Why do accomplished Runners do so poorly at MMA cardio?

Discussion in 'Strength & Conditioning Discussion' started by -guerilla-, Apr 27, 2019.

  1. -guerilla-

    -guerilla- Founder of the Louisville fight club est..1993

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    As someone that's been involved in the industry for so long I have seen hundreds and hundreds of excellent Runner show up to the gym only to get smoked on the mat.

    This was particularly noticeable at the high school level where excellent endurance Runners would often try their hand at wrestling.

    I had a severe motorcycle accident at 16 and was never able to run.

    I was also a super-heavyweight averaging around 20 to 30% body fat.

    My cardio was excellent as I routinely beat guys solely on my ability to outgas them on the mat

    I would swim and bike as an alternative (when injured) however I spend 99% of my time on the mat otherwise.

    When I took over my high school team from the original coach my athletes were shocked that I cut all running out of the program

    They were further shocked when they found out that they performed better without running whatsoever.

    I developed a saying that I still hold to this day....if you have time to run you didn't spend enough time on the mat today

    I firmly believe that grappling and MMA in particular have the highest cardiovascular demands of any athletic activity known to man.
     
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  2. I am your real dad

    I am your real dad I am surrounded by NERDs !!!

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    Different movement.
    Their body is not used to moving in that manner.
     
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  3. Noodles03

    Noodles03 Green Belt

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    Running is great for weight management and for active recovery.
     
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  4. wufabufa

    wufabufa Black Belt

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    You're in a very fixed movement pattern and can pace your breathing when you run. During a grappling exchange things are really chaotic and unpredictable, so you're forced to use nearly every muscle in your body in some capacity while having to explode or rest at certain times.

    You may increase Vo2 max and stroke volume with steady state cardio but it isn't going to produce tons of localized changes to your muscle(especially your core or upper body) or teach you how to breath when you're scrambling to fend off takedowns.
     
  5. -guerilla-

    -guerilla- Founder of the Louisville fight club est..1993

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    so why does everybody want to "run for cardio" ??

    they should grapple for cardio....

    you dont have runners grappling for cardio...maybe they should??
     
  6. Jack Stevonovich

    Jack Stevonovich Black Belt

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    son'd
     
  7. RyanR

    RyanR Black Belt

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    Because they’re not running around the cage, they’re grappling/striking. There’s a lot more muscular endurance needed there.

    To add to this: anytime you are doing something you aren’t used to, it will wear you down faster than someone who knows what they are doing. The other person will know how to move more efficiently and know when to conserve energy. I train BJJ and being in my mid 30s i just don’t have the gas tank I did when I was younger. I still can make guys younger than me feel way more tired simply by applying pressure and using strength through technique.
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2019
  8. -guerilla-

    -guerilla- Founder of the Louisville fight club est..1993

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    Good points, technique and experience really effect cardio.

    So why do grapples/fighters run for cardio?

    They should at least cycle on variable terrain if they can't grapple

    Way better for MMA cardio than running

    Hill sprints make some sence but a flat ground jog is just a waste of training time
     
  9. corpse

    corpse Bannned

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    liss and longer sessions teach you the pacing and how to control your output to not gas at the end of a given distance. i am no fighter, so i don't know how this works in a cage. but i have never learned that from all out hiit. some fights are more like a half marathon than a tabata interval, i could imagine. i would do both.
     
  10. Phlog

    Phlog Dad Belt

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    When I kickboxed I never ran, all my cardio was from bodyweight exercises, pad and bag work. When I decided to try running for the first time I found I had endless endurance already and stopped after a few miles out of boredom.

    I always had great cardio and outworked my opponents.

    Now I don't kickbox anymore, I play football and I use HIIT to train my cardio because it mimics the demands put upon me in a game.

    I agree with you about running, I think it's a waste of time that you could be putting into more sport specific drills that also hit your cardio mimicking the demands of your competition.

    I'm also a heavyweight, maybe that makes it more pronounced although I can't think of why that would be.
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2019
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  11. -guerilla-

    -guerilla- Founder of the Louisville fight club est..1993

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    Yeah you have a point it's not detrimental there's just better ways to spend your valuable training time
     
  12. -guerilla-

    -guerilla- Founder of the Louisville fight club est..1993

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    I think it's definitely a heavyweight phenomena in high school I always thought it was insane for the heavyweights to have to run as far as the 115 but they didn't have to lift what we did in the weightroom.

    they were so beat up and hurt by the time they stepped on the mat that their performance suffered

    only a stupid coach would expect the same kind of training from a 289 as a 115
     
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  13. Phlog

    Phlog Dad Belt

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    True, but back then with the middleweights and now with the linebackers, bigger recievers and DBs, I set my goal as out working them. I always want to win, full stop whether they're bigger or smaller than me. That has always put me in a good position.

