Archive for the ‘Strength & Conditioning’ Category

Low tech monitoring for better training.

by William Wayland ~ posted May 17th, 2016

Athlete monitoring using apps, straps and tablets is all the rage. The array of amount of information on the subject can be dazzling. Objective measurement such as HRV, Omegawave, velocity measuring, GPS offer us more insight into what is happening to our athletes than ever. Many folks in the MMA and BJJ community are very excited about HRV thanks in part to the prolific role Joel Jamieson hs played.

Basically all this is in service of answering the question “How hard should I train today?”

But before this advent of technology we had to monitor athletes in a much low tech far more subjective way, you know actually interacting with people. Some coaches can’t afford expensive layout’s for monitoring, lack the savvy to do so or don’t like invasive approaches which I can understand to some extent. We can however monitor athletes in a more personal and multifaceted fashion, either with numbers or as an adjunct, giving us a bigger picture of what is going on and making most of subjective and objective methods. If your training is self direct you can also use these to be more in control of your self monitoring.

Here are some really simple ways to implement low tech athlete monitoring, these methods work equally well in a physical preparation and skill training setting.

Start each workout/training session with a conversation (or a conversation with yourself).
‘How are you feeling’are probably the four most powerful words you can begin a session with, your not a psychologist but tone of voice, body language and their perception of how tired they feel even before they have started moving all serve as clues to allow for monitoring. Some coaches go as so far to keep mood scores for their athletes. Athletes worry far more of coaches/parents/teammates  perception of them when in an overtrained state, self perception and perceived stress also gets worse. We also know that training performance suffers after hard days of school or work.

Coaches, watch the warm-up how are they moving?
If you keep a regular warm-up routine on the mats, you can use this to your advantage. If you see athlete struggling through sections or generally approach warm-up in a lackadaisical fashion it serves as a further marker to them pushing things too far. This is also true for warm-up sets in the weight room, watch how they move pay particular attention to the velocity with which they move as this can give insight to CNS fatigue, which can crop up despite an athlete reporting they ‘feel’ good. Lower velocities at known loads are an indicator for overwork, excuse the vulgarity but “if it looks like shit, it probably is shit”. Athletes making a meal of what should be an easy lift acts as a signal to back down.

Are you/they performing worse, does the exercise feel harder than normal?
Sounds silly does’nt it. But many will often ignore that which is right in front of us. Decreased performance and increased perceived fatigue are all markers of overreaching. Keeping an RPE (rate of precieved exertion score) can be useful or just ask on a scale of 1-10 how hard does it feel.

Trust your feelings…?
If this all sounds a bit too wishy washy a recent meta-analysis found ” Subjective and objective measures of athlete well-being generally did not correlate. Subjective measures reflected acute and chronic training loads with superior sensitivity and consistency than objective measures.” this is up against measures such as “Objective measures, including those taken at rest (eg, blood markers, heart rate) and during exercise (eg, oxygen consumption, heart rate response)”. Now I love my science and data but this stands as reasoning for using the multifaceted approach (I refuse to use the word holistic). Another factor to this is be honest with your coach about your injury status and physical condition, your coach wants what is best for you so will appreciate it if you let them know that you are feeling flat. They would rather you have a good training session, than wind up injured or ill.

Train in ranges in the weight room.
When I write programs for intermediate and advanced athletes I usually prescribe ranges for loading instead of set loads. This means if an athlete comes in and isn’t firing on all cylinders we can drop down to the bottom end of the working range for that workout, the opposite is also possible. This doesn’t work so well for beginners as their physical intuition is far less sensitive than someone with greater training age. Numbers are nice and great for tracking but they generally only part of a picture.

People often forget the very human element of monitoring on personal level. The Above all serve as signals to alter load/volume or intensity on the fly and ultimately bend training around the athlete not the other way around.

