Monday, 21 May 2012

Strength & Conditioning training (part 1)

If you are an MMA athlete (or a surfer, a cyclist, anything) and you take it seriously, chances are you are doing Strength & Conditioning (S&C) training to improve your performance in your sport. In this article I will be sharing my views on the PITFALLS of S&C training - basically where it goes wrong, or how it is used incorrectly/inefficiently. I will use MMA as a running example in this article.

1 - spending too much time on S&C.

S&C training is there to improve your sports performance. It is not there to replace it or overtake it. S&C workouts are great, and the rush of getting stronger and better conditioned can become addictive, but remember, whatever you chosen sport is, is what you do FIRST. If you are an MMA athlete, you should be spending most of your workout time on the mat, honing your techniques. Your S&C is there as an add-on, a small percentage of your time will be carefully spent on specific drills designed to improve targeted areas of your game. Don't be the S&C guy who 'also' does MMA... Remember what your focus is.

2 - Doing the wrong exercises.

Why are MMA athletes still benching pressing and doing barbell bicep curls? The biggest advantage you will likely get from those 2 exercises is the ability to intimidate your opponent (which is unlikely. He's also an MMA athlete). Bodybuilding-style training for athletes just means you don't know what your doing. In your sport, your body is working as a complete unit, moving in several planes, and often with your weight predominantly on one leg. Squats & deadlifts are great exercises, huge bang-for-your-buck in terms of strength. But will the grinding strength of these lifts help you if you lack rotational power? Exercises should be sport-oriented and athlete-specific.

3 - Training too hard.

Yes, it is possible! Just because tire flipping, sledge hammer strikes and rope undulating are great exercises, it doesn't mean you should flip the tire 2,000 times, then hammer it with a 20kg sledge for 20 minutes and then undulate a 3" thick 30m rope for 10 minutes straight. Any idiot can 'design' a tough workout. A tough workout, just for the sake of tough, won't produce good results. Try 1,000 burpees - see? It's easy to come up with a tough workout. Your training should be designed to produce better results in your sport, not just make you throw up at the end of it. Some workouts will be gruelling, others can actually be relatively easy. Designed properly, the performance results will follow.

4 - Not addressing the athlete.

(This excludes group sessions where the training is sport-specific) When you train on your own, your training should be sport-oriented, but tailored specifically to YOU. If squatting strength is required in your sport, and you're already a beast on squats, your S&C workout should focus in other areas - specifically your weaknesses. That might be overall strength, it might be movement. It might be the ability to move with strength, or purely acceleration. When I train an athlete I don't enhance his strengths. There is no need - he's already strong there. I find his weakness and bring that up to be as good as his strengths. If you have a weakness it can be exploited. Train to eliminate your weaknesses.

Stay tuned for part 2...

Challenge everything, especially yourself.

Alex Kay Grimmer

Contact me for Kettlebell classes and Personal Training in Southend-on-sea.
Contact & location details are on my website: BODYQUESTPT