Archive for the ‘Strength & Conditioning’ Category

Powerful Potentiation Clusters

by William Wayland ~ posted March 11th, 2014

Scramblers, We all want to be more powerful and there are many methods to acquire improved rate of force development, I have mentioned in the past approaches like french contrast  this method how ever is hard! And to be honest is a method best used with stronger and upper intermediate athletes. Drop off in movement due to fatigue becomes increasingly problematic as sets and reps progress. Borrowing from Cal Dietz and Dennis Adsit I started to apply High Velocity Potentiation Clusters to my athletes for peaking and power improvement purposes.

“High Velocity Potentiation Clusters.  These High Velocity Potentiation Clusters typically involve a single, high velocity rep of an exercise in the below 80% 1RM range, followed immediately by an unweighted, max effort plyometric that mimics the same movement.  After resting for 15-20 seconds the pair of exercises is repeated for between six and eight reps.”

The theory is that loading a movement prior to an explosive activity has an excitory effect on the nervous system and increases motor unit recruitment in a phenomenon know as PAP (post activation potentiation). Clusters allow for some ATP-CP recovery which allows athletes to perform more reps with great speed and quality at sub maximal loads.

Potentiation clusters are best used with compound movements such as power clean, snatch, high pull, front/back squat, hex bar deadlift. Below are a few examples of potentiation clusters in action.

Power based potentiation Back Squat Clusters

Peaking based potentiation Back Squat Clusters

Snatch High Pull Sled high Pull (with scramble grip trainers) Cluster

I generally use clusters after heavy lifting cycles, it allows athletes to tap into all that latent power and apply all that hard earned strength in an athletic fashion. I generally load my athletes between 60-75% of their max on back squat for power work and between 35-60% for peaking. What you use depends on the athletes level of development and what their strength base it like.

This is an ongoing series of articles from guest blogger and Strength & Conditioning coach William Wayland of Powering Through, who works with UFC, Cagewarriors and other high level combat athletes based in Chelmsford, UK.

Mike Dolce London Seminar

by William Wayland ~ posted February 10th, 2014

On Sunday the 9th of February I attended the first Mike Dolce “Dolce Diet Seminar” at Westminster University. Mike Dolce’s name is ubiquitous with weight cutting and the ‘Dolce Diet’ which he has created and proliferated throughout the MMA universe. He boasts a dizzying collection of the worlds best fighters, Chael Sonnen, Daniel Cormier, Vitor Belfort, Rhonda Rousey, Michael Bisping and one of the athletes I work with Luke Barnatt.

After being introduced by Luke the man himself discussed his beginnings and his switch from a job from which he could see himself being miserable in the long term, risking everything to work a stint at team quest pulling odd jobs such as cleaning the gym in addition to organising their S&C and nutrition. This was back in the days when even top MMA talent struggled for money let alone their coaching staff. His point was if you want anything, you must work for it and its this work ethic and accountability that underpins the Dolce Diet and his approach.

Dolce went over the key points of his diet in his seminar.

1. Water Intake is crucial. 1 Gallon a day at least for us UK folk that’s roughly 4.5 litres.
2. Consume earth grown nutritients. This includes plenty of carbs also, he was disparaging of the ‘Paleo Diet’ claiming that it was not “sustainable” in the long term. A key idea that permeates the diet.
3. Eat every 2-4 hours with fluctuations in calorific needs.
4. Eat until Satisfied not until full
5. Accountability and Personal responsibility are crucial, be honest with yourself, you know when you are messing up!
6. Sleep at least 6-9 hours, this has some individual variance find what works for you.
7.Stress Management is crucial, take time to yourself, learn to breathe effectively. This ties into the holistic of idea of organising yourself to keep stressors minimised.

He then went on to discuss goal setting. You must learn to overcome short termism set yourself specific goals and apply what Dolce calls action steps. How, When and What. How will you achieve it, when will you achieve, what are you going to do to get there. Dolce suggested setting goals every morning and acting on them rapidly. He described that achieving goals is like climbing rungs on a ladder, once you get to the top, look towards climbing your next figurative ladder.

There was a Q&A at the end that covered some interesting points.

