Warmups And General Fitness

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Postby Ulrich von L...n » 25 Aug 2013 17:42

Hungarian Black Feder Studio ;-) presents its new initiative: Online HEMA.
The first short video is about warmup and strengthening the upper torso:
http://youtu.be/h_J7AUWlxIY
(English version)

http://youtu.be/6mVIg9a1lvY
(Hungarian version)

Source: http://kardazelet.blogspot.hu/
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Re:

Postby Steven H » 26 Aug 2013 03:20

Ulrich von L...n wrote:Hungarian Black Feder Studio ;-) presents its new initiative: Online HEMA.
The first short video is about warmup and strengthening the upper torso:
http://youtu.be/h_J7AUWlxIY
(English version)

http://youtu.be/6mVIg9a1lvY
(Hungarian version)

Source: http://kardazelet.blogspot.hu/

Those aren't good strengthening exercises. Anything you can do more than a dozen times in a row is too easy for strength gains.

Of course, strength is not the only important thing. And you are going to point out that it's general fitness instead. But when something is not strength training but gets called that I'm going to point out that error.

And strength training produces different useful adaptations than conditioning does. A complete program has both strength and conditioning. But calling a conditioning exercise a strength exercise just causes a person to skip the necessary strength training.

And the video shows dynamic stretching for the lower body but not the upper body. Why is that?
The dynamic stretches are better for all of joints than the static stretches shown for the upper body.

We have:
1. Errors in basic stretching
2. Confusing conditioning for strength
3. Upper body work that has only horizontal pushing with no pulling exercises

3 strikes against this source. And these are really basic errors.
I see no reason to think that they are well educated on the topic.
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Re: Warmups And General Fitness

Postby Steven H » 26 Aug 2013 03:25

HPFlashman wrote:Off course its not, its more of a general workable fitness thing, prepping and conditioning an untrained body for more specifically training tasks.

Strength training is part of "general workable fitness". I don't understand the logic underlying the belief that "general fitness" means conditioning but not strength training.

HPFlashman wrote:I do know that happy amateur lifters do sustain injuries by either doing stuff in bad form, lifting to much to soon or going for more advanced programs than they can handle, especially in an "uncontrolled" male environments such as the barrack/garrison weight rooms or for that matter, the "Iron gyms".
. . .
Training smart is whats about and of course lifting weights have its place in this, I really cant see not doing weights in a rounded training regime but taking it easy* and walking the long road towards better functioning shouldnt start (nor finish) in the weight room. I`m not mocking weights as a training tool, I hold it in quite high esteem but it shouldnt be hold forth as the only solution towards bettering functional fitness.

*easy as in accepting that it will take time getting fit and not trying to get gains by cutting corners. :)

Agreed on what it takes to succeed and the potential for error. Which is why I included a link to a beginner's guide.

HPFlashman wrote:Again, I accept that high volumes can lead to injuries but I cant really relate to that for the primary posters wish for higher physical functionality, we`re not discussing olympian level physical training here. :)

We aren't discussing Olympian training. We are discussing strength training's ability to reduce injury and improve physical functionality.

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Re: Warmups And General Fitness

Postby The Salmon Lord » 26 Aug 2013 16:09

Steven. A point I still dont get is why is strength so important? You are always admonishing us to be stronger but I dont see why this is so important compared, say to flexibility or speed which for me seem more important?
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Re: Warmups And General Fitness

Postby Steven H » 26 Aug 2013 16:56

The Salmon Lord wrote:Steven. A point I still dont get is why is strength so important? You are always admonishing us to be stronger but I dont see why this is so important compared, say to flexibility or speed which for me seem more important?

Okay, that's actually a good question.

Part of the answer lies in not ranking these different attributes. Instead I advocate for people to engage in a complete program. A complete program benefits the fighter, the athlete and general health and well-being.

