T Nation

Starting Strength and Martial Arts Training


#1

Hey guys, so I've been doing the Starting Strength program for some months now. So far, in terms of my overall progress, I have been making very significant progress in all of the main lifts (except for the bench press for some reason). Also, I have been concurrently training in my martial art, called Hapkido, which pretty trains my entire body.

Though, the problem I've been having recently is that my martial arts training seems to be compromising my strength training to a degree. For example, just two days ago I did a Starting Strength lifting session, and the day before that I did a martial arts workout. During that weight training session, I ended up missing on all of my sets on all of my main lifts. I attributed this to be that most of my muscles throughout my body, especially my back and core muscles were already fatigued and sore to begin with from having taken that Hapkido class the day before.

In fact, when I was deadlifting 345 lbs. on that day I was so close to completing five solid reps that on the 5th rep I was able to get the bar to pass up right above my knees, but ultimately I failed to lockout or finish that last rep. Usually each of the workouts during each Hapkido class I go to are very cardio intensive and last about 30-45 min. per session.

Additionally, I typically go to my martial arts class twice a week. Therefore, because the Starting Strength program has me weightlifting every other day, for three times a week, I find it difficult for me to optimally schedule both my weightlifting and martial arts training sessions for each week. How can I rearrange my workouts sessions better?


#2

hapkido, has nothing to do with brute strength.

strength has very little to do with any martial arts, really.


#3

Hapkido the day before should not effect a lifting session. I don’t know how intensive your instructor is, but I took Hapkido in college and would lift 2 hours later and I was fine. Hapkido shouldn’t be any different from doing HIT or a cardio session on off days, which many people here do with no problem. Have you just started lifting? Did this loss in strength just happen once? Maybe it was just a bad workout.

How long is “some months?” When doing a new program there is a time of neural adaption where you progress steadily, then you adapt neurally and your progress appears to stall, but you should push through and you should see strength increase. If you’ve been on the program a long time however, it might be that you need a new program.

Also ensure that your protein is optimal and you are using proper peri wo nutrition (Plazma). You should not have any trouble recovering from Hapkido.


#4

You can’t. You’re a lanky dude how’s made decent progress for his weight in terms of strength and you expect us to give you a magic bullet. There is none. Be more patient, eat more, try less frequency (or not, that could go either way). But most importantly, eat and be patient.


#5

I think what he means Jarvan is that his Hapkido classes include a conditioning component which is causing him to not be able to properly recover in time for his next SS session; not that the art of Hapkido is interfering with his strength gains.

OP, my suggestion would be to either:

  1. put the strength goals on the back burner and instead just focus on your conditioning right now. Once you no longer are getting smoked and are no longer hella sore from your Hapkido classes, then slowly start introducing strength training back into the mix. SS may prove to still be too aggressive of a program for you (progression and frequency wise) and you may find that something like 5/3/1 (which several people on this board seem to have good success with) done twice a week would be a better choice. Or, you may find that SS works just fine and you can have at it.

  2. eat and sleep like it’s your job, stretch and do soft tissue work every day, be willing to be slightly flexible with your SS scheduling, and Deload every 4 weeks while still trying to hit the Hapikdo conditioning and strength training goals equally hard. Like was said above, this will put lots of strain on your recovery systems and body, so you will need lots and lots of nutritious food, good sleep, good recovery modalities, and perseverance/mental toughness to continue burning the candle from both ends. You will also need scheduled “breaks/periods of lower intensity” to avoid mental and physical burnout and stave off overuse injuries (hence the scheduled Deloads).

Hope this helps.


#6

[quote]Sentoguy wrote:
I think what he means Jarvan is that his Hapkido classes include a conditioning component which is causing him to not be able to properly recover in time for his next SS session; not that the art of Hapkido is interfering with his strength gains.

OP, my suggestion would be to either:

  1. put the strength goals on the back burner and instead just focus on your conditioning right now. Once you no longer are getting smoked and are no longer hella sore from your Hapkido classes, then slowly start introducing strength training back into the mix. SS may prove to still be too aggressive of a program for you (progression and frequency wise) and you may find that something like 5/3/1 (which several people on this board seem to have good success with) done twice a week would be a better choice. Or, you may find that SS works just fine and you can have at it.

