MightyBands, home gym system

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Strength vs Size

When it comes to fighting and practically everything else in this world - size matters. At least so it seems. The bigger the better. Case in point: Tanks are cool. Huge rock on engagement ring is cool. Big piece of steak for dinner - totally cool. Brock Lesnar - scary big and doing pretty well in the UFC.

But guess what? Just because you're big, doesn't necessarily mean you're strong. This concept is well known in the olympic lifting world. Here, where strength counts, these guys can lift massive amounts of weight but they aren't big guys nor do they look like your typical Mr. Universe. You see, when you lift weights for strength, the rep range for an exercise is tailored so that it maximizes your neural connection to lift strong rather than increase muscle size. When you lift for size, however, the rep range is different and it minimizes that neural connection but allows for increasing the muscle cells in your biceps, chest, etc.

So to us average wing tsun folk - what does this mean? Well it means not all is lost when you face that big muscular foe in front of you. It also means you don't need to rely only on speed, agility and timing..you can add strength to that list as well. In the WT world, however, i think this "strength" is more understood as "rootedness" and "structure". The rootedness and structure also translates to powerful, heavy attacks.

That "structure" or "rootedness" is really an example of how our wing tsun training establishes those neural connections so that we can be "strong" (felt that way by the attacker) from such an upright position. All that chi-sao, lat-sao under heavy pressures and light pressures are stimulating that neural connection..making us..well stronger. And because the training reflects the actions we use to fight, we are strong where it counts - punching, chops to the throat, neck grabs etc..but maybe not when bench pressing.

That said, because we are so "strong"...us WT'ers are susceptible to being "stiff"..it's not the conventional stiffness that most newbies suffer from when learning WT. Instead, we're caught flat footed many a times and this might get us in trouble. That's where footwork comes back into your training scheme...

Things sure come full circle doesn't it? First stiff, then weak, then strong again, then stiff, then mobile, etc etc.

Until then.

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