Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Neck Training Tips for Grapplers & Fighters.

Creighton BJJ athlete, Noah Wilson, training his neck as part of his strength & conditioning program at EPTS Gym.

In this video I talk about some of the various neck training exercises the grapplers and combat athletes I train utilize in their strength and conditioning programs. Neck strength is essential for combat athletes and should be developed through a combination of both static and dynamic exercises. Hopefully you enjoyed this video and if you have any questions or suggestions for future video topics please leave them in the comments section below.

Stay Strong AND Healthy! -Scott

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Grip Training Tips for Grapplers & Fighters.

Creighton BJJ athlete, Chris Jones, building a strong grip with gi pull-ups.
In this video I talk about, and demonstrate, some of the grip training exercises I utilize with my grapplers and fighters at the EPTS Gym in Atlanta.
We break our grip exercises up into two categories. 1. Compound exercises that stress the grip. Here we take compound pulling movements like pull-ups, pulldowns, and rows and add a Jiu Jitsu gi or something similar to challenge the grip on these movements and perform them as part of the regular training session. 2. Direct grip exercises. Here we use mostly static grip exercises that isolate the grip. Exercises such as plate pinches, hub lifts and Rolling Thunder lifts are some of our favorites. In addition I talk about some basic hand health strategies to implement as part of your grip training as well. I hope you enjoy this week's video and if you have any questions or topic suggestions for future videos please leave them in the comments section below. Be sure to subscribe to my YouTube Channel to receive updates on future videos.

Stay Strong AND Healthy! -Scott

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Recovery-Based Training for Athletic Performance.

I recently received a question regarding a video I posted concerning the strength training plan of my combat athletes. The question was about the fact that I have them max out every week during their regular training sessions. They generally have two intense strength training sessions per week, one being devoted to the maximal effort method and one being devoted to the dynamic effort method. I have always built my training around the information and work Louie Simmons has presented over the years, what he refers to as the Conjugate Method. Basically the dynamic effort training session is focused on lifting submaximal weights with maximal acceleration and the max effort training session focuses on lifting maximal loads. We do exercises for reps, power, endurance, etc. as well, but these are the main focuses of these two primary training sessions.
Proper training and restoration allows my BJJ athletes like Logan Santos, 2017 IBJJF Nogi Worlds silver medalist, to train at maximal intensities on a weekly basis. Weighing 155lbs he is deadlifting 405lbs with 115lbs of band tension and 40lbs of chain.
The question concerned the athlete's ability to recovery from the high degree of stress associated with the maximal effort method. I decided this would be a great topic for a blog article because his question was very valid, especially since this trainer utilizes a very similar approach to training that I do and found frequent max effort training sessions to be detrimental to his athletes. Thus he made adjustments to keep his athletes progressing. This is a trait of an excellent trainer and coach as the most important factor in the training process is progress. If athletes cannot recover from their training sessions they will not progress and have to deal with over-training and potential injuries.
BJJ athlete Chris Jones, gold medalist in the 2017 IBJJF Pans, Masters Worlds, Nogi Pans & Nogi Worlds, utilizes a variety of high rep band exercises for joint health and injury prevention.
This brings up the point that training must be recovery-based. This is why static training programs do not work in the long term or for highly qualified athletes. It is also a theme I see reiterated between two people I consider my mentors in the strength and conditioning industry. Louie Simmons is constantly saying that the body adapts to the demands placed upon it - the principle of specificity / specific adaptation to imposed demands. To get stronger we have to do more work. Joel Jamieson is someone I credit for many things, mostly that conditioning - particularly development of the aerobic energy system - is a massively overlooked component in the training of athletes, and that training must be recovery-based in order to provide results.

There are many factors that go into properly recovering from training, including but not limited to:
  • Nutrition
  • Rest / Sleep
  • Conditioning
  • General Physical Preparation (GPP)
  • Restoration Measures (massage, ice, heat, contrast, etc.)
  • Recovery Workouts
  • Technology (HRV monitoring systems, heart rate monitors, etc.)
Through properly implementing the recovery strategies listed above and staying consistent with their training, I have never had an issue with any of the athletes I train being unable to recovery from the work they do in my gym. That's not to say people don't have off days. Injuries, poor sleep, poor nutrition, external stress, etc. can all impact one's physical readiness. That is a reason I am a huge fan of using heart rate monitors in training as well as something that monitors and tracks daily readiness. For a while now I've used Joel Jamieson's Bioforce HRV and recently switched to his new product, Morpheus. In addition to monitoring HRV (heart rate variability) Morpheus factors in daily training, sleep and activity when calculating your daily readiness. Having this type of information allows you to make adjustments to your training each day to ensure that you are training optimally.
Joel Jamieson's Morpheus system is a game changer when it comes to recovery-based training.
One of the greatest impacts on my athlete's ability to recover from training and competition has been placing a great deal of emphasis on aerobic energy system development. Cardiovascular training has gotten such a bad rap in the fitness industry and it's a shame. Many people act like doing aerobic work will make your muscles atrophy and your strength disappear, but this is far from true. Granted if you are an olympic lifter or powerlifter there is no need for extreme aerobic capacity, although having some aerobic development is important to facilitate recovery. However if you participate in sports like MMA, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and practically every other sport outside of the pure strength sports, aerobic capacity is extremely important. Shockingly many of the combat athletes I've worked with have had relatively poor levels of aerobic capacity, something I feel is due to the negative press aerobic training gets. The fact is combat athletes need high levels of aerobic conditioning in addition to appropriate levels of strength, power and anaerobic energy systems development. The more conditioned my combat athletes get, the better their recovery and ability to tolerate high intensity and volume in training.
Grappling Central Podcast host and BJJ player Ryan Ford uses sled dragging as a means of building aerobic capacity.
Keep in mind when you are developing your training plan, or training plan for your athletes, one size does not fit all. First understand the physical requirements of the sport, then assess where you, or your athletes, are at in relation to those requirements. When you understand these things, it is very easy to build an optimal training plan. Constantly reassess and work to raise volume and intensity over time and most importantly ensure that you, or your athletes are recovering from the demands of the training program.
BJJ athlete Braulio Galvao has no problem getting plenty of restoration and recovery in his training!
Stay Strong AND Healthy!


Monday, March 19, 2018

How I Program Strength Training For My Team EPTS Grapplers and Fighters.

CMMA & EPTS BJJ athlete Chris Jones during a max effort training session.
In this video I go over the basic strength training templates I implement for my grapplers and fighters in the gym.

It is important to note that this is just a general overview of their training, the actual training implemented is very specific to each individual athlete and is adjusted daily.

This video will give you a good idea how I utilize the conjugate method on a 2 days per week training plan for the grapplers and fighters I train.

I hope you find this video informative and helpful and if you have any questions or suggestions for future video topics please leave them in the comments section below.

Be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel for updates on future videos.

Stay Strong AND Healthy!


Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Strength & Health TV: Strength and Conditioning Tips for Grapplers and Fighters.

In this video I discuss the different physical requirements needed for combat athletes and the considerations for developing their strength and conditioning programs.
This video is a very general overview and in future videos I will address the individual physical needs more deeply and provide examples of training strategies we implement in each. I hope you enjoy this video and if you have any questions or suggestions for future topics please leave them in the comments section below.

Be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel for updates on future videos. Stay Strong AND Healthy! -Scott