This article covers three types of training and exercise:
- Aerobic Exercise
- Cross Training
Aerobic exercises are good for building endurance. As this would suggest aerobic exercises are long in duration with the focus on a stead pace. This steady pace burns your muscle energy at a slower rate because most of the energy comes from the air we breath. Aerobic exercise is excellent for improving your physical fitness and heart rate. Aerobic exercise will improve your sparring performance due to an overall increased stamina. Types of aerobic exercise include jumping rope, distance running, swimming laps and cross-country skiing.
Though the name is similar to aerobic, anaerobic exercises are shorter in duration, focusing on speed and power rather then endurance. The intensity of exertion in anaerobic exercise burns muscle energy quickly. As the muscle energy is burnt and depleted we often feel a burning sensation. This sensation is from small muscle tears that occur when your muscle energy is depleted. These tears form the future stores for additional energy once healed. It is through this process that we increase our strength. Muscle tears decrease our muscle elasticity, this is why stretching is so vital. Without proper stretching we gain power at the loss of speed and mobility. Only with stretching can we improve our power and speed. Types of anaerobic exercise include, yes, karate, sprinting, weight-lifting, and push-ups.
3. Cross Training
Cross training as the term suggests a combination of aerobic and anaerobic exercise. There is no “correct” combination of the two forms of exercise, it really depends on your personal needs and goals. If you have been sedentary for a long period of time it is probably better to begin with more aerobic exercise to get your heart and lungs into shape and build your stamina. The main focus here is variety. Karate is a great cross training form of exercise as it is both aerobic and anaerobic. Karate works all of your major muscle groups (and some minor ones too!) as well as strengthening your heart and lungs (see your heart rate). It is never a bad idea to augment your karate training with other forms of exercise if you have the time to do so.
To quickly recap and summarize; Aerobic exercise builds long term endurance; Anaerobic exercise builds short term endurance. It is important to remember that there is no definitive border between anaerobic and aerobic activity, and in fact, all activities are fuelled by both pathways. It all depends on your focus and use of various exercises. The benefits of using a balanced aerobic and anaerobic exercise program include: Improved Endurance, Strength, Range of Motion, Balance, Posture and Coordination, all of which will help with your karate performance.
This article is written by: Mitchell Saba, WKC senior member and instructor.