    Distance running though, fuck that, they can have it!
     
  14. Ultra O’Dia

    Ultra O’Dia Yellow Card Yellow Card

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    They should.
    However.
    Running is an even playing field. A race finds the winner simply due to cardio in running. The track is neutral, just as a bar is neutral for lifters.
    If you have more talent or weight than a wrestling opponent, his system is fighting against more resistance and/or worse positions. The two guys aren’t playing the same game due to sport specific abilities.
    Also - wrestling is anaerobic and muscular by nature. The creative-phosphate (burst of strength) pathway andthe anaerobic pathways are heavily at
    play, nearly entirely those pathways, in fact. Running anything over 400m is nearly entirely aerobic.
    On TOP of that - big dudes can be in great shape, but simply not be built for running just by carrying the extra body (short femurs also play into running stride)

    Really, it’s apples and oranges.

    Athletes should cross train, but if you want to become specific there are sports that you simply are not genetically built to reach any great heights in. Running is still good work, but you can’t simply judge a big or explosive athlete directly by his distance running times.

    Funny enough, my old training partner and I, who between the two of us owned every bit of gym equipment and got into all kinds of cardio and resistance training, decided that you could work all systems with no equipment at all.
    We never did this, as he moved away, but we wanted to simply run/swim/climb around over a long distance, stopping at good spots of grass or sand for a best of seven takedown contest, possibly throwing in some push-ups, pull-ups, burpees, squats, or lifting a big stone.
     
  15. NurseKnuckles

    NurseKnuckles My Mom's stronger than you belt

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    For someone who's been in the industry for so long and has seen hundreds and hundreds of excellent runners try MMA, you ask some pretty basic questions.
     
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  16. Noodles03

    Noodles03 Green Belt

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    Was your bodyweight exercises more of a conditioning routine? Meaning that you did high reps with low amount of rest between each sets.
     
  17. Phlog

    Phlog Dad Belt

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    That's right, 100%. Burpees, mountain climbers, push ups, jumping jacks, bear crawls etc etc.

    Circuits often.

    Then one would do the same with kicks and punches as well. For example 20 double hooks, 1 kick, then 19 double hooks and 2 kicks etc until 1 double hook and 20 kicks. Brutal.

    Respect to those that finish first, also a defined rest period between sets so the faster you finish the more rest you have between. If you're unfit it's a nightmare but you improve fast. When you're fit you're training your recovery
     
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  18. GordoBarraBJJ

    GordoBarraBJJ Yellow Card Yellow Card

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    As others have said they're not used to the specific sports.


    Also, you mentioned Endurance runners so I do believe their bodies are used to using a different energy system - They're using more Aerobic.
     
  19. Thorpedo28

    Thorpedo28 White Belt

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    As someone who did a lot of BJJ/MMA for a few years a while ago and have just completed Manchester marathon last month all I can say is its a completely different type of fatigue.

    MMA/BJJ is a short, sharp, max effort movements followed by sustained pressure
    Running is a lot of slow, long multiple hour runs where low intensity

    I do think someone like a 4/800 metre specialist would have the most efficient crossover but still nowhere near ideal
     
  20. Ian Coe

    Ian Coe Silver Belt Professional Fighter

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    I never used to run when I trained and lifted 15-20 hours per week. On the occasions I did run (usually Thursday night after having done squats in the AM and a 2 hour grinder in the PM before driving home and going for the run), I used to run 6 ish min mile pace for 30 minutes.

    The cardio should be coming from the sport specific movement to build technique and efficiency in the movement.
    It does however reach a point where you can do 10 hard rounds on the pads with 30s break and you don't feel dead, at that point, it gets a bit boring.

    I would reiterate something someone else asked previously; with the wealth of experience you have, isn't it a bit obvious you get good at what you do?
    Different energy requirements, different intensities, different duration's, definitely different loading on different muscles.

    Some of us unfortunately can't spend anywhere as much time as we used to doing the chosen sport (real world, family, careers), so we find other things to supplement.
     
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