  2. eat and sleep like it’s your job, stretch and do soft tissue work every day, be willing to be slightly flexible with your SS scheduling, and Deload every 4 weeks while still trying to hit the Hapikdo conditioning and strength training goals equally hard. Like was said above, this will put lots of strain on your recovery systems and body, so you will need lots and lots of nutritious food, good sleep, good recovery modalities, and perseverance/mental toughness to continue burning the candle from both ends. You will also need scheduled “breaks/periods of lower intensity” to avoid mental and physical burnout and stave off overuse injuries (hence the scheduled Deloads).

Hope this helps.[/quote]

OP,

I would like to second all of this and give the following addition.

I like Starting Strength a lot as a “first program”. It allows someone to put weight on the bar at just about the fastest rate possible when they are completely new and if they pay attention to form/follow the written and video ques given by Rippetoe they also “burn in” form on the big lifts. This form lets them move on to other program/loading schedules with far less risk of injury.

I don’t know how long you have been on SS, or what your strenght and body weight gains have been. At some point gains taper off with SS. They are supposed to. At that point you are supposed to take the form and strength gains(and knowledge of having an actual working “max” on the big lifts) and go to a different program. Rippetoe has Texas Method, Joe DeFranco has his Westside for Skinny Bastards, and Wendler has 5/3/1. All 3 of those programs can be done 3 times a week. DeFranco and Wendler also have 2 X a week programming that allows conditioning and skill work. IF you want to focus more on hypertrophy there may be some good bodybuilding(ish) splits for 3X weekly also. I don’t know what would be preffered there.

Depending on your age, genetics, diet, ect SS may peter out sooner rather than later. That is not a bad thing. If you are stronger, used to training, enjoy seeing improvements in strength and physique, and have form that isn’t an injury waiting to happen the program has done its job.

All of the above programs have articles on this very site.

Regards,

Robert A


#7

[quote]Jarvan wrote:
hapkido, has nothing to do with brute strength.

strength has very little to do with any martial arts, really.[/quote]

I disagree with this strongly.

Was this baiting, incomplete, or your honest opinion? I am having a bit of trouble reconciling this statement with someone who trains in a martial art or combat sport. Or perhaps we have different definitions of strength.

Regards,

Robert A


#8

I think he meant to say that the real attribute behind martial arts is timing, leverage, etc. You can easily get knocked out my a bantam weight scrub if he knows how to play angles and timing, etc.

At least, that’s what I hope he means.


#9

While I totally agree with you about the benefits of timing and leverage Blaze, but it’s a myth that things like strength, speed, and size can’t be equally important to the effectiveness of Martial Arts. Little people like to sell people on the idea that size and strength don’t matter, but the truth is that they do. One of the things that MMA (and sports like boxing, wrestling, Judo, Biathelon, and individuals like Bruce Lee) has highlighted is the fact that the Martial Arts is an athletic endeavor and not some magic skill set that allows individuals to defy the laws of performance and physics like many Martial Artists had claimed prior to the MMA movement (and sadly some even still continue to do to this day).

That doesn’t mean that the bigger stronger person will always win of course, and things like weapons and/or the element of surprise can definitely change things dramatically from what would happen in the ring; but it’s foolish to discount the legitimate advantage that being bigger and stronger can play. And of course, just like a “rock, paper, scissors” game, it’s possible to defeat say superior strength with superior speed, or superior technique with superior endurance and durability, etc… So no one attribute will always spell victory, but they can all play a role in victory.


#10

[quote]Sentoguy wrote:
While I totally agree with you about the benefits of timing and leverage Blaze, but it’s a myth that things like strength, speed, and size can’t be equally important to the effectiveness of Martial Arts. Little people like to sell people on the idea that size and strength don’t matter, but the truth is that they do. One of the things that MMA (and sports like boxing, wrestling, Judo, Biathelon, and individuals like Bruce Lee) has highlighted is the fact that the Martial Arts is an athletic endeavor and not some magic skill set that allows individuals to defy the laws of performance and physics like many Martial Artists had claimed prior to the MMA movement (and sadly some even still continue to do to this day).

That doesn’t mean that the bigger stronger person will always win of course, and things like weapons and/or the element of surprise can definitely change things dramatically from what would happen in the ring; but it’s foolish to discount the legitimate advantage that being bigger and stronger can play. And of course, just like a “rock, paper, scissors” game, it’s possible to defeat say superior strength with superior speed, or superior technique with superior endurance and durability, etc… So no one attribute will always spell victory, but they can all play a role in victory.

