7 Steps to a Balanced Fighter. Article at T-Nation.com.

Discussion in 'Strength & Conditioning Discussion' started by Tom Kazanski, Apr 21, 2008.

  1. Tom Kazanski

    Tom Kazanski ChristianCore

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    What do you guys think? Sorry if this is a repost, I didn't see anything. Thought some of you might be interested in it.

    http://www.t-nation.com/article/most_recent/7_steps_to_a_balanced_fighter

    No matter what kind of fighter you are, you must respect the balance between strength, endurance, and mobility. If you focus too much on one, others are sure to fall behind.

    I've trained many different types of athletes over the years, but fighters have always been my favorite. That's because a fighter needs to be the total package. Don't get me wrong, athletes in most sports must possess high levels of multiple fitness qualities, but few need those qualities built to the extent of a mixed martial arts fighter.

    I'm going to outline the steps that a fighter should take to help balance out his fitness levels. But this information isn't just for fighters. Anyone can benefit from the following principles.

    1) Identify Possible Movement Dysfunctions

    First you must identify any basic movement disorders. If you skip this step, you'll get injured in no time. There's no sense in adding horsepower to a racecar that has bent rims, rickety ball joints, and an unstable chassis.

    One of the best products to identify movement dysfunctions is Gray Cook's Functional Movement Screen DVD. It's simple, user-friendly, and highly effective for identifying movement dysfunctions that often lead to injuries. This is a valuable tool for anyone, not just fighters.

    2) Are You In Pain? Don't Work Through It!

    Fighters are obviously known for being tough S.O.B's. This can beneficial at times and detrimental at others
     
  2. Tom Kazanski

    Tom Kazanski ChristianCore

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    5) Develop Specific Endurance

    Long-distance running will develop general endurance. So will bike sprints. But neither is specific to the endurance needs of a mixed martial arts fighter.

    Take an elite jiu-jitsu fighter, for example. He might be able to roll with other fighters for 30 minutes straight without any noticeable fatigue. But as soon as you stand him up and force him to throw punches for 10 minutes, he's completely exhausted. The problem isn't his general endurance; the problem is that he's lacking specific endurance in the muscles that need it most.

    Two of the most important areas that require maximum endurance are the shoulders and the posterior chain. To build shoulder endurance, you need to throw a lot of punches. That's a no-brainer.

    But from a strength and conditioning standpoint, you should also include high-rep overhead squats, rope jumping, front squats with a plate , and bent-over crucifix holds, just to name a few.

    High rep overhead squats

    For total body maximal strength development for athletes, there are few exercises better than overhead squats with more than 80% of your 1RM. However, if shoulder endurance is lacking, you should incorporate high rep overhead squats with a lighter load.

    Start with a load that allows you to do 25 reps with perfect form. This is usually just an empty bar. Every 48 hours, repeat the exercise and add a few more reps. Your goal should be 50 reps with perfect form.

    Then, increase the load, drop back down to 25 perfect reps, and repeat the process. This is an excellent way to build shoulder endurance while enhancing mobility.

    Jumping rope

    This is one of the most effective forms of energy systems training for fighters because it's an anaerobic exercise. Remember, fighters need to primarily develop anaerobic endurance.

    Jumping rope also enhances shoulder endurance. The key is to avoid keeping your elbows tucked to your sides and simply flipping your wrists. You should hold your elbows away from your sides and swing your arms, in order to recruit the shoulder muscles to a greater degree.

    It'll suck at first because your shoulders will burn like hell, but it'll make a world of difference over time. Your goal is to continuously jump for 10 minutes, non-stop, at a pretty fast clip.

    Front squat with a load held in front

    The front squat is a necessary addition to any fighter's strength and conditioning program. The traditional version, with maximal loads, is outstanding for building total body strength.

    For many, simply holding a load (plate, dumbbell, kettlebell, etc.) with your arms straight in front is even better. You'll develop core stability strength and you'll enhance shoulder endurance.

    Hold a load that allows you 1-2 sets of 25 reps. Add a few reps to the exercise every 2-3 days. Work up to 50 reps, then increase the load, and start over with 25 reps to repeat the process.

    This exercise is great with low reps, too. But for fighters, I prefer the high rep version because of the carryover to shoulder endurance.

    Bent-over crucifix hold

    A joint is only as healthy as it's balance of strength and mobility. I've talked a lot about building shoulder endurance, but the picture isn't complete without addressing the posterior portion.

    One exercise that's outstanding for fighters is the bent-over crucifix hold. Hold a light dumbbell in each hand with your arms held out to the sides, parallel to the ground. Push your hips back and shift your trunk forward, until it's just above parallel to the ground. Your back should be flat, your head neutral, and your knees slightly bent. Your palms should be facing down. Hold this position for time.

    This exercise serves many important purposes. First, it builds strength endurance in the posterior portion of the shoulder. A healthy joint must possess a balance of strength. By enhancing posterior shoulder endurance, you'll shift the length-tension relationship in your favor.

    Second, the bent-over crucifix hold builds endurance in the entire posterior chain. I've seen many athletes who could deadlift 2.5 x their bodyweight, but they couldn't hold the bent-over position, without additional load, for two minutes. That's not a healthy back.

    Research has demonstrated, time and again, that sufficient endurance strength is a key component of lower back health. The higher it is, the lower your chances of developing a back injury.

