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Altaica
May 19th, 2009, 12:09 PM
This is on behalf of my husband, who has a number of questions. It is his post that he asked me to put here to anyone who might have good input on this.



I know swimming is a great cardio workout and a good all around workout, but is it a good Martial Arts workout for developing the kinda of muscles and conditioning you need for martial arts?

My wife is a swimmer and has gotten me into swimming now and I told her that I would give it a try for a few weeks and then see how to work it into a workout schedule. My wife wants to be a good swimmer, I don't want to be a good swimmer but I want to use swimming to improve my martial arts (if it can).

My fear is that the swimming is very time consuming and that while it will give me good cardio and good a good general workout I will be missing in some areas and need to supplement with other areas.

What I need specifically:
1) More endurance/stamina/cardio - a given for all athletes
2) More upper body explosive power. (I'm not strong in my upper body and need more work on chest and arm strength for power)
3) More leg work. I do Hapkido mixed in with Taekwondo, a lot of kicks and a lot strength needed in the hips/butt/thighs).

This is just targets, I know I need it all in measures. My concern is that a) swimming won't give me the fast twitch explosive power need for strikes and that b) swimming favors more upper body, which I need, but I will need to use other exercises (pushups, weight and resistance, etc...) to develop the explosive power needed and I won't be getting the leg work I need.

Top ranked swimmers have great bodies, but they get those bodies with dry land exercises in order to develop the bodies needed to be great swimmers. Home-run hitters work their timing, coordination, mechanics in the batting cage, but they get those muscles in the gym. I would love to say that swimming could be an all over workout for 5 hours a week, but I don't know if it will be the kind of workout I need, and I also don't know how I could tailor the swimming to get the kinda of workout I need, if possible.

SLOmmafan
May 19th, 2009, 12:26 PM
As a fan of mixed martial arts, I do know that many fighter incorporate swimming and aquatic exercise into their workout regiments. Locally, we have Chuck Liddell (former UFC champ) come swim at our pool leading up to some of his big fights. Granted, he tends to introduce swimming into his workout when injury or soreness keep him from other cardio exercise - but there is still value in swimming. I also know of a few Hawaiian fighters who carry rocks along the bottom of he ocean floor to develop thier lung power and overall fitness (not exactly part of the average swim work-out, but still related to water fitness).

Swimming can and does develop upper body strength as well as all around cardio fitness. Incorporating hand paddles or resistance band use into your swim can also be helpful. Swimming is more of a "lean muscle" sport, and you will notice that while swimmers can be in good shape they tend to not "bulk up" - with the exception of a few very large freestyle sprinters.

chaos
May 19th, 2009, 12:43 PM
i started swimming with a masters club 11 years ago because i was constantly getting injured from TKD and brazilian jiu jitsu. i don't think swimming can emulate anything like the explosive power of the kicking and hand striking of TKD or the sustained static efforts required in jiu jitsu.

having said that.... i think the strength and flexability training that most martial arts focus on are great cross training for swimming.

Altaica
May 19th, 2009, 03:31 PM
Thanks, SLOmmafan and chaos.

We are thinking that the swimming is good, and can be good, but needs to be in additon to a whole slew of other things. He's also biking some mornings (more good cardio, decent leg workout, but poor on the development of developing good speed for kicks), he's using resistance bands and doing other weight bearing strength training (squats and the like), jumping rope for speed. And hapkido practice at home with the kids.

I'm sure I've not even come close to covering what he is including.

This all outside of the Hapkido class, which itself is pretty low key on the workout end, and largely the technical portion of knowing the right way to execute the specific moves.

So we are beginning to suspect that given all of the time in the world to train, the swimming could be good, or even great. But the reality is, unless he can use it specifically to meet the goals, then he might have to use those six to eight hours a week on things that more efficiently cover the explosive power, and hip and leg strength.

We are definitely thinking the swimming would need to be tweaked, but wondering how much to tweak, and is it going to pay off for the amount of time per week that we would give it.

Thanks again.

Altaica

Thrashing Slug
May 19th, 2009, 07:48 PM
I don't want to be a good swimmer but I want to use swimming to improve my martial arts (if it can).

I find that attitude incomprehensible. Why swim if you don't want to be good at it. By good I don't necessarily mean fast, I just mean doing it properly. What did you mean?


If I were training primarily for martial arts I would use swimming for meditation, and as a recovery workout to loosen up and flush lactic acid. I say this as someone who has already learned the basics and can swim long distances without giving it my full conscious focus. Swimming is the perfect recovery workout to do after a harsh session of something else, as long as you're swimming at 75% effort or less. If you haven't mastered the basic swimming technique, then this is very difficult.

