hydration

Hydration And Why It’s So Important

Everyone knows hydration is important. This is especially true during the hot summer months. But WHY it’s so important often alludes us. Today, we’re going to explore where to find good sources of hydration and its impact on our health.

According to the National Academy of Sports Medicine, “the first formal and widely disseminated guidelines for fluid intake were published by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) in 1996 (Convertino et al., 1996). In the following two decades, knowledge of how water and electrolyte losses affect human performance has continued to expand.”

So, if you’re like so many other people and relying on hydration data from the 90’s, then perhaps it’s time to upgrade your understanding. Let’s dive in!

What are good sources of hydration?

First and foremost, good ole water! Water constitutes roughly 50-70% of our total body mass. According to Jennifer Klau, Ph.D., as little as a 2% deficit can have a profound impact on our mental and physical well-being.

Whoa!

So, what do we do? Evidence suggests that we consume water “Ad-libitum” which means, “as much or as often as needed or desired.” The general rule of thumb is to drink water as often as you feel the sensation of being thirsty.

Now, remember, this pertains to water. While most drinks do contain water, not all are created equal. Here’s a quick list of drinks to avoid as they often have excess sugar, carbs, and unhealthy additives:

  • Sodas (all)
  • Alcohol (all)
  • Energy drinks (all)
  • Other sugar-sweetened beverages

What does that leave? Well, water, of course! But here’s a list of other beverages that can be easily added to your daily ritual:

  • Water
  • Coffee (unsweetened is preferable)
  • Tea (unsweetened is preferable)

Limit the following:

  • Fruit juices
  • Cow’s milk
  • Sports drinks
  • Sparkling water (unsweetened is preferable)
  • Coconut water (look for raw, organic, and unsweetened)
  • Kombucha (be careful as these can have hidden sugar)

QUICK TIP: remember, hydration is about health, not taste or pleasure. But that doesn’t mean it has to taste bad to be good. Try adding a little lime or lemon to your water.

Remember that many fruits contain water but also contain sugars. So, in moderation, eating a handful-sized quantity can be helpful with your hydration plan and also give you some needed fiber. Not to mention, the act of chewing also burns calories– win!

In fact, a recent study found that drinking as little as .5 liter (or 16 oz) of water increased energy expenditure at rest by 30% for about 90 minutes (Horswill & Janas 2011)! So, get drinking that water!

Wait, what about sports drinks?

Sports drinks have remained mostly unchanged since they were first introduced. Their main purpose is to replenish electrolytes from sweat loss during intense and prolonged training. Their primary ingredients are as follows:

  • Sodium
  • Potassium
  • Magnesium

The Standard American Diet typically has plenty of sodium making consumption of more sodium generally unnecessary.

However, foods that are rich in potassium and magnesium are bananas and almonds, respectively. So, a medium banana and quick handful of almonds 30-45 minutes before a workout can have a positive impact on naturally replenishing your body’s electrolytes.

But, what if you don’t have time for that? Well, sports drinks could be helpful. That said, read the labels! Many sports drinks now contain excess sugar (not good) at the expense of giving you the electrolytes you need.

QUICK TIP: electrolyte drinks are best consumed DURING intense and prolonged training. Also, consider diluting the drink with water. Lastly, coconut water contains all the essential elements for a natural electrolyte drink (but read the labels!).

So, where do I begin?

According to Jennifer Klau, Ph.D., “adequate fluid intake for male and female adults are 3.7L/day (15 cups) and 2.7L/day (8 cups), respectively.”

Going back to what we discussed earlier, experts agree that a person should consume water as they feel the sensation of being thirsty. This is your body’s natural signal that you need more hydration.

For some people, keeping a hydration log can be very useful especially if they’re an athlete. There are several helpful mobile apps that can with this.

For others, limiting certain beverages (soda, alcohol, energy drinks, etc) is a great first step.

