all posts post new thread

Other/Mixed Is strong really important for combat sports?

Other strength modalities (e.g., Clubs), mixed strength modalities (e.g., combined kettlebell and barbell), other goals (flexibility)

Brett Jones

StrongFirst Director of Education
Master Certified Instructor
Beast Tamer
Specifically what are you doing?

How many BJJ sessions a week?
How many barbell sessions?
Kettlebell work?
Work , life stress, nutrition, sleep?
 

BJJ Shawn

Level 6 Valued Member
Specifically what are you doing?

How many BJJ sessions a week?
How many barbell sessions?
Kettlebell work?
Work , life stress, nutrition, sleep?

Zero BJJ sessions per week. I do 4 barbell sessions per week, normally about 45 minutes each. OHP, Deadlift, bench press, and squat one each session as my main focus plus some additional accessory lifts. Currently doing no kettlebell work, but I plan on reducing my barbell work and adding back in more kettlebell work. I do walk briskly about 30 minutes most day (usually about 15-16 minute miles) and walk a fair amount at work but I don't do manual labor for work.

Work stress is about the same as it has been, and my nutrition is going pretty good (eating about 200-250 grams of protein per day and about 3,000-3,500 calories daily as I've been trying to gain muscle). My sleep is definitely a problem as I have a 2 year old that still doesn't want to sleep through the night, but it has been consistently bad for the past few years.

This is the first time in my life that I have intentionally tried to gain weight, and my recovery has never felt better. In the past year, I went from 208 lbs down to 165 while doing S&S, and during that time I often had a debate with myself when getting up and having to mentally force myself to go do my practice since I was always drained. I have since been on a calorie surplus and am back up to 180, and while I definitely added some fat, there is a noticeable amount of muscle gain as well and physically I feel great.

As I am not a professional athlete and my performance is not required to make a living, I know the way I feel should take precedence over being better at grappling. I was just having a frustrating day.
 
Last edited:

Dayz

Level 6 Valued Member
I trained boxing/muay thai for about 10 years, after first doing traditional martial arts (judo, taekwondo, etc) for about 6 years. So 16 years total. When I was competing in amateur boxing/kickboxing, I was training 1-3 hours 5-6x evenings per week. This completely took care of my conditioning (aerobic and anaerobic).

Once I had acclimated to this volume I eventually added strength training, using Starting Strength two mornings per week. After about 3 months, this was an absolute game changer. My kicks and punches DRASTICALLY improved in power.

The key was, this was added to my skill and conditioning, not in lieu of it.

My theory is you currently lack the skill/ conditioning to make use of your increased strength. You haven't wasted your time. Once your conditioning comes up to par, you'll harvest the benefits.
 

Anna C

Level 9 Valued Member
Elite Certified Instructor
Sinister
As someone who know next to nothing about martial arts, just offering an observation... I feel like this whole conversation is context-dependent, and we don't have the context.

@BJJ Shawn you wanted to increase your strength, and you did some months of barbell traning and got stronger with the barbell. Whether or not that was helpful in your overall objectives remains to be seen.

But whether or not that's ever a worthwhile pursuit for someone who does martial arts --- doesn't it depend on how much "strength" is a limiter for them? And/or, whether they want to put on some lean mass?

We don't really have any assessment tool to know how strong you were before, and are now, in the context of your activities. The next best thing would be to know how strong you actually got with your barbell work (1RMs, 5RMs, etc.).

It just doesn't seem like questions were asked or answered that were very specific to you on that subject.
 

