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Anyone into strength training?

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I mean Western style strength training. I guess from the Tao perspective 'external' strength or 'hardstyle' strength. Do you mix barbell/dumbbell/kettlebell training with your Tao stuff? I have been doing kettlebell training pretty seriously the last few years and am enjoying it. Or do you think it's better to just stick with qigong or IMA training?

 

So basically, who enjoys/does strength training? One perspective I liked from a high level kettlebell teacher who is also very seriously into qigong and IMA is that kettlebell training is the Yang to the Yin of qigong or meditation. This has been my way of looking at training recently.

 

I find if I focus too much on my qigong and meditation I get a bit too yin and then focus on kettlebell training for balance. But I will sometimes get too yang from that and cool down with qigong.

 

 

 

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I used to go in for free weights. They take a toll over time.

 

My job involves a prodigious amount of lifting, squeezing, holding and gentle/controlled settling of large objects so in that way I still get a fair amount.

 

But for working out, I no longer use free weights, I use body weight exercises.

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Bodyweight excercises are also really good. I was doing hundreds of reps of squats a few years ago for training. But prefer the kettlebell. I find meditation and good sleep or so important for good strength gains and recovery. Anyway, was just curious. My sense is most IMA stick with the particular training of their art but in our modern mixing systems world would be interesting to hear from people doing this.

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I love free weights (barbell squats, deadlifts, etc)...but I ended up going too heavy at a certain point, and tried to push through pains when I should have taken a day off and stretched. So my knee got messed up and I haven't been able to lift for maybe 9 months now. I'm finally at the point where I can try again since my knee is better, so perhaps I'll find a gym soon at the place I just moved to.

Lifting gives great results in terms of how you look and feel, so I think it's totally in line with the Tao. Whatever works. The problem is just going beyond moderate levels and not being flexible in certain ways. Injuries only happen if you're lazy and think it can't happen to you/that you've always been fine.

It's important to have flexible: hamstrings (so that the lower back isn't strained when squatting), hip adductors (so the knees can spread apart without tugging on the pelvis during the squat), quads (so the kneecaps can function correctly), and hip flexors (so the pelvis won't be abnormally rotated and screw up the whole body's posture).

Some people like the bulky bodybuilder look. I naturally have too much of a bulky look, so I aim toward moderate intensity...which can give results similar to how any other athlete looks, lean, rather than bulky (fat faced). When you push yourself beyond what you should be doing is when the bulk comes...as well as when you eat too much/too bad.

Anyway...there is something about a barbell working bilaterally (rather than a dumbbell for instance working one arm at a time), as well as about whole body resistance against gravity while standing on the ground (closed kinetic chain). Those two factors combined give really good results, even if it's simply an empty bar you're using. It builds the nervous system.

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I do bench pressing and bicep curls mostly. Used to be stronger than what I am now though. I've been slacking of late. Just recently got back on track.

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I love free weights (barbell squats, deadlifts, etc)...but ...

I know what you are talking about. There are a few exercises I have eliminated from my routine because they put too much stress on parts of my body that have injuries from earlier days of my life.

 

As with most things, overdoing it is not good.

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I do bench pressing and bicep curls mostly. Used to be stronger than what I am now though. I've been slacking of late. Just recently got back on track.

You can build back up to your previous maximum condition. Yes, it takes longer the older we get but it can be done. Slow and easy though. "No pain, no gain" does not apply here.

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for upper body I do bodyweight, lower body, I picked up a hack squat leg press machine a few years ago - it doesnt take the place of horse stance, though ;)

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Saw my older brother on Saturday. He had been complaining about being out of shape so he and his wife started a new diet & exercise routine -- after a few months, she's lost <edit>more weight than she'd probably like for me to share</edit> and he lost weight, too, while gaining muscle mass. His biceps are back up to a 20" circumference and he is showing cut abs again.

 

He's 55.

Edited by Brian
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You can build back up to you previous maximum condition. Yes, it takes longer the older we get but it can be done. Slow and easy though. "No pain, no gain" does not apply here.

Yeah it shouldn't take me long.

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We do one form with ball weights, but the emphasis is on holding them with the mind, not the physical. Great for increasing chi pressure. Same with weapons... holding one end of a staff while doing circle walking is great. So... this is mind strength training. Pushing a wall is great for this too.

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strength training is key when it comes to cultivation. don't just do qi gong and meditation imo..

 

I don't think strength training has anything to do with spiritual development. Good for the health of the physical body (if you don't overdo it) but it will do nothing to develop the spirit.

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I tend to stick to just bodyweight exercises.

 

Pushups, squats, hindu pushups, planks and crunches. And not too many either. I see little point in weights unless you are training specifically for something that requires more strength - championship weightlifting I guess.

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I don't think strength training has anything to do with spiritual development. Good for the health of the physical body (if you don't overdo it) but it will do nothing to develop the spirit.

I accept this as a truth but at least my spirit will be tough.

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I mean Western style strength training. I guess from the Tao perspective 'external' strength or 'hardstyle' strength. Do you mix barbell/dumbbell/kettlebell training with your Tao stuff? I have been doing kettlebell training pretty seriously the last few years and am enjoying it. Or do you think it's better to just stick with qigong or IMA training?

