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