5 Reasons
1. Strength improves a variety of general health outcomes. The ACSM recommends that essentially all people engage in (appropriate) strength training. The benefits of strength training are separate from the benefits of cardiovascular and neuromotor (balance and agility) training that are already common amongst HEMA people.
2. Strength reduces the likelihood of injury. More so than either cardiovascular and neuromotor training - although the neuromotor training is a good layer to add onto strength training. Strength training also improves recovery from muskuloskeletal injury.
3. Strength training improves the capacity for technical training. One of the factors which normally limits a persons training capacity is the number of repetitions in a row they can do before needing to rest. Strength training increases that number of reps. Strength training is not the only means of doing that. Obviously, volume of training increases that attribute as well, however, volume of training is not always sufficient, and even if it were, strength training increases the efficiency and rapidity of results.
4. Strength training increases the excitability of the neuromotor pathways from brain to muscle. This in turn increases motor learning. In other words, you will gain more from your technical training, time and effort, if your program includes strength training as a component.
5. Strength training is necessary for a person to reach their personal best. That is because a complete program is necessary for a person to reach their personal best. Strength training will increase acceleration and power. Both which will effect the outcome of a fight. They are clearly not the only aspects of who wins, but they do effect the outcome, so improving them allows a person to reach their personal best.

It is very important to note that reason #1 is good enough to stand alone. If I had no other reasons besides the general health reason I would still be just as confident about the importance of strength training. It is as much a public health PSA as a HEMA training PSA.

Each of these reasons is good enough on it's own. They're each strong enough in terms of both evidence and effect to stand alone. It depends on what matters to you - what motivates you.

These reasons are ranked from most important to least important. At least according to my personal feelings on the matter. Public health is #1. Ability to keep doing what you love is #2. Improvement in what you do are #3 and #4. Performance is #5. Although the last entry on the list is not unimportant to me. I think they are all important.

And their is another reason for my emphasis on strength training. And it's in two parts:
A) Many people understand the importance of cardiovascular, technical and neuromotor training already. But most people don't know about the importance of strength training as well.
B) Many people are not aware of what real strength training is. They think that conditioning work like 100 pushups or 200 squats is the same as strength. And it's not. So these people understand A but they aren't actually doing it.

Cheers,
Steven
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Postby Ulrich von L...n » 26 Aug 2013 18:42

Steven H wrote:Those aren't good strengthening exercises...

Steven,
How would you call the exercises shown in the video? Conditioning exercises?
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Re:

Postby Steven H » 26 Aug 2013 18:52

Ulrich von L...n wrote:
Steven H wrote:Those aren't good strengthening exercises...

Steven,
How would you call the exercises shown in the video? Conditioning exercises?

Correct. Any exercise that you can do more than a dozen times produces very little strength improvement. And it the long run, strength increases will plateau quickly and will not improve more.

And while conditioning is clearly important, it leaves the program incomplete, as I describe above.

Cheers,
Steven
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Postby Ulrich von L...n » 26 Aug 2013 19:25

OK, then I made a mistake by calling those exercises "strengthening". Mea clumpa, or rather culpa.
We have:
1. Errors in basic stretching
2. Confusing conditioning for strength
3. Upper body work that has only horizontal pushing with no pulling exercises

3 strikes against this source. And these are really basic errors.

Item 2: Clarified

Item 3: The whole video has been created to provide some training ideas for HEMA novices (mainly longsword fencers), and to show that you don't need expensive training gadgets to exercise on regular basis, let's say every morning: having nothing more than 6 square meters of space and approx. 20 minutes for training (this explains the lack of pulling exercises).
I think it is fair to tag this item as Clarified.

EDIT:
The first short video is about warmup and conditioning the upper body:
http://youtu.be/h_J7AUWlxIY
(English version)

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Re:

Postby Steven H » 26 Aug 2013 19:52

Ulrich von L...n wrote:
Item 3: The whole video has been created to provide some training ideas for HEMA novices (mainly longsword fencers), and to show that you don't need expensive training gadgets to exercise on regular basis, let's say every morning: having nothing more than 6 square meters of space and approx. 20 minutes for training (this explains the lack of pulling exercises).
I think it is fair to tag this item as Clarified.

While the objective of simple and minimal equipment for novices is a noble objective it has another problem. The lack of pulling exercises will cause problems for the person. For someone who has a desk job it will likely exacerbate the underlying negative aspects of having a desk job.

This makes the video bad advice.