This is an ongoing series of blog posts from William Wayland of Powering Through, who works with UFC and other high level combat athletes. Twitter. Facebook

Give these recovery breathing and stretching drills a try after your next training session.

by William Wayland ~ posted April 7th, 2016

I have posted before about recovery routines before, elements of which can used after both sports training and weight training sessions. I have also spoken before about the need for deep belly breathing post training also. In brief  using deep belly breathing we can re-establish parasympathetic dominance and get out of stressed state training encourages. I find many athletes jump off the mat and straight out the door, investing sometime in ‘coming down’ will help kick start your recovery and reduce training stress. These come via Cal Dietz of university of Minnesota, I’ve been experimenting with them myself and with some of my athletes post training and we’ve really been feeling the benefits. Give one or all of these a try after your next training session.

This is an ongoing series of blog posts from William Wayland of Powering Through, who works with UFC and other high level combat athletes based in Chelmsford, UK Twitter. Facebook

Alactic based GPP Circuits

by William Wayland ~ posted March 16th, 2016

Alactic based GPP Circuits is the final phase of the GPP method I’ve used with much success with UFC fighters, grapplers and boxers.

Continuing from my last post Lactic based and Aerobic based GPP if you have not read these I suggest you go back and check those out first, these posts are pretty training theory heavy. To really get a grasp on this method a basic understanding of energy systems is needed. The intention is now to build alactic (sprint) specific qualities but locally for improved sprint ability but also tax the body globally for continued aerobic training effect (running 60-100m would be a global alactic GPP method for instance) because of the nature of alactic work multiple bike or track sprints with short rests would cause a massive build up in peripheral fatigue and wind up becoming more lactic dominant. By doing largely 10s work with big neurological component we can keep the training very alactic. Best way to do this is to monitor HR and make sure the athlete does’nt pass threshold. Cal Dietz talks about this here starting at about 46 mins. This part of a six week plan moving through Aerobic, Lactic and Alactic phases. Let me just warn you this is HARD really hard. Often with many athletes I just run the first two blocks and move straight into regular training.

Why is it so hard? Because the weapons of choice are 90% isometrics and 70% oscillatory exercises both lasting 10 seconds to keep the training alactic. There is a third option of extreme myelination circuit which involves 10 second holds against immovable resistances take a look at the method here it is however some what harder to do. Oscillatory (OC) movements are different as they are extremely dynamic and require a great deal of focus, I have posted before about oscillatory work here. Rapid back and forth action may look strange to the casual observer, the idea being that reciprocal inhibition brought about by this oscillating (pulsing) increases levels of neuro muscular activation. It requires a lot of focus and is very tiring.

We use 10 second isometrics on Day 1 and 10 second oscillatory exercises on Day 2. Rotating around the body and resting 4-8 minutes between circuits. Its important to rotate limbs for unilateral (single arm) work.

Below is MMA fighter Matt Hughes program.

Example Day 1 Block 3 sets of each
Bench press 90% 10s hold
paired with
KB split Squat 90% 10s hold Right Leg
paired with
DB Bent over row 90% 10s hold Right Arm

Rest 4-8 Minutes

Below are some of the exercises we used for Day 1

10 second Isometric series

Example Day 2 Block 3 sets of each
Bench Press 70% 10s Oscillatory
paired with
DB Split Squat 70% 10s Oscillatory Right Leg
paired with
RDL 70% 10s Oscillatory

Below are a few Oscillatory Options

RDL

Bench Press

Hex Bar

Generally employing this model we will use Cal Dietz Six week plan of 2 Aerobic/2Lactic/2 Alactic with my athletes as it fits well into my reinterpretation of the triphasic training model. You could possibly drop different elements based on what the athlete needs. After all this you should be ready attack heavier lifting to come. You can grab the raw programs from XLathlete downloads page.

The end idea is that the athlete is better prepared (greater work capacity) for sports specific and strength work to come.

This is an ongoing series of blog posts 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. Facebook

Stronger less injury prone knees with one move

by William Wayland ~ posted February 18th, 2016

Ignore the clickbait inspired title. You may recall from previous post that ACL tears are a bit of problem in grappling and MMA especially in females. I’ve spoken before about the need for direct hamstring work when it comes to helping athletes prevent and bounce back from knee injuries and growing body of evidence is starting to support this.

