Sherdog S&P forum FAQ
NB. This thread will be open for a while before I close it, that way you can post suggestions for improvements, when I do shut it, I’ll remove all the other posts (along with this paragraph) for the sake of clarity. I then intend to de-sticky the ‘interesting links and threads’ and the ‘READ THIS BEFORE POSTING…’ threads, because this is designed to replace them and features every active link that’s in them.
This thread is designed to point new lifters towards the information they need to get themselves started. It is not supposed to be an exhaustive list of everything you need to know, but should instead point you in the right direction. The best thing you could do to start with is to read Carnal's Treatise on The Lifting of Heavy Iron
Please PM me with and errors, omissions or general abuse (if I’m no longer here then just abuse Urban or our successor).
Q: How do I get stronger for bjj/judo/mma/tha boxing?
A: You get strong. Too many people fall into the trap of thinking there's some magical exercise that will make their training somehow more applicable to their art, bollocks. Strength is strength, go train heavy and hard and you'll find you get stronger on the mat or in the ring. One leg squats on a gym ball while avoiding a stick swung by an old man with a Fu Manchu moustache won't help.
Q: Why did my thread get closed?
A: Check the forbidden threads sticky, the chances are that it contravened these rules and that’s why it was shut down.
Q: Why did my thread on doing BW squats/pressups get put into the conditioning sub-forum?
A: Light BW exercises, those that can be done for more than say 20 or so reps by a fairly fit individual, do very little for max strength or power development. These are useful exercises but will only really develop muscular endurance. As such they belong in the conditioning forum.
Q: Why are you anti-bodybuilding in this forum?
A: Most of the members are not actually anti-bodybuilding but instead believe that it has nothing to do with athletic ability and therefore does not belong in the strength and power forum of an MMA website. There are plenty of places to go and discuss bodybuilding, so we would appreciate it if you didn’t do it here.
Q: Why do you guys hate machines?
A: Machines require no stabilisation of the weight and will often force an unnatural path of motion, that can lead to injuries. Compound freeweight movements are infinetly superior to machines, especially those that are used for isolation movements. Machines do have uses for rehabilitation and correcting some imbalances, but the majority of your routine should be done on freeweights.
Q: I thought technique was more important than strength. Is lifting heavy weights really important for MMA?
A: Technique and skill is the most important things if you want to be successful as a martial artist, however to completely ignore S&P would be very foolish, when skill levels are equal it is often the stronger and better conditioned fighter that will win, otherwise there would be no point in weight categories.
Q: Won’t lifting heavy things make me really slow and inflexible?
A: NO! This is an ancient piece of nonsense that seems to never die, weights will actually make you quicker and if allied with a good stretching program will actually make you more flexible.
Q: Can I just do 200 reps with the pink, 2lb, foo-foo dumbbells? After all that gives me a wicked awesome pump and my arms feel really tired.
A: NO! You have to lift heavy if you want to be strong. Read this article - Why You Should Lift Heavy Things
Q: Why do so many of your links seem to be aimed at powerlifters and Olympic weightlifters, surely this isn’t what I want to help my MMA training?
A: Powerlifters and weightlifters are experts at being strong; these guys know an amazing amount about how to train for an incredible level of relative strength. We don’t advise you follow the training routine of a powerlifter, as you have to also complete hours of technique training, sparring and conditioning work each week, but you can learn a lot on how to train for strength from these people. You look to bjj and boxing for elements of your training, yet neither of these arts will make a complete mma fighter, pretty much the same principle.
Q: Do I have to do Squats/Deadlifts?
A:YES, These are the two most important lifts in terms of overall body strength and development. No amount of benching and curling will make up for not doing them; any routine that does not include them is inherently flawed.
Q: What kind of routine should I follow?
A: There are many routines that can help you develop strength, here are a few of the ones that are commonly used by our members:
Three day Pull/Press/Squat split:
Day one: Deadlifts
One or two deadlift assistance exercises
Upper body pull exercise (eg. BORs or pullups)
Day Two: Bench
Bench Press 5X5
One or two bench press assistance lifts
Day Three: Squats
Front Squats 3-4X6
Whatever ham/lowback/quad assistance you’d like, but keep it limited
Two day split:
Bent over row
West side for skinny bastards –link
5x5 routine - link
Twenty rep squats – link
What you should not do – If you routine looks like this
you’re in trouble.
Q: How do I do exercise x?
A: Here (link)
is our exercise list and glossary, this should explain how to do pretty much any exercise you can think of (and quite a few you can’t).
Q: The training program says I should do an assistance exercise, what’s that?
A: Assistance exercises are designed to help improve a weak point on a lift. Examples include using close grip bench presses to strengthen your triceps and therefore improve you bench press and using pause squats to help you with coming out of the bottom position of the squat. Forum member Madmick started a thread on assistance exercises for the powerlifting big three - link
Q: What’s periodisation and how do I do it?
A: Periodisation is how you manage the weights you lift each workout, here are three links to different approaches to it.