In fact, here are a few suggestions to help you:

  • Keep a bottle of water with you during the day. To reduce your costs, carry a reusable water bottle and refill it.
  • Drink water before, during, and after a workout.
  • When you’re feeling hungry, drink water. Thirst is often confused with hunger. True hunger will not be satisfied by drinking water. Drinking water may also contribute to a healthy weight-loss plan. Some research suggests that drinking water can help you feel full.
  • If you have trouble remembering to drink water, drink on a schedule. For example, drink water when you wake up, at breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and when you go to bed. Or, drink a small glass of water at the beginning of each hour.
  • Drink water when you go to a restaurant. It will keep you hydrated, and it’s free.
  • Consume 500 ml upon waking and again before bed. Then, as needed throughout the day.

Congratulations! You’re now on your way to living a healthier lifestyle simply by being more mindful of your hydration. Of course, this is only the beginning. Easily support this new habit by surrounding yourself with a community of people who will support your healthy decisions. How? Join a FREE session at Invictus where REAL people like you are getting REAL results for the REAL world!

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Kid's Karate

Kid’s Karate: What You Need To Know

Kid’s karate classes first gained popularity in the 80’s after the the movie The Karate Kid was released in theaters. Every kid wanted to be Daniel and every parent wanted their kids to be able to defend themselves against Kobra Kai bullies. As karate dojos began seeing more enrollment of youth members, other traditional martial arts began to follow suit. Now, almost 40 year later, there is no shortage of martial arts styles and school, from traditional to modern, that kids can train in.

Needless to say, shopping for a kid’s karate program can be overwhelming to parents who have no experience with martial arts.

So how do you make an educated decision?

Knowing what you want your child to learn from the martial arts is a great place to start.

Here’s a list of the most common reasons we hear from parents when it comes to why they sign their kids up for karate:

I Want My Kid To Be Able To Protect Themselves:

You may be wondering, which martial arts style is best for self-defense? While traditional styles like karate, taekwondo, and kung fu have a wealth of history and knowledge, they can miss the mark when it comes to practical application in a modern world. Modern styles like K-1 kickboxing, Muay Thai, and Brazilian jiu-jitsu offer a more practical approach to self-defense focusing on applied physics and body mechanics rather than choreographed movement. Look for a program that doesn’t just teach self-defense techniques, but also explains how the techniques works.

I Want My Kid To Be More Confident:

The key to developing confidence through the martial arts is less about the style and more about the school and instructors. Look for a place that offers a FREE trial class to get an idea of what the culture is like before you commit to long-term training. A training environment with enthusiastic and supportive instructors and other kids that genuinely look happy to be there are great indication of a healthy training environment. Also, find a place that offers smaller class sizes as larger classes can be intimidating to kids struggling with feeling confident.

I Want My Kid To Be Better Disciplined:

Most martial arts schools will implement several exercises to encourage discipline such as saying “yes, sir” or “yes, ma’am” and bowing to instructors and training partners. But not all schools have programs in place that teach accountability and self-discipline. Look for a program that has clearly communicated requirements for belt rank advancement that includes more than just class attendance. Clearly communicating benchmarks is a great way to teach kids the importance of setting goals and putting in the work to achieve them.

I Want My Kid To Get Fit:

Contrary to what you may think, not all martial arts programs are created equal when it comes to fitness. Traditional styles can put a lot of emphasis on developing low stances and high kicks, but can lack intentionality when it comes to developing cardiovascular stamina and full-body strength development. Modern styles tend to focus more on developing upper body as well as lower body strength. While sparring is a great way to develop stronger cardio, programs that incorporate regular bag and pad drills tend to develop more well-rounded students. Look for a program that is intentional about including physical conditioning drills into every training session, not just sessions leading up to belt tests.

Ready to get your kids training? Register her for a free training session today to discover how we help develop strong and confident kids.

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five secret benefits of martial arts

Five Secret Benefits Of Martial Arts

If you’re like us, you LOVE finding secret benefits to ethically hack more results from your life.

Let’s be real: we all have the same 24-hours in a day. But some people seem to get more from every hour than us. The same is true of martial arts training. Have you ever noticed some people get better results than us at the gym… but we’re doing the same kind of training?

Which makes us wonder: what’s their secret?

Today, we’re going to give you five secret benefits of martial arts that no one else is talking about… but really should be!

