Strength Training Questions

by Julia
(Colorado)

Okay, my first one is:


- What are some of the strength training exercises you use, besides the ones on your website?

- What are the best martial arts in your opinion?

- Are sit ups a better exercise for your upper or lower body?

- Even though I'm really strong, I can't do pull ups. I have been trying forever... What are some good exercises to get my arms stronger? I can't do them even with my arms facing me...

Okay, I hope you can answer these, thank you.

Aaron's Reply...


Some answers to your questions...

(1) Virtually all the strength training exercises I use are on my website. Since I do Japanese swordsmanship I practice some sword-style-specific exercises swinging suburito (really heavy wooden swords), but beyond that everything's on the site.

(2) Sorry, there isn't any 'best' martial art.

What do you want to do with martial arts... Self-defense? Practice a cultural art? Some form of spirituality/life purpose? Sports competitions? Swordsmanship, unarmed, or any of the tons of other weapon arts around? Fun exercise? Historical battlefield combat?

I need to know what you want from martial arts to recommend a style. And even then, choose the teacher NOT the style.

It's complicated.

(3) Sit-ups are primarily an exercise for your abdominal muscles, and if your technique falters you should will use some hip-flexors. So, upper body.

(4) Pull ups can be tricky. If your school gym has a pull-up machine that will help the most- you could choose how much weight help you need to do them.

Also, try pull up negs. Grab the bar with your hands facing toward you, jump up so you're at the top of a pull up on the bar, and slowly let yourself down. Repeat till it becomes too painful to go on.

Finally, address the weak points in your musculature. If you can't get started at the beginning of the pull up, work your lats and upper back to help with the beginning (Dumbbell or barbell rows would work well for this). If you stall in the middle, work on your biceps (heavy bicep curls).

Good luck!

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