Alexander Halford

Level 7 Valued Member
and you did some months of barbell traning and got stronger with the barbell.
This. Going up in strength levels, DL particularly, will help to use heavier kb for the next 10K swings challenge and to kick endurance/strength to the next level, come back to next base strength cycle. This game is not endless, but works to some certain extent. Just my opinion...
 

bluejeff

Level 6 Valued Member
I'm just going to dip in and say that it seems to me that if you want to increase strength-endurance in a grappling discipline, you would want to develop it in ways that mimic what you're doing (or what you want to be doing, if you're unable to roll in-person very often).
The examples of exercises they discuss that contribute to "mat strength" are the pull-up hold, farmer's carry, deadlift, deficit Bulgarian split squat, floor press, Pendlay row, inverted row, and pause hip thrust.

another rather unpopular opinion: no amount of non-specific endurance (such as Crossfit, girevoy sport, or whatever) will help you on the mat unless you already posses the sports-specific endurance.

I haven't taken the time (yet) to read the thread about Pavel's BJJ course, but as of yet (no disrespect intended: I haven't read much yet) I fail to see how something like LCCJ endurance will translate to rolling around on the floor doing a lot of pulling. Maybe your carido engiine will see a greater capacity..... but everything else...? Once again, if people are seeing great results, awesome. I'm likely out of my wheehouse here.

I don't practice BJJ, but it seems to me that doing hip extension exercises (heavy swings, as already noted), endurance training for pulling/grip/holding (sandbag carries and cleans, etc for instance) and LOTS of crawling, especially loaded, would have the most carryover.

$0.02
 

HUNTER1313

Level 6 Valued Member
Strong enough? Mariusz Pudzianowski qualifies for strong enough as far as I'm concerned. He doesn't have the gas tank of someone like Clay Guida, but Clay doesn't have the muscle either. It's a big trade off. Find the middle ground and you're good. As others have said technique is a major issue too. I was able to tap out guys double my size and in most circumstances at least my strength level, but I had good technique and a good gas tank. As the saying goes "when everything else is equal, the stronger guy will win"
 

Period

Level 6 Valued Member
I'm just going to dip in and say that it seems to me that if you want to increase strength-endurance in a grappling discipline, you would want to develop it in ways that mimic what you're doing (or what you want to be doing, if you're unable to roll in-person very often).




I haven't taken the time (yet) to read the thread about Pavel's BJJ course, but as of yet (no disrespect intended: I haven't read much yet) I fail to see how something like LCCJ endurance will translate to rolling around on the floor doing a lot of pulling. Maybe your carido engiine will see a greater capacity..... but everything else...? Once again, if people are seeing great results, awesome. I'm likely out of my wheehouse here.

I don't practice BJJ, but it seems to me that doing hip extension exercises (heavy swings, as already noted), endurance training for pulling/grip/holding (sandbag carries and cleans, etc for instance) and LOTS of crawling, especially loaded, would have the most carryover.

$0.02
There are a number of different philosophies when it comes to training for grappling. Some consider it most important to focus on the muscles and/or movements you DON'T actually use enough on the mat in order to balance things out and prevent injuries. Then, there is the philosophy that you should focus on the movements you do on the mat, and mimic those as closely as possible. And finally, there is the broad middle ground that uses elemements from both extremes in varying mixture.
Regardless of what approach is chosen, I personally think it's vitally important that both the grappling coach and the strength coach (if they are two people) know what the other coach is doing in order to minimize interferences. You can't spar if your legs are shot from heavy squatting, and you likely won't need more squats if you've done a couple hundred double-legs already that day. I personally would never get a strength coach who doesn't understand wrestling, but that's just me.
 

solarbear

Level 5 Valued Member
Zero BJJ sessions per week.

Are you returning to BJJ? If so how many days per week? Or is this in the long term?


Had to go back and reread to find out what you meant:


My frustration is due to the fact that I was under the impression, that before you can develop strength endurance (the ultimate goal for grappling fitness off the mats), the first step would be to improve your base of strength (Strong FIRST). After spending time doing S&S, I wanted to improve my base of strength and as I have indicated n other threads, my next step was to then go back to Q&D/S&S/A+A style of training and try and improve my strength endurance. I still think the plan is solid and I just need more time to implement it, but I'm frustrated by what feels like going backwards in terms of readiness for grappling.

Your plan sounds sensible. I am guessing injury or work prevents you from doing BJJ.