1) Better Insulin Sensitivity

Experts agree that exercise helps improve your cells and muscles’ sensitivity to insulin. This is a really good thing! Because that means your body doesn’t need as much insulin to work effectively. And even better, it means less belly fat.

2) Less Stress

Experience shows that working out with martial arts quickly reduces a person’s stress. That’s because exercise like martial arts reduces cortisol (the stress hormone). Why does that matter? Too much cortisol triggers the body to become insulin resistant (that’s bad) and signals the body to store belly fat. Additionally, elevated cortisol stress makes you crave sugar and carbs… a vicious cycle. Break free of the stress-eat cycle with a quick 45-min strength and cardio session at Invictus (BTW, it’s always FREE to try)!

3) Better Brain Health

Our brains perform better in everyday life when we exercise! Martial arts exercise improves memory, enhances learning, and boosts concentration. In fact, vigorous exercise (like a training session at Invictus) is known to even be a great antidepressant working just as effective as common prescription drugs. Exercise helps to improve your mood (we wrote about it HERE), boost your energy, and reduce mental fog and fatigue.

4) Reduced Risk For Chronic Disease

Exercise protects your heart and reduces your risk of heart attack and stroke. In fact, we’ve written extensively about this in previous posts HERE and HERE. Martial arts exercise can reduce inflammation which is the cause of almost every disease associated with aging. Furthermore, it balances hormones that contribute to reducing breast and other common cancers.

5) Enhanced Detoxification

Intense exercise is known to assist your body with releasing toxins through your skin. Now, before you get all grossed out, this is a very common way our bodies naturally detox. Vigorous exercise helps you work up a great sweat (a great detoxifier), but a gentle exercise session will keep your circulation going. This flushes out all the toxic fluids that build up in your lymphatic system.

With benefits like these what’s not to like? Now that you know these five secret benefits of martial arts, perhaps it’s time for you to give it a try for FREE! And best of all you just might like feeling better, feeling stronger, and feeling healthier!

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Isn't all martial arts fitness?

Isn’t All Martial Arts Fitness?

Have you ever wondered: isn’t all martial arts fitness? Or all martial arts essentially do the same thing, right? Sadly, no. In fact, some martial arts styles are great for fitness! But, martial arts styles aren’t all created equally.

And this is particularly true regarding fitness and conditioning.

We believe that all martial arts styles have merit and value. They’re all beneficial in some way. And what you receive from training really depends on your goal. If your goal is fitness and conditioning, you truly need to understand the philosophy of the instructors and coaches.

Why? Because our experience has found that some martial arts styles are better equipped than others when it comes to fitness and conditioning. This becomes even more apparent when you want to develop strength, stamina, agility, power, leverage, efficiency, and durability.

So, if you’re like us and want to truly receive all the fitness benefits that martial arts has to offer, here are three things to consider:

Tradition vs Innovation

Every martial art in existence today has a rich history of lineage with some dating back thousands of years. But to truly be beneficial to you today, it HAS to adapt. No exceptions.

A typical solution to a traditional martial art that has found itself slowly becoming less and less relevant is to add a combative style of training to the base curriculum. This can look like a very traditional style deciding to add Krav Maga for self-defense or even a cardio-based class to the schedule. This “add-on” approach is a great choice for some but doesn’t genuinely create a habit of a fitness-focused lifestyle.

In recent years, a more innovative approach to martial arts has been widely adopted in professional competitive sports. Modern martial arts styles understand that every session needs to smartly incorporate a mindset of practice and even create accountability to help you achieve your goals.

It should come as no surprise that most if not all professionals today choose these modern styles of martial arts when performing competitively. Additionally, you don’t have to want to compete professionally or even want to fight at all to benefit from training like Conor McGregor, Buakaw Banchamek, or Gordon Ryan. As a matter of fact, you can’t go wrong finding a good instructor or coach to help you learn a more modern fitness-based martial art. So, go try a class for FREE and see if you like it!

Isolation vs Integration

Traditional martial arts are well known for isolated movements which only target one primary muscle group at a time. So, if your goal is to develop ridiculously amazing psoas muscles (also known as your hip flexors), then a more traditional martial art may be right for you! Additionally, seniors may find it more challenging since these more isolated movements can put undue stress on joints.

