Updated: Mar 20, 2020
Let us explore how to train these energy systems scientifically.
How does science define fitness? A simple definition is; "The amount of work a person/body can do within a given timeframe." Science has a specific definition of work. It is written as a formula:
Work = Force X Distance or W=FD.
This means that to do more work, you need to produce more force over a longer distance. So more force and more distance equals more work.
If we add a time element to the equation we get Power. The scientific formula for power:
Power = Work / Time or P=W/T
So if we produce more force, over a greater distance, in a shorter time frame, we do more work, which results in more power. If all of these elements improve, can we say fitness has improved? A basic example of these formulas in practice is; we perform 50 squats with no added weight in 2 minutes. We then train the necessary muscles and skills to improve squats for one month. We then perform 50 squats again in 1 minute and 45 seconds, but this time whilst holding a 20 kg weight.
Can we say our fitness has improved? The answer is yes. More work was done in a shorter period of time because we needed to produce more force to lift the heavier weight, as well as complete the squats in a faster time frame. The result is an improvement of power output. Which in return is greater/improved fitness.
So how can we answer the question “Is lifting weight for martial arts (or Wing Chun) worth it?”. Before we answer that question, we need to ask how do we know that our fitness has improved? We need to take a scientific approach once again, and measure work output. Measuring work-output for us is simply measuring exactly what was done in a training session and comparing these results time after time. Lifting weights allows us to accurately measure how much work has done in a given time frame (Power=Work x Time) so we can track whether or not our training is effective in improving our fitness.
Let us return to our initial question is lifting weights for Wing Chun (Martial Arts) worth it or wasteful? The answer is both. Lifting weights for the sake of lifting weights can be considered a waste. This means that when you train, it must be done correctly. Going "all-out" every training session will not be effective, and will not give you the desired outcome. It will only leave you with excessive fatigue, which can manifest, as “bulky and slow”.
However if lifting weights is structured into an intelligent fitness program using a range of multi-disciplinary movements/exercises (including lifting weights) performed at a prescribed intensity then training trigger the appropriate energy system development and neurological stimulus. In other words we become fitter.
Following scientific guidelines when designing training programs is critical to eliciting the desired outcome from training. We want to "Stimulate then Adapt", manipulate training variables (sets, repetitions, time, tempo, volume, etc.), and then repeat this process. This will enable optimal progression and development for an individual.
This leaves us with another question: What’s the best way to lift weights to get fitter? Get a quality coach or in other words a SiFu for your fitness training. They will be able to analyse your needs correctly and prescribe the correct training program.
However, here are some example exercises that could give you some ideas on your next fitness training session:
Fitness is an integral part of martial arts. By using a scientific approach to fitness, we can select the most effective methods and tools to improve of fitness. Weights are one of the best tools to improve fitness. There are hundreds of variations in exercises using weights we can choose from. In the next edition of this article we will explore how we can choose the most effective exercises to maximize our fitness for martial arts. In summary, weights and Wing Chun, is it worth it? Yes, it is.
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