Conditioning and Cardio in Training

Friday, 10. December 2010

Fall incoming~ (Flickr / parhessiastes)

All martial training has a wide variety of focus. You are always looking to extend your technique and build in muscle memory so that your actions may be seamless. Other times, we are looking to improve balance,distancing, power, speed or response time. In this particular case however, we are looking at 2 specific factors, cardio training and conditioning. How much of these can you fit in and are you under or over training these facets given your available time to work with?

Cardio work is a matter of training the heart, lungs and muscles to work more efficiently in either aerobic or anaerobic conditions.. depending on what you may need to function in. The bottom line is that you are able to perform longer and under less stress in either of the environments.

Conditioning the training of the body to deliver and accept strikes. Just as the bones and muscles grow stronger in weightlifting, in conditioning the body adapts by strengthening them in a similar fashion. Calcium deposits begin to form blocking and striking surfaces, further reinforcing them.

There is an old saying of “Would you rather fight a poor fighter in excellent condition, or an excellent fighter in poor condition?” The answer is almost always unanimously the latter… however these are considering engagements that take a while to resolve themselves. Engagements such as boxing, kickboxing and mixed martial arts. Yes, they can be resolved in one punch but the expectation needs to be that the opponent is going to be in it for the long haul, as your techniques and gear degrades the fight for a level of “safety,” whatever that tolerance may be. When we examine fights on the street however, you need to be able to function maximally and clearly for a short period of time. The level of expectation between the 2 is vastly different.

I am of the general opinion that it is impossible to train too much cardio… given that you have all the time in the world to practice. Cardio has no real negative effects with the exception of taking up time to do. I think it is something that is best incorporated into training and drills when possible but using as much time as possible with partners to work on technique. No or little cardio is likewise devastating is it prevents you from working efficiently in any sort of engagement. Becoming winded in 15 seconds is terrible.

Over Conditioning however is somewhat of a more permanent problem. Too much calcification prevents joints from functioning properly or arthritically, not to mention is unattractive to boot. The body has the bad habit of not showing repetitive stress fractures until years later. Those with little or no conditioning will function fine… as long as they are training with similarly conditioned fellows. Put them in with someone who is used to impact and training hard and suddenly they are in a world of hurt.

The point of this isn’t specifically to point out how much is too much, but rather that you examine how your time is used to train and what is incorporated in it in order to get the most effective use of your time.

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