Strength Training and Fighters

By Jim Bryan

First some background on myself. Everyone that pursues an athletic career has particular sports that appeal to them. Mine were ones that involved strength and contact. As a youngster I loved Football, never heard of Rugby but I would have liked that too. I also loved to wrestle, never had any training (no programs existed)  I trained and competed in Olympic Lifting, Power Lifting, and Body Building. I also served as a judge and coach. In fighting I trained in Boxing, Kick Boxing, Muay Thai, Wing Chun, Karate, Kali, and JKD. I’ve also worked as a Coach, Corner man, Judge, and Ref. I also  worked as a Strength Coach for a couple of years and worked in several Health Clubs. By now most people also know that I was heavily influenced by Arthur Jones. He helped me get the job as Strength Coach. I was also learning to be a Highlands Game Judge but gave that up for lack of time.

So what? Well, this is not meant to make me appear to be a “Macho Man”. I’m not. My Wife says “I’m just a hard-headed Irish man” I am Irish American and proud of it! I cry easy and fight easy. This is just to let the reader know I have some experience…about 40 years of it. Experience is one of the qualities most lacking  among the Internet Soothsayers.

When I refer to fighters I’m primarily talking about athletic contests not bar room brawlers. A fighter’s life is taken up with skill training and conditioning. Not much time left over, much the same as with other sports. Fighters are some of the best-conditioned athletes out there. I happen to believe that Strength Training should be a part of that training. Two fighters of the same skill and condition…the stronger will usually win. Royce Gracie might appear to contradict that. He beat much larger fighters in NHB. BUT the other fighters were competing in a sport that they didn’t know much about! It took a while but they figured it out and Royce is smart to stay away now!

How do you go about adding Strength Training? What method of the popular ones should you use?

Olympic Lifting

Can you get strong by Olympic Lifting? Why hell yes you can! Olympic Lifting is a highly developed skill, so you better be sure you get the proper coaching. If you already have the skill you can get very strong by doing it. Olympic Lifting does have a higher possibility of injury, even if you are skilled. It may not be the most time efficient way for a fighter to get his/her Strength Training. If you enjoy the movements and are aware of the danger, then use them.

Power Lifting

Power Lifting builds some s-t-r-o-n-g individuals. It also carries some danger.  Remember you are a fighter, so keep your priorities in order. Instead of going for singles use higher reps. Power Lifters usually use a time efficient method of training. Get the proper coaching, and learn the movements. Squats and Deadlifts are good exercises if you can safely do them.

Dino Training

When I was doing this type training it wasn’t called “Dino”… It was just called training. Times have changed, it is now a category by itself. Lifting odd objects can build great strength. You have got to be careful though. You can’t fight if you are hurt.  If you can figure a way out to include some “Dino” you may find more enjoyment to be had from your daily training grind.

Super Slow

Just because some one says that they know or can teach you Super Slow doesn’t make it so! Many out there claiming to be Super Slow Trainers are FOS. Check for a Certification!! It should be signed by Ken Hutchins. Make no mistake about it, Super Slow can make you strong,  it is time efficient, and safe. The main thing is…can you put up with the strict approach?

High Intensity Training (H.I.T.)

High Intensity Training is mainly a philosophy of training or a set of guidelines that are not written in stone. They evolve.  The best thing going for the fighter is H.I.T. is time efficient. I’m not going to address whether or not you should train to failure, make that decision on your own. Stick with mainly multi joint movements and some single joint.

Hard Gainer

To me this is like H.I.T. I like it. I like the Philosophy and the basic approach. I also like the emphasis on safety. Actually, for me this is more like “Old Style H.I.T.”

Hybrid

Combine some of the methods. Include what appeals to you. High Intensity Training can be combined easily. If you look at Arthur’s early info it would pass for more of a Hybrid as compared to what many people think  H.I.T. now is. I come from “Old Style H.I.T.” and am more accepting of other methods. Just don’t step on my toes or get in my face to get your point across. I’m happy to listen…I might learn something.

Combat Conditioning

If you’re a fighter you BETTER be doing it! Each fighting sport has it’s own accepted method of conditioning. It has to be done. I feel Strength Training should be added somehow. It would be nice if all the training  came from coaches working together to help the fighter.

Strong Man

This for sure will help you. Strong Men pick up and run with weights that Olympic Lifters and Power lifters just try to get off the ground. They also train with awkward implements like the Dino’s. It can be very dangerous and needs a good Coach. Remember, when you are hurt you can’t fight…Or train! Done right this can be great.

Trainers

Personal Trainers may not be of much help to the fighter unless the Trainer has been a fighter. That way they understand what you go through. Many Personal Trainers are just not qualified even if they are certified. Most are going to try to treat you like a Body Builder. Try to find a Strength Coach.

Free weights or machines?

What do you have at your disposal? Use what you have! Remember you are trying to build strength not demonstrate it.

Genetics

No getting around it Genetics have a bearing on your athletic ability. Don’t whine about poor genetics or use it as an excuse. You can always improve your strength to a level higher than what you started with. You’ll need discipline, determination, and consistency. You may find your genetics weren’t so bad after all. No excuses just solutions!

I feel that fighters are some of the hardest working athletes alive. Doesn’t matter… Boxers, MMA, Submission, Kick Boxers, Thai Boxers, Wrestlers. Do I think Pro Wrestlers are fighters? Some of them could do very well in MMA or Submission. Some couldn’t. I feel that they are athletes just the same but I don’t like it (Pro Wrestling) To me it has become a study in bad manners and attitude. The WWE “in your face” attitude pisses me off. It has produced many smart ass  “Wana bees”

The Best Method

Okay, what do I feel is the best way for a fighter to Strength Train? The best way is a method that is safe, doesn’t take much time and one that the fighter will actually do. It also needs to be progressive or it won’t work very long. The emphasis should be on building strength not on a pretty boy physique. Any of the methods will do it. Depending upon your goals and time, some methods may “fit” better. Whatever you choose it won’t hurt you to be STRONGER!

Res Non Verba.

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3 Responses

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Larisa Culicova, Debbie Budnick. Debbie Budnick said: HybridFitness: Strength Training and Fighters: http://wp.me/paXmT-kJ […]

  2. Thanks for mentioning SuperSlow – you can definitely put up with strict form for 20 minutes. If I can, you can! I agree “the best way is a method that is safe, doesn’t take much time and one that the fighter will actually do.” Or a golfer, surfer, rock climber, pro athlete, aspiring athlete, and anyone who wants to be stronger and maintain function as they age, etc.

  3. Thanks for checking out the article. Jim is an awesome coach and a store house of useful information when it comes to Strength Training. I agree SS style training is misunderstood by most. It can be very efficient and effective, not to mention brutal.

    TAKU

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