The Capoeira Blog

Question: Do You Go To the Gym?
April 18, 2008, 4:31 pm
Filed under: Questions

As you may or may not know, I just moved to a new town.  I decided that as part of this “new step” in my life, I’m going to start going to the gym.  This will be in addition to going to capoeira classes, of course.

I’ve never been much of a gym-going fellow.  In fact, I can count the number of times I’ve gone to a gym and trained with weights/machines on one hand.  Most of my strength and aerobic training has come from capoeira (and various other sports), and working out with my own body-weight (push ups, crunches, pull ups, etc). 

And now, a bit of full disclosure from Faisca.  The reason I’ve never gone to the gym is because I’ve always been somewhat scared of gyms.  I love to do capoeira in front of people, and I had no problem performing for dozens of people as a cheerleader.  But thinking about going into a gym where I’m all alone and I have no idea what I’m doing gives me the willies. 

So, my roommate has been going to the gym for a while now, and he (along with my Vin Diesel-sized “little” brother) convinced me that it would be worth my while to give it a shot.  At least I wouldn’t be alone.

And surprisingly, it was great.  Nobody laughed at me because I couldn’t bench 200lbs.  I wasn’t mocked because my form was off during some of my exercises.  It was a pretty good time, to tell you the truth.  And now I’m excited to start an actual workout regimen and looking forward to building up some more muscle.

Now, with all of that out of the way, we finally get to my question:

Do you supplement your capoeira training with time in the gym?  Or are you a pure body-weight strength training machine? 

If you have any experience lifting + doing capoeira, do you have any advice that you would like to share with us?  I would love to get some insight on what my fellow capoeiristas think are the best exercises and routines.

Let us know in the comments!


9 Comments so far
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I go to a gymnasium and practice my acrobatics. I don’t lift weights really. I think strength is important, but flexibility and joint strength are KEY. If you wrap yourself in tight, unforgiving muscle that isn’t flexible I think it might hurt your game. However, if you just supplement your normal practice with light to medium weight lifting you’ll be good. Just remember that there must be a balance in all things! Go for it! work out! Just don’t forget how important you flexibility is too 🙂 IMHO of course.

Comment by Pipoca

For capoeira, flexibility is certainly key. I really have no problem at all with my flexibility. I’m one of the most flexible people (and capoeiristas) I know, well, aside from my lower back which just doesn’t want to do anything.

I’m not planning on working out to the point where I can’t move my arms above my head or bend over, that’s for sure. I actually think I’m going to start off with light lifting. Just like, many reps of less weight, and maybe only one or two exercises per muscle. That way I’ll also hopefully reduce post-workout soreness.

Comment by faisca

I used to lift eights alot like 4 times a week, and I an fairly muscular. Then I started caspoeira, and found out big muscles are no the way to go, so now i do weigth only once a week, 2 reps each at the maxinum weight till I cannot do any more, and the rest of the time I us my body weight and capoeira… with great results

Comment by vinnie

I actually had a weight lifting class in High School and was pretty strong (this was over a decade ago, and going on two). I didn’t keep this up after High School, but I built houses for a living so my job entailed heavy lifting anyway.

Now in my late thirties I push paper around and manage people. Keeping fit has been difficult since I have been very limited on when I can train Capoeira of late.

A little over a month ago my wife and I bought the Total Gym (the one endorsed by Chuck Norris) and I am extremely impressed with it. I am already seeing great results and the machine itself promotes flexibility (we use it about four days a week).

As much as I work (and commute) and having a three year old son, I barely get Capoeira time let alone going to a gym.

I find them a little on the expensive side anyway.

Comment by Mike

I was a gym (and yoga!) addict long before I started at capoeira. I think the progress I made there was a massive help when I started playing.

Now I tend to focus my gymming around improving my capoeira skills. I’m working to increase my cardiovascular fitness (both endurance and short sharp bursts) so as to be able to play for longer, and I primarily stick to the machines that will strengthen my body in all the key areas for capoeira.