I always found it kind of worked like that for my training for other sports. Heavy weights off-season to build overall strength, shifting to muscle and aerobic endurance as the season got closer.

I found that even with football the carry-over from the heavy weights in the off-season didn't happen if I reported to camp out of shape. So if you have been lifting and then go for a roll on the mat, you likely wouldn't get the carry-over you were hoping for.

The ideal would be rolling frequently with short weight and kb workouts. I could see your workout being 1 or 2 rounds, then either a 10 in barbell or kb workout being the go to for an amateur.

Lots of options -
1 day a week do a heavy weight session - 2-3 days doing one of the kb programs
Short DL or Squat session before a kb program 3 days per week
or just running one of the full body kb programs like the Wolf and see what that gets you.
 

kiwipete

Level 7 Valued Member
Outsider observation:
Agree with lots of other comments.
You pursued absolute strength and found that it negatively impacted your BJJ performance - even though you wanted / expected it to help.

It seems like it is a battle between your mental expectations and your experience on the mat.
Brain says 'get stronger', but when rolling your body says 'I'm strong enough but I need more aerobic capacity'.

Curious to know - Have you rolled with someone and felt you weren't 'strong enough'?
 

Antti

Level 9 Valued Member
Outsider observation:
Agree with lots of other comments.
You pursued absolute strength and found that it negatively impacted your BJJ performance - even though you wanted / expected it to help.

It seems like it is a battle between your mental expectations and your experience on the mat.
Brain says 'get stronger', but when rolling your body says 'I'm strong enough but I need more aerobic capacity'.

Curious to know - Have you rolled with someone and felt you weren't 'strong enough'?

What makes you think strength negatively impacted his performance?

I'm sorry, but it makes no sense at all. Strength didn't hurt him. His lack of conditioning did.

Strength and conditioning are rarely at odds. You can have both. The worst problem is a case of time and means, and still, most of the time I would have a bit of strength training in there.

@BJJ Shawn did you specifically strength train for BJJ or did you train strength for other reasons and expected to see better results on the mat?
 

Pete L

Level 5 Valued Member
I'm just going to dip in and say that it seems to me that if you want to increase strength-endurance in a grappling discipline, you would want to develop it in ways that mimic what you're doing (or what you want to be doing, if you're unable to roll in-person very often).




I haven't taken the time (yet) to read the thread about Pavel's BJJ course, but as of yet (no disrespect intended: I haven't read much yet) I fail to see how something like LCCJ endurance will translate to rolling around on the floor doing a lot of pulling. Maybe your carido engiine will see a greater capacity..... but everything else...? Once again, if people are seeing great results, awesome. I'm likely out of my wheehouse here.

I don't practice BJJ, but it seems to me that doing hip extension exercises (heavy swings, as already noted), endurance training for pulling/grip/holding (sandbag carries and cleans, etc for instance) and LOTS of crawling, especially loaded, would have the most carryover.

$0.02
The KB-SF (BJJ) is very detailed and Pavel takes time to explain why the course material is an appropriate choice, vs. e.g. Olympic barbell lifts, SPP.

The philosophy, techniques, stretches and progressions are all explained and demonstrated very well. The course is not just LCCJ.

@BJJ Shawn posted a discount code for the Fanatics website recently.
 

Alan Mackey

Level 6 Valued Member
I haven't taken the time (yet) to read the thread about Pavel's BJJ course, but as of yet (no disrespect intended: I haven't read much yet) I fail to see how something like LCCJ endurance will translate to rolling around on the floor doing a lot of pulling. Maybe your carido engiine will see a greater capacity..... but everything else...? Once again, if people are seeing great results, awesome. I'm likely out of my wheehouse here.

Well… to certain extent, LCCJ is useful: there’s a ton of explosive hip hinges, cleans are fantastic as a general pulling exercise, jerks teaches you how to transfer power through your hips and slow, steady, KB lifting will improve your recovery between efforts. But sports specific drills (sparring mostly) are paramount.