Calorie counting is out, on the Dolce Diet alot of emphasis is placed on apperance (if that’s what matters) and how the diet makes you feel. He argues that calorific expenditure varies from day to day so establishing what you need should be a more holistic process rather than playing a numbers game.

Dolce Suggests to make the most of carbohydrates in the morning and post workout.

Dolce was fairly disparaging of Paleo and Crossfit, claiming that they are not sustainable long term training or dietary methods.

Supplements should be just that, when everything else is dialled in then consider supplementation do not supplement poor dietary habits.

Supplement companies are inherently after money rather than having your well being at heart.

Dolce Suggests using 3 weeks as a marker for success in training, as a means to change stimulus and a means to measure if what you doing is working or not.

Closing thoughts.

Mike Dolce is a really engaging speaker with plenty of insight into MMA at the highest level, his story about sitting in the bathroom while Vitor Belfort was baptised in the bath tub and his sudden awareness of going from where he was to where his now was touching. Mike’s approach is one of common sense and self awareness. Too many people push through their personal and dietary habits on auto pilot. Mikes passion for trying to snap people out their apathy and poor self efficacy is evident. The crucial point being he is in the business of helping people do better. I found my self nodding in agreement.

That is not to say we agree on everything, Mike isn’t fond of squatting for fighters where as I am, arguing that its rough on shoulder girdle and prefers bodyweight and dumbbell based squatting. He prefers deadlifts as a main movement where as I don’t for advanced athletes. But thats part of being an expert, we cannot always agree on everything.

Mike was in the UK to launch UFCfit, so this seminar was largely an opportunistic one being in the right place at the right time, he does plan to do more in the future in the UK so I would suggest keeping your attention to and for future information.

This is an ongoing series of articles from guest blogger and Strength & Conditioning coach William Wayland of Powering Through, who offers online training planning for tournament peaking for MMA, Nogi and BJJ

Triphasic Training For MMA

by William Wayland ~ posted February 4th, 2014

Happy February Scramblers I thought I would give you an insight into the method I use with the pro athletes I work with. The principles of this method helped me take a number of training methods and apply them subsequently and coherently. And the results my athletes have had are pretty impressive. This is not a program for beginners I’ll be honest. Joe Bonyai does a better job of explaining how you might apply it to untrained athletes. Any questions head over to my facebook or twitter. Keep on Scramblin! – William

This is an ongoing series of articles from guest blogger and Strength & Conditioning coach William Wayland of Powering Through, who offers online training planning for tournament peaking for MMA, Nogi and BJJ

Define your year

by William Wayland ~ posted January 15th, 2014

Almost every day I see the year ahead, not for myself but for the athletes I work with, I’m forever pulling up their year planners to see where on schedule we are. When you realise that there are only 52 weeks in a year myself, calender makers and other time lords tut and stroke our chins. Mainly because we see that 52 weeks is hardly any time at all. How does anyone get anything done! Looking at it from an athletic preparation perspective it is a markedly short time. The peak athletic age for most sports is between 25-35 that’s 520 weeks within which to get the most out of your self. That’s 12480 hours or roughly double the amount of time Matthew Benyon has spent playing Day Z.

Too often its a case of ‘Jumping Helio’s only 4 weeks until the Llanfairpwllgwyngyll BJJ open guess I better do some strength and conditioning’ – Joey Blue belt. So Joey does a few circuits a couple of deadlifts and prays on the day he doesn’t gas or get drawn against the hulk. MMA fighters on the other hand on the amateur level have a habit throwing 6-8 weeks  out as a common preparation metric, with these types I still use the fast and frugal peaking tree. The key is this formulate a plan that either has the specific dates or the dates you expect/looking for competition on. Most BJJ events have fixed dates planned well in advance, the UFC and Cage warriors for instance have a 3-6 month lag time that allow for preparation. When BJJ or MMA fighters come to me with specific dates for a year or me that makes the job of planning much easier. I always try and have a rough year planner (Macro) so I know what the athletes are doing that week. I’ll plan their blocks a few weeks or a month or more in advance, so that the individual workouts (micro) can be adapted to changing circumstances. Sometimes even on the fly on the day if someone took too many leg kicks the night before.

