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Old 03-09-2009, 06:09 AM   #44
El Puma
between rage and serenity
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Default Re: El Puma's strength conditioning thread


The following interview was conducted with James Smith, Jamie Hale, Liam Taku Bauer, and Michael Frye.

JBeaty: What is your take on the notion that the combat athlete has no need for training in the weight room since there are no weights in the ring?

JHale: I doubt if there are very many MMA coaches who still believe that non-sense. There are numerous research studies as well as mounds of anecdotal evidence that support the need for weight training to optimize athletes performance.

If there are MMA coaches or athletes who still need to be convinced I would suggest they speak to numerous (successful) coaches and look into the scientific data. To be honest if I am speaking with a coach and he or she really believes they don’t need wt training to maximize their athlete’s strength or conditioning I probably wouldn’t waste my breath.

JSmith: Such a notion is ignorant to the 10th power. While the role of resistance training must not be limited to that which can be accomplished in the weight room, anyone would be na´ve to think that the entirety of a fighter’s training must be limited to the mat, ring, cage, and so forth.

Taku: I think that this is a ridiculous notion. There are always exceptions to the rule but for most athletes I feel there is a need for strength training with resistance provided by implements other then ones bodyweight. Like all other factors the individual’s strength must be assessed and then training prioritized accordingly.

MFry: I disagree with that 100%. I feel that there is a place for weight room training for combat athletes. It’s up to the coaches and athletes to determine what that training is based on the needs for their athletes. People need to remember that bodyweight training and conditioning only takes you so far.

JBeaty: Since we know jogging/running long distance is NOT the optimal way to train a fighter of any sort, what are your favorite methods of getting your fighters in prime shape?

JSmith: Aside from more specific forms of training/conditioning that include all fight/skill related maneuvers- loaded and unloaded, I strongly suggest the integration of movement complexes that consist of various combinations of loaded and unloaded calisthenics, rope climbs, plyometric exercises, implement throws (med ball, kettlebell, sand bag, etc), weight lifts, sprints, sled pulls/drags, and so on. These complexes must be performed at intensities, durations, and mechanical similarities which approximate contest/round length, type/discipline, etc in order that the training has a profound effect on the improvement of the sportsman’s contest results.

Managing the dosage and duration of training is of the utmost importance. It is imperative to plan the training such that the sportsman is primed for contest day and to ensure that one form of training does not negatively impact or compete with another.

JHale: there might be some role for this type training in MMA athletes. Depends on their goals, conditioning levels, their fighting style and the time limits placed on their bouts. With my athletes we use low intensity aerobic training sparingly. I don’t think it hurts the athlete if done in moderation. I think excessive aerobic activity can be detrimental as it can have negative affects on a wide array of other motor qualities.

Yet, many people will say hey this guy or that guy runs 3 miles per day and they have great endurance (what type endurance). This individual might have great endurance despite of not because of. On a final note, as with everything it depends.

Taku: My favorite methods for getting my fighters in prime shape are different interval training protocols. I will design a wide variety of interval protocols based on where we are in the fighter’s preparation plan. Some of these will use basic equipment such as versa-climbers, Air-dynes, rowing machines, U.B.E.s etc. I make them more specific as the fighter approaches his/her peaking phase.

MFry: I like to do lots of rope climbing for upper body endurance, stadium stair running, kettlebells, sandbags, versa-climber / Airdyne, and dumbbell complexes. Now for weight loss and pre-fight conditioning I will do long distance running however when the fight is scheduled I switch to the exercises above and sprint training.

JBeaty: Do you have one specific gnarly drill that readers may not be familiar with?

JHale: Actually I have a few but for simplicities sake I will suggest one drill that is great for anaerobic endurance, agility and quickness endurance. This is SPP (special physical preparedness) drill.
4 Corner Shadow Box and Shoot / Sprawl
Athlete (or coach) picks out a three or four punch combination, throws combination while facing a corner of the ring, pivots and throws facing another corner, once the combos have been thrown facing all four corners the athlete sprawls gets up then shoots.

Concentrate on good technique and total work. This drill is usually done for 3-4 minutes, 3-5 rounds. I have many of these drills I use as well as numerous non wtted, and wtted GPP movements.

JSmith: Probably not- important to note is that the likelihood of a ‘new’ drill existing is minimal and the concept of familiarity is a largely confining notion. Logic suggests that the remainder of that which may be pioneered lies in the planning and organization of the training. The farther the sportsman gets from practicing the sport itself the less the training has a direct impact on the improvement of sport mastery. For this reason, I do not place a great deal of relevance on specific conditioning drills; but rather, the optimal stimulation of the sportsman.

Taku: Using my interval plan as a base I will create more dynamic mini-circuits using Med-*****, weighted vest etc. As an example, during a 90 second work interval we may switch between 3 30 second bouts of different total body, Med-ball movements. These are killers.

MFry: - It’s not a drill but a great exercise circuit that really pushes your muscular endurance to new levels. Here is how it works. Perform a power clean using 35-40% of your one rep max for one rep ever 6 seconds. We will do this for 2-3 minutes depending on where we are in our schedule. It’s a great workout that we do 2-3 times a week for 8 weeks. You should give it a try Jamie. I think you will enjoy it.

JBeaty: Of all the combative athletes you've worked with, what are the biggest mistakes that seem to be made in their training and preparation?

JHale: Copying the training regimens of their heroes and assuming if a workout makes you tired it is effective at promoting the desired results. Those are a couple of many, but probably the two most common.

JSmith: The biggest training errors and this is surely not limited to combat athletes, typically come as a result of an insufficient understanding of sport science. This is not to be confused with exercise science or exercise physiology; but rather the science of sport. Any particular training flaw or careless coaching action will almost always come as a result of lacking a sufficient enough understanding of the science of sport. This includes the physiological effects of training, biomechanics, bioenergetics, and so on.
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