Most efficient leg strengthening exercises

Discussion on the three big Chinese internals, Yiquan, Bajiquan, Piguazhang and other similar styles.

Re: Most efficient leg strengthening exercises

Postby Rhen on Thu May 24, 2018 12:00 pm

most effective leg strengthening for an internal artist:

We'll I'll just say maybe try doing the long form many times in a row. you'll get stronger for sure if you have the discipline to pull it off.

short forms don't cut it.
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Re: Most efficient leg strengthening exercises

Postby Trick on Thu May 24, 2018 8:33 pm

But if the short form is done many many many times in a row, wouldn't that do the trick too?
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Re: Most efficient leg strengthening exercises

Postby Appledog on Thu May 24, 2018 10:40 pm

Rhen wrote:most effective leg strengthening for an internal artist:

We'll I'll just say maybe try doing the long form many times in a row. you'll get stronger for sure if you have the discipline to pull it off.

short forms don't cut it.


Trick wrote:But if the short form is done many many many times in a row, wouldn't that do the trick too?


Rhen raises a core issue and Trick moves in with the excellently timed beginner's question. Actually I wouldn't call this a beginner's question, per-se -- but it is one of the first major gates one would have to pass through if you are trying to come up with a "most efficient" leg strengthening exercise. This topic is connected to the synthesis of martial arts thread I think. I think I can feel it, can't you -- this thing in the air -- these days people are looking to fix what's wrong with CMA (and there are a few things wrong with it) at least in the sense of finding a way to make it easier for us westerners to understand.

And that core issue is: In what way is this exercise (this new exercise) "more efficient" than just doing the form over and over? In fact, the issue of short forms themselves brilliantly illustrates the issue at hand. In what way, precisely, is doing the short form over and over better than doing a long form once?

In the tension and lightness qigong I was taught, there are several moves from Tai Chi, which have been included in the 24 form. Moves like raise hands, wave hands like clouds, part horse's mane, white crane spreads wings, brush knee and push, etc. and these are all really fundamental repetitive motion exercises. You can almost look at them as glorified silk reeling exercises. If the goal is to come up with soft-style motion, song, rootedness, reeling silk, peng, qi and so forth -- you don't need the long form for that, the short form will do. In fact, just a few of the 30+ moves in Tai Chi done as repetitive motion will do it for you. Pick any five and just stand there doing them over and over, that's probably good enough. A good set of qigong (like the tension and lightness exercises) are also good enough if that is your goal. You don't really need the long form just for that.

I think leg strengthening exercises are just like that. You can go into squats progression and do things like sumo squats, a bulgarian lunge, etc. and are these really better than just doing the form in a lower stance? Well, yes and no.

The trap you will fall into is overtraining one area and leaving another area untrained which is just a waste of time since you will need to do the form in the end anyway to work on the weak areas.

But if there is an area such as leg strength or the mingmen which needs a kick in the pants somehow, to start, or to correct your motion, then sure there are some very efficient ways to train. Don't forget that the dun yao qigong, which are just squats basically, horse stance standing, is one of the three treasures of internal arts.

In fact you will find a lot of corrective and progressive exercises in sets of qigong and daoyin. Such as part horse's mane and embrace the moon and sweep the sea, which are fundamental hip hinge movements.

So anyways you have to keep in mind what your goals are. Most efficient at what. The human body is like a balloon and you need to fill it up with leg strength. So this is a 3d volume; it has x, y and z dimensions. X is like the weight load (bodyweight, or less if assisted with a bar, etc.) Z is like the reps and/or time. And Y is like the depth. Once you have sufficient volume which is larger than the volume of your form you do not need to train these kinds of exercises anymore.

The question is, the trap, if you feel that it is worth it to do specialized exercises apart from form and lose the benefits of things like song, rooting, chansujin, settling, and so forth, when in reality if you just do form you will get all the leg strengthening volume you need over time?