[/quote]

I’ve always thought that it really depends on the specifics of each situation.

For instance, in a boxing match, the weight you can lift is going to be more or less useless. Some fighters lift, most don’t, and you’ll never find a correlation between the guys who can hit the hardest and lift the most, because it’s just not there. So the “strength,” in that sense, is going to come from endurance - you can outwork the other guy by keeping up your pace for a longer period of time than he can.

In any sort of grappling art, I think it’s the opposite. Real, solid strength is a boon to you once you’re at that range, and I think it’s foolish for someone to neglect that area.

As far as street defense goes, the biggest benefit will be the intimidation factor… you’re just less likely to be a target if you’re thicker. That might end up keeping you out of a lot of trouble and save your life without you even knowing it. There’s a lot to be said for not “looking like a target.”


#11

[quote]legendaryblaze wrote:
I think he meant to say that the real attribute behind martial arts is timing, leverage, etc. You can easily get knocked out my a bantam weight scrub if he knows how to play angles and timing, etc.

At least, that’s what I hope he means. [/quote]

First,

I think by now I owe you a belated congratulations on finishing your engineering degree? I hope that is going well.

Second,

I follow what you are saying, though I think of it in terms that skill(technique, tactics, ect.) and physicality(strength, speed, endurance, explosiveness, ect.) sort of compensate for one another. One lets you get it done with less, the other gives you more to get the job done with.

Regards,

Robert A


#12

[quote]Sentoguy wrote:
While I totally agree with you about the benefits of timing and leverage Blaze, but it’s a myth that things like strength, speed, and size can’t be equally important to the effectiveness of Martial Arts. Little people like to sell people on the idea that size and strength don’t matter, but the truth is that they do. One of the things that MMA (and sports like boxing, wrestling, Judo, Biathelon, and individuals like Bruce Lee) has highlighted is the fact that the Martial Arts is an athletic endeavor and not some magic skill set that allows individuals to defy the laws of performance and physics like many Martial Artists had claimed prior to the MMA movement (and sadly some even still continue to do to this day).

That doesn’t mean that the bigger stronger person will always win of course, and things like weapons and/or the element of surprise can definitely change things dramatically from what would happen in the ring; but it’s foolish to discount the legitimate advantage that being bigger and stronger can play. And of course, just like a “rock, paper, scissors” game, it’s possible to defeat say superior strength with superior speed, or superior technique with superior endurance and durability, etc… So no one attribute will always spell victory, but they can all play a role in victory.

[/quote]

Stongly agree, no surprise there.

I will say that to a certain extent if you are small, and not training for something with weight classes, then you need to really, really pay attention to being skilled. Not as an excuse to short physical training, but because the chances of you being able to muscle out of things is just too low. So, I think emphasis met “selling point” and a bunch of folks jumped into a rabbit hole.

Regards,

Robert A


#13

[quote]FightinIrish26 wrote:
I’ve always thought that it really depends on the specifics of each situation.

For instance, in a boxing match, the weight you can lift is going to be more or less useless. Some fighters lift, most don’t, and you’ll never find a correlation between the guys who can hit the hardest and lift the most, because it’s just not there. So the “strength,” in that sense, is going to come from endurance - you can outwork the other guy by keeping up your pace for a longer period of time than he can.

In any sort of grappling art, I think it’s the opposite. Real, solid strength is a boon to you once you’re at that range, and I think it’s foolish for someone to neglect that area.

As far as street defense goes, the biggest benefit will be the intimidation factor… you’re just less likely to be a target if you’re thicker. That might end up keeping you out of a lot of trouble and save your life without you even knowing it. There’s a lot to be said for not “looking like a target.”[/quote]

I pretty much agree with this. I will say that “lifting strength” might not equal all “strength” in a lot of ways though. I have never met a good boxer who was “weak as hell”. Even the ones who never fucking lifted were at least blue collar/farm boy strong. They had grip strength and could do pushups and pullups for days. I have also seen a couple of folks who started lifting and no bullshit went from not being able to crack an egg to “punching their weight”. Now, they weren’t suddenly George Foreman, but no longer being sedentary student/desk job weak made the technique they were training matter.

The “old” men (boxers, karateka, ect.) who can still beat someone onto queer street that I have met/trained with were all very strong/powerful when they were younger and developing their skills. Not necessarily weightroom strong, but strong.