Fortunately, modern martial arts put more emphasis on total-body synergistics for complete muscle integration. Modern martial arts comprehensive training always gives you more benefit and value by targeting muscular kinetic chains. In fact, during a typical training session at Invictus, you can expect to effectively condition your calves, quads, hamstrings, glutes, abdominals, lats, delts, traps, pecs, and more.

Choreography vs Performance

Everyone knows that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. There is so much to be admired in the fluid, choreographed sequences of patterns of martial arts. It really is beauty in motion!

But in today’s world, choreographed movements like katas/forms have little if anything to do with real-world application. Today, people like you want to know, “Will this protect me?”

Modern martial arts help condition us for chaos and give us the power to do something about it.

Fitness is your potential for performance. Conditioning is putting your potential to work with the physical and mental ability to perform. By focusing on fitness in training then conditioning for unpredictability, you’re not only making yourself more metabolically resilient but cognitively flexible as well.

As you can see, all martial arts have value but AREN’T the same. This is especially true with fitness goals. What matters most is that you find a solution to help you accomplish your goals and coaches who are as committed to your success as you are. So, when you’re ready, come TRY A CLASS FOR FREE and we’ll be happy to partner with you to help you accomplish your goals!

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mental health and martial arts

Improving Mental Health With Martial Arts

May is Mental Health Awareness Month so we’re taking a minute to showcase how martial arts can help. For several years, Mental Health America has acknowledged and advocated for fitness as a tool to help those who live with mental illness find pathways to wellness and ultimately thrive in life.

It is well-known that people who live with mental health issues can benefit from physical exercise like martial arts.

In fact, recent scientific publications in the American Journal Of Men’s Health and BMC Psychology support these claims. Experts agree that training in the martial arts can be a transformative experience offering many benefits to those who live with mental illness including mentorship, a sense of achievement, and increased confidence.

Here are three ways we improve mental health with martial arts…

Manage And Reduce Stress

It is well known that training in martial arts is a great way to get in shape, raise your metabolism, build muscle strength, increases flexibility, and improve immune system responses. But did you know that all of these aspects also play a role in reducing areas of potential stress?

As you train your body to become stronger, physically, you are also training it to better handle future stressors.

Of course, practicing martial arts also naturally releases endorphins, the “feel-good” hormone, into your body. These endorphins can help relieve pain and reduce emotional stress. In fact, the neuron receptors that endorphins bind to are the same ones that bind to some common prescription pain medications. That means you can experience the same relief from martial arts training without the possibility of addiction or dependency. Research out of Harvard Health has also shown that exercise, like martial arts, is an effective but often underutilized all-natural treatment for mild to moderate depression. 

Develop Self-Control

Being able to manage and regulate our emotions is something we practice every day, but for those who live with mental illness, this can be a significant challenge. A common strategy used for regulating emotions is attentional deployment, or redirecting attention. For people who struggle with managing anger or anxiety, martial arts can be a positive channel to redirect their energy. Training in the martial arts can also help redirect feelings of powerlessness and encourage feelings of self-confidence. Specifically, learning self-protection skills helps shift feelings of victimization to feelings of self-control. Sparring under adrenaline stress helps develop skills to manage adrenaline and learn to control fight or flight responses. Ultimately, martial arts training helps people develop improved self-control, form healthier habits, and reduce impulsivity.

Increase Self-Esteem

Because strong social support is important for those with depression, participating in a small group martial arts class may be beneficial. In fact, martial arts group classes can improve self-esteem through consistent positive verbal reinforcement from peers, instructors, and coaches. Additionally, when a person masters a new skill or earns a higher belt rank, their sense of achievement automatically boosts their self-confidence and they learn to feel good about themselves and their accomplishments.

So, when you’re ready to experience how martial arts can transform your life, SCHEDULE YOUR FREE SESSION with us today! We love helping REAL people like you get REAL results for the REAL world.

