Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Training Tips for Combat Athletes: Get the most benefit from the least number of exercises.

When dealing with combat athletes, like jiu jitsu players and MMA fighters, it's important to remember that all the stuff you do in the weight room is strictly general physical preparation (GPP). The bulk of their time is usually spent working on the skills needed for their sport.

The goal of the weight-room work should be to get the greatest return for the least amount of time. This does not mean that they should not train hard, it just means that you only have so much time in the gym that is beneficial before it begins taking away from their fight training.

Most of the fighters I work with do 2-3 strength workouts a week and 2-4 extra cardiovascular workouts, that represents about 4 maybe 5 hours a week of non-specific physical training. As a result I look at how we can get more benefit out of individual exercises, while ensuring that we are developing all special strengths including maximal strength, speed strength, strength speed, explosive strength and power.

A couple of the strategies we have found to be beneficial are incorporating torso activation during pressing movements and working the grip during pulling movements.

Here are some of the exercises we've seen some success with:

Alternating band punches on the GHR. Basically on this one you just set up in a sit up position on a glute / ham raise, hold that position statically, and perform alternating explosive presses against mini bands. We generally do 15-25 reps per arm.

Alternating seated kettlebell presses. These are done by sitting on the floor, leaning back slightly to increase pressure on the abdominals and pressing a pair of kettlebells overhead in a see-saw or alternating fashion. We usually do sets of 10-15 per arm.


Low cable pull-in alternating floor press. To do this week hook an average band to a low pulley set up. Lie on the back and pull the knees back toward the chest, this engages the hip flexors and abdominals and will help build torso strength for working in the guard. From here we do alternating floor presses with a pair of kettlebells. We usually do sets of 10-15 per arm.


Gi pull-ups. These are done simply by hanging a gi top over a pull-up bar or power rack. Just grab onto the gi and do pull-ups. This is great for developing insane grip strength while training the lats. We also loop a gi over a barbell to perform a variation of a t-bar row with the gi as well. Generally for pull-ups we super-set multiple sets of 1/2 the athlete's max reps throughout the workout.


These are just a few of the ways we can get more out of the time we spend in the gym. Remember, in the gym you are just trying to make athletes stronger, faster, more explosive and better conditioned. Do not let the GPP interfere with SPP, train general to enhance the specific!

Stay Strong AND Healthy!

-Scott

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