Dumbbell routine – upper body
If necessary, start with light weights – 5 or 10 pounds. Exhale sharply when performing a repetition, and to inhale deeply in-between repetitions (or reps, for short). This routine should be performed 3 times a week, on the same days as heavy weight training with a weight bar.
Rows – these work arms and back. Best with two dumbbells, which should be placed beside one another, and within arm’s reach on the floor in front of you. A.) Start with your feet shoulder width apart, then lean forward and stretch down your right arm and grab the right dumbbell. Use your left hand and leg for support if needed. B.) Then, pull the right dumbbell up as you bend your arm back to waist level, and carefully lower the dumbbell back to the floor. This should be done quickly. C.) From there, grab the left dumbbell and perform the same exercise. Perform 2 sets of 25.
Weighted shoulder shrugs – perform at least one set of 10 each.
Dumbbell curls – best done sitting, so as to enforce proper technique.
Dumbbell flies – Then lay flat on your back on a weight bench, with your feet planted on the floor. The dumbbells should be placed within arm’s reach, one beside each arm. Grasp both dumbbells from under – palms facing up. Instead of a curl-like motion, keep the elbows mostly locked, and squeeze your arms close enough together that the dumbbells touch. Perform one set of 10, then perform until failure.
Dumbbell routine – legs
If necessary, start with light weights – 5 or 10 pounds. Remember proper breathing during reps. This routine should be performed 3 times a week, on days when not doing heavy weight training with a weight bar.
Weighted calf raises and squats – at least one set of 10 each.
Weighted one legged squats – at least one set of 10 per side.
Weighted horse stance – at least one minute in deep horse stance with a dumbbells resting on each thigh, placed near the hip. Hold the dumbbells in place with your hands as necessary. Build up to using heavier dumbbells and longer intervals.
Weight bar routine
Only perform this routine three days a week so as to give your upper body enough time to recuperate. Remember to maintain a healthy, high protein diet. Creatine supplements and fruits are highly recommended.
Power cleans – start with light weight on the bar at first to practice the technique. The bar should be a few inches in front of your toes. Bend your knees slightly, and bend over to grasp the bar, with palms facing the floor. Your hands should be outside of your knees. Jump with an exploding movement as you jerk the weight upwards. As you do this, allow your elbows to bend in front of the body and the hands to come to shoulder level. Also, the knees should bend deeply as you land. Basically, you will be landing under the weight.
Put enough weight on the bar that you will not be able to perform more than 12 power cleans. If you are unable to perform 10, then you are using too much weight. Once you have completed 10 to 12 bench presses, take a one minute rest. Add enough weight such that you will be able to perform 8 to 10 reps.
Weighted jumping jacks – With palms facing down, pick up the bar and raise it to chest level, and bend deeply at the knees (it should look as if you just performed a power clean). Jump your feet outwards widely while quickly pressing the weight over the head. Then jump the feet back in as you bring the bar back to chest level. That is one repetition. Put enough weight on the bar that you will be able to perform 8 to 10 reps.
Military presses – With palms facing down, pick up the bar and lift it above your head. Lower the bar so as to let it almost completely rest on neck and shoulders. Slowly press the bar upwards above the head. That is one repetition. Perform at least one set of 10.
Dead lifts – At least one set of 10 at 2/3rd of your max.
Bench presses – Always take at least a one minute rest between sets. If you are toning and / or building stamina, put enough weight on the bar that you will not be able to perform more than 15 bench presses. If you are unable to perform 12, then you are using too much weight. Take at least a one minute rest between sets. Complete 12 to 15 for the first set, and rest. Add enough weight such that you will be able to perform 10 to 12. Complete this second set, and rest. Add such weight that you can perform 8 to 10. Complete your third set, and rest. Add a few more light sets as needed.
If you are lifting heavy – for size and/or strength – you may not want to perform more than 3 or 4 sets. Your first set should be enough weight such that can perform 6-8 or 10-12, depending upon your goals. Your following sets should move up in weight such that you will perform a few less reps per set. Take a 2 to 3 minute break if needed between sets.
For the advanced level, I recommend trying the cluster flux routine.
“Strength comes from health, speed comes from efforts, technique comes from experience, will power comes from faith, serenity comes from old knowledge, progress comes from new knowledge – today is now!” – Peter Urban, founder of American Goju-ryu Karate
This article is a part of the author’s concise guide to karate. Be sure to visit Johnston Karate Home Page to view the guide as well as many other free resources.