BJJ purple belt and gratuitious surfing selfie photographer Cristiano Del Giacco had a busy year last year including 3 weeks at ATOS lucky devil.

Designing a strength and conditioning program can be a complex process, but there are plenty of resources (possibly too many) telling you just how to do that. An awful lot needs to be considered, energy systems, muscles, injury risk, athlete individuality, peaking, specificity and ton of cool acronyms they teach on sports science courses. But this is all for nought if you do not know when you will be competing and how much preparation to take, have a structure simply makes things easier in terms of managing the amount of stress you apply to yourself. Many often worry about planning but do not actually plan anything. This may seem like a simple appeal but you would be surprised the amount of people that enter into many an enterprise with no prior planning. Sit down (possibly with your coach) google ‘year planner’ pick out those competition dates and get to work.

This is an ongoing series of articles from guest blogger and Strength & Conditioning coach William Wayland of Powering Through, who offers online training planning for tournament peaking for MMA, Nogi and BJJ

Coffee and Chokes

by William Wayland ~ posted December 6th, 2013

Ah Coffee, apparently 75% of Americans drink the stuff, we Brits are still very much addicted to tea, but coffee culture has taken hold here is not going to let go anytime soon! Both tea and coffee share a commonality: the substance caffeine. A white crystalline xanthine alkaloid that is a psychoactive stimulant, caffeine, found in varying quantities in the beans, leaves, and fruit of some plants. And humans for the longest time have been using it as convenient ‘boost’ for millennia. It’s been studied extensively,  alertness, cognitive and cancer fighting properties are all benefits.

To celebrate the release of Scramble’s Coffee and Chokes rashguard we have put together a caffeine themed post for you guys!

The International Olympic Committee for sometime listed caffeine as a restricted drug. However it the banned amount you would need to drink 8-10 regular cups of coffee. In 2004 WADA took it off the banned list, it is simply unfeasible to consume so much caffeine and not have crippling side effects. A study performed testing 3,6,9 mg/kg of bodyweight showed that doses about 6mg/kg of bodyweight are just not worth the side effects! So for you coffee consumers anything over 300mg would be a waste. So how much is in your cup?

Whats in my cup?

Cup of coffee ranges from 80-220mg depending on size

Large americano from a typical coffee chain 360mg

Cup of Tea 40-60mg

Cola 34mg

Red Bovine flight enabling drink 80mg

Caffine tablet proplus etc 100mg

Once in the brain, the principal mode of action is as a non-selective antagonist of adenosine receptors. Caffeine activates noradrenaline neurons and serotonin neurons. Caffeine also is a diuretic, this means it makes a person make more urine (the waste liquid a person makes). Caffeine is absorbed by the stomach and small intestine within 30-45 minutes. In healthy adults, caffeine’s half-life is approximately 4.9 hours. Consuming 1000-1500mg a day (I’m looking at you Scramble head honchos) constitutes caffeinism. Effectively caffeine addiction, those of you who are serious mud jockey’s will know all too well the monkey on your back when you miss your morning cup! Which brings me on to side effects.

The Sides
As with any ergogenic aid often, excess or dependence is always amounts to a bad experience. I’ve worked with athletes in the past who on top of their training, consume 6-8 cups of coffee a day resulting on adrenal glands that I’m sure probably resembled raisins. Many of you have probably experienced jitters, sleeplessness. But more serious side effects involved GI problems, dizziness, high blood pressure, nausea, cramping. And in total excess, zig zagging lights and ringing in the ears. Extreme overdose can result in death dose needed would be 14000mg. Or around 39 large americano’s.

What can it do for me?