I have no doubt I could easily gas out elite Crossfitters and gireviks while sparring. Unless they have a couple of years of BJJ training under their belt.

Specificity is King.
 
Last edited:

pet'

Level 8 Valued Member
Hello,

As wisely mentioned above, I think that specificity is key (SAID principle). Therefore, it may be worth considering that your physical training reproduces your sport moves and energy pathways, at least to a certain extent.

Maybe drills with a swissball and a Bulgarian bag and a sandbag.

Obviously this does not prevent you from developing a 'wide base' to build upon (DL, Sq...) with something basic like a 5 x 5. Same rule applies for conditioning: a few LSD a week (even only 2) and the same amount of A+A.

The above, even outside BJJ context can be a great GPP / health routine.

If you roll a lot (daily or so) and do not aim for elite meet, then conditioning may take care of itself, as it was said in a previous post. Even at the top of his game, my boxing teacher did 'pure conditioning' (LSD, intervals, etc..) only 3 times a week...but he did up to 10 boxing sessions a week

Kind regards,

Pet'
 

BJJ Shawn

Level 6 Valued Member
What makes you think strength negatively impacted his performance?

I'm sorry, but it makes no sense at all. Strength didn't hurt him. His lack of conditioning did.

Strength and conditioning are rarely at odds. You can have both. The worst problem is a case of time and means, and still, most of the time I would have a bit of strength training in there.

@BJJ Shawn did you specifically strength train for BJJ or did you train strength for other reasons and expected to see better results on the mat?
I think this is exactly my problem, and I THINK this is what I meant when I started this thread. If technique conquers all and specificity is king, would someone be better off focusing completely on conditioning and skipping the strength work for grappling or other combat sports? Or at least sticking to methodologies that blend the two more like S&S instead of working pure strength movements like the barbell?
 

Period

Level 6 Valued Member
I think this is exactly my problem, and I THINK this is what I meant when I started this thread. If technique conquers all and specificity is king, would someone be better off focusing completely on conditioning and skipping the strength work for grappling or other combat sports? Or at least sticking to methodologies that blend the two more like S&S instead of working pure strength movements like the barbell?
It very much depends. I made some of my best progress ever on the mat by ditching the heavy weights for like a year and a half, because I realized strength wasn't holding me back, rather strength training (!) negatively impacted my ability to do more specific work. Strength training takes a toll, you want to be fresh for it, you need to recover etc. That will cut down on the number of times you could possibly get on the mat. Now, if for whatever reason you cannot mat train (or at least solo drill) more than X times per week anyway, things may look different, and it can make sense to build a strength routine around that. But in either case, mat work has to be king, because skills pay the bills. What approach is ideal will again depend on strengths and weaknesses, levers, personal style etc. more than anything else. What worked for me might suck for you, and vice-versa.
 

John DeStefano

Level 5 Valued Member
(Have only read a few posts...great stuff so far.) I think the benefits of strength training are just a bit hidden. Like you say, you are still dominating early. Well, you have a good base of S&C already. Strength benefits will manifest when strength is needed - short slices of time, force on force. Other benefits like injury prevention and overall durability are just harder to notice. When you improve your conditioning, you notice it immediately and over an entire session because that is the nature of endurance and conditioning, and it sticks in your mind. In the end I wouldn't throw the baby out with the bathwater, but also be aware of the point of diminishing returns.
 

pet'

Level 8 Valued Member
Hello,

There are super interesting points (again !) in the above posts. I think this is important to precisely asses what can hold you back: strength, conditioning, technique, etc... When you roll, are you already tired (work, other physical expenditures, etc...) ? This may hugely impact your training.

As mentioned by @Period S&C (or even only strength) can takes its toll during the class. Let say you get up at 5am, S&C train for 1h, do you work day (which may include commuting) then roll for 1h30-2h at 8pm, it may be normal not being at 100%.

Usually, I just enjoy training, but sometimes, my S&C makes my boxing training way harder than it "should be".

