Sport Specific

The term “sports specific” gets thrown around a lot in the fitness industry these days, but what exactly does it mean? To some it means doing certain exercise that they have deemed are “functional” for their sport. For others it may mean trying to move their bodies in similar planes of motion that they encounter in their sport while at the same time working against some form of resistance. On the surface it may seem to make sense to attempt to train movements in the gym that are similar or appear the same as those performed in your chosen sport. Unfortunately, there really is only one way to replicate the movement patterns associated with a given sport, and that is to play the sport itself.

You see skills are specific and when you add weight to a skill you are actually creating a new skill. This is true whether you add weight to a skill that normally has none, or you increase the weight of the implement used in the skill like swinging a heavier then normal baseball bat in hopes of more bat speed. Any of these subtle (or not so subtle) changes will adversely affect the skill in question. Those well versed in motor learning theory (or perhaps brimming with common sense) will be nodding their heads in agreement with this statement others may be feeling their heads fill with a dogmatic counter argument.

To be helpful, movement patterns need to be specific. Every sport be it boxing, soccer or baseball, has its own specific skill sets with specific movement patterns. To quote Brian Johnston, “There are no degrees of specificity. Either something is specific or it is not. Specific means explicit, particular, or definite not “sort of” or “similar to”.

As an example, taking dance classes (no matter what kind) to enhance your boxing footwork, will not make a difference in how well you box. In this case your time would be much better spent working on boxing specific footwork such as shadow boxing, live sparring etc. Now to some this may seem like a silly example however this is a mistake many coaches and athletes frequently make. The only real benefits to a boxer taking dance lessons would be:

1: He/She may become a better dancer.

2: He/She may notice an improvement in one area (dancing) and feel it must have a positive carry over to another area (boxing).

Another common misconception among some strength and conditioning coaches is that certain strength training tools or movements are somehow superior to others because of the “transfer” or carryover to sporting movements. An example here would be that the triple joint extension that occurs in Olympic weightlifting movements will have a direct and positive impact on any other sport movement that has a triple joint extension component for example jumping or sprinting. If you have been paying attention thus far then hopefully you are starting to see that this is not the case. The skill of lifting a heavy barbell from the ground to overhead is totally unique and specific. It is in no way the same as another, even seemingly similar skill.

Let’s take another example and look at the many tools and gadgets available to improve foot speed. Some coaches will use agility ladders, parachutes and a myriad of other toys in an attempt to improve individual foot speed. Unfortunately what actually occurs for the most part is an improvement in the new and very specific skill with essentially no positive carry over to the sport itself. Ask your self this question, if you are a youth soccer coach with limited time to improve your kids skills, would you rather they spend more time using drills that utilize an actual soccer ball in realistic situations and movements, or spend time learning how to move quickly through a ladder lying on the ground in a sort of high speed game of “Hop-Scotch”? Hopefully you are having a little light bulb moment and starting to realize that playing your sport is the only way to improve your specific sport skill.

PAU for NOW

TAKU

“The Meeting of the Tribes”

Former NFL Strength Coach, Kim Wood, will be directing “the best football strength training clinic….EVER. The one they’ll talk about for years”.

Kim Wood was one of the first strength coaches in the National Football League. Hired by the legendary Paul Brown, Coach Wood conducted the strength training program for the Cincinnati Bengals for 28 years. Two of the teams played in the Super Bowl…competing for the NFL’s biggest prize. Kim had the opportunity to work with some of the game’s finest players. Now, he’s planning on paying forward… a strength clinic that will provide training information…real information….that coaches can truly use to improve their programs.

This first of several clinics/ seminars planned is titled:

Football Strength Clinic #1 “The Legends”

Kim Wood, who created the world reknowned Hammer Strength machines, has assembled a speakers list:

1. Dan Riley: 30 year NFL Strength Coach. Multiple Super Bowls. Washington Redskins.
2. Mike Gittleson: 30 years University of Michigan. Bo Schembechler’s first and only strength coach.
3. John Wood: combat grip strength guru.
4. Mark Asanovich 14 year NFL Strength Coach.

Along with the gentleman mentioned above, there will be many other first tier speakers!