Things to know for the athlete

Consumption of caffeine does not eliminate the need for sleep; it only temporarily reduces the sensation of being tired

Studies have shown improvement in endurance sports ranging from 7-50% with doses as high as 630mg

Has been shown to increase glycogen storage post exercise up to 60%

Has been shown to improve memory tasks

The ingestion of caffeine will increase the level of circulating fatty acids in the bloodstream, which permits these fat stores to be oxidized, or burned, as fuel

Ingestion of 400mg of caffeine can prevent delayed onset of muscle soreness in resistance trained men

Pallarés JG, Fernández-Elías VE, Ortega JF, Muñoz G, Muñoz-Guerra J, Mora-Rodríguez R. (2013) Neuromuscular Responses to Incremental Caffeine Doses: Performance and Side Effects. Med Sci Sports Exerc.
Hurley CF, Hatfield DL, Riebe DA. (2013) The effect of caffeine ingestion on delayed onset muscle soreness. J Strength Cond Res.

Practical usage

Caffeine usage can be benefical to an athlete or anyone looking for a boost when they feel like they are flagging. My personal recommendations are, do not consume any after 3pm, do not use caffeine to make up for poor nutritional habits. Anything greater than 300mgs is a waste of time. It can be useful all a weight cutting aid two fold, 1 because it is an diuretic and 2 because of the energy boost and fat burning qualities. However be aware of the negative effects on blood pressure and hydration. If used sparingly you can get more out of caffeine supplementation.

One way I recommend using it for tired athletes is drinking it prior to a 20 minute nap, set an alarm and then get up, the nap should make you feel restful by which point the caffeine should start kicking in. Selective usage for those of you that have to resistance train very early in the morning maybe useful, as it has been shown to make morning strength levels comparable to afternoon levels (mainly due to hormonal and structural changes that take place during the day. So go on and get your coffee and choke (lift) on.

Pro Fighter Sean Carter knows the value of a power nap!
This is an ongoing series of articles from guest blogger and Strength & Conditioning coach William Wayland of Powering Through.

Luke Barnatt wins in the UFC, a few tips for being long and strong

by William Wayland ~ posted October 29th, 2013

Luke enquires where he can get such a cool hat, t-shirt and beard from

Firstly huge congrats to Luke Barnatt who picked up an impressive win over tough texan Andrew Craig. After flooring Craig twice, Luke managed to pull out a tight rear naked choke for the win. Luke surprised critics and viewers with a display of power a 6’6 guy at middleweight would normally struggle to do. We here at and Powering-through are immensely proud and look to help Luke keep improving. For an insight into our training see the video Matt posted last month when BTSport came to visit.

Tall athletes get short shrift, they can dunk, triangle us with ease and look at our balding spots and laugh. But when it comes to  power and strength they pulled the short straw. Longer limbed lifters have greater distance over which to apply force, for the uncoordinated this a real struggle, most tall guys give up on lifting before they have even started. To paraphase Lee Boyce (a tall strength coach himself) “Long muscle bellies and gigantic lever arms means there’s the potential for a LOT of force to be created”. For taller athletes there a few simple things we do to try and improve weight room ability.

Squat Wide Squatting wide and or on to something is incredible useful for taller athletes. This shortens the range of motion and allows you to open your hips up. There is also no shame having to squat on to a box, get the pattern down first then drop the box out in the future.

Use Eccentrics and Isometrics
Isometrics and eccentrics help tall athletes build stability in those deep positions where they really struggle. This also helps with force absorption and technical practice, if your focusing on doing something slowly, form has to be very tight. So drop the weight and slow everything down. Being explosive can come later!

Use Oscillatory training One method I employing in peaking these days is the oscillatory method. It helps improve force production through anatgonistic inhibition and improved intramuscular coordination. For more on this take a look at the work of Cal Dietz at the university of Minnesota

So for those of you 6’2 and above (im calling anything over that tall) hopefully this will help you be longer and stronger.

This is an ongoing series of articles from guest blogger and Strength & Conditioning coach William Wayland of Powering Through.

2 Simple exercises to help speed recovery

by William Wayland ~ posted October 9th, 2013

As soon as most people are done in the gym, they shoot off, you should probably take time to kick off recovery properly.

Often post training activity is little more than a protein shake, a conversation with training partners or coaches while sitting about. If you are an athlete who trains until late in the evening, you get home and find that you are agitated, heart rate is up and you have trouble getting to sleep. The neural response to training is well known having a big excitatory effect occurring in response to a stress. We call this the flight or fight response and it is dictated by the sympathetic nervous system. This is reason you have trouble coming down from training.