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fitness healthcare prevention

Fitness As Preventative Healthcare

When you think of “Healthcare” what is the first thing you think of? A doctor? A hospital? Medication? Most people would agree with that too. But did you know that fitness plays a crucial role in the Healthcare Continuum? It’s true! And today we’re going to take a fresh look at why that matters to not only your health but your whole being!

health care continuum

Image Credit: National Academy of Sports Medicine

Hospitals and physicians play a very important but relatively small role in the entire Healthcare Continuum. Reactive care (or treatment) takes place AFTER a person has had a health-related life event.

For example, heart disease remains the number one preventable cause of death. In 2020 alone, heart disease accounted for over 700,000 deaths in the United States and has been the leading cause of death worldwide since 2000.

Additionally, diabetes has been on the rise since 2000 (up 70% in 2020) and it has now become the 9th largest cause of death worldwide according to the World Health Organization.

There is a better way: preventative care.

PREVENTATIVE CARE

Research conducted at Brigham Young University (Bertucci, et. al., 2010) supports this mindset with the following: “we analyzed three preventive approaches: school-based programs, dietary restrictions, and increased exercise. These three examples are effective at reducing obesity and cost-efficient. Together, they serve as the general framework of preventive care upon which more advanced and specific programs can be discussed.”

They continue, “changing the behavior of millions of Americans is not going to be accomplished merely through strategic legislation. In reality, such a change cannot come from any one office or program. Indeed, changing the behavior of millions of Americans requires just that—millions of Americans. Perhaps the answer to America’s healthcare issue does not lie in a change of policy but in a change of mindset. Efforts need to be made on every level to establish a culture of health promotion and disease prevention.”

Here are some great examples of preventative healthcare to consider:

  • Physical Therapy
  • Massage Therapy
  • Chiropractic Care
  • Psychiatric Care
  • Dentists
  • Ophthalmologists
  • Fitness Trainers*
  • Nutrition Coaches*
  • Group Exercise Instructors*
*Invictus Martial Arts offers all three

MAKING A DECISION

Experts agree the key to maintaining total mind-body wellness is prevention. From eating whole, minimally processed foods to intentional, daily movement, prevention always starts with a decision. You must decide that you are worth it. You must decide that your future is worth it. Everyone wants to do their part and it starts with a personal commitment to living a healthy lifestyle.

So, start first with developing an ongoing habit of intentional movement through fitness. In fact, martial arts fitness is absolutely ideal to help you begin! Training sessions at Invictus are smartly scheduled to accommodate any schedule. Additionally, anyone can begin and start reaping major benefits. Experience shows that the regular practice of martial arts is believed to help with improved mindset, improved body composition, improved emotional resilience, and so much more.

NEXT STEPS

Claudio F. of Cedar Park shared, “The classes in Invictus this year not only provided [our son] a lot of great lessons, skills, and abilities but also other important aspects such as friendship, affection, and discipline. I can always see his admiration with you[sic], the classes make him happy and confident.”

As you can now see, healthcare is much more than just a visit to your local care facility. It happens every day and can have a profound impact on not only your health but your entire well-being.

So, when you’re ready to start getting your results, SCHEDULE YOUR FREE SESSION with us today! We love helping REAL people like you get REAL results for the REAL world.

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Fitness Exercise

May Is National Fitness Month

May is National Physical Fitness and Sports Month. In fact, experts at Harvard Medical agree that “regular exercise is one of the pillars of healthy living.” But what real benefit is there? And how can you cram exercise into your already packed daily routine?

Mayo Clinic suggests that in as little as 30 minutes per day, you can easily start to reap benefits that have fantastic results. But what kind of results? Harvard Medical tells us that daily, moderate exercise “improves cardiovascular health, lowers blood pressure, helps control body weight, and protects against a variety of diseases.” Additionally, “just like a healthy diet, exercise can contribute to general good health and therefore to a healthy immune system.”

This is great news! Because that means you have 32 chances during your waking hours to get moving and get healthier. So, when you decide to make exercise a regular part of your daily activity, you will get improvement in your quality of life AND a healthy immune system.

But it gets better!

The National Institute of Health goes even further to suggest that “the practice of physical exercises acts as a modulator of the immune system. Such practice has an effect on the lower incidence, intensity of symptoms, and mortality in viral infections observed in people who practice physical activity regularly.”

