Fitness

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Fitness

Postby zak10w40 » Wed Jul 11, 2007 9:00 pm

Sensei Glasheen,
I have enjoyed reading posts on your site. I understand you developed the Firedragon test -- which I am going to tke a shot at.

I also wanted to pass along some info on a rare piece of fitness gear that I actually like. Developed by one of our US NAVY commandos its called the Perfect Push up. I will bring mine along to camp but at 30.00 USD they are a bargain. I am having alot of fun with them, you push and you incorparate more muscles at the same time. Core body becomes involved. It's tough excersice but very efficient.

Regards,

Zak10w40
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Sounds like a great exercise device...

Postby gmattson » Wed Jul 11, 2007 9:30 pm

Perhaps Bill can use it in the test.

Just looked it up on Google:

http://perfectpushup.com/?gclid=CLytvMm5oI0CFQZiOAodYTAo6g

What do you think Bill????
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Postby IJ » Wed Jul 11, 2007 11:51 pm

"All the energy of the pushup is transferred--right where you want it."

"There's no wasted effort."

Isn't the whole point of exercising wasted effort? :)
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Postby zak10w40 » Thu Jul 12, 2007 3:16 pm

Wasted effort is kind of like posting sometimes :D

I found less strain on an old shoulder injury and a more complete use of the arm muscles as well. Good addition to push up drills...
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Postby Chris McKaskell » Thu Jul 12, 2007 3:48 pm

I found less strain on an old shoulder injury and a more complete use of the arm muscles as well. Good addition to push up drills...


Hey zak10w40,

What is the nature of your old shoulder injury - I have a couple of ragged tendons in one shoulder and have stopped using certain push-up positions to avoid aggrivating the condition. Perhaps this product is a good solution - can you elaborate a little on your experience with it?
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Postby Bill Glasheen » Thu Jul 12, 2007 4:21 pm

I have mixed feelings about the machine.

On the one hand, you can make this motion similar to a punching motion. To a certain extent, being able to mimic a motion you want to do in real life is useful.

On the other hand, this is what is called a "closed chain" exercise. It's similar to deciding that you want to do a bench on a Universal or Nautilus machine rather than using free weights. The only added benefit you get from this device is that you ideally require that you keep a firm torso.

Here's the problem with a closed chain exercise.

an old shoulder injury


Closed chain pushing exercises - whether they be in a machine or doing pushups on the floor - primarily work the larger muscle groups. Those would be the pecs, the triceps, and to some extent the anterior deltoids. Some work is done on the forearms and maybe even fingers if you do Uechi things with your hands (knuckle pushups, Uechi "triad" knuckle exercise, etc.).

The problem however if you do this as your primary pushing exercise is that your large muscle groups get out of balance with your stabilizers. Real-world motions require that you work muscles you aren't aware of (such as the rotator cuff muscle groups) until you actually hurt them. I had a talk with a physical therapist one time about each and every little muscle in the shoulder, and what it does. In so many words, she said "Are you kidding?" All these smaller muscles work in myriad ways to keep that arm in line and the shoulder where it should be when you're punching in free air, get your arm blocked when you are punching, get your shoulder wrenched when you are doing grappling, get your shoulder traumatized when you're meeting the floor in a break fall or roll, etc., etc.

Closed chain exercises also do not teach you coordination useful in a sport or activity.

Closed chain exercises also limit the number of muscles being challenged. The greater anabolic (growth) benefit (release of testosterone, GH, etc.) comes from challenging as many muscles as possible in the same exercise.

And let's not forget that exercises which challenge you to keep joints stable and in line can also strengthen ligaments - over the long run.

Modern trainers tell you the following:

1) You should start your strength training with open-chain, multiple muscle group exercises. That would be things like a bench press with a bar, or (even more challenging) dumbbells. It would also include squats which work on both balance and strength. And when you are an advanced athlete, you work on things like power cleans, clean-and-jerks, etc. And you go from doing barbells to dumbbells.