Does this line up with what you have seen?

Regards,

Robert A


#14

[quote]Robert A wrote:

I pretty much agree with this. I will say that “lifting strength” might not equal all “strength” in a lot of ways though. I have never met a good boxer who was “weak as hell”. Even the ones who never fucking lifted were at least blue collar/farm boy strong. They had grip strength and could do pushups and pullups for days. I have also seen a couple of folks who started lifting and no bullshit went from not being able to crack an egg to “punching their weight”. Now, they weren’t suddenly George Foreman, but no longer being sedentary student/desk job weak made the technique they were training matter.

The “old” men (boxers, karateka, ect.) who can still beat someone onto queer street that I have met/trained with were all very strong/powerful when they were younger and developing their skills. Not necessarily weightroom strong, but strong.

Does this line up with what you have seen?

Regards,

Robert A[/quote]

Of course. Absolutely. And I’m not saying that fighters aren’t strong - they are, but more in the strength endurance way. They can, as you said, do pushups for days, or pullups by the dozens, and the explosive training they get doing sport specific drills definitely imparts a certain amount of muscle.

I’m just referring to straight lifting programs, like starting strength or - even though I love it - 5/3/1. They’re great programs, of course, but for boxing, I’ll be the first to admit that they’re really not necessary.

There’s absolutely a component of strength that’s necessary for the sport, but you’ll likely reach the appropriate level just by doing what your coach tells you too.


#15

While I definitely agree with you about the strength endurance point Irish, I must admit that the hardest punchers that I have ever met were also very strong (both in the weight room and on the mat). My instructor’s father for instance could single arm curl his bodyweight (196 lbs) in his prime and was only 6 lbs off of the World Record for the squat (in a sanctioned meet), he also tore his right bicep beating the man who eventually took 2nd in the World’s in Arm Wrestling (and therefore was unable to continue, which is why the other guy wound up placing 2nd), could clear 7 feet jumping (just tucking his knees up to his chest, not doing the “flop”), could hold his breath under water for ridiculous amounts of times, do any trick drive in the book, throw any object you handed him with deadeye aim (and “stick” any sharp object from just about any range), hand World class quick drawing speed and accuracy with a pistol, and was sparring with World Champion Boxers from the time he was 15. In other words, the truly hardest hitters are generally predisposed to being powerful and athletic beasts. Of course, this also lends some credibility to the notion that great punchers are born, and no matter how much any of the rest of is trained we could never match such freak athletes physically.

That said, I think that any athlete would do well to at least do some form of strength training and (all things being equal, which I am aware that they seldom are), could benefit from increased strength. I think the problem comes when people either put too much emphasis on their strength training at the expense of their skill training, or don’t strength train appropriately for their desired application.


#16

[quote]Sentoguy wrote:
While I definitely agree with you about the strength endurance point Irish, I must admit that the hardest punchers that I have ever met were also very strong (both in the weight room and on the mat). My instructor’s father for instance could single arm curl his bodyweight (196 lbs) in his prime and was only 6 lbs off of the World Record for the squat (in a sanctioned meet), he also tore his right bicep beating the man who eventually took 2nd in the World’s in Arm Wrestling (and therefore was unable to continue, which is why the other guy wound up placing 2nd), could clear 7 feet jumping (just tucking his knees up to his chest, not doing the “flop”), could hold his breath under water for ridiculous amounts of times, do any trick drive in the book, throw any object you handed him with deadeye aim (and “stick” any sharp object from just about any range), hand World class quick drawing speed and accuracy with a pistol, and was sparring with World Champion Boxers from the time he was 15. In other words, the truly hardest hitters are generally predisposed to being powerful and athletic beasts. Of course, this also lends some credibility to the notion that great punchers are born, and no matter how much any of the rest of is trained we could never match such freak athletes physically.

That said, I think that any athlete would do well to at least do some form of strength training and (all things being equal, which I am aware that they seldom are), could benefit from increased strength. I think the problem comes when people either put too much emphasis on their strength training at the expense of their skill training, or don’t strength train appropriately for their desired application.[/quote]

Haha sounds like you’re dealing with an odd case right there man… rarely do you get that sort of mix out of one person!