So, how do you put this into practice? Here are three ways we’re helping you do just that:

LIVE-Stream Sessions

Thankfully you can join your training sessions at Invictus Martial Arts from the comfort of your own living room or from the beach! As long as you have an internet connection, you can log in and train from wherever you are in the world and start getting healthy today. And as a bonus, you can also practice with our LIVE-Replay of recorded training sessions. This means if you happen to miss your session you can easily participate whenever you’re available!

Private Coaching

Looking for something a bit more personal? Our Private Coaching (1:1) or Semi-Private (1:4) Coaching sessions are what you’re looking for. Available In-Person or LIVE-Streaming, we can tailor your training to help you accomplish your goals with personalized feedback and customized weekly practice.

Small-Group Training

Big on fun and yet small enough to feel right at home, our Small-Group Training sessions are a great way to get out of the house and into one of the best training facilities in the NW Austin and Cedar Park area. Everyone knows that our state-of-the-art design and wellness-driven amenities make training at Invictus an experience that you’ll absolutely love! You’ll create a sense of camaraderie with your peers while getting in a good sweat and learn new skills. In fact, you’ll leave smiling knowing you learned how to protect yourself and your well-being.

Now, what are you waiting for? It’s FREE TO TRY and clearly great for you! We’ll see you on the training mats soon!

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Round Kick

Round Kick Shin Conditioning

From karate to Muay Thai to MMA, the roundhouse kick (or round kick) is one of the most used and widely recognized kicks in the martial arts. In fact, most people would agree that it’s also one of the most effective kicking techniques. But there’s a lot more to it than just performance and power. In fact, the round kick can be quite a complicated kick that, when properly executed, can not only generate devastating force but also deliver awe-inspiring elegance!

But there’s often some confusion when a person is first learning the round kick. To be specific, people always want to know: what part of the shin do I use? So, let’s take a quick look at applied science to give us the answer we seek.

Human Anatomy

The bones in the legs are some of the largest in the human body. Because of this, they’re also clearly the most durable. But what’s the difference and which one do I use? Let’s briefly discuss the two largest bones:

Femur

The femur is the largest bone in your body and located in your upper part of your leg often referred to as the thigh. This area houses not only the femur (the bone extending from your hip to your knee) but also the largest muscles– the quads (a series of interconnected muscles on the top/front of your thigh).

Tibia/fibula

The tibia and fibula are the second and third largest bones (respectively) that make up the lower part of your leg. This area is often referred to as the shin (front) and calf (back). The shin area on the front of your leg houses several muscles as well as your tibia bone (the bone extending from your knee to ankle). The calf area on the back of your leg houses the calf muscles as well as your fibula (a supportive bone).

Now that we know what part of the leg is responsible for the final portion of the round kick, let’s discuss how to use the tibia (shin) correctly in our round kicks.

Physics

There’s quite a lot of physics happening when you use a round kick: lever, velocity, and torque, just to name a few. The proper application of physics in this context is what generates maximum power or force (mass x acceleration = force).

Kicking

When kicking, you want to think of your leg like a baseball bat. You want to use a baseball bat to hit the ball near the thickest part of the bat (barrel) near the edge and NOT near the grip or handle.

Likewise, you want to use the thickest part of your tibia when you kick. To do that, you need to understand which areas are the thickest (good to use) and which area is the thinnest (worst to use).

Since one of your goals when using the round kick to extend your range, the ideal part of the tibia to kick with is the lower third of your shin known as the medial tibia (see image below). Practically speaking, a simple way to find this area is to take your left hand and place it just above your right ankle. When you do this, the place where your hand is on your tibia/shin is where you want to focus your kicks.

Shin conditioning tibia

Image Credit: GetBodySmart

Not only does this effectively give you the longest reach it also helps you kick with a thicker part of your tibia/shin.

