How do you measure your conditioning

Discussion in 'Health and Fitness' started by icefield, Aug 7, 2017.

  1. icefield

    icefield Valued Member

    Most of us do some form of S and C work in addition to our martial arts, but how do we know our work is actually improving our strength and conditioning? What measurements are you using to judge your programs effectiveness?

    If I ask that of most guys the answer is easy for strength and hard to judge for conditioning, they say my 1 rep max has gone up, I can do more reps with the same weight etc when it comes to strength but when It comes to conditioning the answer is usually I can last longer on the mats or in the ring, but that is subjective and can be down to other matters than your conditioning program such as skill efficiency and better energy conservation.

    People would never go to the gym and lift weights blindfolded so they had no idea what was on the bar day in or day out, or without some way to measure progress but this is frequently what happens when it comes to conditioning. If you aren't using a simple heart rate monitor, if you aren't measuring resting HR, heart rate recovery, power output at threshold, true max heart rate, or things like distance covered during timed sessions, number of reps completed in a fixed time period how can you expect to make measurable progress?
    axelb and Simon like this.
  2. axelb

    axelb Master of Office Chair Fu

    Since I had asthma diagnosis, I have been a lot more recorded in all my progress (or not).
    For running it is easy to measure progress, distance time heart rate; for me this crossed over well to training aerobic capacity.

    For anaerobic bag work or skipping rope, and hill sprints I follow a similar formula, heart rate, time for rounds and weight for vest on hill sprints.

    In addition to this I measure resting heart rate and determined a rough max heart rate from stress testing. Every 6 months or quarter I'll test again.

    Wearing a heart rate monitor on in class isn't always practical, I imagine it would brake in sparring or a nasty bruise of hit, but I can gauge my effort based on cross over to the other training with the HR monitor on.

    I also plot it out on a spread sheet (geek I know) so I can see trends over time when I get ill from asthma and correlation to environmental conditions or training intensity.

    Overall with all the above I have been able to see a general trend of improvement, when a perceived lack of improvement due to repeated illness was occurring.
    icefield likes this.
  3. Pretty In Pink

    Pretty In Pink Moved on MAP 2017 Gold Award

    How many hard rounds I can fight and still not feel like my throat is bleeding :D
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  4. hewho

    hewho Valued Member

    For conditioning, for me it's 'how many rounds I can roll, without just looking to survive and recover, but try to implement my game plan as well. I get where you're coming from about following a programme in the gym, but I think it's easier to look at progress there than it is at how well your strength translates. '200 pounds is 200 pounds', but I've never fought the same round twice. If I can roll 5 5 minute rounds, with limited (10 seconds or so) rest between, and no water, I feel fairly well conditioned. (Had to drink tonight, booo)
  5. Knee Rider

    Knee Rider Valued Member Supporter

    To be honest this seems to be Icefield's point.

    Everyone is commenting saying they measure Thier conditioning against how they perform in rounds on the mat but he is suggesting that there are too many variables in the quality of each session of sparring to make it an effective measure. A better empirical measure would be heart rate, distance over time etc as they produce specific quantitative data which is more reliable than the qualitative experience of how you felt during sparring and all the variables that influence that.
    icefield likes this.
  6. hewho

    hewho Valued Member

    If I was going to do it, then long term I would probably frequently measure my resting heart rate, and how quickly after training I got back down to it. It would be interesting to track my heart rate across 5 rounds of rolling, then compare it to when I'm teaching exercise classes. But just because of the nature of the game, I am actually more concerned with how I feel than with what the numbers would be. If I was having problems I'd probably be more motivated to track it and see what helped me and what didn't, but in my position, how I perform, be it at work, on the mat, or in the gym, is the easiest and most reliable way for me to know it's working fine :)
  7. icefield

    icefield Valued Member

    Yep my point is to motivate and make genuine progress you need some form of accurate measurement of what you are doing, not many people would run a strength programme without bothering to record weights reps and thus progress over time, and I doubt anyone would be happy to run a programme where they had no idea of what weight was on the bar but was told by a coach don't worry as long as you feel strong in the ring or on the mat you are making progress.

    If your not a competitive powerlifter why keep track of what you are lifting and the progress you are making? And if you can answer that question and everyone can, then explain again why you don't need to do the same thing for the other part of the s and c equation
    axelb likes this.
  8. PointyShinyBurn

    PointyShinyBurn Valued Member

    What's the point of not drinking water?
  9. hewho

    hewho Valued Member

    Every time I've competed, I've felt like I am constantly dehydrated, no matter how much I'd drunk, I think it's nerves. It's a psychological thing more than anything, and I never do it outside of rolling, but I just like to know that when comp time rolls around and I feel like that, I know that A) I'm not, but also B) it doesn't matter, you've rolled like this a hundred times before.