Kim Wood says….years ago, the NSCA invited Dan Riley to speak at their national clinic in Kansas City. It was a big move for the NSCA because they were concerned about having a “high intensity” strength coach at their big clinic. Anyway, Dan gave an awesome, high energy slide show and presentation of the Penn State Strength Program. People were stunned. At the conclusion of his talk, Danny made an interesting statement. He said, “I’m here to talk about strength training. Let’s all get together tonight, roll up our sleeves and get to know each other…and talk about what we’re here for….Strength Training”. There was an ice storm roaring outside and everyone was stranded at the hotel. Space wasn’t provided there for all of the coaches….but 70-80 guys got together in an empty hallway and ‘talked training’ till after midnight. That’s where I became friends with Mike Gittleson. It was the best clinic that I’ve ever been to. The upcoming clinic in June 2011 at Cincinnati follows the spirit of what Dan Riley triggered in K.C.” ….Kim Wood

TAKU’s NOTE:

I will be attending this event and am really looking forward to having an opportunity to both learn from and to work closely with, these living legends in the S & C community. I will be reporting back soon to share all I have learned. For information on how you can attend this clinic…please contact: Kim Wood Mail: C/O Football Strength Clinic P.O. Box 20178 Cincinnati,Ohio 45220 Email: k38wood@att.net

Lower Body Blast

This week features another awesome workout from my friend, coach Tom Kelso.

Sometimes you want to get in the gym and really just crush it. The following workout will be both extremely challenging as well as highly effective. If you are looking for a tough workout, look no further. This workout features targeted lower-body exercises, combined with total body intervals.

Productive lower body workout combined with intervals:
Med. Ball squat-to-press :30 on/:30 off x 4 sets
Leg Press x 10-14
Burpees :45 on/:45 off x 3 sets
Barbell Squat x 10-14
Mountain Climbers :20 on/:20 off x 6 sets
Single-Leg Leg Press x 8-12 each leg
Versa Climber 1:00 on/:30 off x 3 sets
Stiff-Leg Dead Lift x 8-12
150 lb. dummy or other object drag/push :30 on/:30 off x 4 sets
Dumbbell Wall Sit for time
Leg Curl x 10-14
Completion time: 35:00 – 45:00
 
Do your best, and try not to get sick…
 
PAU for NOW
 
TAKU

Defending Bilateral Movements

By: Keats Sniderman CSCS, LMT, NMT

Introduction

Take a venture through the popular training magazines and journals these days and you’ll read about the many virtues of single-leg exercises. Movements like single-leg squats and deadlifts, step-ups, and many varieties of lunges are becoming the mainstream form of training in both private training facilities as well as commercial gyms. Even more popular is to perform these movements on “unstable surfaces” such as squishy disks, upside down ½ Swiss-balls (Bosu Balls), and wobble (balance) boards for example. In fact, these single-limb exercises have become so popular, that many strength coaches, physical therapists, and personal trainers are starting to abandon traditional bilateral movements such as squats and deadlifts. These traditional movements are even being touted as “nonfunctional” and even dangerous by some. I think we need a little reality check here. Therefore, this article will discuss and highlight many of the claims for and against single-leg and bilateral movements respectively.

The Current Arguments/ Some Rational Responses

Listed below are some of the most common arguments given on why people (especially athletes) should focus mostly on single-leg exercises. Following the arguments are some rational responses:

1) Since 60% (approximately) of the walking cycle is spent on one leg (aka “Stance Phase”), most of our lower-body strength exercises should be performed on one leg.

Response: While it’s true that a large percentage of the gait cycle is spent on one leg during the stance phase, this does not prove single leg exercises’ superiority over bilateral movements. This 60% is also based on research during walking. In what sporting situations is walking the goal? The same research used in the current argument also shows that this stance phase decreases to 40% during running. During sprinting, the stance phase gets even shorter. The bottom line: in most sporting situations in which running speed is important, your goal is to spend less and less time on one leg, and more time in the air, also known as a “float” or “flight” phase. In that case, I’m going to argue that skydiving is the most sport-specific activity of all!

Additionally, what many people who use this argument fail to realize is that during the gait cycle you are using stored elastic energy which helps to generate motion and maintain balance (keeping your Center of Gravity within the Base of Support). This is similar to the gyroscopic effect that keeps a bicycle in motion. Also, the momentum generated during gait and the use of stored elastic energy causes the hip muscles to activate in a much different manner than when performing single leg strength exercises.

From the scientific field of human motor control, we know that there are two primary types of movements: ballistic and co-contraction. With ballistic movements, there is an initial burst of muscular activity followed by period of relaxation during which limb motion continues as a result of limb momentum and stored elastic energy. In contrast, co-contraction occurs when there is a simultaneous contraction of both the “agonistic” and “antagonistic” muscles. Co-contraction activities (like many strength exercises) often use less elastic energy and are thus very different from a body in motion. This is why it’s actually more fatiguing on the muscles of your legs, pelvic girdle, and spine to walk slowly than at a slightly faster, more natural pace. This brings to mind the many ventures of window shopping I used to engage in with my mom and sister as a youth; I would ALWAYS feel so tired and drained very quickly when having to stroll around the mall at this slower pace!

