How to Start Practicing Martial Arts? [Tips]

How to Start Practicing Martial Arts? [Tips]

[Original Article]

Everything You Need to Know Before Practicing Martial Arts

Since we are exposed to more and more information about the link between physical activity and mental and physical health, many of us are trying to include some form of exercise in our daily routines. In general, most people opt for jogging/running or going to the gym where they lift weights with or without the best powerlifting belt and run on a treadmill. 

While these activities are undoubtedly healthy and beneficial in different aspects, many people lose motivation after a while because they are repetitive and, in a way, boring. If you find that it is getting harder and harder to make yourself engage in regular running or gym sessions over time, maybe it is time to try something else. Experts we consulted on this matter recommend martial arts training instead of standard exercises. 


Martial arts are becoming increasingly popular in the United States and other parts of the world. The main reason for that is that because they come with a ton of benefits – for example, your strength and mobility increases tremendously. Besides physical, there are many psychological and spiritual benefits of learning martial arts.  

Nonetheless, most adults will be quite confused when you propose them to try martial arts classes, thinking it is something you need to start when you are a child. Of course, this is a total misconception – there isn’t such a thing as the right martial arts learning age. Any time or age, you feel ready to try is the right time. However, there are other challenges you need to deal with. 

First of all, there are different martial arts types, and you have to know precisely what you are looking for to choose the right one. We understand that you feel overwhelmed by all the questions that emerge when thinking about martial art disciplines. For this reason, we decided to come to your rescue with this text, which will hopefully provide you with all the answers you need before starting your martial arts journey. 

Why Is Martial Arts a Good Choice for You?

When thinking about practicing some martial art disciplines, the first thing that comes to people’s minds is learning how to defend themselves if necessary. This is undoubtedly important now, maybe more than ever, as we are living times of great insecurity and instability. However, as important as they are, self-defense skills are far from being the only benefit of developing martial arts skills. We already mentioned that you are getting way stronger, but here are some other things martial art knowledge brings:

  • Increased Confidence. Since you know that you are stronger physically, you will also be stronger and calmer mentally. You become sure of your capabilities and proud of them at the same time. 
  • Increased focus and awareness. When you are training, you continuously need to be aware of your actions around you. Over time, you get so used to it that you find yourself focused and aware all the time regardless of what you are doing.  
  • Reduced Stress. You have a lot of changes during the training to kick and punch a punching bag, which is a known stress relief method.
  • Improved personality traits. When working in a dojo, you are not just learning the techniques but also respect, discipline, cooperation, and humility. You are working with others and learning from the instructor in a place where it is normal to help each other. You must be focused and open to receive criticism as it serves to help you improve. 

prepare for fight

What Do You Need to Know Before You Start 

You Need to Do Some Research

As mentioned before, there are a lot of martial arts schools that offer different programs – Muay Thai, Kung Fu, Aikido, Capoeira, Krav Maga, and so on. Before enrolling in a class, the best thing you can do is to do some research and see what suits your particular needs most. Sometimes even the smallest details can play a critical role when you are deciding on the program you want to attend. 

You Will Learn All the Time

The main aspect of martial art disciplines is a continual improvement! No matter how good you became at a certain technique, keep in mind that it can always be better. Also, your instructor will remind you of it, so it is important to always be focused and pay attention to what she or he is telling you. It is already said that you have to keep an open mind in martial arts school. This means that you have to keep on learning and practicing even if you come across a challenging technique. Always remember that repetition is the mother of all learning, and don’t give up. You will master it eventually.

You, Will, Burn a Lot of Calories

Regardless of whether you have been physically active or not before, the thing with martial art is that it makes your body do something that it never did before. And considering that it is a full-body workout, it means that you will do cardio and strength training at the same time. This means that you will work a lot during the training and burn a lot of calories – some estimates are that an average person burns around 1100 -1500 calories during one hour of martial arts class.


Get Prepared to Be Hurt 

Instructors do everything in their power to make the classes as safe as possible. Nonetheless, accidents happen, and you need to be prepared for it. Of course, you are not going to classes to get beaten. But the point of martial arts is to teach you to avoid getting hurt in real life so, and you need to know that you will get a bump or bruise here and there during the training until you perfect it. As you are becoming better, you will experience fewer accidents.  

