Olympic weightlifting for combat fighters

Discussion in 'Strength & Conditioning Discussion' started by Noodles03, Jan 2, 2019.

  1. Noodles03

    Noodles03 Blue Belt

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    I have a question for Sano and other smart members on this forum. Is Olympic weightlifting a waste of time since they only produce vertical forces and that you should focus more on exercises that produces more horizontal forces such as medball throws?

    I’ll would like to hear your guys input.
     
  2. Sano

    Sano Black Belt

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    Ilikeitalot.gif, I'll do a short writeup when I get back from work later.
     
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  3. Badger67

    Badger67 Taxidea taxus

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    Triple extension is almost always beneficial.
    Not necessary but i would do them.
     
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  4. Sano

    Sano Black Belt

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    I just got home so I can't really be bothered to go into all the details, but there's some very distinct reasons why olympic lifts, or at least derivatives of those lifts, can be very beneficial to punching power.

    Starting with the punch, there's several factors that play into it being powerful. Also, it depends on the type of punch of course. Let's just stick with the straight. Biomechanically, one of the primary factors is powerful triple extension of the lower body in the sequence, ankle, knee and hip. There's also a push off with the back foot and a breaking component with the front foot. Physiologically, and in regards to the physics, acceleration/deceleration, rate of force development, stretch shortening cycle, velocity, high force and especially ground reaction forces are important. Ground reaction forces, total lower limb power and impulse has been linked to punching power in several studies (we're talking with trained people who know technique). Btw, there's rotational velocity and other factors that impacts power, but leave that aside for now.

    What does olympic weightlifting do? Powerful triple extension, very powerful hip extension, very high ground reaction forces and high impulse. So, not only are they biomechanically simular, at least in the lower body (with the split jerk being even closer) they also produce incredible amounts of relevant force in a very short time. In fact, measured in power (force x velocity) you'd be hard pressed to find any exercise that tops them.

    With that said, there's a certain time investment that is a negative and other exercises can mimic some of the same things. What I like to do is easier variations, like doing hang power cleans or power cleans instead of cleans and so on. You can get roughly the same benefits, and in some cases they are even more angle and sport specific. Also, there's substitute exercises that do some of what the olympic lifts do like squat jumps, reverse medball throws and various others.

    Two things that are extremely underrated in regards to the carryover of oly lifting is the pull (great for upper body force and velocity), the jerk (same thing) AND most importantly, the catch. You can catch pretty high in the power versions of the lifts, which makes the position more simular to punching, and that catch with the HARD stomp in the ground getting under the bar is key. That stomp feeds into the sinking into the ground on a punch, and helps with the breaking phase as well. Talk about creating ground reaction forces!

    So yes, if modified and used in a sensible way, they are amazing. Also, to your OP, punching isn't just horizontal forces. Not even sprinting is just horizontal forces, with top speed sprinting being more about vertical force. Vertical, hortizontal and rotationary all matter, and there's a strong correlation between vertical force ballistics and punching power.
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2019
  5. Noodles03

    Noodles03 Blue Belt

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    Thank you Sano for the info.
     
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  6. Phlog

    Phlog Dad Belt

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    I would have thought that force production and motor neuron unit reqruitment would both be beneficial to combat sports.

    One benefit is that they can be gained in a very short period of time, downside is they can slag the CNS quite hard so you might not want to do much after them.
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2019
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  7. Sano

    Sano Black Belt

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    Np, did it make sense? I've been spending a lot of time lately going through the literature on biomechanics, kinematics, force production and S&C for boxing. Even though it's not as well established and high quality as some other fields, there's still some decent evidence out there. It'll be up in a much more comprehensive form at some point on my website if you want to read more about it. Might take a while before it's made public.

    Yeah, it's all about planning and periodization.
     
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  8. abedm

    abedm Yellow Belt

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    powerlifting should help fighters?
     
  9. Noodles03

    Noodles03 Blue Belt

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    Absolutely and I was surprised that you mentioned how sprinting required vertical force for top speed. Thank you again for the info.
     