To recap, many of the popular single leg (including bilateral movements!) exercises today are vastly different in the motor control characteristics when compared to the gait cycle (whether walking, running or sprinting) and other sports specific actions. This does not mean that single leg exercises are not valuable, it just serves as a reminder that nothing is as specific as performing the exact sporting task itself.

*Note- if you want a good reference on-line for the human gait cycle check out:

http://www.drpribut.com/sports/spgait.html

2) Single leg exercises are better than bilateral movements for training balance and are thus more “sports-specific.”

Response: It’s hard to deny the increased demand on balance during single leg exercises. However, coming to the conclusion that these exercises will improve balance in sporting situations better than bilateral movements is far fetched. One thing that seems to be forgotten is that balance is very specific to the situation in which it is needed. What this means is that balance in one situation doesn’t automatically transfer to all other situations. Science has shown us that there is no such thing as general balance.” If there was such a thing, you would expect a person with great balance on skis to have great balance on a surf board, a skateboard, and a tight tope. Someone who appears to have good all around balance probably just has good body coordination, reactive ability and a highly conditioned nervous system which includes a keen ability to use his/her righting reflexes.” These are the same reflexes that allow a cat to almost always land on its feet at the end of a fall. As a side note, athletes would probably get more out of practicing some of the martial arts (especially Judo, Aikido and others), some basic gymnastics tumbling moves, and some change of direction sprint and agility work.

With regards to specificity, the actual goal of “sport-specific” resistance training should be to increase force absorption (eccentric and isometric strength) and force generation (concentric strength) in similar ranges of motion and positions that are encountered in sport. Exercises like Front Squats and Snatch Grip Deadlifts fit the bill nicely here as they strengthen the hip and thigh musculature over a full range of motion. These movements also allow enough load to be used to stimulate muscle strength and hypertrophy by effectively activating the endocrine (hormonal) system.

But then, it’s up to specific practice of one’s sport or activity to improve the actual “skill” needed. People need to realize that getting stronger through resistance training only enhances your “potential” to become a better athlete; you still have to perform your sport however!

3) Single leg exercises are safer on the spine than bilateral movements due to lesser loads

.

Response: While single leg exercises almost always involve less overall load to the spine, they can be significantly more stressful to the hips, knees and ankles. With exercises like lunges and single-leg squats (both excellent exercises) for example, very large loads can be transmitted to the hip, knee and ankle of the working leg. Many of the people performing these exercises might not be qualified to do them and most likely need a period of training with bilateral movements such as conventional squats and deadlifts to strengthen their legs and trunk in a safer and more progressive way. Some people are far too weak to even entertain doing some of the lunge, step-up and single-leg squat (& deadlift) variations you see being performed out there; yet these are exactly the exercises being prescribed by many personal trainers and even some rehab specialists specializing in so-called “functional training.”

I know that plain old bilateral squats (even with bodyweight to begin with) and deadlift variations are not that exciting to some, but it just might be what most people need for quite some long time. Remember, just because something appears challenging or is difficult to perform (like a single leg squat), doesn’t mean it’s safe or effective for everyone. Conversely, just because an exercise looks boring or easy (like a squat variation for example) doesn’t mean it’s not effective. Trainers and coaches need to design personalized exercise programs based on what their clients/athletes actually need, not on what they FEEL like giving them at the moment or what’s cool or in vogue in the latest fitness magazines.

4) Single leg exercises are superior to bilateral exercises for recruiting key stabilizing muscles like the Vastus Medialis (VMO), Gluteus Medius, and other hip stabilizers (i.e. hip rotators).

Response: There is no doubt that single leg exercises recruit several of the hip, knee, and ankle stabilizing muscles. All one has to do is stand on one leg and feel all the muscles that recruit in your entire body. This massive recruitment of muscles you feel is a good thing as your body does not want to fall! However, just because higher levels of muscle recruitment may occur during some single leg exercises does not mean they are more effective than bilateral movements. Since loading potential is much higher with bilateral movements, there is also more potential for hypertrophy and strength than with single leg movements. Bilateral movements allow for better dissipation of force/stress through the body which helps to avoid over-stressing any one area. In contrast, the more you isolate and add load to a given limb, the more joint stress that occurs; so this increased level of recruitment comes with a price since now all the stress is focused one limb’s joints, muscles, tendons, and ligaments. This may overload a vulnerable area.

