Functionality is everything. The kind of conditioning that the BJJ or MMA athlete needs is the kind that results in greater outcomes for less physical effort. The Combat Athlete needs to have great cardio, great anaerobic fitness, muscular endurance, flexibility, core-fitness and co-ordination.
The kind of single-plane strength one gets from a bench press does not necessarily translate to the rigors and demands of the BJJ or MMA environment. The Combat Athlete needs to be strong and capable at weird angles and both ends of the range of movement; he or she needs to be able to provide/construct their own stable base from which to apply power/force to an opponent who is not co-operating like a machine would co-operate. In short, the Combat Athlete needs functional strength and fitness.
First things first; the Combat athlete needs to build a strong aerobic base. A good aerobic base is necessary so that we can participate properly in the style of training we need to get real results. In short, we need to be fit to do the right kind of training and a good aerobic base underpins everything. We need a aerobic base to be able to maintain intensity and good form while we train; if our aerobic base is sub-standard, our form will go out the window and then, we not only achieve less result for the effort we are putting in but perhaps more importantly, we become very susceptible to injury. A good aerobic base is crucial.
I use a constantly varying mix of strength and conditioning exercises done at very high intensity for short periods (eg: 30secs) – with small recovery periods in between each exercise (eg: 10-15 secs). My average workout lasts no longer than 30 minutes – but the intensity is through the roof. Here are a few pics from a session last week.
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