An unbalanced training routine can cause joint and spine problems.
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Postby Ulrich von L...n » 27 Aug 2013 07:06

Steven H wrote:And the video shows dynamic stretching for the lower body but not the upper body. Why is that? The dynamic stretches are better for all of joints than the static stretches shown for the upper body.

Steven,
Some additional dynamic stretching for the upper body would - presumably - make this training routine a better idea. What kind of pulling exercises could you suggest as an improvement to this video?

Just another thing:
What do you think about static stretches at the end of a fencing / weightlifting (kettlebell) workout?

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Re: Warmups And General Fitness

Postby Dave B » 27 Aug 2013 09:35

Taking another tack, I've found running is excellent for general fitness. I took it up again after a long break (at least 12 years), and It's worked well for me. I've found it's improved my performance and recovery even very upper body stuff like grappling. I also found it very easy to fit into a very busy life without cutting into fencing time because I can do it straight from the house, and it doesn't take much time, and also because running is very habit forming. Once I made myself do 3 times a week for the first couple of weeks I actually wanted to do it, whereas I find it hard to be motivated to do other stuff solo.

I did the 'Couch to 5k' program, which is a very gentle start, getting you into good habits before it actually gets difficult. Since then I've stuck to running 5k, partly because I figure it's longer than a fencing bout, but not too much, partly because If I lay out my stuff ready to go I can get out of bed, dress, run5k and be back and in the shower in 30 minutes before work.

Oddly, although fencing is meant to be bad for the knees, it's helped my knee that was wrecked from fencing, presumably by tightening up the muscles that support the joint. I've been quite careful to have good trainers and to not go too hard on tarmac.
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Re: Warmups And General Fitness

Postby Alex B » 27 Aug 2013 10:39

You can do pulling exercises with a minimum of equipment. Something I've experimented with recently is to get two chairs and a staff. Put the staff on the two chairs, and then lie on the ground in between the chairs so that the staff is above you. Then grab the staff and use it to pull yourself up, bringing your chest to the staff. Wonderful exercise, and requires very little equipment.
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Re: Warmups And General Fitness

Postby Steven H » 28 Aug 2013 17:47

Dave B wrote:Taking another tack, I've found running is excellent for general fitness.

To reinforce my point about a complete program I'd like to point out that running is not a "general" fitness exercise. It is a cardiovascular exercise.

For fitness to be general it must comprise several distinct attributes - and running only improves one of those.

So please do running. Do sprinting, stairs, intervals etc.

But also do strength training.

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Postby Ulrich von L...n » 29 Aug 2013 16:51

Just two old questions.
Steven,
Some additional dynamic stretching for the upper body would - presumably - make this training routine a better idea.

What kind of pulling exercises could you suggest as an improvement to this video?

What do you think about static stretches at the end of a fencing / weightlifting (kettlebell) workout?
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Re:

Postby Steven H » 29 Aug 2013 18:44

Ulrich von L...n wrote:Just two old questions.
Some additional dynamic stretching for the upper body would - presumably - make this training routine a better idea.

What kind of pulling exercises could you suggest as an improvement to this video?

Alex B provided a good answer above. At least for an equipment minimal approach.
The next cheapest addition would be to get a pull-up bar. Possibly with some big resistance bands to do assisted pull-ups
If you have gym access (which starts at just $10 per month in the US), then you can do various rows and lat pulldown exercises.

Ulrich von L...n wrote:What do you think about static stretches at the end of a fencing / weightlifting (kettlebell) workout?

Static stretching is definitely good for after. And can be good for before the workout, however, before the workout it should be only short stretches i.e. less than 20 seconds.
Dynamic should definitely be the norm for before working out. And you can do static for particularly tight/achy muscles.

Afterwards, static stretching can function similarly to self-massage. And assists with the cool-down process.

As a side note: I don't recommend kettlebells.

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Re: Re:

Postby Ulrich von L...n » 30 Aug 2013 07:07

Steven,

Thanks.
Regarding pull-up equipment I'm not a big fan of minimalist approach. During one of my DIY projects I made a nice & stable indoor pull-up frame, probably five-six years ago.

Based on my own experience static stretching feels so good after a nice work, so I just wanted a confirmation from an expert. Recently I have added some additional static stretching exercises from a Heart Zone Training book on running, which was recently translated into Hungarian.