    Again, for me, it comes down mostly to personal preference. Cardio has never been something that's been really difficult for me, (in my sports, I'm not trying to claim I'm a superfit cardio god, my running is awful, just that it's very rare for me to gas during rolling or sparring). On the other hand, I have always struggled with my strength, so I keep a closer eye on that, as that's I'm focusing on improving. I'm currently tracking distance for swimming, because that's something I want to improve. If I wanted to improve my running, I would track my 5k time, that being my sort of distance, but I don't. As long as I'm feeling good with it, I'm happy. Obviously this won't be the same for everyone, but that's my reason for not tracking it as diligently as I do my resistance training. :)

    EDIT- I am NOT recommending people dehydrate themselves during training. If I need to drink, I will, and so should everyone!
  10. aikiMac

    aikiMac aikido + boxing = very good Moderator Supporter

    Not that my throat is bleeding, but that I physically collapse!! As in, physically collapse! :eek:

    Two years ago I couldn't punch focus mitts three rounds in a row -- I had no energy for the 3rd round.
    One year ago I could hit focus mitts, but I couldn't spar a person three rounds at 30% effort. The intensity of "OMG, he's hitting back!" was too much.
    Now I can spar a person four rounds at something more than 30% but less than 100% effort each.
    That's how I know that I've improved my conditioning. :D:D:D
  11. Pretty In Pink

    Pretty In Pink Moved on MAP 2017 Gold Award

    How are you finding boxing as compared to aikido?
  12. aikiMac

    aikiMac aikido + boxing = very good Moderator Supporter

    Scary. And a lot of fun. If not for headgear in sparring, I would have been knocked *out* twice now. (But I've hit the other guys a lot, too.) But from day one, I was able to dance around the ring remarkably well for a beginner, because I was used to "moving off the line." The evasive footwork of aikido carries over very well.

    I've had so many "a-ha" moments, as in, "Oh, that's what that movement is supposed to be!" When the founder of aikido was alive and teaching, his version developed out of cross-training with karate, judo, and kendo experts. He and all of his original students could pull it off against punchers and kickers. I'm seeing now, for really the first time ever, exactly how that would and would not happen. Things like "enter deeply" and "sink" and what it means to "turn the hips" are making soooooo much more sense to me now.

    Would that I had taken up boxing 15 years ago! Doh!
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  13. Pretty In Pink

    Pretty In Pink Moved on MAP 2017 Gold Award

    Very interesting! I'm glad you're enjoying it :D
  14. Rataca100

    Rataca100 Banned Banned

    Have somone kick your groin every month and see how well your conditioning is going? Seems pretty accurate. :p
  15. aikiMac

    aikiMac aikido + boxing = very good Moderator Supporter

    Ya, I'd like to hear your progress! Wanna start a thread, Rataca? With pictures? :p:D
  16. Rataca100

    Rataca100 Banned Banned

    I will have you know, i have purposely built up my tighs to better lock down that region from attack. Most orginal excuse for having excess fat. :p

    (i will tell you how it goes if i ever get a policing career)
  17. VoidKarateka

    VoidKarateka Valued Member

    I usually measure my cardio conditioning based on two things. One, my ability to sprint for as long as possible (recording time spent at full sprint and the slow down at the end, and also the time it takes to return to an "average" heartrate after). Two, how much ground I can cover in a set amount of time (usually 30 minutes).

    My sprint gives me a fairly good indicator of my anaerobic ability and recovery cycle during frequent bursts of anaerobic exercise. My distance record gives me a decent indicator that I'm able to increase my workload in a single set time.

    I don't have empirical evidence that this has direct correlation with my performance in martial arts but I definitely feel the difference in training. As a benchmark I think running is pretty good because though it's not entirely specific to martial arts training, it does put the body under a fair amount of comparable stress (imo).
    axelb likes this.
  18. Fish Of Doom

    Fish Of Doom Will : Mind : Motion Supporter

    Not much of a cardio guy myself, but occasionally I'll have to run somewhere, or I'll run up the stairs because walking is boring, or I'll hurry up my sets in the weightroom, and that usually gives me a pretty good indicator of where I'm at cardio-wise at that moment (if I notice that I'm out of breath, then my current cardio is bad for my current activity level and needs, otherwise it's up to par)
    hewho and axelb like this.
  19. liero

    liero Valued Member

    I've been completing the beep test 2 times each week as my almost exclusive conditioning training.
    I warm up with my mobility routine and light bodyweight exercises for activation.
    Then I run the beep test (trying to beat the time from the last session) wait 15 minutes and try to beat the previous time.
    It's a great way to track upward progress (I hadn't been training for a few months so the improvement curve is good).
    It's also a good way to see how day to day fatigue like bad diet or a bad nights sleep can really change your ability to perform!
  20. neems

    neems Valued Member

    5 mile run time,I do it on a Friday so I have the weekend to recover.

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