An idea to build a baseline could be a daily dose deadlift, as per the article, S&T for a press, as per the article, then a few pull ups here and there, and 300 swings (mentioned in an old Pavel's article). If swings are not possible / too taxing due to the DL, sprint repeats.

Someone here once said something like "this is amzing how little we need to be strong and healthy"

Kind regards,

Pet'
 

Coyotl

Level 6 Valued Member
I think this is exactly my problem, and I THINK this is what I meant when I started this thread. If technique conquers all and specificity is king, would someone be better off focusing completely on conditioning and skipping the strength work for grappling or other combat sports?
It isn't an either/or. Additionally, don't forget that you losing a significant amount of weight can seriously change how rolling with folks feels - especially if these are people you used to roll with and their weight hasn't changed much.
Or at least sticking to methodologies that blend the two more like S&S instead of working pure strength movements like the barbell?
Finding the right methodology is important, and if you aren't willing to experiment and "suffer the consequences" then using something that is tried and true can be helpful - like those articles I linked above, or like the BJJ SF program. 5/3/1 with rest pause accessories is more of a strength & hypertrophy split, it isn't designed for sport performance, especially if you aren't incorporating the jumping, sprinting, and conditioning components he recommends for his football players. Have you been incorporating any of that?

Like @pet' mentioned, S&C can make a session seem harder - but the goal is not to win training but to dominate the competition. This would involve a peaking component where you bleed off fatigue so you're fully recovered on competition day. If you're not competitive, you may never do this, and then you have to decide if the trade offs are worth it for you, or if you can find a way that allows you to do S&C that doesn't leave you at all fatigued for rolling (BJJ SF was like that for me).

If you have some time, give this podcast a listen - Rayron Gracie and his S&C coach Joe DeFranco talk shop. It might not be the SF way, but it might be good to listen to.
 

Period

Level 6 Valued Member
Hello,

There are super interesting points (again !) in the above posts. I think this is important to precisely asses what can hold you back: strength, conditioning, technique, etc... When you roll, are you already tired (work, other physical expenditures, etc...) ? This may hugely impact your training.

As mentioned by @Period S&C (or even only strength) can takes its toll during the class. Let say you get up at 5am, S&C train for 1h, do you work day (which may include commuting) then roll for 1h30-2h at 8pm, it may be normal not being at 100%.

Usually, I just enjoy training, but sometimes, my S&C makes my boxing training way harder than it "should be".

An idea to build a baseline could be a daily dose deadlift, as per the article, S&T for a press, as per the article, then a few pull ups here and there, and 300 swings (mentioned in an old Pavel's article). If swings are not possible / too taxing due to the DL, sprint repeats.

Someone here once said something like "this is amzing how little we need to be strong and healthy"

Kind regards,

Pet'
I agree, and I have come to see certain training discussions in that light. For example, when it comes to roadwork, the "long, slow distance" vs "high intensity intervals" discussion has been raging on for a couple decades now, with proponents of the latter approach being especially vocal and claiming that the former approach was "pure tradition", "antiquated" etc., while a lot of the powerhouse programs in all full contact combat sports (e.g. Russia and Cuba in boxing and wrestling, Mongolia, Korea, Japan in Judo...) have notably stuck with the former approach for the large part. I am not bashing intervals, but I should point out that intervals have a significantly higher impact on recovery compared to a leisurely 3-5 k jog followed by a few submaximal sets of rubber bands and BW work. What's more, intervals have to be done all-out in order to have the desired effect.
I think people tend to argue way too much using the Tabata study and whatnot, rather than considering that an athlete who has burned himself out in the morning session will not be able to go all-out again in the evening, let alone at noon. S&C is important for an extra edge, but it should support the mat work - not the other way around. I have also argued before that we are not only "training for competition" but also "training for training", meaning that we need to maximize our ability to train productively for 90, 120 or 150 minutes at a time (2-3 times per day at pro level), not just our ability to go fast for six minutes, once per week, every few months (or whatever the competition format calls for).
 
Last edited:
Top Bottom