As a side note:
I understand your reservations about kettlebells, but:
a) they are really cheap, because you can make your own bells, using standard 2.5 and 5 kg dumbbell disks, some piping fittings and short threaded pipe sections from a local hardware store. Also this resolves the problem of variability, my homemade kettlebells were between 12 and 22.5 kg (12, 14.5, ~17, ~19, 22.5). Currently I am using a light one (14.5) for many years;

b) because of the good finish of water pipings callouses are not a big issue, you have some thicker skin over the most exposed areas, but nothing serious, and the regular application of moisturizing cream solves it;

c) as a sabreur I don't need too much strength to handle my weapons, and 1 (or rarely 2) kettlebell workouts fit quite nicely with 2-3 fencing workouts, giving me enough time for regeneration. Anyway, starting from October I will give a try to test how my body will react to specific strengthening program: only deadlift, bench press & squats with free weights. With these exercises I feel reasonably safe;

d) kettlebells are really good tools for indoor cardiovascular workout at home, especially during autumn & winter period, when running isn't so pleasant, also they do strengthen your joints, sinews etc., so provide you with kind of "wiry" strength, at least this is my observation. Also they aren't too bad for your body posture in general.

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Re: Re:

Postby Steven H » 03 Sep 2013 20:29

Ulrich von L...n wrote:As a side note:
I understand your reservations about kettlebells, but:
a) they are really cheap, because you can make your own bells, using standard 2.5 and 5 kg dumbbell disks, some piping fittings and short threaded pipe sections from a local hardware store. Also this resolves the problem of variability, my homemade kettlebells were between 12 and 22.5 kg (12, 14.5, ~17, ~19, 22.5). Currently I am using a light one (14.5) for many years;

b) because of the good finish of water pipings callouses are not a big issue, you have some thicker skin over the most exposed areas, but nothing serious, and the regular application of moisturizing cream solves it;

This is what I know as a T-handle and it certainly is preferable to a typical kettlebell for doing swings.

Ulrich von L...n wrote:c) as a sabreur I don't need too much strength to handle my weapons,

The kind of strength training I advocate is not for 'handling' the weapons - it is for acceleration, for exploding your arm forward, driven by your legs, to make your weapon hit sooner than your opponent can react.

Even with my broadsword, the strength training isn't about the endurance to handle the weapon - that's what volume of training is for.

Ulrich von L...n wrote:and 1 (or rarely 2) kettlebell workouts fit quite nicely with 2-3 fencing workouts, giving me enough time for regeneration. Anyway, starting from October I will give a try to test how my body will react to specific strengthening program: only deadlift, bench press & squats with free weights. With these exercises I feel reasonably safe;

I'm glad to have convinced someone to give it a go. Remember to start easy and to progress slowly.

Ulrich von L...n wrote:d) kettlebells are really good tools for indoor cardiovascular workout at home, especially during autumn & winter period, when running isn't so pleasant, also they do strengthen your joints, sinews etc., so provide you with kind of "wiry" strength, at least this is my observation. Also they aren't too bad for your body posture in general.

This thing about strengthening your sinews and joints and wiry strength is part of the advertising for kettlebells. The reality is that any strength training will reinforce the joints and tendons.
Wiry just means "without hypertrophy". It's strength, but it's not strength training for peak performance. The strength of an individual muscle is dependent on two factors only: 1) cross-sectional area, and; 2) the coordination of the neurons.
Overall strength involves coordinating more than one muscle at a time, of course, so full-body strength requires big, compound lifts, like the squat and deadlift; as well as technical training for structure and form.

It's important to keep in mind that a typical kettlebell routine is not strength training at all, since it is too light of a weight. Anything you can do more than a dozen times in a row is not strength training.

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Steven
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Re: Warmups And General Fitness

Postby HPFlashman » 08 Sep 2013 14:56

Steven H wrote:
HPFlashman wrote:Off course its not, its more of a general workable fitness thing, prepping and conditioning an untrained body for more specifically training tasks.

Strength training is part of "general workable fitness". I don't understand the logic underlying the belief that "general fitness" means conditioning but not strength training.