Checking

When checking (or blocking) a round kick with your leg, the upper third of your tibia is an ideal area to use. Again, to find this area, simply take your right hand and place it just below the knee cap (patella) near the bony area where your leg begins to taper (see image below).

shin conditioning tibia

Image Credit: GetBodySmart

Checking someone else’s round kicks in this area gives you the most amount of protection. Please note that this area of the leg is a poor choice to use to kick. From an applied physics perspective, the maximum force in a lever is realized near the end of the lever and not near the fulcrum (in this instance, the knee).

Clearly, this means the remaining portion of the tibia is less than ideal to use for a round kick whether offensively for kicking or defensively for checking. The central area of the tibia/shin is less dense and more susceptible to potential breakage. In fact, when a professional does break their tibia (like Anderson Silva and recently Chris Weidman), it’s typically in the middle part of the tibia/shin (see image below).

shin conditioning tibia

Image Credit: GetBodySmart

Conditioning

Now that you understand which part of your leg is most ideal to use for a round kick, it’s time to consider how to condition your shins and use that tibia properly.

Conditioning refers to the act of building up a tolerance to kicking with less pain and possible damage to you and your legs. Initially, when you start using round kicks, it’s common to bruise or even feel some pain or discomfort. This is normal. Eventually, those pain signals that your leg nerves are sending to your brain will lessen with time and practice. Fortunately, there are several ways to accomplish this but here are three of our preferred methods…

  1. Heavy Bags: Traning in a professional gym like Invictus that utilizes heavy bags is a safe and effective way to start the process of building up shin endurance. It requires good control and effective use of technique at the proper range but has the potential to maximize your results.
  2. Sparring: Using shin guards while sparring helps you feel some of the impact without direct bone-on-bone feedback and can help you train with confidence. At Invictus, we only partner with suppliers known for specializing in combative martial arts (like Hayabusa, Revgear, and Venum- official sponsor of the UFC).
  3. Pad Work: When you’re working with a partner you’ll always use much less power than you would if you were kicking a heavy bag. That said, pad work is essential to developing good control and proper accuracy, precision, and target acquisition while continuing to condition your shins.

The round kick is obviously a fun kick to learn and we’ve only just started talking about how to use such a versatile and effective kick. At Invictus Martial Arts we’re committed to leveraging applied physics and sports science to give you real results and have fun developing amazing skills. Whether you’ve been training for years or just starting to think about it, you’re always welcome to JOIN US and try it out for yourself!

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girls martial arts

Why Martial Arts Isn’t Just For Boys

While martial arts is still largely a male-dominated industry, it’s important to recognize that martial arts isn’t just for boys. In fact, there are more and more young girls and women turning to martial arts training for its many unique benefits.

From an increasingly young age, through media and bullying, girls are taught to feel self-conscious about their bodies, fear for their safety, and even view themselves differently from their male peers. Martial arts offers a solution to many of these concerns young girls struggle with.

Here are four critically important lessons all girls learn when they train in the martial arts:

1. She’ll Learn To Love Herself:

Unfortunately, most young girls will struggle with low self-esteem before the age of 12. This is in-part due to negative messages delivered by others whether through social media and the recent increase in cyber-bullying, or “mean girls” lashing out due to their own lack of self-confidence. Regardless of the source, young girls are constantly bombarded with negative cultural messages about everything they should be critical of about themselves. And so she quickly learns: her body is ugly, she is weak, she is stupid, she is incapable.

Fortunately, martial arts delivers an important opposing message helping her realize everything that is amazing about her: she is worthy of respect, she is strong, and she can achieve amazing things through hard work and commitment. With a focus on self-respect, she will quickly learn that as a martial artist, she must respect herself and others and expect that others respect her in return.

Training in the martial arts will also improve her body image. Rather than seeing her body in terms of what it looks like, while training in the martial arts, she will get to experience what her body can do. Whether it’s kicking through a board or holding her own in a sparring match, she’ll realize that her body is strong and capable of doing incredible things, regardless of how it looks. This will develop her self-confidence and sense of self-worth and will help fortify her against attempted bullying.

2. She’ll Learn To Protect Herself:

The unfortunate reality of the world is that girls and women face a significantly higher risk of assault. On average, 1 in 6 women will experience sexual assault in her lifetime. While most martial arts instructors teach techniques that can be used for self-defense, simply learning self-defense isn’t enough. At Invictus Martial Arts, we educate all of our members on the importance of understanding the distinction between self-defense and self-protection. With a focus on informed awareness, she will learn to identify potentially violent behavior that can help her avoid ever becoming a target.

