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Serious Post, I'm just starting out...

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  • Serious Post, I'm just starting out...

    My first day of WuShu training was today. I'm 16, and attend a local state school for the gifted. My teacher is one grade above me. He is absolutely incredible, and has been practicing Wushu for a number of years. He teaches me in private lessons once a week, and does it for free.

    I'm 5'11"...173lbs(some of which needs to go =])...Male, strong lower body musculature, average upper body.
    So now you guys know more about me, maybe you can help me out some.

    My first day training was Hell. We started by stretching, then running, then he taught the five basic WuShu stances (Horse, Left and Right Bow, 7stars, Sitting stance, and Empty.) After this, I was instructed to practice holding these stances, then taught a Smash Step and a few non-applicable exercise-only kicks. We then practiced the stances more, held them for longer periods of time, and did more exercise kicks. After this, I did a set of conditioning as follows: 20 full-length tricep intensive pushups, 20 horizantal leg-lift/situp body snaps, 20 reverse situps designed for the back. I did all of those three times. I then did two different difficult jumping exercises, and more exercise punches and movements. To finish, we held the stances longer. All of this was done over a three hour period with no breaks of any kind (when I needed water, I had to jog to get it and jog back.)

    My questions are these:

    Will my training always be this harsh on my body, or is this a starting-out thing?

    Since my lessons are once a week, how should I stay in shape between lessons? What stretches, exercises, weight-lifting, running, or eating habits should I follow?

    And, how much time a day, on the non-lesson days, should I spend doing these things?

    I just started, but I want to get much better. My teacher is very good, but I'm a bit new. Thank you to anyone who helps me out. I really appreciate it.
    ------Nick Hunter

  • #2

    The pain is a starters thing. Or anytime you have an especially intense workout. You've simply pushed your body hard, and now it's healing. But you'll get stronger each time. I remember after my first lesson which was particularly intense; I could barely walk for a week. Since you seem to have a pretty intense workout once a week (three hours is pretty long) you should come out pretty sore for the first several weeks. After that it should start to go. However if you want to get better, keep raising the balance - when you can do 20 pushups fairly easily, do thirty, or do them faster. Always breath through your nose; it's hard at first but you'll get used to it.

    But don't overdo it. Constant soreness isn't a good sign. Rest is just as important as training; I learned that the hard way. Once your body has become used to the training regimen, you should generally just 'feel' the effects, meaning you should feel the fact that you had a good workout, but shouldn't have to struggle out of a chair because your abs are blown, for example. Once your body is used to your regular routine, punctuate your workout with the odd intense one to take you up a level.

    I don't really train outside my classes, simply because I train for several hours, 5-6 days a week and I need the rest when I can get it. But I do a few minutes of isolated exercise here and there throughout the day if I feel like it. The most all round generally useful exercises I can think of are the following. Squats [lots and lots of squats, one of the most important leg and butt building exercises], pushups [try to do them on your knuckles, it strengthens the wrists], situps, horse stance, running on the spot raising your knees as high as you can, crab walking [squat as low as you can go and walk]. Run alot, great for building endurance. I'm not saying you should disregard anything else, but squats are really important. When squats get too easy, when you can do a hundred or so without too much problem, go lower, as low as you can. Or try this. Put your hands behind your back or head, and squat as low as you can, till your ass nearly touches the floor. Now jump as high as you can, clearing the ground. And repeat. These will tire you out quicker. Lol, trust me.

    One of the single most important things in regards to stretching which, stupidly, I disregarded up until recently, is to warm up properly. Do some joint rotations and a few minutes of horse stance, knee high running on the spot, squats and so on. This way the muscles will stretch easier and stay stretched. I may have paid for this with loss of potentially greater flexibility in my right leg which might result in me screwing up my next exam which is in a week.

    This is definitely the most useful thing on stretching I've read on the net, thank you Basil.

    You say you start off by stretching. Don't you have some sort of warm up before hand?

    Search the net if you want a more complete overall exercise regimen, it shouldn't take you more then a couple of minutes to find something useful. If you want to build fast muscle, keeps your reps high and fast.