    It's wise to include the bent-over crucifix hold in your training program. Start very light, maybe even without any weight, and hold for two minutes. Eventually, increase the intensity by holding light dumbbells in your hand.

    Heavy bag walk

    Another effective exercise that challenges total body anaerobic endurance, while also building your upper back strength, is the heavy bag walk. For my athletes, I use a 100-pound bag, and have them walk or run for one minute. This is an excellent addition to any fighter's program. The key is to maintain good posture throughout the drill.

    6) Reduce Inflammation

    Fighters typically like to be sore. They're old school, after all. They equate pain with results. Convincing fighters that I don't want them to be sore has been one of my biggest challenges. The last thing a fighter needs is an overtaxed immune system, so it's imperative to control inflammation.

    One of the most effective protocols I use is a mix of healthy fats. Of course getting three to four servings of fruits and vegetables each day, along with plenty of healthy protein, is important, but the following supplement plan has worked wonders for many of my clients. Here's how it breaks down:

    100-150 pounds: 4 Flameout capsules, 2 teaspoons Carlson's liquid fish oil, 4 240mg capsules of GLA.

    150-200 pounds: 6 Flameout capsules, 4 teaspoons Carlson's liquid fish oil, 6 240mg capsules of GLA.

    Over 200 pounds: 6 Flameout capsules, 2 tablespoons Carlson's liquid fish oil, 8 240mg capsules of GLA.

    Importantly, the above protocol should be split into two dosages and taken with food. I prefer one with breakfast and one with dinner.

    If you happen to also be a person who doesn't get enough fruits and vegetables each day, I highly recommend Biotest's Superfood. Even if you are consuming adequate nutrients it's still good insurance to keep your body in balance.

    7) Take Surge Workout Fuel

    One thing I want to make perfectly clear is that I receive no financial benefit by recommending any supplement. With that in mind I must say that Biotest's Surge Workout Fuel has proven to be an invaluable aid to many of my fighter's training programs.

    If you're someone who suffers from nausea while training anaerobic endurance, this supplement could prove to be a Godsend, since it buffers proton accumulation. Also, this supplement could allow you to train for longer periods of time at a higher intensity. Finally, it'll help you recover faster.

    Second to healthy fats, Biotest's Surge Workout Fuel is a great cornerman for the vast majority of fighters.

    Final Words

    As I told the Rickson Gracie team during our first meeting: "I'm not here to make you a better fighter, that's the instructor's job. I'm here to make you a better athlete."

    Incorporating all of the tips in this article will make you a well-balanced, ass-kicking, fighting machine!


    About the Author

    Chad Waterbury will be conducting a seminar in London, England on June 14. To reserve a spot, e-mail Lee Hadden.

    For more of Waterbury's information, pick up his e-book The 10/10 Transformation here . His book Muscle Revolution can be purchased here.
     
  3. Chaseg1520

    Chaseg1520 Green Belt

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    1. Already posted.
    2. Weak article.
     
  4. Donut62

    Donut62 Black Belt

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    Basically the article is only 5 points, and two are supplement shills. The other 5 points are be flexible, see a chiro if shit hurts, be strong, be flexible again, and have good endurance. Awesome stuff, never would have figured that out.
     
  5. gza

    gza Banned Banned

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    yeah...all this takes a back seat to technique though.
     
  6. codysweet02

    codysweet02 Brown Belt

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    I think id like to see some articles by strength coaches who have acctualy TRAINED some top level competitors. No disrespect to the coachs over at T-Nation, but it seems like they are writing more and more MMA/fight articles all the time. But i dont know of any of them who have really worked with any legitimate MMA fighters.

    Seems a lot of these guys are just jumping on the money train and release new articles/ebooks about strength training for MMA but have not trained anybody for MMA.

    I could be wrong, just the way i see it.
     
  7. TheCuttlefish

    TheCuttlefish Un************ *******

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    In general it seems that most MMA coaches are far better at running a training camp than improving S&P and any advice you get from them seems to reflect that.
     
  8. BadNews

    BadNews Yellow Belt

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    S&C training is supplementary to fight training. Sometimes it is not necassary or is even counterproductive, especially if the atlete is older than teens/early 20's.
     
  9. WestLynnGangster

    WestLynnGangster Blue Belt

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    Thanks for the article. Reminded me that I should do more shoulder exercises and core training.
     
  10. the_harbinger

    the_harbinger Orange Belt

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    I call bullshit on that. Every single T-Nation author happens to recommend T-Nation supplements...Hmmmm, I wonder why?!

    That said...it was a fairly good article. Nothing groundbreaking, but not too bad.
     
  11. codysweet02

    codysweet02 Brown Belt

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    Yea, i didnt mean an MMA coach. I meant a S&C coach who has trained some legitimiate MMA fighters. Seems so many top MMA fighters are using strength coaches now but i havnt seen much written by any of them. Id like to see some articles by them instead of teh random S&C coach who hasnt worked with a pro fighter.
     
  12. John L Sullivan

    John L Sullivan Blue Belt

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    +1!
     
  13. John L Sullivan

    John L Sullivan Blue Belt

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    Also awesome.
     
  14. CarnalSalvation

    CarnalSalvation Trying to make a Milankey

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    AN excellent time to say

    MUH DIK!
     

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