When it comes to self-protection, the best self-defense techniques are simple, easy to use, and effective. With consistent training in the martial arts, she will learn how to use her body to protect herself, even from larger and seemingly more powerful opponents.

3. She’ll Learn To Trust Herself:

There are so many opportunities for developing self-confidence through martial arts training. Imagine her experience the first time she breaks a board, or scores her first point in a sparring match, or wins her first medal at a tournament, or earns her first new belt rank. Each new achievement reinforces the idea that she can trust in her developing abilities and through hard work, time, and dedication, she can truly achieve anything she puts her mind to.

4. She’ll Learn That She Is An Equal:

While most youth sports are not coed, martial arts training provides a unique opportunity for girls and boys to train together and even compete with each other. In fact, girls who train in the martial arts benefit from interacting and partnering with boys in an environment where mutual respect is expected and enforced. These coed interactions reinforce the idea that she is no different than her male peers when it comes to her ability to perform and achieve. This experience will set her up for success in other areas of her life, including academic and professional endeavors.

Ready to empower a young girl in your life? Register her for a free training session today to discover how we help develop strong and confident girls.

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Top 5 Martial Arts Exercises

To maximize their performance and build overall endurance and stamina, serious martial artists know that they need to add conditioning exercises to their training regime. Experience shows that there are five basic martial arts exercises that are best for targeting the specific muscle groups martial artists use most.

Here Are Our Top 5 Martial Arts Exercises:

Squats

Martial artists rely heavily on their legs for stable stances and powerful kicks. Squats target the quadriceps and hamstrings which are used for common martial arts techniques such as evasions from punches, body and leg kicks, takedowns, and ground control. It is well understood that a powerful punch starts with a push-off from the ground by a leg. Want to have stronger punches? Develop stronger legs. 

Sit-ups

Sit-ups are a fantastic martial arts exercise. The abdominal muscles are critical for stability and balance. Stable stances and good balance are critical for maintaining body control during a fight.  In fact, much of the force in your kicks, punches, and submission are powered through the obliques. While it is true that a powerful punch starts with a push-off from the ground by a leg, the force generated from that push then travels through the legs to the abdominals, shoulder, arm, and finally fist. Training the abdominal muscles with sit-up variations (such as bicycle sit-ups or butterfly sit-ups) will ensure that the force generated from the push-off from the ground is fortified as it travels through the body.

Push-ups

Designed to target the pectorals, deltoids, and triceps, push-ups are the go-to exercise martial artists use to strengthen their upper body. While it’s true that punches are generated from the ground up, developing strong arms and shoulders is critical to maximizing power.  Additionally, a strong upper body is required for the push-pull movement used in grappling and clinching in MMA training. 

Running

Developing a strong cardiovascular system is key for maximizing endurance. When it comes to sparring during a training session or having to protect yourself in everyday life, cardio is key. A typical street fight or sparring match lasts about two minutes while a professional fight can last five minutes. The best martial artists understand that during a fight, someone will get tired first, giving the other person the clear advantage.  The ultimate goal is to be able to sustain a high-level of performance for a prolonged period of time.

Incorporating running into your training is a great place to start. In addition to improving cardiovascular health, running has also been linked to lowering rates of stroke, cancer, and diabetes. Even better, a 2014 study conducted by Iowa State University, determined that running is actually linked to a 45% drop in risk of death due to cardiovascular disease. Incorporating running into your martial arts training regime can actually make you harder to kill

Burpees

This full-body workout mixes cardio with strength training and agility. This exercise targets it all…quads, hip flexors, glutes, delts, and shoulders just to name a few muscle groups.  Incorporating burpees into some high intensity interval training is a great way to maximize your cardio and build stronger muscles. 

Ready to take your training to the next level? Discover how Invictus Conditioning: Garage Gym Athlete can help you feel more powerful and confident.

 
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© 2019-2021 Invictus Martial Arts

All rights reserved. Used with permission. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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