But I know what you’re saying and I do agree, especially at higher levels, even for boxing - doing some maximal effort lifts in a couple sessions a week will help, and it’s not going to take huge chunks of training time out. I’m just saying more for guys who are just starting out and have, let’s say, less than three or four years of consistent training under their belts … those guys should probably be worrying totally about skills and conditioning. Past that point though, once those skills are burned into your neural pathways, lifting can only help.

And again I agree with you - I think lots of guys lift for totally the wrong reasons. They’re boxers on high-volume bodybuilding programs and they end up looking like Jeff Lacy … but fighting like him too. Which is the problem.


#17

[quote]Sentoguy wrote:
While I definitely agree with you about the strength endurance point Irish, I must admit that the hardest punchers that I have ever met were also very strong (both in the weight room and on the mat). My instructor’s father for instance could single arm curl his bodyweight (196 lbs) in his prime and was only 6 lbs off of the World Record for the squat (in a sanctioned meet), he also tore his right bicep beating the man who eventually took 2nd in the World’s in Arm Wrestling (and therefore was unable to continue, which is why the other guy wound up placing 2nd), could clear 7 feet jumping (just tucking his knees up to his chest, not doing the “flop”), could hold his breath under water for ridiculous amounts of times, do any trick drive in the book, throw any object you handed him with deadeye aim (and “stick” any sharp object from just about any range), hand World class quick drawing speed and accuracy with a pistol, and was sparring with World Champion Boxers from the time he was 15. In other words, the truly hardest hitters are generally predisposed to being powerful and athletic beasts. Of course, this also lends some credibility to the notion that great punchers are born, and no matter how much any of the rest of is trained we could never match such freak athletes physically.
[/quote]

You sure your instructor’s father wasn’t secretly a vigilante who spent his nights beating criminals to a pulp with his bare hands?


#18

From Sento:

“That said, I think that any athlete would do well to at least do some form of strength training and (all things being equal, which I am aware that they seldom are), could benefit from increased strength. I think the problem comes when people either put too much emphasis on their strength training at the expense of their skill training, or don’t strength train appropriately for their desired application”

Totally agree with this statement, IMHO, the OP should decide which is more useful in his life, Hapkido or weight training. What skills do you need in life? Decide and then pick one as a primary and the other as supplementation.


#19

[quote]magick wrote:

[quote]Sentoguy wrote:
While I definitely agree with you about the strength endurance point Irish, I must admit that the hardest punchers that I have ever met were also very strong (both in the weight room and on the mat). My instructor’s father for instance could single arm curl his bodyweight (196 lbs) in his prime and was only 6 lbs off of the World Record for the squat (in a sanctioned meet), he also tore his right bicep beating the man who eventually took 2nd in the World’s in Arm Wrestling (and therefore was unable to continue, which is why the other guy wound up placing 2nd), could clear 7 feet jumping (just tucking his knees up to his chest, not doing the “flop”), could hold his breath under water for ridiculous amounts of times, do any trick drive in the book, throw any object you handed him with deadeye aim (and “stick” any sharp object from just about any range), hand World class quick drawing speed and accuracy with a pistol, and was sparring with World Champion Boxers from the time he was 15. In other words, the truly hardest hitters are generally predisposed to being powerful and athletic beasts. Of course, this also lends some credibility to the notion that great punchers are born, and no matter how much any of the rest of is trained we could never match such freak athletes physically.
[/quote]

You sure your instructor’s father wasn’t secretly a vigilante who spent his nights beating criminals to a pulp with his bare hands?[/quote]

Haha, well truth be told he did spend many of his nights beating bars full of biker gangs to a pulp (single handedly), many of whom may have engaged in criminal activity, and he was a bouncer, so you may be partly right. :wink: He is also the most street smart person I have ever met and also one of the best primaries survivalists that I’ve ever met, so he definitely could be the caped crusader. Due to his temper and ruthless mindset/approach to combat though, I’d say he would be more Azrael than Bruce Wayne.


#20

[quote]Sentoguy wrote:
Haha, well truth be told he did spend many of his nights beating bars full of biker gangs to a pulp (single handedly), many of whom may have engaged in criminal activity, and he was a bouncer, so you may be partly right. :wink: He is also the most street smart person I have ever met and also one of the best primaries survivalists that I’ve ever met, so he definitely could be the caped crusader. Due to his temper and ruthless mindset/approach to combat though, I’d say he would be more Azrael than Bruce Wayne.
[/quote]

Seriously, the man sounds like a true bad-ass.