Hamstring work is such a crucial part of the puzzle to prevent knee injuries, ask anyone who grapples regularly and they’ll tell you how much hamstring involvement there is. Where as there is involvement in running cutting and jumping found in field sports, grappling often requires active hamstring ‘squeeze’ to finish many techniques. To put it simply stronger hamstrings may help your jiujitsu!

Taking it up a notch is direct hamstring work, which involves mainly knee flexion where you’ll feel it in the distal part of hamstring (closest to knee) where as many movements like deadlifts and swings work hamstrings mainly as a hip-extensor where people often feel proximal part working (closest to the hip). A lot of athletes get part of the puzzle right and do heavy hip hinges. We use a lot of heavy eccentric romainian deadlifts for instance.  I’ve seen in the past very ‘strong’ athletes suddenly pull up with hamstring cramp when trying to finish a triangle or reverse shrimp, because they struggle with techniques demanding strong knee flexion. Again direct hamstring knee flexion work is crucial.

While you have a  lot of choice in hamstring exercises if we look at ‘Intensity based hamstring exercises classification’ see pic below by Yann Le Meur. And one exercise comes out on top the humble slide curl. I’ve been using it a lot especially with my female grapplers who risk higher incedence of ACL injuries so it’s important  we add this.

Below is a hamstring curl using a folded scramble grip trainer on smooth lifting platform, if your gym mats are smooth enough you could do it with any material that is low friction. When I spoke about the grapplers 5 before we could probably add this instead of the partner GHR. In athletes who’s hamstrings are lacking we’ll prioritise this and perform it 2-3 times per week for fairly high volumes (10-15 reps per set). The slide is a good test in itself of how strong your hamstrings are. Start with two legs and progress to one.

The body slide is another way of approaching this.

I sometimes find very heavy athletes really struggle with slide hamstring curl variations which can get a bit ‘crampy’. Below is the ball curl which can be later progressed to the slide curl.

This is an ongoing series of blog posts 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. Facebook

Post Workout Recovery Routine

by William Wayland ~ posted January 7th, 2016

In a previous post I talked about Warming-up to workout the flipside to warming up is warming down and recovery work.

Often overlooked or not considered is the impact you can make in expediting the recovery process, as soon as you finish your last rep or step off the matt after your last roll. It pays to take time to encourage the body to go from a very excited state to more relaxed one.

Stages Covered in the video;

1. We can assist recovery mechanically by using gravity performing wall sits and shakes
2. We can address tightness accrued during training using isometrics, this work particularly well if you do a lot of squatting and bench pressing
3. Decompress the spine using various hangsm, such as bar hang or GH hang 
4. Re-establish parasympathetic dominance using deep breathing or relaxation

Key Points from video

‣Having a recovery routine is as important as having a warm-up routine but is often overlooked.
‣You can perform 1 or more part of the video don’t get too hung up and doing it all.
‣Deep breathing drills help re-establish parasympathetic dominance which is a relaxed state, as opposed to sympathetic dominance which is responsible for your ‘fight or flight’ response. If you have mastered the shoe drill than you can use wall or box diaphragmatic breathing drills as these allow for deeper breaths.
‣Switch your music to something relaxing, high BPM or load music is very stimulating you want something more down tempo.

This is an ongoing series of blog posts from William Wayland of Powering Through, who works with UFC and other high level combat athletes based in Chelmsford, UK Twitter. Facebook

Warming-up to Workout

by William Wayland ~ posted December 11th, 2015

The warm-up is often the most important and most often overlooked parts of a training session. Why is it so important? A warm-up often acts as barometer of your physical state there and then on the day. People often just rush through it without taking stock of how you feel. It is an opportunity to prime yourself for the activity to come, however many only see the value in proper warm-up strategy usually when they are working around some sort of ‘problem’. Be prepared and it may just help you have far more productive workouts. In the video I discuss how we approach warming up in brief.