If you're just starting out then I recommend dedicating some serious time to swimming for pure technique work and stroke mastery, to get to the point where you can just relax and swim. You might try that in your off-season, then incorporate swimming later as a part of your regular training.

As far as explosive power, there are things you can do in the pool to train for that like all-out sprints, using paddles, fins, stretch cords, etc. I wouldn't recommend any of it though unless you're already a good swimmer. It's too easy to injure your shoulders with bad technique.

Grappledunk
May 21st, 2009, 07:51 PM
I've found swimming to be great cross training for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and vice versa. Admittedly, it's a very different style than TKD, but BJJ has improved my ability to sustain higher levels of effort for shorter periods, my explosive speed and reaction time, and my strength. On the other hand, swimming has improved my cardio for longer, sustained efforts, muscle endurance, and flexibility for BJJ.
I also use swimming to relax and loosen up after rolling hard. And I also agree that if you're going to swim, take the time to learn to do it right so you get the maximum amount of benefit from it.

aquageek
May 21st, 2009, 08:16 PM
I tell you this, next time I see wookie I'm gonna give him a good hung kung chop fooey due to his recent behavior.

ViveBene
May 21st, 2009, 08:30 PM
I know swimming is a great cardio workout and a good all around workout, but is it a good Martial Arts workout for developing the kinda of muscles and conditioning you need for martial arts?
...
What I need specifically:
1) More endurance/stamina/cardio - a given for all athletes
2) More upper body explosive power. (I'm not strong in my upper body and need more work on chest and arm strength for power)
3) More leg work. I do Hapkido mixed in with Taekwondo, a lot of kicks and a lot strength needed in the hips/butt/thighs).
...
I would love to say that swimming could be an all over workout for 5 hours a week, but I don't know if it will be the kind of workout I need, and I also don't know how I could tailor the swimming to get the kinda of workout I need, if possible.

www.crossfit.com (http://www.crossfit.com)
Lots of martial arts types there.

AFAIK, sport-specific movements target the muscles, etc., used in the sport. But swimming might be good to work the counteracting part: if martial arts work on contracting muscles, doing exercise that makes them long might give you a different kind of power. (This is not an exact physiological explanation, but I hope you get my drift.)

Fresnoid
May 21st, 2009, 11:27 PM
Swimming will not help your husband develop the speed of his individual techniques (kicks, strikes, etc.) Our shortest distance sprinters are still doing sustained activity for around 20 seconds. However, vigorous swimming will improve his overall strength and conditioning in a way that will help him train more effectively when he is doing martial arts.

Hapkido training probably focuses on one clash at a time; which moves, strikes or throws to do for one particular situation. Swimming would not make him better at it, but could help by enabling him to do more repetitions without exhausting himself.

TKD can vary quite a bit. If he is doing official TKD sparring (the kind done in the Olympics), swimming can help quite a bit. At the higher levels, physical conditioning is more important than the technique training. If he is doing traditional Poomsae (forms), swimming won't help that much since those are based on how accurately you match a standard set of movements. If he is doing a more open style of forms or even competing, swimming will help a lot due to the overall body conditioning.

Why do I pretend to be informed about martial arts? Because:

1) I manage this dojo: http://www.quansbushido-kai.com/

2) I'm not a Black Belt in karate ( I hated katas) but have done lots of Muay Thai kickboxing. Swimming strength and conditioning helps big time for that activity!!

3) My next door neighbor is the coach of the US TDK Poomsae team (Misha Thackrey)

3) His wife, Noreen is the first person from a western nation to medal at the world Poomsae Championships

4) His son, Tim has been the US champion in his class for years and was the 2006 athlete of the year http://usa-taekwondo.us/content/index/3176

5) My daughters have extensive competitive experience in martial arts. In fact, here is a nice article from the local paper that features the Fresnoidettes page 1: http://i32.photobucket.com/albums/d16/Keithj3/Clovisfullarticle_1.png page 2: http://i32.photobucket.com/albums/d16/Keithj3/Clovisfullarticle_2.png

6) I have tons more, but this will be all for now - hit the "sparring" gallery on this page to see Fresnoidette #1 mixing it up with 3x world champion Kathryn Doi http://www.quansbushido-kai.com/photogallery/index.html

Wait, this one cracsk me up. Fresnoidette #1 facing an intimidating boy several years ago:

YouTube - Side Kick

Altaica
May 24th, 2009, 10:37 PM
Hiya. This is Altaica's husband.

I just wanted to say thanks for all the constructive feedback and encouragement in all the reply's I will be adding swimming to my regular exercises and I will be a better person, and martial artist, for it. Thanks again

Jay