I would suggest that you add 50 to 100 assisted/unassisted squats (dun yao) or do squat progression for no more than 2 sets of 5 to 10 minutes per day, then rest, and keep them at some significant distance apart from your forms practice. Adding this is probably more efficient (read: shorter time to generate the volume you need for your form) since it would probably be a bit more intense than the form itself and push you a bit harder than doing the form. It's short duration would also make it easier to train, with well established targets -- merely "doing the form low" is not such a specific goal, and it may be too easy to "get to the finish line but not cross it" that way.
Last edited by Appledog on Thu May 24, 2018 10:43 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Most efficient leg strengthening exercises

Postby wayne hansen on Thu May 24, 2018 11:13 pm

When short form was mentioned I thought 37 rather than 24 step
I feel the 24 is lacking in many ways
In our school we don't move out of a small horse stance for the first hour
We do shift weight but don't unbend the legs or move foot position
Next we have quite a few walking exercises without hands
Followed by continuous walking hands
This is followed by form and then pushing so the legs get quite a workout
Years ago I had a Jow gar friend ring me up
He made new students tell them why they left their last school
He said what do you do to your students
One guy said the reason he left my school was pain
Too much leg work
Don't put power into the form let it naturally arise from the form
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Re: Most efficient leg strengthening exercises

Postby GrahamB on Thu May 24, 2018 11:29 pm

Walking.

I would just do more walking.
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Re: Most efficient leg strengthening exercises

Postby Squeeeez on Mon May 28, 2018 12:05 am

Well, the event was this weekend.
Two of us had to give up after 40 miles, due to heat strokes (all the tabata squats in the world couldn't prevent that sadly). The third of our group joined another group and made it.

Thank you again for all the good ideas!
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Re: Most efficient leg strengthening exercises

Postby Peacedog on Mon May 28, 2018 1:03 am

Nice. Forty miles is still pretty good.

Just curious, where did the event tale place?
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Re: Most efficient leg strengthening exercises

Postby oragami_itto on Mon May 28, 2018 9:02 am

Squeeeez wrote:Thank you for the excellent ideas so far!

The details:
You get a map, and then you have 25h to complete 80km through the mountains. So squats and low walks are definitely going to be helpful.

Then during the training walks so far, the feet and ankle tendons started to say hello, so that seems to be a weak point, not sure how to strengthen them specifically though.
And it's interesting - it was never a problem during the training so far, but then again I've never trained for 7-8h straight :-\


I did 70KM in (I think) around 15 hours in a Volksmarch back in 99. No preparatory training of any kind. Light snacks and candy along the way. Once I stopped the legs got really crampy though and I pretty much immediately went to sleep. It was on city streets, too, not through mountain trails.
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Re: Most efficient leg strengthening exercises

Postby oragami_itto on Mon May 28, 2018 9:02 am

Squeeeez wrote:Well, the event was this weekend.
Two of us had to give up after 40 miles, due to heat strokes (all the tabata squats in the world couldn't prevent that sadly). The third of our group joined another group and made it.

Thank you again for all the good ideas!


Oh well at least you tried.
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Re: Most efficient leg strengthening exercises

Postby Squeeeez on Mon May 28, 2018 1:39 pm

Peacedog wrote:Nice. Forty miles is still pretty good.

Just curious, where did the event tale place?

It was in Switzerland, not quite in the alps but definitely not flat either :D
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Re: Most efficient leg strengthening exercises

Postby Squeeeez on Mon May 28, 2018 1:45 pm

oragami_itto wrote: did 70KM in (I think) around 15 hours in a Volksmarch back in 99. No preparatory training of any kind. Light snacks and candy along the way. Once I stopped the legs got really crampy though and I pretty much immediately went to sleep. It was on city streets, too, not through mountain trails.

Nice! Congratulations, then. :)
Oh well at least you tried.

We did manage the full 80km a few years ago but being a student I was training a few hours every day then, and also about 20kg (40lbs) lighter ::)

Leg and foot strength is still, in my opinion, one of the bases of not only martial arts but mobile life in general.
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Re: Most efficient leg strengthening exercises

Postby Greg J on Mon May 28, 2018 8:07 pm

Squeeeez wrote:Well, the event was this weekend.
Two of us had to give up after 40 miles, due to heat strokes (all the tabata squats in the world couldn't prevent that sadly). The third of our group joined another group and made it.

Thank you again for all the good ideas!


Awesome job showing up and doing your best. Now you will be better prepared for next time!

Take care,
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Re: Most efficient leg strengthening exercises

Postby zhenwu on Mon May 28, 2018 11:30 pm

leg-back connection.. walking on ass =)
great for the illio-sacral-joint

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