    As for eating, I'm not too sure - there's a couple of threads about diet in the old archive. And loads on the net. I've generally found I'm heavier and sluggish when I've eaten meat. I try to keep it down to once a week.

    As for how often you should train, that's up to you. In my school, everyone is advised to come at least three days a week. All depends, really.

    I guess that's it for now. Don't worry, you'll get used to it.

    Good luck

    Attached Files


    • #3
      My opinion from a personal trainer standpoint is based highly on your goals...Are you looking for speed or power? Both? A simple healthy diet is most likely your best bet. Be gentle on your body. You only get one this lifetime. Also, be careful on strecthing. Some aren't the safest or the best for your body to be performing. Stretching too often can lead to weaking of the structure of the muscle, which can actually lead to more injuries. Make sure you strengthen the muscles that you stretch. And be sure to really look at the way he is training you. If it's way too strenous, you should communicate it. Other than that, good luck to you.


      • #4
        I'm a 18-year-old beginner at wu shu training. I streth 4 times a week. 3 times during my 3 wu shu classes (quite alot) and the one day at home. Is that "over stretching" for a complete beginner that isn't so flexible?

        I looked at the manual you posted a link too but couldn't really find anything on how many times a week you should stretch..

        Best regards // Sunbird


        • #5
          No, not really. Generally, in stretching it usually it's not only how often, but how long you hold a stretch and how correctly you do the stretch that is important. Overstretching is the result of stretching without any attempts to maintain the strength of that muscle. Think muscle tone versus muscle length. Or like chewing gum. Stretch out the gum far enough and it becomes thin. Now imagine that is muscle. Your muscles eventually become too long and loose to contract as efficiently as they used to. This can lead to injury. That's why strengthing as well as stretching muscles are important. It keeps the "gum" from becoming too thin. I would recommend some light weight training or calistenics to keep your muscles in good shape. As for how often you should stretch and when you stretch, there are a lot of theories. As a rule of thumb, 15 mins. daily is usually pretty decent. If you stretch 30 mins a day...I wouldn't be too worried. Just keep on eye on how you do your stretchs. Do them correctly, with good form, and for a decent amount of time(how much is that? Lots of theories there too. 15-30 sec. is pretty standard) and your flexibility should increase gradually and safely. Back off if it's painful. Pain is there to tell you something is amiss. Your muscle has a built in reflex that prevents it from stretching too much during a stretch but pushing through that will damage muscles more than it will help them. Take it easy on yourself. Good luck to you.


          • #6
            I just read this. Lipster makes an excellent point. Stretching is not adequate to warm up the body. Light aerobic exercise is usually the best to warm up the core of your body and your limbs. If you start off with stretching, you can actually injury the muscle because it may not be warm enough to go through it's full range of motion. If you can warm up at least 15 min prior to working out.


            • #7
              Hey I'm no expert, but the fact is you really can't say, because everyone is different in their natural flexibility. It all depends on your goals. Four times a week for an 18 year old doesn't sound like overstretching. The main thing is to warm up properly. The difference between warming up and not is incredible – I’ve really noticed alot difference since I started to really warm up before a stretch. And you shouldn't be in actual pain during a stretch, just discomfort. If you're usually getting sore from stretching you're probably overdoing it.



              • #8
                Oh, I just saw that post. Well, there you go Sunbird, I'm sure Wasiqi knows more about it than me.


                • #9
                  Very true. Everyone does have a different level of flexibility. I'm just throwing out general guidelines. Some people may need to hold a stretch longer or even modify a stretch to actually gain anything from the stretch. Everyone knows when the have hit their limit, so don't press through trying to gain "more" flexibility. You don't have to be a Wushu star in a week. Take your time and be safe.


                  • #10
                    Thanks guys, I really appreciate all the help with stretches.

                    Also, I've started jogging and doing martial arts jumping jacks before stretches now.

                    I also find that a warm shower facilitates blood movement, and I'm already able to do horse stance much more efficiently than before.

                    I'm going to post a new thread on punching and kicking now, as I have a few more questions you experienced people may be able to answer for a newb!

                    Thanks again, Nick


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