoughts on how lifting weight would affect your Aikido > techniques?
Probable: Better resistance to injury, quicker responses, better relaxation,
more powerful ate(mi)
Possible: Improved flexibility
From: BEN FLAUMENHAFT
In terms of musculature, weightlifting is pretty universally acknowledged to be an entirely good thing, provided it is done right. Combined with an adequate stretching program (which isn't really all that time-consuming), one can increase flexibility, decrease chance of injury, and, yes, increase strength.
In terms of speed, I'd be very surprised if anyone could provide evidence that a properly balanced weight workout could decrease speed. All the evidence I've seen (in other people, studies, and myself) indicates that lifting is entirely beneficial to Aikido practice.