After publishing my articles and Richie J Edwards strength phase training sessions on breakingmuscle.com I received tons of emails with questions about strength training. As I am not able to respond to all of them individually, here is a first of the short posts on strength training. In the Strength training series, I hope I will answer all the questions asked.
So why is it so important for a COMBAT ATHLETE to be strong? In the end, he/she moves or reacts only a weight which is closed to their own, etc. Why and how we have come up with the standards like 2x bw (body weight) Deadlift, 1.5x bw Front Squat, 0,9 bw strict press etc (for full list of strength standards go HERE:)
I strongly believe in fundamentals, not only from the standpoint that the stronger you are the more damage you can cause in your opponent. I believe in strength training because it is an extremely effective in injury prevention, especially for such a contact sport as MMA. It does not matter that much how many times you can hit the tire with a sledge hammer or how long you can go full out on an airdyne whilst wearing a gas mask. It may look cool but it is not necessarily effective. In my opinion - Front squatting 1.5 x your body weight looks much cooler.
What is important and what you always come back to are the pillars of strength, the basic movements.
Hinge / lift movement
The basics of learning tension, applying the correct body structure and absorbing the load through both muscular and skeletal systems, understanding the use and activation of the mid section and also the importance of the tension through the whole body can never be overestimated. The effort of the BODY and the MIND and the feeling of lifting big load is what aids the confidence when in the cage, ring or matt, providing technical skills are in place.
Make your athletes strong before adding any plyometrics, balance, ballistic or speed training. I still see so many trainers and video posts, where fighters are jumping over, on top and off boxes etc and it is clear that they are not strong enough to provide stability for the knees to absorb the shock. If they cannot front squat at least their body weight with correct from - don't make them jump, it is asking for a blown knee or Achilles tendon injury. Find the weaknesses and deal with them before progressing.
Training strength - stick to basics, certainly providing you have enough time in your hands you can add some fillers, make the sessions more interesting, however fundamentals come first. If I have an athlete for 30 mins, I will better make sure these 30 mins have been used to the best of his/her ability and advantage.
Strong comes first, once Strong is in place, you can play with your training more without risking injuries and getting more speed, power and endurance benefits out of it.
As to the strength standards - they are based on experience, consultation with top s&c coaches and still, they serve us only as a basis for true athletic development. As to the next questions that pops up - how strong is strong enough for a combat athlete, I will answer it in the next weeks post.
Ps. Check out breakingmuscle.com (HERE). Its a top website with tons of information from various fields of fitness and athletics.