Squatting, Judo, and sport specificity.

Discussion in 'Strength & Conditioning Discussion' started by Ethan, May 20, 2014.

  1. Ethan

    Ethan Green Belt

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    I'm really only using myself and the low bar vs. Oly squat as an example here.

    The way I understand squatting for sports is that the low bar squat is more effective in training the hip extension and that is desirable. More to the point, the low bar squat keeps knee pain down for me and allows me personally to use heavier weights and develop more limit strength.

    However, in my sport when I throw, it's from a straight back squatting position with my heels up, closer to a high bar/Oly squat in Oly shoes with an elevated heel. I can squat heavy in the Oly style for about 6 weeks consistently without aggravating my knees too much. I cannot however perform the Oly lifts without knee pain. I think the fast drop under the bar is the issue.

    Following the theory of training sport specific movements, which I am only learning about now, does it make sense to use the Olympic/high bar squat in the 5-8 weeks out from competition (I.e the conversion phase) to try and transfer any low bar gains over to strength in the movement for throwing Soei Nage?

    If it's worthwhile, I'd be interested in how you personally would program it, as well.

    I'm sure I could research this but this is more fun.
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2014
  2. Synapse

    Synapse Blue Belt

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    You're on stage 2 of the 3 stage progression to understanding sport specificity.

    Stage 1 is being unaware of it, stage 2 is learning about it and believing that it has major applications in sports development, and stage 3 is learning that it's massively overstated/overrated and makes almost no difference whatsoever unless you play a very niche, non-dynamic sport where the motor pattern never deviates.

    I love the thought process, but in all honesty it isn't worth worrying about. Squat however it feels best for your body and trust that the carryover will be there. You should be pulling to cover hip extension anyway.





    All that being said, you could treat it how plenty of other successful lifters treat sumo vs conventional pulls and just rotate them every 4 weeks.

    Edit: Also, there's lots of other ways to gain the benefits of oly lifting without actually oly lifting. If the eccentric motion followed by rapid deceleration bothers you, you can definitely train high speed movements in a purely concentric manner. I'll get more into this if it's something you want.
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2014
  3. StevenCrowder

    StevenCrowder wiener

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    Okay. Any strength will carry over into all of your judo moves. You're not lifting weights to work on judo technique, you're lifting weights to get stronger. Strength is always applicable.

    That being said, pick the movement with which you feel most comfortable. If that's the low-bar, wide squat, great. If its the Olympic style squat, swell.

    Do what gets you the strongest in the most efficient manner possible... and then train Judo.
     
  4. StevenCrowder

    StevenCrowder wiener

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    Damn. Beat me to it by thaaaaat much...
     
  5. Ethan

    Ethan Green Belt

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    Thanks for the input gents. I think it was Synapse who convinced me to try some unilateral work, actually.

    This was my thought process about three months ago, now I'm not so convinced. Rhadi Ferguson and Tudor Bompa have both started to open my eyes a little bit in regards to sport specificity and applying strength to my sport.

    I'm beginning to think there may be more to be done in the weightroom than strength work for GPP.

    Of course, all of that said It's probably more worthwhile for me to take my 325lb squat to a 425 or 525lb squat, which is what I'm doing, but this is fun to learn about.
     
  6. StevenCrowder

    StevenCrowder wiener

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  7. DrBdan

    DrBdan Something clever

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    Maybe Rhadi will come back and post a response. Probably not, considering the cold reception he got the first (and last) time he posted here.

    I agree with what has already been said. There's not a big enough difference between high and low bar squatting for it to matter. Add 100 lb to your squat, train more judo etc.
     
  8. Synapse

    Synapse Blue Belt

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    Well, let's get more into it because it's a very good point. Sport specificity is a muddy term.

    My philosophy is to use the weight room to mimic the physical demands of your sport, and that's determined by the motor patterns the sport uses. All athletes need general strength, but many positions benefit greatly from strengthening the unique movements their sport demands.

