Classic S&C Mistakes made by grapplers and MMA fighters

by William Wayland ~ posted May 27th, 2015

On your quest to supplement your BJJ and MMA with strength and conditioning for a stronger, better and healthier version of yourself you will find pitfalls and missteps along the way. However years of experience from strength coaches and athletes can help you in avoid all too common mistakes when it comes to strength and conditioning.

Copying ‘famous’ athletes training program or workouts.

Many athletes share clips on instagram and facebook of what they are doing which is a great insight and often very interesting. Much is made of the workouts of George St Pierre, Rhonda Rousey, Gabi Garcia or Andre Galvo they get a ton of re-shares on social media. But before you breakout the rings and Bulgarian bags consider that these instances, these brief glimpses into someone else’s training are merely snap shots. We have no context for the conditions that have led them to that particular exercise or work out. They key point is here is that you need a program that meets YOUR needs.

Following popular powerlifting programs

When many often set off on their quest for a good strength program they’ll often take to the internet. After a quick google you’ll probably wind up with a ton of recommendations. But more often than not you’ll find a powerlifting inspired lifting routine. Don’t get me wrong some of the more popular powerlifting ebook routines has been responsible for helping people get really strong and make consistent results. However the key flaw is in the intent of they programs, they are for getting better at the powerlifts. Regularly heavy lifting is extremely neurologically demanding and past a point yields diminishing returns (see point 4!). A program like this often won’t take in to account just how draining a full schedule of MMA or grappling practice can be. Lack of variability in intensity fails to account for those type of situations. You may end up getting hurt and no body wants that!

Listening to functional movement guru’s

Biggest driver of strength gain is progressive loading and you won’t find that in a yoga class or from swinging an expensive kettle bell in the shape of a skull. The notion of functional movement seems appealing as it creates a false dichotomy, the idea that anything else (usually some method they don’t like) is some how non-functional.  Often these people speak is flowery anatomical terms which sound pretty convincing and talk about neurophysiology of movement using nebulous concepts or confusing jargon, they are Depak Chopra’s of fitness. They also often violate basic strength training principles, such as progressive overload or argue for over emphasis on stability type training despite the efficacy for such training for healthy athletes not holding up under scrutiny. My other suspicion is that this stuff is the preserve of people who have never really learned to lift properly in the first place. Step off the bosu ball, put down your soy latte and go learn to front squat. If you are dysfunctional see a physio or a decent strength coach.

More is better blues

At over 2.5 x BW I don’t think Arnold Allen needs more Deadlift in his life

I love this term  and it relates to some extent the previous points, S&C super coach Vern Gambetta summed it up in a short blog post “Volume is a seductive trap. At younger training ages virtually anything an athlete does will make them better. The more they do, the better they get – up to a point. That point is something we recognize as the point of diminishing returns. But despite the diminishing returns it is very tempting to continue on that path because that is what got them to that point. This is where the more is better blues occurs in the form of stagnation, performance plateaus or injury. Now what? More is not better, better is better. The emphasis must shift to quality training and perfect effort.” As you adapt training emphasis must change, see how strong is strong enough? post from earlier this month.

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

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