As with all endeavours there are things to remember and there are things to avoid. The next two chapters are dedicated to these tangible and intangible points.
1) A lot of martial arts types use punching with weights as an exercise, believing it to increase punching power, such as punching with dumb-bells. It doesn't because:
• The main upper body muscles used in correct punching are oblique muscles, abdominals, pectorals and triceps. The anterior (front) deltoids are only used in a very minor way.
• When you punch with a weight, gravity tries to pull the weight down to the floor. This isn't in the line of the resistance used in punching technique.
• So punching with a weight is not to be advised because it will develop the wrong muscles.
2) Try not to overdevelop the latissimus dorsi (lats) and certainly do not become a 'lat spreader'; you'll have seen this pose in the muscle magazines and bodybuilding contests. It may look great on stage but it pushes the arms away from the sides of your body in an unnatural manner and this limits certain combative movement.
3) When training the thighs by doing leg presses, squats etc., try to keep the reps high as opposed to low, up to 20 reps. Martial artists use both dynamic (moving strength) and static power (stances). Heavy quads, as brought on by heavy leg training with low reps, may interfere with mobility.
4) Keep your weight training in context. The weights have a habit of seducing people away from their main aim, in this case, aiding our combat training. They become obsessed with size, strength and physique and the weight training becomes more important to them than the combat art that they are training in.
I have lost count of the number of people I know personally who have gone in to weight training for added strength or bodyweight and have become seduced, packing in their combat art in a bid to get big. Some, probably most, see big as synonymous with hard. Let me tell you that big is not in the biceps, it is in the mind. This is not to decry people that train with weights, I have a lot of admiration for anyone that trains, full stop, it is just to say that MASSIVE is a mental concept and not a physical one, so don't be seduced.
As a matter of fact, all the people that I know, with one exception, that left the martial arts for the weights, returned later when they realised the truth in what I have just said.
5) Don't become a 'water boy'. That is, don't take banned substances. There is obviously a lot of politics about the use of steroids and I don't want to go into that now. Only to say that steroids are detrimental to good health and people are dying through the misuse of them. Steroids are a banned substance from sport. If you use them you are cheating not only your art but also your body, and worst of all yourself. You can make excuses all day long about how steroids 'are all right in moderation' and how you are only going to take one course but at the end of the day they are unhealthy, so don't be a fool or a cheat. Stay natural. What we are training for is health; anything that detracts from that should be bypassed.
6) Don't become overconfident. I don't like to say it but, whilst training with the weights does develop confidence, this being a good thing, it is also a breeding ground for arrogance, a byproduct of overconfidence. Confidence and overconfidence are but a hair width apart. Overconfidence is a negative byproduct, sometimes of the weights but moreover of the steroids. Look out for it lest it creep up on you whilst you are unawares. Get strong - stay respectful.
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