    Just off the cuff: you, a Judo player, and a high level sprinter both need powerful hip flexion and extension, so you both squat and dead. You both need powerful flexion and extension about the shoulder, so you both press and pull. However, your sport demands strength in practically every shoulder motion - you've got to be able to abduct/adduct and rotate with tons of force, so that's work I'd have you do that I wouldn't have the sprinter do. The sprinter will also never really break 90 degrees of shoulder flexion, so I wouldn't bother with much overhead work save for joint stability, whereas you will benefit greatly from strong scapular elevation and big old traps. You both need a rigid core that can brace against excess flexion and extension, so you'd both do bracing core work. However, you'd need anti-rotational bracing, and strong flexion/rotation strength much more than the sprinter would, so we'd work that in.

    It's why I wouldn't bother with a ton of unilateral low body work for a 360 lbs center, but I'd spend plenty of time on it for a 95 MPH pitcher.

    And so on for the needs analysis of any athlete. That's as specific as I believe a coach should get. If you're strengthening the motor patterns of the sport, you're specific enough. Develop a balanced strength base, tailor it as much as necessary to the demands of the sport, and leave it at that.

    I don't believed at all in trying to exactly mimic the demands of the sport. I've never seen any evidence that mirroring the exact joint angles, body positioning, implements, etc. offers any benefits at all.

    Hopefully that clears up what I meant originally.
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2014
  9. StevenCrowder

    StevenCrowder wiener

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    Interesting, Synapse. Would you agree that regardless of sport, it's important to train all muscle groups with relative intensity to avoid muscular imbalances?

    To the TS, even when dealing with "sport specific" training (of which Synapse providing some good examples)... Judo is one of those sports that requires strength in all areas, on every plane of motion. You're pressing, you're pulling, there's explosive work, there's isometric work... So the answer is really as simple as "get really strong. Period."

    I do advise heavy unilateral work too. Step-ups, split squats and single legs are fantastic movements from which nearly anyone can benefit immensely.
     
  10. Synapse

    Synapse Blue Belt

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    Absolutely! I work with a ton of high school athletes, and for 90% of them the first step is just working on their flexor/extensor imbalances, AKA getting meat heads to stop benching 5 days a week. Everything I said previously is in a vacuum where the athlete is in relative balance (which is rarely the case). No matter the demands of the sport, you've got to be balancing agonist/antagonist pairs.

    I do want to note though that it isn't necessarily a 50/50 split, and that the more range of motion the joint has, the more important that balancing act becomes. IE you've got to be religious on maintaining balance between the anterior and posterior shoulder because it is so susceptible to injury. You've got to be nearly that crazy about it between quad+hip flexor versus ham+glute balance. On the flip side, it usually doesn't warrant a lot of concern if the forearm flexor/extensors are a bit mismatched unless there's some elbow pain, and similarly it isn't a big deal if plantar versus dorsiflexion is out of whack unless the athlete is getting shin splints or what have you. "Balance" doesn't usually mean a 1:1 ratio.

    And again, absolutely. The more dynamic the sport, the more important it is to be a generalist - and it doesn't get much more dynamic than grappling/MMA. For me, the more rote the motor pattern(s), the more I specialize (while still developing overall strength and ensuring muscular balance).

    Just some horribly derailing thoughts.


    Edit: Ethan, I don't know why I didn't think of this example before...A "sport specific" exercise I'd have you do as a Judo player would be grip work for obvious reasons. That being said, I wouldn't go all "sport specific" and have you start doing weighted gi isometric lapel holds.
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2014
  11. Eric Brown

    Eric Brown Crusty old bastard

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    Trying to do so does seem to often have a negative affect.
     
  12. Ethan

    Ethan Green Belt

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    Please do.
     
  13. miaou

    miaou barely keeping it together

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    Stage 4 is realizing that it actually does make a difference, that can be fairly substantial for people who spend a lot of time/effort in the weight room.

    You're on stage 3.
     