Warming up for the most part is a 4 stage process.

1. Mental Prep – Psychological prep – Pre-anticipatory response.

2. Getting Warm – Increased body temperature.

3. Mobility -Improve joint lubrication and flexibility.

4. Warm-up sets. – Engage the nervous system to a greater degree.

Key points from the video

‣Take stock of how you feel, go over your planned workout question your readiness.
‣Initially warm-ups need a jumping off point from a video or a coach, be sure to have it written down, then look to do some informed freestyle.
‣My intro warm-up is, Highknees, Marches, Knee Circles, Spiderman +reach, Roll-up to sit out, Supported Squat (all x 10) and selected foam rolling and stretching as needed.
‣When learning to warm-up start with something very general such as Joe D Franco’s Agile 8 as you become more experienced you explore other movements and overcome your own imobility and prepare personally for what ever you are doing that training session.
‣Don’t spend too long or get too abstract with your mobility, don’t forget you still have to lift!
‣Too few warm-up sets and you’ll be too tired, too few and you won’t achieve optimal activation.
‣The heavier you plan to go the more warm-up sets you need but the fewer reps you should probably do.
‣When doing power work at lower percentages we often warm-up to a heavier load for a single or double for potentiating effect.

This is an ongoing series of blog posts from William Wayland of Powering Through, who works with UFC and other high level combat athletes based in Chelmsford, UK Twitter. Facebook

 

Arthritis and Brazilian Jiu-jitsu

by William Wayland ~ posted October 26th, 2015

We often document the benefits of Brazilian jiujitsu, but murmur in mention of some of the draw backs. While all sports carry risk of injury and overuse injuries, Brazilian jiujitsu in particular is known to be rough on the joints and I have heard much anecdotal evidence of finger and pain in particular in more experienced players. Below is a picture of Joao Miyao’s hands. Keep in mind he is just 24 years old.

What is Arthritis?

People are often confused as to what arthritis is and the difference between osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. The difference mainly being one is wear and tear the other is a auto immune disease.

Osteoarthritis (also referred to as degenerative joint disease or wear-and-tear arthritis) is caused by the breakdown of joint cartilage. Cartilage acts as a cushion between the bones that form a joint. Cartilage loss can cause bone to rub on bone in a joint — a condition that is very painful. The ride along of this condition can be bone spurs, bony enlargements (Heberden’s nodes and Bouchard’s nodes). This is related to but not caused by aging. It appears that mechanical stress on joints underlies all osteoarthritis, with many and varied sources of mechanical stress, including misalignments of bones caused by congenital or pathogenic causes; mechanical injury all contribute to the condition. Oh and cracking you knuckles has no effect!

Im no Joao Miyao but I’ll never make it as a hand model either

Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic, inflammatory type of arthritis. It is also classified as an autoimmune disease (i.e., immune cells attack the body’s own healthy tissues). The synovium (lining of the joint) is primarily affected by rheumatoid arthritis, but organs body-wide can be affected as well. Multiple joints are usually involved with rheumatoid arthritis.

Incidence in Jiujitsu

Speak to more senior members of school or gym and more than likely they will have stories pertaining to hand injuries, joint pain, mangled finger/toes, dislocations and more. Very little research has been done into BJJ and arthritis so numbers are hard to fathom. But BJJ’s nearest relative Judo has had plenty of research into the subject. In 1997 Strasser P et al did a study into “Traumatic finger polyarthrosis in judo athletes”  they found that “Extensive Judo seems to be a risk factor for the development of osteoarthritis of the finger joints due to chronic-repetitive micro- and substantial (macro-) injury.”