Regular Attendance Is a Must 

Don’t expect to become a martial art master if you are coming to training every second week. Be clear about your goals because training martial arts is not like playing street ball with your besties. It is a lifestyle rather than a hobby and thus requires a lot of hard work and dedication if you want to see the results.

Focus On Positive Things 

We mentioned before that you have to have an open mind and the ability to receive criticism when you are entering a martial arts class. This is something that many of us find difficult. When we don’t do things as well as we would like or we don’t progress as quickly, we get discouraged. But instead of losing motivation, we need to focus on positive things. Nobody was born knowing everything, and things cant change after just a couple of training. If your goal is, for example, to participate in a martial arts tournament, don’t focus on that from the beginning of the training. Focus instead on little steps that lead you towards your goal – be proud of yourself when you master a challenging technique, etc.


Invest in Good Equipment 

Besides adopting martial arts philosophy, you also need to think about suitable equipment for the specific type of class you chose. This is important because it protects both you and the others. For example, you have to have a mouthpiece and something that protects your groin for any type of class, and the other element of martial arts outfit varies depending on the type of class. For example, for Kung Fu, it is important that you have a proper suit and shoes, for Muay Thai boxing gloves, etc. 


Stop Over-Thinking

This is another thing that many of us see as a challenge. We are used to thinking too much about what we are doing before actually doing it. Also, when we run into an obstacle in training, we tend to think about it – why it was difficult, or wrong, are we at all capable of doing it, and so on. This makes us not just question ourselves but also often give up on the technique altogether. Rather than thinking about it for three hours, focus on practicing the technique as much as you can, keeping in mind that only practice makes it perfect.  


We came to the end of our introduction to martial art disciplines! The arts are a fantastic way both for men and women to be in better overall shape and physically and mentally stronger. And as you can see, everyone can start a class and be successful in it – the only important thing is that you know what to expect and what is expected from you! Are you planning to start practicing a martial art? Or are you already attending a school?

Finding Your Perfect Bench Press With Eric Spoto

Finding Your Perfect Bench Press With Eric Spoto

[Original article}

Want to bench like a powerlifter? All-time raw bench press record holder Eric Spoto provides step-by-step instructions right here!

Finding Your Perfect Bench Press With Eric Spoto

The bench press has an undeserved reputation of being a "low-tech" lift. Yeah, it seems simple enough to lie down and push a bar off your chest, but the bench press is actually a fairly technical exercise—and one that should be different for every person. There are a lot of things to think about, and if you're under enough weight, a lot of things that can go wrong.

If you want a big-ass bench, who could be a better teacher than the man with the heaviest raw bench of all time, Eric Spoto? Follow his cues about body positioning, tension, and pause training, and you'll quickly add more plates to the barbell and feel confident about moving them.



Despite what it may look like, the bench press is not an upper-body-only movement. Where you put your feet matters—a lot! If they're in the wrong place, you'll put yourself at a severe disadvantage from the start.

Spoto says you have two options: If you're flexible enough, bring your feet behind your knees, under your butt. If not, put your feet in front of your knees and press flat-footed.

Which one's better? "Whatever you're stronger at is going to have to be that position," says Spoto. "Either feet up, or feet back."

So you've set your feet, and your butt still launches off the bench when you press. What now? "You're going to find a spot where you just can't come up," Spoto explains. Here's how to find it:

  • If you're a "feet back" lifter, experiment with moving your legs back toward the bar. Find the sweet spot where your feet are back far enough that you still have a lot of leg drive, but your hips feel locked to the bench.
  • Spoto is a flat-footed lifter, so he can answer this from experience. "I had a problem with my ass coming up, so I moved my legs out until I found a spot where it didn't come up," he says.

Remember: There's a sweet spot where you have max leg drive, but your ass won't budge. That's what you need to find. And once you find it, lock your feet in and don't move them during the lift.


Like with foot positioning, you're going to have to experiment until you find what feels best; it's not an exact science. Instead, consider it a rite of passage. And don't use a certain width just because Spotoor anyone else does it.