I think we`re talking past each other, somewhat.

To clarify, I dont believe general fitness can be obtained without strength training, just as I dont believe it can be reached with just doing strength training. Finding the optimum balance between these will push one further than singletracking either the strength or the conditioning but I do hold the belief that the couch potato would be better off doing conditioning iow cardio and bodyweight exercises as a starting off point from untrained and reach some sort of baseline healthiness/fitness/physical ability to walk a flight of stairs or two before starting with the iron.

A bit on my background (since I dont have a nice blog): I`ve reached this conclusion based on more than 26 years of military service in a leadership capacity on the operational side. For the most parts working with 12 month draft soldiers or Reserves. This, combined with a 1 year course at the Norwegian College of Sport Sciences, Mil faculty in training/athlete development management working with several Norwegian Olympian contestants including gold medalists have allowed me to reach my conclusion, as to conditioning before strength for the aspiring beginner, for the advanced beginner, weights should be utilised for the overall achivement benefits.
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Re: Warmups And General Fitness

Postby Steven H » 08 Sep 2013 16:49

The American College of Sports Medicine disagrees with you. Please understand that the recommendations I make are not just based on my personal experience. They are based on decades of professional research by exercise scientists all over the world. I have seen countless studies where deconditioned people, including populations like elderly folks over 70, have been started on strength training, with very good results.

HPFlashman wrote: better off doing conditioning iow cardio and bodyweight exercises as a starting off point from untrained and reach some sort of baseline healthiness/fitness/physical ability to walk a flight of stairs or two before starting with the iron.


Again, my question is: what is it about "baseline healthiness/fitness/physical ability . . ." that makes you define these characteristics as cardio/conditioning to the exclusion of strength (since you said to start with cardio and then add strength)?

Some reasons:
Strength training creates joint stability in a way that conditioning just can't. This leads to conditioning work being safer and less likely to cause pain or injury. Simply put, if you make a couch potato to Couch to 5k they are more likely to get injured in the process than if you teach them to lift weights.
Strength training (the upper body) increases capacity for technical training. Since almost all conditioning work is lower body specific this matters to HEMA people.
Strength training increases range of motion more than conditioning, which definitely matters to deconditioned people.
Structural loading training for the trunk muscles is more specific to HEMA than planks and similar exercises are. Structural loading is the way in which lifting heavy weights requires contraction of the "core" muscles to stiffen the torso. These positions and actions are more similar to fighting than bodyweight exercises for the core.

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Re: Warmups And General Fitness

Postby HPFlashman » 08 Sep 2013 18:23

Steven H wrote:Again, my question is: what is it about "baseline healthiness/fitness/physical ability . . ." that makes you define these characteristics as cardio/conditioning to the exclusion of strength (since you said to start with cardio and then add strength)?


If I understand your question correctly and I again have been somewhat unclear, I dont disregard strength training. I`ll try to exemplify what I mean with it:
If beginner A cant do a rotation of bodyweight exercises to the tune of getting conditoning as per your figure of more than 15 reps, he will be doing strength training for awhile untill he reaches more than 15 in regular BW sets.
Combining these strength exercises with aerobic exercises will contribute to general fitness and stamina. Keeping this training regime up into the conditioning levels will contribute further towards stamina but not so much towards strength.
Introducing equiment driven strength training at this point will be beneficial on several levels and the "symbiotic" fitness level will be increased.

My reason for not wanting to introduce a strength regime with iron on an earlier time has to do with a: having stamina enough to get trough a training pass. b: having a cardiosystem that works towards recuperating more swiftly and c: having had some exposure to physical education so as not to do damage,resisting peer pressure for going to heavy to soon and train smart.

I`ll give that I coming into this with a angle formed from training fellows in batches and to a defined minimum standard in a set time of three months and further enhancing the standard over the next 9 months.

I`m somewhat familiar with the older folks experiments and the finds are interesting, to say atleast. Even so, there are other considerations in that age segment, such as loss of bone density and (I think thats the word) and general wear and tear, which lend itselfs to weight training over aerobic exercises such as running that may, if I understand it correctly, may further the loss of bone density. :)
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Harry

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