Linear Periodization - http://www.t-nation.com/findArticle....le=body_129per
Conjugated Periodization (Westside Method) - http://www.t-nation.com/readTopic.do?id=459671
Undulating Periodizatoin - http://www.t-nation.com/readTopic.do?id=843024
Q: How do I add 50lbs to my bench/squat/deadlift?
A: If you want to be better at a lift the first thing to do is sort out your form, here are Dave Tate’s articles on correctly performing the big three:
Bench Pressing 101
Guide to the Squat
Another Bench press article
Q: What are the best ways to develop rotational core strength/core strength?
A: Here’s a thread cataloguing the different exercises for developing core strength– link
Q: How do I make my hands stronger?
A: Oh goody, now we’re on my favourite subject, grip training is of paramount importance to any type of martial artist. There are many ways to train your grip and there’s no way for me to cover them all here, but here goes.
The first thing to do is get yourself some grippers. The cheap things with the plastic handles from your local sports shop just won’t cut it. The best grippers in the world IMO are the Captains of crush range from Ironmind (www.ironmind.com
but honourable mention to the heavygrips and baraban grippers), I recommend that you buy the trainer, #1 and #2. If you can only buy one, go with the #2, unless you have very weak hands or have not done any previous weight training. It’s better to do negatives (shutting the gripper using your other hand to help and then trying to prevent it opening again with just the one hand) and partials than just cranking out reps with an easy gripper. While you’re at Ironmind I recommend picking up a copy of both of Brookfield’s books (‘mastery of hand strength’ and ‘grip master’s manual’) as they together form a great guide to developing insane hand strength, he even goes as far as to tell you how to tear tennis balls in half!
Gripper work is only one way to develop your hands; the next thing to do is look at pinch strength, which involves your thumbs as well. The easiest way to do this is to put too weight plates together with their smooth sides out and try to lift them with your hand on top, finger on one side thumb the other.
The next thing is to work on wrist strength, the two best things for this are using a wrist roller and sledge hammer levering. A wrist roller can easily be made out of 2” diameter PVC pipe wrapped with cord with weights on the end, you then twist the pipe hand over hand to winch up the weight. Do this both ways round (working both the back and front of your forearms). Sledgehammer levering involves holding the hammer upright at arms length and then leaning it back towards you face until it touches you on the nose, twist it back upright using only your wrist strength. Do the same thing only leaning the hammer away from you.
Soon you’ll be tearing phone books in half See this
, and bending nails like this.
There’s plenty more grip training out there, this is enough to get you started.
Q: What do I need to make a home gym?
A: This has been discussed several times on the board, here’s one of the threads on the subject- link
Forum member Bacon, made his own powerrack, here’s his how to thread - link
Q: ****ing *******, that hurt. I just tore a piece of the rough skin off my hand. What can I do about it?
A: That's called a callous, when doing some exercises, particularly deadlifts, you can tear the top layer of skin off and it can be really annoying. Here's a good thread on callous maintenance - link
Q: I’ve heard a lot of people mention kettlebells, what are they and are they worth getting?
A: Kettlebells are an alternative to a dumbbell, they have the handle placed away from the centre of the weight and this means they handle differently from a conventional DB. They can place a higher emphasis on grip and wrist strength and require greater coordination than doing the same movement with a DB.
They are much more expensive than a normal weight set and a lot of people argue that although there are benefits to their use they are not worth the ridiculous prices charged for them. Nor do they deserve the hype which surrounds them. To sum up these are a useful tool but are not the super, ultimate, all-singing, all-dancing solution to all your problem that some people claim they are. This article talks about the hype that surrounds them – http://ejmas.com/pt/ptart_brennan_0103.htm]link
There are ways to homemake one of these, here’s a thread which discusses doing just that – link
Q: What/who is crossfit?
A: Crossfit is a bunch of directionless, GPP nazis, who wouldn't know program progression if it hit them with a 45lb plate and will be the first against the wall when the revolution comes. It's interesting to note that due to a rip in the space time continuum a copy of the glossary was e-mailed to me from 2020, in which crossfit were described as "A bunch of directionless, GPP nazis, who were the first against the wall when the revolution came". (twenty points for the reference) In all seriousness, crossfit are at least somewhere along the right path, they follow a different workout each day and tend to focus more on conditioning than on max strength. While they are better than the vast majority of machine based, cookie cutter routines, we believe that there are better ways to train. To learn more go to www.crossfit.com
Interesting threads and Links
Here’s some places to continue your lifting education.
Sherdogs Strongest Man
- An online lifting competition. The big three and Wilk's Coefficients are compared here. Numbers may reflect Personal Records, and not current numbers.
Glossary / exercise list
- Commonly used terms and acronyms and an ever growing list of exercises and instructions for said exercises.
– My (Urban's) site. It’s in need of some updating and a bit of revising but it’s got good information on routine construction, and some interesting ideas on conditioning.
Overtraining Syndrome - a General Discussion
and Overtraining - The Idiots Guide
– overtraining is a big concern for many people trying to develop any sort of well rounded athleticism in the ring. Learn to prevent it.
Online Video Resources
Midwest Barbell Reference Videos
ExRx Exercise and Muscle Directory