Isometric Training for Martial Arts Endurance

Training to Go Beyond the Limit

By Paul "Batman" J.O'Brien 

B.A., N.C.E.H.S., Dip. Acu., Cert Clin. IMed., Dip. Adv. OBB, Dip. CHM, M.AFPA., M.C.Th.A.

Isometric Training for Martial Arts Endurance is a crucial component in developing the well rounded athlete. We’ve seen in the previous articles the need for strength, how power develops from that strength, and how each of these attributes can be developed quickly and effectively through isometric-training.

But what good is speed, what good is power, if you have nothing left in the tank and you’re heading into round 6…? When all you have is the will, one must also learn to endure…

Before we discuss the benefits of Isometric Training for Martial Arts Endurance we need to have to look at the different types of endurance in the martial arts...

  1. Muscular endurance, the ability to continue to relax and contract the muscles for extended periods of time. As we use the muscles the various fibers fatigue (the types of fibers and times for this are covered in my previous articles - MA Strength, MA Speed and MA Power ). In addition to this we could add, physical endurance, the ability of the body (muscles) to withstand trauma be it from, impact of strikes, throws or joint locks.
  2. Cardiovascular endurance, the ability of the heart and lungs to circulate oxygen and blood to the muscles and to maintain a heart rate that supports continued activity, in other words high effort, without a high intense heart rate.
  3. Mental endurance, the ability to psychologically keep going, maintaining focus and attention.

Each of these contributes to increased stamina. And each of these can be improved dramatically through Isometric Training for Martial Arts Endurance. Leaving the third point, that of mental endurance, built through years of self discipline, it seems obvious that the first 2 are interrelated.

For instance one could stay at a relatively low heart rate and maintain cardio endurance by simply walking. But after 20 miles, while you’d still be breathing normally enough, your muscles will be tired, the SO fibres fatigued, and the trauma on the joints and impact of movement will likely have blistered your feet. So we fall down on point 1.

By contrast one can sprint all out and bring their heart rate up to 110% of its max. From a cardio point of view this simply isn’t sustainable for a significant period of time. And you’ll fatigue and exhaust very quickly, long before your muscles will. And so we fall down on point 2.

The focus then of Isometric Training for Martial Arts Endurance is to maximise both the muscles strength and maximise the cardiovascular output of the heart. Now, many would advocate things like long distance jogging, or other time based activities to increase endurance – surely a marathon runner has plenty of muscular and cardiovascular stamina? Funnily, studies have shown that this is NOT the case. In fact distance runners have a lower amount of muscular endurance than non runners. How is that possible? It’s quite common sense really.

You see, in the case of distance running the body want to streamline, it wants to make the body as efficient and energy conscious as possible and as such it loses unnecessary muscle tissue. That’s right; the body will ditch any muscle tissue that is surplus to need, and all they need it to put one foot in front of the other. They keep thin, SO muscle fibre and ditch the rest. This is why many marathon and distance runners look little more than walking skeletons.

To endure you NEED muscle tissue. Lots of it. This is where Isometric Training for Martial Arts Endurance comes into play. When you come down to the very basic level of what endurance is from a muscle perspective at any rate it this – the ability to repeatedly contract a muscle. Ideally you want this to be a VERY EFFICENT contraction. The better able your muscles are able to contract the less energy is needed by the body to do it. The bigger and thicker the muscle, the more glycogen (energy) it can store. This means you can do more. The more muscle tissue you have, the stronger it is, the easier it is to move, and thus, the more movements you can make. If you want to improve your muscular endurance the simple solution is to build more muscle.

This equally applies to physical endurance, the ability to keep going in the face of trauma. The more firm the muscle, the greater the ability to absorb and re-direct impact. This means the firmer you make your muscles the more impact you can take. The stronger your muscles, tendons and ligaments, the less you risk injury. More muscle means you can move more, and take more.

As we’ve seen the most efficient way of building both strength and muscle tissue is isometrics. And Isometric Training for Martial Arts Endurance is different than that taught on this website and in my Perfect Body program. Using the 7-12 second contractions I teach you can increase muscle strength by 5-15% a week, and I, and many of my students have added over 30lbs of muscle in as little as 7 weeks.

So it’s clear that isometrics can build more muscle and thus more muscular and physical endurance. But what of cardiovascular endurance?

Again, as I’ve pointed out in previous articles, the best way to increase your cardio vascular fitness is to do intense work in short, sharp bursts – precisely the nature of the Perfect Body program. Combined with the breathing techniques I teach in Perfect Body your are asked to perform extremely brief intense muscular contractions, which result in elevating then resting your heart in progressive intervals. Thus using Isometric Training for Martial Arts Endurance to increase your cardiac capacity and oxygen uptake. This means you can do far more physical work with less recourses needed. It take an increasingly large amount of physical, mechanical work to cause you to elevate your heart rate. For those that want to reach Olympic Athlete levels of fitness within 4 weeks, I cover advanced cardio training in Project Dragon.

So by using the techniques of isometrics you can substantially improve both your muscular, physical and cardiovascular endurance without spending hours jogging or doing other silly time wasting activities that will produce injury and comprise your health. Instead, with just 5 minutes of contractions daily, you could achieve remarkable physical endurance, while simultaneously developing near super-human strength, speed and power. What more could you ask of Isometric Training for Martial Arts Endurance?

You can make a start on this today with my full and complete isometric training for toning course, look no further than my 7 Week System called 7 Seconds to Build A Perfect Body!, The Scientifically Proven Method for Transforming Your Body in Just Seconds! With over 250 pages and filled with more than 130 photos it’s a complete guide to getting the body of your dreams in just seconds.







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