 

So basically, who enjoys/does strength training? One perspective I liked from a high level kettlebell teacher who is also very seriously into qigong and IMA is that kettlebell training is the Yang to the Yin of qigong or meditation. This has been my way of looking at training recently.

 

I find if I focus too much on my qigong and meditation I get a bit too yin and then focus on kettlebell training for balance. But I will sometimes get too yang from that and cool down with qigong.

I tried doing strength training but found that it affects my energetic sensitivity and softness, which are paramount in Taiji Quan.

 

But I feel the need to do stretching beyond the realm of typical tai chi practice, and the tai chi sword form we do is good with that, being more "physically demanding" than empty hand forms. The Jian is around 8 lbs and so being able to hold it up for a 20 minute practice session is somewhat exerting (which moving it in any which way as is typical of the sword forms). And then to switch sides and do it with other hand (so we do both left and right hand forms). That being said I haven't done the sword form at all this summer and winters in the midwest are a bane for any outdoor activities. Hopefully i'll get a few weeks of continuous sword form practice before it gets too cold this year...

 

Also, I think I'm going to resume the yoga surya namaskar regimen (sun salutation) which involves lots of stretching and isometric strength training) and doing continuous repetitions of it (with less than 1 minute break between each set builds both strength and stamina) will do the trick, imho, without bulking up and impairing chi sensitivity that muscle building does.

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Am definitely into strenght training. Intensive bodybuilding. Once you start training the right way you can build tremendous strength.

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I tried doing strength training but found that it affects my energetic sensitivity and softness, which are paramount in Taiji Quan.

 

But I feel the need to do stretching beyond the realm of typical tai chi practice, and the tai chi sword form we do is good with that, being more "physically demanding" than empty hand forms. The Jian is around 8 lbs and so being able to hold it up for a 20 minute practice session is somewhat exerting (which moving it in any which way as is typical of the sword forms). And then to switch sides and do it with other hand (so we do both left and right hand forms). That being said I haven't done the sword form at all this summer and winters in the midwest are a bane for any outdoor activities. Hopefully i'll get a few weeks of continuous sword form practice before it gets too cold this year...

 

Also, I think I'm going to resume the yoga surya namaskar regimen (sun salutation) which involves lots of stretching and isometric strength training) and doing continuous repetitions of it (with less than 1 minute break between each set builds both strength and stamina) will do the trick, imho, without bulking up and impairing chi sensitivity that muscle building does.

Personally, I find reasonable weight training to be a good supplement to my Taiji training. Surely, it's a little heavier on the physical side but I don't think it's detrimental to my Chi. Overall fitness will actually enhance your Chi.

 

I like to visualize Chi flowing through my limbs and body when lifting weights. According to Jwing Ming Yang, it could be called Hard Qigong. If you like to think of yourself as a powerful martial artist but you have muscles like Mickey Mouse, you are probably fooling yourself.

 

However, build up slowly when endeavouring to regain (supersede?) your old form. If you are in your 40s and rush back to the same heavy weights you were lifting in your 20s years, it probably won't do you any good.

 

Body weight exercises are useful, too. They won't increase muscle strength as much as weight training but they are good for your overall fitness in several ways. It might be best to intermix the two. Kettlebells are interesting, too; I haven't worked out with them so far but I am planning to try them out.

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I don't think strength training has anything to do with spiritual development. Good for the health of the physical body (if you don't overdo it) but it will do nothing to develop the spirit.

I find strength training to be very conducive to spiritual growth.

Having a strong healthy, flexible body is advantageous, even necessary for some work.

The condition of the body has pervasive and intense affects on my mind.

 

Balance in all things though... the over worked, puffy and inflexible bodies make much of the work, far more difficult.

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I find strength training to be very conducive to spiritual growth.

Having a strong healthy, flexible body is advantageous, even necessary for some work.

The condition of the body has pervasive and intense affects on my mind.

 

Balance in all things though... the over worked, puffy and inflexible bodies make much of the work, far more difficult.

I suppose that if you define "spiritual development" as having to do with the character then that would be true.

 

I tend to think of spiritual development having more to do with the physical growth of the spirit via energy cultivation.

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I suppose that if you define "spiritual development" as having to do with the character then that would be true.

 

I tend to think of spiritual development having more to do with the physical growth of the spirit via energy cultivation.

Well maybe this is semantics but character shows as a sign of spiritual work to me.

Character work takes place for me within challenging situations, usually regarding people, not when lifting stones.

 

I don't claim that this applies to anyone but me, but in my experience, a strong flexible body allows for longer sitting in stillness.

Another is the experience of subjective time and altered states, loss of self/expanded sense of self when engaged in intense physical training. The experiences I had in five animal training and no harness/gear rock climbing, opened my awareness to several aspects of my nature I'm not sure I would have found without it.

 

Although I did plenty of spiritual work and had great growth also in the years that I could not walk without a cane. So it's by no means a requirement for spiritual growth. I'm sharing where it's helped me. In the end, all roads start and end with source. In my world, there are no mistakes or accidents, only conditions and awareness in an awesome dance.

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