2) The machines come second. The machines are there to get at muscles that need extra work (like my damn calves :lol: ). They are there to work on muscles that otherwise can't be worked on with free weights such as lats or hamstrings.

Another approach to it all is to go with the circular strength training methods, or the kettle bells. What appears to be "old school" can actually be a fantastic addition to your routine - IF you know what you are doing.

I have no problem with someone who wants to spend a few minutes a day looking a little more fit by having a few machines and devices around the house. A little exercise is better than none at all.

I also have no problem with someone who wants to shock their body a bit now and then by adding one of these exercises in to an otherwise balanced routine.

But closed-chain exercises should NOT be the core exercises for a serious athlete. Otherwise you are a shoulder or back or wrist or knee or hip injury waiting to happen on the playing field or in the dojo.

Furthermore... If you aren't doing advanced exercises which use core muscles (such as the power exercises mentioned above), then you will forever be stuck in the Uechi Robot mode. Your Sanchin will always look like you have a rod stuck up your arse. You'll never "get" the elasticity that needs to be added to advanced kata such as Sanseiryu. You won't be blending your kata movements into natural, whole-body "flinch" moves that your reptilian brain already knows how to do. And you will never learn to tap into that bone-crushing power that some of our advanced Uechi practitioners seem to pull from nowhere.

My 2 cents - and some change.

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So....

Postby gmattson » Thu Jul 12, 2007 5:04 pm

I take it we won't be using this device in the "FireDragon" Challenge!!! :)

However Bill... How dangerous would the pushup be if the only time you used the device was when you were doing the "challenge" or perhaps 10% of the time you do pushups?

Since I only do pushups twice a week in the dojo as part of my stretching/power exercises and would not be using the device, I don't see any disadvantage using the device on occasion.
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Postby Bill Glasheen » Thu Jul 12, 2007 5:57 pm

GEM wrote:
How dangerous would the pushup be if the only time you used the device was when you were doing the "challenge" or perhaps 10% of the time you do pushups?

That's a tricky question, George.

  • This device needs to be considered a substitute for pushups.
  • Pushups or equivalent as a small (e.g. 10%) part of your upper body pushing routine is fine.
  • Pushups to warm your body up and prepare it for vigorous exercise in karate class are fine.

Also... We need to consider that the Firedragon challenge is a test, and not a fitness routine. When we take your oral temperature, we are making an indirect measure of your core temperature. And when we are measuring your core temperature, we're trying to figure out whether or not your body is fighting an infection. We really don't care about your body temperature per se. We want to know if your body is being invaded.

All the exercises in the Firedragon challenge - as with the military equivalents - are designed indirectly to measure your total fitness. We take a sampling of this and that ability, and then connect the dots. Also... We want to make it easy to do in virtually any location. The less equipment needed, the better. The simpler the better.

Training the test may make you do a little better on it. But ONLY training the test over time is not optimal at all. It may not get you the best test score (vs. another way of training). And it certainly isn't designed to TRAIN you for optimal fitness.

I do pushups too, George. But I do them to supplement my core training routine. Pushups allow me to do uniquely Uechi torture things, like the knuckle triad pushup I learned from David Lamb's Okinawan Pangainoon instructor. I love that exercise. In addition to making it possible finally for me to do shokens, hirakens, and boshikens, it also allows me to humble virtually all the Uechika who have never tried it. :twisted:

The device shown mimics what you can do with a pair of dumbbells on a bench. Only with the bench routine, you can also exercise your shoulder stabilizer muscles. There isn't the same danger of getting the myriad shoulder muscles out of balance, and putting yourself at risk of an injury when you go do your athletic acitivity. And the device can't teach you to fight a block the way dumbbell bench presses can, where you're fighting to balance as well as push the weight.

But not everyone can afford to have a complete set of dumbbells in their home. And not everyone gets their butt out to a decent gym.

Moral of the story - NO FREE LUNCH!

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Postby Bill Glasheen » Thu Jul 12, 2007 6:09 pm

I do want to bring one additional point up.