In 1984 Frey A, Müller W. found that “X-ray showed that all judokas examined have more or less severe osteoarthritis of the distal interphalangeal joints (DIP), whether Heberden nodes were present or not. At the same time, in most cases osteoarthrosis of the proximal interphalangeal joints (PIP) was found by X-ray and clinical examination. Osteoarthrosis of DIP and PIP in this young age group is due to overstress and injury to the joints involved.” It is the repeat injury, re-injury, micro trauma and over stress over a period of time that appears to accumulate and then manifest as arthritis. More than likely athletes who play a grip heavy game see a high incidence than those who don’t.

 
Those who play a heavy grip game risk injury of Proximal and Intermediate  Phalanges

 

Mitigation and treatment

Practical solutions to limiting and preventing arthritis are few in number, the ultimate solution being suspension of the activity but seriously when has injury ever stopped you grappling? So you have a few choices.

1. Introduce more no-gi training in order to give your grip a rest

2. Cycle play styles, avoid spider and other grip play that is rough on the distal and intermediate phalanges.

3. Stronger muscles can help stabilize the joint, improving range of motion and aid in pain reduction. That’s the goal of arthritis-oriented physical therapy, just be sure to work extensor and thumb strength too, as finger flexion is often over worked.

4. Some evidence suggests that hand flexibility may reduce arthritis risk http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15248215

5. Taking NSAIDS (ibuprofen etc)

6. Some evidence suggests people with arthritis need longer warm-ups

Supplementary Solutions

As soon as joint pain is mentioned people are quick to ask for supplementation. Often supplement sellers pray on those in discomfort to shift shoddy produce or gimmicky devices. Often avoiding acitivity that causes problems is enough to help with recovery from osteoarthritis but often people want a quick fix.

Worth Trying (evidence for):

  • Omega 3 fish oils, There is evidence that rheumatoid arthritis sufferers taking long-chain n−3 fatty acids from sources such as fish have reduced pain compared to those receiving standard NSAIDs. Krill oilor omega 3 capsules comes highly recommended.
  • Curcumin, In vitro and animal studies have proven that curcumin has antioxidant, antiarthritic,  and anti-inflammatory properties. See http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/infocenter/phytochemicals/curcumin/

Maybe Worth trying (some evdience or good anecdotal evidence)

Best avoid (No evidence)

  • Powerbands and Magnet therapy research has shown that magnetic wrist straps are ineffective in the management of pain, stiffness and physical function in osteoarthritis
  • Glucosamine and or Chondroitin – A meta-analysis published in the British Medical Journal published in 2010 concluded: “Compared with placebo, glucosamine, chondroitin, and their combination do not reduce joint pain or have an impact on narrowing of joint space. Health authorities and health insurers should not cover the costs of these preparations, and new prescriptions to patients who have not received treatment should be discouraged.”

I hope that this has been a helpful insight into a fairly common issues, more than any other sport BJJ and our grappling brethern are at risk of can be a painful and in the long term debilitating condition.

This is an ongoing series of blog posts from William Wayland of Powering Through, who works with UFC and other high level combat athletes based in Chelmsford, UK Twitter. Facebook

Should my BJJ kid do S&C?

by William Wayland ~ posted September 30th, 2015

A question I often get asked by energetic BJJ parents is “should my Bjj kid do s&c?” as a parent who wants the best for your childs sporting career I can understand the desire to give them the best training in all aspects. Its great that you are interested in helping your child be and do better especially when we are very much beyond the flawed notion that strength training will stunt growth or damage growth plates. Strength and Conditoning for children has many health benefits, injury prevention benefits and psycho-social benefits much the same as adults.

Strength training for kids is safe but it comes with caveats.

I’ll go over the main points when concerning this question.

Children are not little adults.

Children are biologically and mentally different to adults, especially when it comes to exercise. It must be made very clear that simply adapting an adult training programme to suit a child will not only produce poor results, but will likely increase injury risk and dissatisfaction. Very rigid and structured exercise programs can be particularly tricky for children especially the younger they are. Children especially young ones derive much of their physical capacity and literacy from play and this can be challenging for adults to understand. Remember they started BJJ because they found it fun, so exercise needs to be engaging also. Where as children see exercise as fun adults can be pretty darn self flagellating with it, if you want drop out, don’t use exercise as punishment.