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  10. Ivanko

    Ivanko White Belt

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    Thank you for the great post, Sano!
    I would add that Olympic weightlifting moves also give intermuscular coordination. Before trying weightlifting exercises I punched mostly using efforts of my hands. In two month I was able to knockout my opponents with both hands. It was incredible.
    Scientific research, made in Soviet Union, showed that trunk and legs muscles account for 76% of the effort in delivering a straight right punch. Power production is a result of coordinated movements of the entire body. And that is what Olympic weightlifting moves do.
     
  11. Ivanko

    Ivanko White Belt

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    In spite of the fact, that Olympic weightlifting moves are extremely effective, they are very demanding to the proper technique.
    If a weightlifting coach is not available, I strongly recommend you to forget about these moves, ESPECIALLY SNATCH. Otherwize for sure you are injured sooner or later. I have received a shoulder injury while doing snatch 15 years before and have never recovered completely.
    Be careful with Crossfit style doing weightlifting exercises because it is impossible to maintain a proper technique when you are exausted.
     
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  12. Sano

    Sano Black Belt

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    Morin et al. put out a pretty interesting study that showed how horizontal force is greatest during the acceleration, and then decline, while vertical forces stay more at the same level. The ratio between the two is called the ratio force (RF) and the ratio of which horizontal force declines compared to vertical is called the decrease in ratio force (DRF):
    [​IMG]
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4689850/

    In reality both forces are acting at the same time and it's a mixture of the two. Think about if, gravity is a constant force that has to be overcome. Vertical push also helps with less ground contact and longer stride lenghts, not to mention more force generation.

    It's hard to be entirely specific with percentages, but the lower body definitely plays a key role. In regards to intermuscular coordination, in that case I think that the carryover is somewhat smaller as the neuromuscular adaptions are very sport specific, especially in skill sports. The intramuscular coordination might be more of a general benefit across sports. Oh and I agree with you on the snatch. I wouldn't do snatch as a combat athlete even with a good coach teaching you, unless you have a natural affinity for it or you want to get really good at oly lifting. The risk/reward is not worth it, it's harder to load and it's actually less simular than the other lifts biomechanically.
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2019
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  13. Ivanko

    Ivanko White Belt

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    I would stop doing any exercises with weights at least two weeks before fight/tournament.
    Training with weights benefit in speed development but they stiffen you especially first few days after training session.
    When I just started using weights in my training programme, I have noticed some controversial effects - my single punch accelerated like a bullet, but series of punches slowed down. Also I started taking incoming punches because I was late with pulling hands back for defence after my own punches were shot.
    I have stopped doing any strength exercises, even bodyweight.
    In two weeks speed came back and I become even faster then before. Not speaking of power. I could knock out with a jab.
     
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  14. Ivanko

    Ivanko White Belt

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    upload_2019-1-4_13-39-44.png
    upload_2019-1-4_13-38-46.png
     
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  15. Legendary

    Legendary Ꮥµpǝɹnøʌɐ

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    Learning the lifts will take some time, so often athletic coaches teach the hang and power variations because they have an easier learning curve. I think its the best kind of lifting for sports as it trains strength, speed, power, and balance/coordination.
     
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  16. Noodles03

    Noodles03 Blue Belt

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    @Ivanko , I just wanted to share a quick experience with the kettlebell swings. Ever since I started doing them, I notice an improvement with my punches power. Now I’m not sure if it was due to the fact that it increase my horizontal force or if the the exercise taught me how to utilize more of my hips. But either way, I would like to hear your experience if you ever had done them.
     
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  17. Ivanko

    Ivanko White Belt

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    Quick response: kettlebells are the great piece of equipment for punching power dewelopment. I can share my experience later if it is interesting.
    But I recommend to concentrate on boxing tactics and technique rather than punching power dewelopment. People, especially young, when they start to feel a knockout power in their hands, they become obsessed with that. They stop boxing, instead they start hunting to knock their opponent out. If they succeed in that, they start overestimate their skills, and when they meet really good boxer, they loose by points most of the times.
    Better be a boxer, not a weightlifter. Lifting weights is only a supplement in a training process if you are doing contact sport.
     