I find it a great deal easier (and, usually, more fun) to work out at the gym than at home. Having other people around means I push myself that little bit further and lift that little bit more!

Comment by Mem

When capoeira is factored out of the equation (currently training twice a week), my workouts are usually split 60-40 in favour of weights/machines versus bodyweight exercise. Weights/machines, be it at home or at gym, I try and fit in three sessions a week. One of these will concentrate on working my chest, shoulders, triceps and abs, the other will work my back, biceps and legs. The third, I endeavour to make an all-over body workout at less insane level. I try and supplement every gym session with a nice bout of Guerilla Cardio to send my metabolism into ridiculous levels of fat-furnace fun.

Bodyweight wise, I’m a huge fan of hindu squats, hindu pushups, diamond pushups, wide pushups, handclap pushups (can you tell I enjoy pushups?), handstands, various plyometric exercises (which are very good to accompany capoeira) and, uh, that’s all I can remember right now.

I also employ the odd dynamic stretch routine or power yoga for ensuring that my flexibility doesn’t vanish any time soon. And once a week, just for fun, I do the Ab Ripper X workout from the P90X regime. The whole thing is available on DailyMotion, and I suggest that you check it out if you’re a fan of the feeling of being permanently winded.

This all ties in with my diet and supplementation routine.

And that’s about it. Wow. Seeing it in print makes it apparent just how much of an exercise junkie I am.

And to make matters worse Mem (the lovely young lady who has the dubious honour of being my girlfriend, who quoted just above me) and I recently found the ideal spot just minutes from home to practise capoeira outdoors.

Spare minutes? SHMARE MINUTES.

Comment by Dan

I used to go to the gym like 5 times a week. Stopped last year but i still do weights here and there.

Strengthening the muscles around the joints are really important especially for capoeiras. If just to avoid injury.

Imagine how much impact our knees get from jumps (and jogging for the cardio junkies) and how much a beating our shoulders take from other movements. Weight-lifting, when done properly, can help us avoid injury.

Resistance training is also good. Like exercises with bands.

Lately, I’ve been doing exercises that use my own body weight and resistance bands sometimes.

Comment by Pirulito (D-cal)

I go to the gym to lift weights 4x a week. I’ve actually cut back on capoeira in favor of going to the gym just because I started losing definition. I still can’t do queda de rines, and I have no idea what muscles I need to do them. Right now, I like to do my weights and the cool down with a little ponte. I’ve been lifting my legs up, one at a time, so I can eventually work up to ponte alta. I don’t know if this is how you work up to ponte alta, but I imagine it is. I need to ask someone about that. Actually, I should try going to a class first. It’s been about a month.

Comment by Jen


I train at the gym 3 times a week and go to capoeira 3 times a week as well.

I started going to the gym first, then found some capoeira classes.

I was doing a 4 day split bodybuilding routine and jogging on my rest days, I changed that and now do a 3 day/week strenght training routine made up of mostly compound excercises (squat, deadlift, bench and military press, power clean and pullups). I also stopped going for my jog and substituted with the capoeira classes.

The transition to the strenght routine was amazing and over the course of a month I saw some good strenght gains, went from squatting 115 to squatting 1.5 bodyweight for reps, my deadlift also went from like 165 up to 1.8 x bodyweight for reps.

Once I started with capoeira my lifts started going down a couple of pounds, but I modified my diet and started eating more and I think I am very comfortable with the work load.

Many excercises that I remember as hard when I first took capoeira now seem very easy with my new strength.

Some angola excercises still kick my ass, but I find these resistance excercises a great complement for my gym routine.

My current excercise schedule is:
A ) squats, bench press, deadlift, dips
B ) suqats, military press, power cleans, pullups

Monday – A
Tuesday – 2 hours capoeira regional
Wednesday – B
Thrusday – 2 hours capoeira regional
Friday – A
Saturday – 2 hours capoeira angola

then next week ill do Mon: B, Wed: A, Fri: B..

Comment by Oscar

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