Biological age and chronological age can be wildly different

Childhood development is a very individual experience, children of the same chronological age can be significantly far apart in physical development. I’ve seen children of the same age who looked like they where 5 years apart physically and this discrepancy can impact participation. Early developers are often the favourites of coaches as they rapidly develop physical capacities their less developed training partners just don’t have. With this in mind their training needs will differ also. Children who have not gone through puberty produce testosterone and growth hormone in very small amounts so cannot recover from very intense training sessions.

So what type of training can children do?

Children are extremely pliable skill-wise and engage in bodyweight training pretty much at every opportunity (we used to call it play!) and they certainly can perform this type of exercise with high frequency, things like pull-ups, push-ups, climbing, crawling, tumbling. If you do teach them strength movements, ala squat, hinge, push, pull and carry keep everything simple, don’t progress them too fast and once puberty kicks in you can progress them to more serious training taking advantage of the hormonal changes. In short Basics Basics Basics, much like BJJ.

My usual age recommendation for very ‘structured’ S&C begins at 14 to 16 for most youth athletes, at this point they are often psychologically mature enough to knuckle down to more serious training. It is about this age I start to introduce more conventional strength training in the form of ‘heavier’ barbell work. Even during this period natural strength levels, training age and biology still play a factor.

Take Away Points

1. Strength and Conditioning for Children is safe when properly supported.

2. Much like training adults weight training needs to be properly implemented and coached.

3. Respect the biological age of the children, what they do should be age related not age determined. Biology, mental maturity, natural strength levels, training age (how long they have been training) and technical proficiency all play a role.

4. Properly designed program can improve performance and  health.

5. Technical competency should never ever be compromised.

6. If its stops being fun they’ll stop wanting to do it.

Below is 16 year old BJJ Blue belt and aspiring MMA athlete Cory, she has deadlift numbers that would make most adults jealous. A foundation of Boxing, Wrestling and BJJ has given her a solid foundation and a capacity to learn

@corydonttap getting her #sumodeadlift on back from her travels. #mmalife #PWRTHR #deadlift #wmma #mmafighter #womensmma

A video posted by William Wayland (@poweringthrough) on

This is an ongoing series of blog posts from William Wayland of Powering Through, who works with UFC, Cagewarriors and other high level combat athletes based in Chelmsford, UK. Facebook

 

Lactate based GPP Circuits

by William Wayland ~ posted August 9th, 2015

Its not sexy but we all need GPP in our lives, often diving straight into a heavy strength training program especially after a serious competition season can wear on you scrambler. Ease yourself in and expand your base ready for your ‘offseason’.

Continuing from last week posts Aerobic GPP the next phase is Lactate based EDT training based on Cal Dietz GPP method which I’ve been experimenting with for a little while. After the aerobic phase we have hopefully built a base of general aerobic fitness. The intention is now to build lactate specific qualities but locally for improved sprint ability but also tax the body globally for continued aerobic training effect. Cal talks about this here starting at about 40 mins.  This part of a six week plan Aerobic, Lactic and Alactic. Let me just warn you this is HARD really hard. Most the athlete I’ve used this with have found it very difficult in the last minute. Don’t be a hero and ignore the listed loading. Do the work, like Dietz says this about being able to train harder and increase volume for when the heavier stuff comes.

Sample Session – Used with athletes below
Warm-up

 Bench and Ring Row – 5 Mins 10 rep each alternating (35-45% of 1RM)

  • 5 Mins mobility. Band Pull apart/spiderman with reach/Six Point Zenith

Right Leg and Left leg Step-up 5 Mins 10 rep each alternating (35-45%)

  • 5 Mins mobility. Band dislocation/Alternating half pigeon/half kneeling press (light)

Close Grip Push-up, Barbell Curl and OH sit-up 5 Mins 10 rep each alternating (35-45%)

  • Foam Rolling, band based stretching, iso holds.