"You can't just copy anyone's grip," Spoto says. "It's going to be trial and error."

When you do find that grip, though, the next step is universal: Grip the bar, and grip the hell out of it. Spoto says to "make the bar bleed." This will help keep your wrists strong and tight.


Spoto begins by setting his feet and his hands. Once they're in place, they never move. Then he lays down on the bench with his head so high it's actually off the top of the bench. From there, he "coils up," as he calls it, until his eyes are under the barbell and his body weight is placed on his traps.

To do it, start with your head off the top off the bench. Pull your body up toward the bar and then down. Your goal should be to pull your shoulders down toward your feet as far as possible, which forces your chest and lower back to arch upward toward the bar. "You can never have your chest too high," Spoto says.

Once you pull your shoulder blades together and down and bring your chest up, all of your weight should be on your traps and your feet. Your lower back shouldn't be touching the pad. Have your lifting partner check by sliding their hand—or maybe even their fist—under your lower back.



Leg drive isn't just what you use to power the bar off your chest. For Spoto, it's something he has from the moment he unracks the bar.

"A lot of people go from zero leg drive to 100, and their ass flies up," he says. "The second I unrack the bar, I'm at about 50 percent leg drive." Then, as the bar sinks, he incrementally adds tension—50, 60, 70, 80, 90—until he's at 100 percent leg drive at the bottom.

"I don't want to waste too much leg drive, so I'm not at 100 out of the gate," he says. "I do enough to stay completely tight."

Different coaches cue leg drive in different ways, but for Spoto it starts from the ground up. "The cue is driving my front toe through the sneaker. So it's basically doing a leg extension," he says.

Put it all together, and the arch you started with your lats will get even bigger. "If your upper body is locked down from your coil, and your leg is actively trying to extend, then your chest and back will have to arch," Spoto says. He compares it to pushing on both ends of a ruler: "If you push a wooden ruler, it's going to bow up."



"Tucking" your elbows in as you lift is a good cue, but you can tuck too much. If your elbows come inside your hands, you're in a bad spot. As you move the bar down, keep your elbows tucked so they don't flare out to 90 degrees. You can get into a really weak position if you're not tight, so think about keeping your elbows tucked by engaging your lats.

If you keep your lats and shoulder blades tight, your elbows shouldn't be a problem. As you press up, your elbows are going to naturally flare out and up. You can actually feel them moving under the bar.

Maintaining a tight body and keeping your back engaged will cause the bar to move in a slight arch. This is a good thing. The bar should come down to the same spot on your chest every time, and then launch up to right above your eyes.

Why? Because of strength. "You are stronger locking out [over your eyes] than you are locking out [over your chest]," Spoto says.



You can't talk about Eric Spoto without mentioning the "Spoto press." His namesake training technique involves pausing with the bar just an inch or so off of your chest, rather than letting it touch down. "I do the pause right before hitting the chest," he says.

To be clear, this is way, way harder than it sounds, so don't expect to do it with anything close to max weight. "You're basically doing the whole weight off your chest," Spoto explains. "Basically, making the movement harder."

However, once you get good at it, don't be surprised if all of the other cues here magically become second nature—and your bench strength goes through the roof. If you can Spoto press 300, benching 350 or more should be a breeze.


Now it's time to take these cues and apply them to your lift. Remember that getting it right is going to take a lot of reps. You won't be perfect the first time you try. Spend a few weeks playing with your feet, hands, and upper-back placement. Practice coiling down the bench so your upper back is locked. Work on keeping your legs engaged and using them to press your upper body back up the bench like a ruler.

Keep adding weight as you get comfortable. Pretty soon, you'll have an entourage.


Mark Bell

Mark Bell

I used to be known as JackAss from my days at elitefts.com, or Smelly from the feature film documentary 'Bigger, Stronger, Faster.'

[Original article}

Workout Regimen

Workout Regimen

Ryback Reeves explains where his love of fitness and health came from to how he stay fit today. 

Going into detail about his exact work out routine and how this is helping him get better more explosive results than ever before.

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