Combining MA and Weights

Need some advice here, people… I’m 31, and have been doing resistance training of various kinds for 5 years, with decent results - could have been better, but I could never stick to any single mode of training for very long.

Recently I’ve been doing Hung Gar kung fu Monday and Wednesday. This is a kung fu style which stresses low stances and lots of isometric leg work (horse stance for time, etc) along with more typical MA fare - pushups, crunches and so on.

Now for the question: How can I integrate weights into my schedule without overtraining? I’m thinking of lifting once, MAYBE twice per week. What protocol could do the trick? Remember, I’ve got a job, got a wife, want to keep’em both… :wink:

Any and all help appreciated!


I know nothing of your weight schedule or any physical limitations you may have so I’ll keep it general.

  1. Emphasize recovery, work on your diet, quality rest and sleep, use every trick in the book, massage, contrast showers etc

  2. Your body is used to lifting weights so integrate the martial arts gradually into that. I was doing weights before starting MA’s and I found that I was slowly able to add one more MA sesh a week every few months up to my individual limit where over training kicked in. As your skill increases you will also find that you are able to produce more ‘power’ with less physical exertion. That is one of the ultimate aims of all MA’s (i’ve heard of).

  3. Once you have a rough idea how much of each you are able to do a week before over training sets in you can then start to break up your training. Concentrate on the weights for a few weeks dropping the number of MA sessions you do, say, a month and then swap over. This will also help prevent over training.

  4. Experiment with you weights programmes and switch up movements often. I was surprised, I thought that doing a classic bodybuilding split with only a couple of parts trained per sesh and only once a week would mean each had longer to recover. I assumed with all the other training I was doing that recovery would be slowed and this would be the best way. I was surprised however when I started to do 3xTBT a week. My body handled this much better. Experiment; see what?s best for you.

  5. LISTEN TO YOUR BODY. Learn how to spot the signs of over training (low sleep quality, high resting HR, lethargy etc) and if detected back off for at least a week. Look after you joints, you are only issued with one set of elbows, knees, vertebrae etc. Try not to train through injury (as is commonly by many sensei/sifu) or if you do work within your limitations ? this may also give you a greater understanding of the art.

These have helped me to the point where I am able to do 6 hours MA training and three weights sessions a week. Sure I find it difficult to put on muscle but that’s the decision I have made.

Finally I am probably preaching to the converted and you may have heard this clich?d phrase before but learning the martial arts is all about journey and not destination. Listen to your body and you should still be training intensely and regularly in thirty years time. Your bench and deads will probably suck by then but you will be a certified badass.

There was just a topic in the Strength Forum about this very thing. Check it out. My opinion is that you have to pick which you care more about-strength training or martials arts. Since its clear for you that martial arts should come first, I would definitely try to get 2 days a week strength training. And I would do heavy lifting with low volume to avoid soreness and keep you fresh. Personally I have mixed both for years and it isn’t easy. But basically if you get in some squats, deads, pullups, military presses, etc. and a lot of gripwork it will make a huge difference to your effectiveness. Before too long, the low stances,etc. won’t be taxing to you. But that is endurance, so I would spend my time in the weight room getting as strong as possible and your power will develop a lot faster. Think heavy, brief. Just my 2 cents.

Thanks, guys! That’s real solid advice!

I’ve been thinking of either doing a P2P-routine 4-5 days a week or an abbreviated full-body routine on Friday. I agree that low reps and heavy weights is probably the way to go.

I’m going to enjoy this!