For my combative athletes I generally track a variety of explosive movements, maximal or near maximal strength exercises and relative strength exercises as each are of great importance for their discipline.
For explosive strength and power I look at various jumps, usually a box jump or a broad jump done for a max height on box jumps or max distance on broad jumps. For lower body strength I use a parallel box squat performed in our belt squat machine usually for a 1 or 3 rep max. I like to use a block deadlift done with a sumo stance and the plates on 2", 4" or 5" blocks done for a 1 rep max. This is a great display of hip strength, something very important to all athletes not just fighters and grapplers. For upper body strength I use floor presses done for a 3 or 5 rep max. I also use pull-ups performed with body-weight for max reps as an indicator for relative strength. By tracking my athlete's progress with these indicator lifts I can ensure that they are progressing in all of the types of strength important to their performance.
Jumps can be done with body-weight or with added resistance by holding dumbbells, kettlebells or wearing a weight vest. Regardless, you should try to break a personal record in box height or broad jump distance about once every 4-6 weeks. It is important to note that if you are improving in your jumps and max effort strength work simultaneously, your training is on track. If your strength lifts are going up but your jumps are stalling or worse, regressing, you need to prioritize dynamic effort work in training.
|BJJ athlete Chris Jones performing box jumps with a 40lb weighted vest.|
|Chris Jones performing box squats in the belt squat machine at the Team EPTS training center. He has done 585 for a 3 rep max.|
|Chris performing the sumo deadlift off 2" blocks, and has made 2.5 times his bodyweight for a 1 rep max. Notice he is sporting what the late Mel Siff referred to as the "best shoe for weightlifting".|
|Chris performing the floor press. He regularly does his body-weight - 205-225 - for sets of 5+ reps.|
|The gi pull-up is hands-down one of the best upper body strength exercises a grappler can add to their training plan. Team EPTS athlete Chris Jones easily bangs out sets of 10+ reps at a body-weight of 205-220 lbs.|
When an athlete develops a high level of physical preparedness and approaches their specific sport preparation with laser-focus, their results will be nothing short of impressive.
|Chris Jones, Creighton BJJ brown belt and owner of Nucleus Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, won gold at the 2017 IBJJF Pans, Masters Worlds, Nogi Pans and Nogi Worlds and is currently the #1 ranked brown belt in his division in the IBJJF!|