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what muscles should i work on?

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  • what muscles should i work on?

    i'm really serious about doing kendo and very passionate about it. so i've decided to raise it up. training outside of the dojo was the first thing that came to my mind, especially at the gym. i've read read some of the posts about working out and going to the gym but i need to know what muscles i should work on cause i need to tell the gym trainor about it. i asked him for a specific work out on kendo. the thing is, he doesn't know what kendo is. so i need help here.

    if it's ok with you people, please tell me the name of the muscles and where it is located. i'm no biology guy.

    thank you

  • #2
    Don't worry about specific muscle groups until you've been doing weight training for at least a while. You want to concentrate on endurance rather than just strength. Explain in detail to the trainer what kendo is, about the kamae, and the basic men strike. That should give you a good starting point. If your trainer can't come up with something from that, get a new trainer!


    • #3
      Muscles Used in Kendo

      Dear Taganahan,

      Gym training to strengthen specific muscles to improve your kendo is a great idea. I have heard that the Japanese police teams follow that pattern of training where they alternate Kendo training with gym sessions.
      Well from the top of my head and from my own experience in training I can tell you the names and location of some core muscles of the body that you can work on.
      Starting from the base of the body and building up to the top:
      (1) The Gastrocnemius and Soleus Muscles commonly known as the calves on the back of the leg. ( Soleus-Major anti-gravity muscles responsible for holding you up when you stand.) The gastrocs and soleus are very vital for effective lunges during Fumikomi and in general for all kendo footwork.
      (2) The Quadriceps - A group of four large muscles on the front of your thigh. (Once again they are anti-gravity muscles and hold you up when you stand - Very vital)
      (3) The hamstrings - A group of three muscles on the back of the thigh.
      (4) The Gluteal muscles - Muscles of the butt. Include Gluteus Maximus, Gluteus Medius, Gluteus Minimus. Our sensei says squeeze the butt cheeks in when you move forward and when you make the cut.
      (5)Then come the muscles of the lower back and those supporting the spine. Very vital for a strong upright kamae. The Lattisimus Dorsi is a muscle which starts from the lower back and fans out as it goes up giving you a V shaped body. It is activated when you do suburi.
      The erector spinae group of mucles run along the spine in three almost parallel lines. These hold you up even when you are sitting - Anti gravity once again.
      So train the lower back my friend as my father always told me and I never listened - Exercises such as dead lifts are excellent (initially best done under supervision).
      (6) The Muscles of the upper back include parts of the above muscles and also include the Rhomboids, The Trapezius Muscles and the Teres Group of muscles. Rowing exercises are ideal for all the above. The trapezius can be trained by doing shrugs.
      (7) Muscles of the shoulder - Rotator Cuff Muscles very vital for Kendo. Most commonly injured by over enthusiastic suburi and continuous training. The shoulder muscles look very strong but are suprisingly vulnerable to tears. The secret is to alternate with STRETCH - STRENGTHEN -STRETCH.
      The muscles include SUPRASPINATUS(the muscle on top of the spine of your shoulder blade), INFRASPINATUS(the muscle below the spine of the shoulder blade), TERES MINOR, SUBSCAPULARIS(the muscle underneath your shoulder blade).
      (8) Neck muscles are important and should be stretched.
      The Sternocleidomastoid muscles, The Splenius capitis and the semispinalis capitis are the msot important ones and no real drastic strengthening is required for them.
      (9) Muscles of the upper arm Biceps and triceps are important.
      Bicep for lifting up the shinai and triceps for the completion of the cut.
      (10) Muscles of the forearms especially the BRACHIORADIALIS muscle the large muscle of the forearm which can be seen prominently near the elbow when you perform reverse forearm curls.
      Another muscle very important for griping the shinai is the flexor carpi ulnaris. This is the muscle that flexes the last two fingers that hold the shinai. Our sensei told us a story about seniors senseis in Japan feeling the Flexor Carpi Ulnaris Muscles of the students to tell whether they have been doing suburi regularly or not.
      All the other muscles of the forearm should be trained to maintain a balance.
      Squeezing a ball or hand grip while watching TV or lounging would help with the tenouchi. Or alternately wringing tea towels.
      (11) Coming to the front of the trunk. THE LOWER PECTORALS the large muscles of the chest are activated not so much the upper pecs. It however is a good idea to maintain a muscle balance.
      (12) ABDOMINALS- For core strength. Something like PILATES would help here. Rectus abdominis your six pack muscles, Internal and External obliques on the flanks and the tranversus the muscles that work like a natural OBI and hold your guts in.
      Contracting the abdominals whilst making the cut helps in loosening the shoulders (Biomechanics).
      (13) The PELVIC FLOOR muscles are very important and should be switched on when you make a cut. They help in creating core stability. They can be strenthen by squeezing them in as if you are trying to stop the flow of urine and stool. This can be done whilst at work, sitting on a bus or a train.
      Well this is just an outline.Your trainer can give you all the details. I hope that this information will help you.
      All the best for your training.


      • #4
        Muscle Images

        I have tried to source out images of muscles so that you can get a visual perspective of human muscle anatomy.

        Back Muscles:



        Lower Extremities (Lower Limbs)


        Gluteus Medius

        Gluteus Minimus





        • #5
          woah. that was really very helpful! i showed the gym trainor how we did our men strikes and he told me to work on my rotator cuff for now so that i won't hurt myself in the long run. i'll tell all this info to him on the next day i'm gonna meet him and that's on monday. i think i'm gonna print this out to show it to him.

          oh yeah, he also taught me how to do some excersises on the big rubber ball. he said it was for balance. he did a suburi like motion while balancing on the ball. pretty sweet!

          thank you very much

          PS. the trainor is pretty good. the moment i entered the gym, he already knew i was doing martial arts. sad thing is, he doesn't know what kendo is all about. he trains swimmers too.


          • #6
            also, by any chance are you a doctor or a gym trainor too?



            • #7
              Muscles used in kendo

              Dear Taganahan,
              I am glad that the muscle anatomy information was useful. Yes I am a medical doctor and also a Remedial Massage therapist and I am involved with Health Science Education. I sincerely hope that the above corelation of muscular anatomy with Kendo will be useful to all my fellow kendoka and especially all the wonderful people that subscribe to the kendo world forum. I learn so much from all my fellow contributors to the forum that I owe them a debt of gratitude. I thought I could make a humble contribution.
              I must add that Hamish's post regarding not getting too muscle specific in the beginning is very true.
              Plus guysI must clarify that I do not want to make any particular point - I have added this disclaimer especially after reading that Kensin thread.
              Cheers guys! Happy training.


              • #8

                First i want to say HELLO to everybody,
                i am the new one out from the south from Germany.

                So my favorit Training to getting faster with the legs is skipping during the footwork used in Hiasuburri (??? bad english, i'm sorry for your eyes). So do this 3 times for 5 minutes. It is not direct for muscles but, it is good for the balance and speed. Muscles will make you heavy and slow.

                Let love be your energy