In the video’s below MMA fighter Matt Hughes is going as quickly as possible will look to speed up over the next 2 weeks EDT style aiming for 2-3 sessions a week.

Bench and Ring Row 

Right Leg and Left leg Step-up


This is an ongoing series of blog posts from William Wayland of Powering Through, who works with UFC, Cagewarriors and other high level combat athletes based in Chelmsford, UK. Facebook

Aerobic GPP Circuits

by William Wayland ~ posted July 27th, 2015

Its not sexy but we all need GPP in our lives, often diving straight into a heavy strength training program especially after a serious competition season can wear on you scrambler. Ease yourself in and expand your base ready for your ‘offseason’.

When we kick off a training cycle in will generally start with General Physical Preparedness. I like to think of it as the program before the program! This is period that should serve as break from “hard” training but provide stimulus and lay foundation for harder work to come.

What is GPP? Those of your familiar with training parlance may have heard the term before. Many often talk about it but what they often mean is ‘cardio’ or ‘conditioning’.

“GPP is the initial stage of training. It starts every cycle of training from the macro-, meso- and microcycle after restoration and recovery. It consists primarily of general preparatory and some specialized conditioning exercises to work all the major muscles and joints. This preparation prepares the athlete for the more intense training such as explosive plyometrics. This period is also used for rehabilitation of injured muscles and joints, strengthening or bringing up to par the lagging muscles and improvement of technique.” – Dr Michael Yessis

A simpler definition would be improving your quality of movement, fixing weakness that have cropped up during previous training camps and enhancing your ability to handle greater workloads. Now often GPP just means more undirected hardwork. Often taking the form of old school circuit training, running and pushing a sled till you puke.

What GPP should be used for is the capacity to do work when the harder training gets going, fixing imbalances and mobility and reinforcing movement quality, its important to note however the training is not really sports specific. Inspired by Cal Dietz I’ve been toying with Aerobic GPP circuits for a little while. These always come before we start our heavier lifting blocks. Instead of doing things like running or circuits, im increasingly preferring to keep my athletes lifting. Especially if like many of the MMA fighters the time we have together is very limited.

We take simple compound exercise pairings and put them together and have the athlete alternate between them for 5 minutes at about 50-60% loading going rep for rep. Each session the athlete will try and do more reps within the same amount of time or try for more reps within 30s chunks of the whole 5 minutes. Some of your might recognize this as EDT style training. Between 5 minute work block we can schedule 5 minute mobility and balancing work. Got tight shoulders mobilise those and strength your upper back. Got tight hips look to add a yoga flow or some bodyweight lunge and leg stretches.

Sample Session – Used with athletes below

Warm-up

 Bench and Squat – 5 Mins 1 rep each alternating (60% of 1RM)

  • 5 Mins mobility. Band Pull apart/spiderman with reach/Six Point Zenith

Pull-up and DB RDL 5 Mins 1 rep each alternating (60%)

  • 5 Mins mobility. Band dislocation/Alternating half pigeon/half kneeling press (light)

Close Grip Bench and Chin-ups 5 Mins 1 rep each alternating (60%)

  • Foam Rolling, band based stretching, iso holds.

In the video’s below MMA fighter Matt Hughes is going at pretty moderate tempo seeing as this is his first session performing this type of work and will look to speed up over the next 2 weeks aiming for 2-3 sessions a week.

Aerobic GPP circuit – Bench and Squat

Pull-up RDL

Close Grip Bench and Chins

Pairings should try and hit as many muscle groups as possible and work well as upperbody/lower splits and upper body, upper body split. Having lowerbody exercises paired would probably be too fatiguing and defeat the point of aerobic intent of this type of training. You could always try Sumo Deadlift/Weighted Pushups or Overhead Press/Barbell Rows. Hopefully now you have enough to build your own 2-3 week barbell based GPP program.

This is an ongoing series of blog posts from William Wayland of Powering Through, who works with UFC, Cagewarriors and other high level combat athletes based in Chelmsford, UK. Facebook