The concept that you'll be introduced to in this workout is referred to as Quasi-Isometric Training (or QI Training). You can find a great article written by Nate Morrison here.
Whereas Isometric training has you holding a particular position without moving or acting against an immovable object, the gist of it is that QI is moving slowly-- very slowly-- throughout the range of motion of an exercise. At the very beginning, we're talking 30 seconds concentric and 30 seconds eccentric, but it could potentially be as long as you wanted. The exercises can be loaded or unloaded, but loaded movements shouldn't go over about 60-70% of your 1RM. Weighted or not, you're going to get very, very strong.
|More gains than you can even hold.|
QI can be further separated into "Active" and "Passive" QI. Active QI will require you to squeeze muscle fibers intentionally throughout the range of motion of the exercise, which will help with muscle size, and will leave you shaking like crazy at the end of your set. Passive QI involves relaxing as much as possible during the movement so that you are focusing on the neuro-muscular connections of your muscles to draw out the maximum amount of strength. This will take some practice. QI is said to support joints and strengthen muscles through the full range of motion of a movement, making you more resistant to injury.
My friend, James Whelan, who wrote the Avatar: The Last Airbender Waterbending Workout described to me a similar concept in the practice of taiji (Tai Chi). When performing the forms for that martial art, the goal is to do the movements slower and slower until a form that takes a few short minutes to complete at the beginning of training takes as long as 45 minutes. Apart from the low stances being absolutely killer on your legs, the practitioner is encouraged to imagine the slow movements of the arms and waist to be moving through water or some other thick fluid. This sounds very similar to Passive QI and would help to build the neuro-muscular connections for the movements that would later be used at high speed in combat. James once told me that in Tai Chi, you go slower to go faster, which would make sense in granting the practitioner greater strength and resistance to injury during combat.
Don't worry, I didn't forget Vegeta!! With Vegeta training in such high levels of gravity, he would have to move very slowly at the beginning to make sure that he didn't tear his muscles, crack his bones, or destroy his joints. This workout is designed to mimic this concept. You'll start each of the following movements with the goal of 30 seconds concentric and 30 seconds eccentric for all sets before increasing time or load. Remember to breathe, with shorter, quicker breaths seeming to be more useful for this type of training.
Vegeta's Gravity Room Training- 500 x Gravity
Bodyweight Exercises (Choose 3 Exercises to apply QI for 3 Sets Active QI and 3 Sets Passive QI.)
- 5 Push-ups
- 5 Handstand Push-ups
- 5 Squats
- 5 Split Squats (each side)
- 5 Pull-ups
- 5 Body Rows
Combat Skills (Choose 1)
- Active QI Shadowboxing- 30 Minutes
- Passive QI Shadowboxing- 30 Minutes
- Active QI Movement Training- 30 Minutes
- Passive QI Movement Training- 30 Minutes
- When you can perform any of the above bodyweight exercises at 30 seconds concentric and 30 seconds eccentric for all the reps and sets, increase the difficulty by either 15 seconds on each portion OR adding 5-10# in the form of a weighted vest. Eventually, you may end up doing very long set wearing a lot of weight, but progress slowly and ONLY increase the time on the movements OR the weight at one time, but not both.
- Active QI Shadowboxing is very similar to the Dynamic Tension forms found in several kung fu styles, such as Hung Gar. You will perform whatever techniques you would normally practice during shadowboxing, but you will purposefully squeeze all of your muscles as you move through your strikes, blocks, footwork, and parries. If you start to cramp, back off a bit or call it a day. It will take a while before you can keep the tension in your muscles for 30 minutes at a time while practicing. Remember to breathe!
- Passive QI Shadowboxing is more similar to Tai Chi. You will practice your techniques like normal, but slowly and with as little tension as possible in your muscles. Imagine yourself moving through quicksand, but do your best not to tense your muscles any more than is necessary to complete your movements. The goal in both Active and Passive QI Shadowboxing will be to take longer and longer to do movements. You will not be able to throw as many techniques, but there are other workouts for speed and increased reps.
- Active QI Movement Training will involve things like bending over, crawling, kneeling, raising your hands over your head, twisting or any other type of movement you can think of. Just have fun with it.
- Passive QI Movement Training is very similar to Yoga, but instead of holding positions, you will be moving through them at a very slow rate. A good place to start, if you aren't quite sure what to do, is to run through something like the Sun Salutation or doing a distance of bear crawl using Passive QI.
That's all for today! Until next time, good luck and train hard!