  14. Synapse

    Synapse Blue Belt

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    Just remove the rapid eccentric/deceleration portion of the lift as much as possible. You can never completely remove the deceleration, and you wouldn't want to. The trick is just mitigating the deceleration force by reducing the eccentric speed or the eccentric load.

    Good examples:

    Concentric seated box jumps with a heavy ass dumbbell. No stretch reflex, minor deceleration forces due to landing on a high surface.

    Single leg drive: see http://californiastrength.com/videos/viewvideo/51/cal-strength-exercises/muscle-building-with-single-leg-drives. Girl's kinda goofy faced but not bad to look at either. Purely concentric unilateral explosive work? Sign me up.

    Speed squats/speed box squats - get to the bottom in a controlled way like you usually do, removing the rapid deceleration, then rocket out of the hole.

    Speed deads - same thing, set up as usual and blast it to lockout. Purely concentric.

    Push press - definitely not as much potential for lower body power as a jerk, but also a lot less force absorption while still having plenty of fast leg drive.

    There's a few ideas but if you can A) do it without a big eccentric deceleration and B) make it scalable then it's a good choice.
     
  15. Synapse

    Synapse Blue Belt

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    Depends on what we mean by sport specificity, which is something I should have addressed in the first post (but have done so afterwards).

    I'm a huge proponent of training to the motor patterns, especially if the sport has fairly novel ones (like a pitcher, golfer, etc.). I am a huge disbeliever in what a lot of people term "sport specific" work - for example, this nonsense: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NFcrUzxygmk&feature=player_detailpage#t=96
     
  16. selfcritical

    selfcritical Brown Belt

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    Sport specificity or "special strength" matters most under the following conditions

    1) When muscular endurance is taxed
    2) When you're at a high rate of force development(moving closest to your fastest burst speed)
    3) When your development as an athlete is fairly high.

    So to give an example from kettlebell sport, which I know fairly well and one of the few sports where my coach can talk directly to some world champions. If I was going to do squat jumps, high rep RDL's, that sort of thing, then mimicing the stance and joint angle of the competition lifts matters, as well as the rep range. I do squat jumps to mimic the first and second dip of the kettlebell jerk at a higher weight than I would be able to compete with. Here making sure I use the same dept, and cadence is the entire point.

    If i'm doing squats for GPP?

    Fuck it, any posterior strength exercise can replace any other.
     
  17. selfcritical

    selfcritical Brown Belt

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    I would point out that rhadi was working on muscular endurance, and his general strength in squatting was just fine and dandy by any reasonable standard, and as an advanced athlete the effort needed to add 20-30lbs onto his primary lifts is probably fairly heavy.
     
  18. Ethan

    Ethan Green Belt

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    I was really referencing what Rhadi calls a "dirty squat". It supposedly helps him with Morote Gari (now illegal) and looks like a really badly GM'ed squat to above parallel. Changing the movement pattern to mimic one in Judo, like I was talking about.
     
  19. miaou

    miaou barely keeping it together

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    Which sport are the exercises in that video supposed to be specific to?
     
  20. Synapse

    Synapse Blue Belt

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    According to their tags, Crossfit, MMA, and "Sport specific training".

    A more serious example of the differentiation:

    Good baseball sport specific training: rotational force development with med balls. Trains the same motor patterns, develops power in the same plane and range of motion as the movement demands, while being different enough to not interfere with how a bat is actually swung.

    Bad baseball sport specific training: bat doughnuts. Screws with swinging mechanics and timing of the actual sport skill, is detrimental to swing speed even though it is much more "sport specific".

    In a thread earlier this week, I suggested that a wrestler who was doing a ton of clean variations add in C&J because I told him the unilateral component of the jerk was very beneficial to his shot. For me, that's about the level of getting as sport specific as needed. This would be in opposition to something like band-resisted shots, which are much more "sport specific", but actually screw with the motor pattern.

    Hopefully that clears up my stance if I haven't already. I'm getting a sense that our dividing line is that we weren't on the same page nomenclature wise. I am in no way against specificity in training, and I would say I devote ~20% of training time to it on average depending on the athlete.
     

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