  18. Noodles03

    Noodles03 Blue Belt

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    If you ever have the chance, I’ll like to hear it.
     
  19. Oblivian

    Oblivian Aging Platinum Member

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    I think learning the oly lifts for a fighter is probably a delicate balance and has good potential to be more trouble than it's worth.
     
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  20. Ivanko

    Ivanko White Belt

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    Below is my experience in using kettlebell exercises for developing punching power.
    I started with doing both classic kettlebell lifting moves - snatch and jerk using 16 kg kettlebells 3 sets with 10 reps twice a week at the end of the kickboxing training session.
    I have never planned any fixed days of the week for that and relied mainly upon how I felt at that particular day. My goal, at first, was not to develop punching power, just to keep myself toned.
    Later, I thought about how can I use kettlebells to improve punching power and decided to refuse from snatch because it doesn't resemble a punch. I figured out that the final position of a cross (if you freeze your hand in a forward position, then put your legs together, straighten your back), especially if you hit a taller opponent, is almost a final position of a kettlebell jerk.
    View attachment 500265 View attachment 500267 View attachment 500271
    Pictures are very ugly, I know))) I want you to understand what I had visualized at that time.
    So I continued doing only jerks, 2 times per week. When finally I came to 2 kettlebells * 32 kg, I was not able to make more than 2 good repetitions in a right way.
    To solve that problem, I did overhead barbell presses with final goal to make 10 reps with 70 barbell (reasoning - 2 kettlebells * 32 kg = 64 and 6 kg reserve). Once a week instead of one of the kettlebell workout (I came back to 2/24 kettlebells 3 sets by 10 reps). But the progress was too slow and I was so impatient, that started to do push presses instead and I finally reached 70 kg, but it didn't help much.
    So I decided to do jerks with only one 32 kg kettlebell 3 sets * 10 reps each hand.
    Later one coach gave me a beautiful advice. He was a throwing coach, and said that if I want to gain speed and power, I need to do 3-4 sets with only 3-5 reps as fast as possible in the most explosive way without locking the arm in a final overhead position.
    Finally, I have come to the following:
    2 kettlebell workouts per week, no fixed days, just when I felt good.
    Workout 1 (after main kickboxing workout or even separate):
    Kettlebell jerk 32 kg 3-4 sets / 3-5 reps, full recovery between sets
    Workout 2 was the same or:
    Long cycle kettlebell jerk 3 sets with 10 reps on each hand.
    Long cycle means that you put the kettlebell on the floor in each repetition.
    Also I did shadowboxing after kettlebels, concentrated on the speed in series of punches.
    Results (my feelings).
    1. Punching power increased slightly. Maybe it was due to the fact that my grip strengthened. Generally, I did not feel any dramatic change in punching power.
    2. Surpizingly, my footwork improved greatly (footwork was my main problem from the very beginning). I started to move in the ring very easy, I would use the well-worn phrase for comparison, like a butterfly.
    I connect that with the need to absorb the energy of the kettlebell when it is going down, and that you start a kettlebell jerk with leg impulse, similar to a jump, when you actively engage your calves and muscles of the foot.
    Also my results in running increased significantly, maybe because I could maintain the speed longer due to the strengthened muscles of the foot.
    I would add that I was familiar with kettlebell technique since childhood, because in the countries of former Soviet Union kettlebells were one of the main sport equipment in all gyms I think, and used in all sports.
    If you just starting I recommend you to spend hours studying proper technique. Your knees, shoulders and
    lumbar spine will appreciate that.
    I beg pardon if the post is too long and something is not clear. English is not my native language, so it takes pains to explain in datails. Hope my experience will be useful.
     
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