My little 'piece of Okinawa' also doubles up as my gym, with plenty of training tools to keep me busy!
I've had a few requests lately to detail the 500-rep workout I been undertaking lately in my garden dojo. So in the spirit of sharing, I thought I'd write a little about it here!
Although my exercises and routine tend to vary quite considerably throughout the year, this particular workout is generally based around the following framework.
Please note that this is a pretty intense full-body workout and therefore, should NOT be performed multiple times per week. It should be regarded as more of a challenge you can do from time to time, to help break away from your schedule, shock the system and to test your generic fitness/recovery levels.
The workout is split into two parts. The first consists of 200-reps and mixes up some body-weight, heavy kettlebells and bulgarian bag exercises. The second part consists of an upper body compound push/pull routine and totals 300-reps. It combines functional movements with more 'standard' compound exercises, mixing up explosive and 'grinding' actions, powerful exertion with more controlled motions. There are no pure isolation exercises here - the idea is to utilise multiple muscle groups together and develop integrated human mechanics.
Make sure to perform an adequate warm up to begin with, along with a light cool-down afterwards.
OK, here we go...
Part One (200-Reps)
Part Two (300-Reps)
Part Two consist of 6 exercises that cover all generic push/pull movements with the upper body. I've listed these below with an example exercise for each. Of course, these may be substituted with others...it's the movement that's important not the exercise. I complete 4 sets here - the first with lighter weights at 20 reps, then increase the weight for the next three sets for 12, 10 and 8 reps.
I work these exercises in the order listed above to take advantage of opposing super-sets, thus helping to minimise rest periods. I try to complete every set within a 10-min window and take a couple of minutes rest before the next.
In total, Part Two accumulates 6x20 + 6x12 + 6x10 + 6x8 = 300 reps. Work on powerful concentric actions with controlled eccentric actions and really aim to get 'inside' the muscle groups being worked. This is tough to achieve when already pre-fatigued, but developing a heightened sense of body awareness in this way will pay out handsomely when incorporated into your karate practice.
Choose weights that will cause you to work towards failure within each set. If you can complete this whole workout comfortably, then you're simply not training hard enough! You should increase weight, minimise rest periods and/or select more challenging exercises.
All in all, this 500-rep workout is excellent for covering many pathways in a single session. That fact in itself is pretty extreme though and it's certainly not for the fainthearted, which is why I recommend it only to be performed occasionally, providing your physical condition is adequate and as part of a holistic training schedule.
Stay safe and enjoy the challenge :-)
Chris Denwood has been studying martial arts since childhood and specialises in the practical application of karate's traditional principles for civilian self-defence, personal development, life integration and discovery.