Trainers have mixed feelings about RESISTANCE exercises where you're doing joint rotation as you extend. There's always the chance that when you are doing that, you are putting excessive shear (surface rubbing on surface) forces on the articular surfaces in the joint. That's particularly true in this case where the joint is being compressed as you extend and rotate. It's not the case in the circular training methods where your joints are being pulled apart, thus limiting the shear forces within the joint.

Just don't get crazy about these kinds of exercises. Everything in moderation.

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OK Bill...

Postby gmattson » Thu Jul 12, 2007 8:47 pm

You convinced me! :)
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Postby zak10w40 » Thu Jul 12, 2007 9:07 pm

Chris,

I have one shoulder that is a little looser in the joint than the other , feels a bit like a ligament tear. Someone once described to me a ligament damage as "a feeling of fatigue not unlike a muscle asleep - due to lack of blood flow -- but with some pain involved" probably from over time, but aggravated by a complex wrist and arm lock put in place correctly -- thank you Mr. Moy :) -- only I lost my balance and fell backwards. No fault of the aikido-ka, still very painful.

MY injury is not a major obstacle to doing push-ups , however I did notice less strain on the joint. However, I also found that a single push up with the device was more difficult than a single ordinary , shoulder length type. This is because the energy that is req'd to push you in one direction ordinarily is now also being delivered thru a second axis as well as you rotate your wrists. I would guess that it would stregthen muscles surrouding an injury such as mine. You should check with your Doc. Best of luck.
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Postby zak10w40 » Thu Jul 12, 2007 9:21 pm

Sensei,

I also think this would not be appropriate for the Firedragon because it would aggravate the past and future test takers... but it would be a good demo item!

The excersise where you rotate your wrists at ninety degrees inward with each push (they guide offers a few variations) does "encourage" the use of the core muscles, latisimus to the abs, it seems like a pretty ingenious machine.
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Postby Bill Glasheen » Thu Jul 12, 2007 9:38 pm

I have included a greate reference for folks to get familiar with some of the general principles of training. This is from Sports Fitness Advisor.

High-Performance Sports Training Programs & Workouts For Peak Sports Fitness

There are pages and pages of information on this website. Most of it is stuff I agree with and use. For example, here's a section that many readers will find useful.

Martial Arts Training Section

There are a few "secret sauce" ideas that the elite athletes share with each other. ;)

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Postby zak10w40 » Fri Jul 13, 2007 1:35 am

Great. And thanks, I'll check them out. 8)
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Postby IJ » Fri Jul 13, 2007 9:00 pm

If you have a pushup related shoulder injury, its probably a rotator cuff thing. Your humerus (upper arm bone) sits in a shallow cup in the shoulder blade (like the bowl of a spoon). Every time you push something, the round end of the humerus wants to slide out of that cup and come out your back; something has to hold it there. Unlike some other joints that are firmly attached by anatomy, the shoulder has a ton of range of motion to let us to what makes humans special, but the downside is instability. 4 muscles (the rotator cuff) hold that humerus in its little cup, and they get tired / strained / frayed easily, and can tear eventually. Repeated pushups without exercises to toughen up the RC will injure them (ask my left shoulder).

Shoulder rehab exercises (or preventive measures) include rotating the humerus and extending the shoulder. I was asked by my sports medicine guy to:
--make sure pushups were balanced by lat exercises
--to use a stretchy band (attached to doorknob, etc), keep my elbow at my side while standing, keep my palm facing the inside (not up and down) and stretch the band by rotating the upper arm--moves the palm horizontally (you need to do both directions each shoulder).
--same stretchy band, stand and stretch it behind me, keeping the motion mostly horizontal and front to back. A backwards softball toss, really.
--if that's going well, lie on floor, loop band around foot, put humerus out at 90 degree angle from body, keep a similar angle in the elbow, and rotate your hand up to the shuto position against resistance.
--all of these: emphasize a slow steady back motion, its more important than the out, band stretching motion.

That was my regimen, anyway, and it fixed my shoulder. Talk to your (sports specialist or sports capable) doctor.
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