What can we do about it? I Like to use two exercises as part of post training recovery deep breathing and wall shakes. Deep voluntary belly breathing has been shown to shift the nervous system from sympathetic dominance to parasympathetic dominance. Often post training I will have an athlete alternate between two exercises the wall shake and deep belly breaths. We do this for 1-2 minutes taking four seconds to inhale and six seconds to exhale. I cue the athlete to take their fingers and place them about 6 inches either side of their belly button, we same times use tennis balls to the same effect.

So what is a wall shake, basically sidle up to a wall and flatten out your back. Gently roll the legs in and out to near end range in each direction. The wall shake opens up the hips and act as a mechanical flushing method to help speed up recovery.

Below is wallshakes and deepbreathing in action. In Jason’s (below) and a few other fighters cases I prefer to take the distance wider to give a passive stretch on the adductors and hamstrings. Jasons hips are super tight so he struggles to get near to end range.

Often we will combine this foam rolling or hip traction. I feel taking 5 to 10 minutes at the end of session to include something as simple as belly breathing and wall shakes can have a profound effect on future training sessions and if not well it might make it easier to fall asleep that night.

This is an ongoing series of articles from guest blogger and Strength & Conditioning coach William Wayland of Powering Through Facebook

Tight hips? Try prone flexed hip rocking

by William Wayland ~ posted September 26th, 2013

One of the most common flexibility complaints from Grapplers and BJJ’ers alike is the issue of tight hips. Sitting down really does a number on your ability to adduct (close) and abduct (open) our hips, for the veteran who does plenty of those weird spinny leg BJJ warm-ups (you know the ones) this may not be an issue. But for the beginner it can really limit their options technically and cause their defensive options to fall apart do too an inability to play guard properly.

The first thing people say is you should stretch, which is understandable as everything feels ‘tight’ so the simple solution is to stretch. Our hips are on lock down neurologically and no amount of butterfly stretching your karate instructor recommended when you where 9 is going to help. Problem is this ‘hip stretching’ often does’nt fix the issue of over active adductor muscles and underactive glutes. It largely makes the adductor’s longer via dis-inhibition and longer under passive pressure. It does not address the issue of underactive glutes, the issue here is mobilisation.

We hear the term mobilisation used in conjunction with flexibility, which has caused much confusion. Flexibility usually relates to passive length of a muscle, mobility is the is the ability to move a joint actively through range of motion.

Much of dynamic warm-up I prescribe will usually have elements that target problem areas, in MMA and BJJ guys many have tight hips. So I have been utilising what is known as the prone flexed hip rock, which I unabashedly borrowed from Nick Tumminelo.

Simply ‘rock’ from side to side making sure to limit movement from the lower back, try and get athletes to actively pull and push themselves using hip muscles, trying to keep the hips level. I have seen mention of balancing a ball on the lower back to make sure hips stay level, I hav’nt tried that one yet.

This is an ongoing series of articles from guest blogger and Strength & Conditioning coach William Wayland of Powering Through.

[VIDEO] UFC: Beyond the Octagon

by Matt - Scramble ~ posted September 23rd, 2013

In this short program put together by BT Sport, you can see Scramble’s go to man for strength, conditioning and general physical-ness William Wayland coaching UFC fighter Luke Barnatt.

Skip to around 1:50 for gratuitous Scramble wearing.



COMPETITION! Scramble Grip Trainers Videos

by Matt - Scramble ~ posted August 20th, 2013

We’re extra proud of our Grip Trainers. We think they are the simplest and most effective way to build good grip strength for BJJ / Jiu Jitsu and grappling.

We have hundreds (possibly thousands actually) of satisfied customers out there, but we want more of you to know about them.

So, we’ve made this little competition.

Using a video service like YouTube or ideally Instagram, we want you to record a short and creative video of you using the grip trainers. Tag it #scramblegrips and let us know about it.

We will pick 3 WINNERS and send out a grab bag in their size full of Scramble gear and accessories.

We made one here at Scramble HQ to get things started (make sure you watch until the end!)



You have until Thursday 5th September to submit your videos.