I have determined on myself and countless others, that too much single leg work can absolutely toast the working leg’s hip abductor muscles (glute med, minimis, TFL) and leave them sore and riddled with trigger points and ischemia (lack of blood). With regards to ischemia, tissues that are ischemic are generally tender to the touch and the hip abductors are notorious for being ischemic. Even the contralateral lower back (primarily the quadratus lumborum muscle) can get strained and over-worked from excessive single-leg work. This occurs when the working leg’s hip-abductors fatigue causing the opposite side’s low-back muscle to kick in to keep the pelvis from dropping.

This article is starting to sound a little negative regarding single leg movements but please don’t get me wrong here, I STILL USE them regularly. For instance, if someone is performing a good deal of bilateral strength movements for their hips and thighs, I might add anywhere from 1-3 sets (usually 2) of Bulgarian split squats or single leg deadlifts for example, after the bilateral movements depending on the phase and goal of training. It all depends on what the goal is! And if I need to drop some exercises from the training plan on any given day, it will probably be the single leg exercises as they just aren’t the priority. Besides, many athletes are doing what amounts to a lot of single-leg training in their respective sports via running and change of direction movements.

The Reality of The Situation

In reality, I believe that many trainers and coaches are really just bored and thus get sucked into giving their athletes/clients exercises which are difficult and maybe popular (at the moment) without thoroughly thinking through the exercises and qualifying them for their respective clients. I’ve also been guilty of this in the past, but always find myself returning to the many variations of squatting and deadlifting because when taught properly, they flat out work and give you the most bang-for-your-buck with regards to training efficiency. It also apparent that many trainers and coaches don’t know how to teach bilateral movements properly and thus choose not to use them. Too bad. The following list shows the many varieties of bilateral movement that are available to the fitness enthusiast, strength and conditioning professional or rehabilitation specialist:

Explosive Variations:

Snatch (full lift)

Clean (full lift)

Power Snatch

Power Clean

Power Jerk

Push-Press

Squat Variations:

Back Squat

Front Squat

Overhead Squat

Zercher Squat

DB Squat

Low-cable Squat

Deadlift Variations:

Deadlift

Snatch Grip Deadlift

Sumo Deadlift

Deadlift off Platform

Suitcase Deadlift

RDL’s

Hybrid Variations (neither a Squat nor a Deadlift)

Hack Squat (aka ‘Behind the Back” Deadlift)

Trap Bar Deadlift (fairly Quad-dominant)

DB/KB Squat (similar to Trap Bar Deadlift)

Cable Deadlift

Keep in mind that all these movements can be performed with a variety of mediums (i.e. barbells, dumbbells, kettlebells, sandbags, odd implements and many more). The range of motion can also be limited or extended in any of these bilateral movements depending on the desired goal. The speed of movement is also easy to modify in these movements and can even be augmented by using accommodating resistance techniques (chains, bands, weight releasers, etc.). Those coaches and trainees that are familiar with accommodating resistance techniques know that they are much more feasible with bilateral movements than with single leg movements. There is a time and a place for occasional use of these techniques with single-leg movements however.

It should be mentioned at this point that single leg exercises are still a very valuable addition to any conditioning program and should be part of the toolbox of most coaches, trainers, and rehabilitation specialists. However, they should be thought of more as “assistance” exercises or side-dishes, rather the “main entrée” if you know what I mean. Maximal strength techniques are not that safe when you’re on one leg! However, there may be cases (as there always are) where someone would be better off doing some barbell or dumbbell lunges or step-ups for example, rather than loading a sore or tired back with heavy squats. It just really depends on the situation and the individual. The following list includes several variations of single leg exercises that are used quite frequently:

Lunge Variations

Stationary Lunge (i.e. Split-Squat, Static lunge)

Dynamic Lunge (single step and then return; either forward or backward

Walking Lunge

Multi-Directional Lunge

Cross-Over Lunge

Bulgarian Split-Squat (rear foot elevated on box, bench, or in strap of TRX, etc.)

Single Leg Squat Variations

Single Leg Squat to Bench

Single Leg Squat off Step

Full Single Leg Squat (i.e. Ass-to-grass Pistol)- reserved for the mutants of the world!

Single Leg Deadlift Variations

Single Leg Deadlift (bent-knee, aka Single Leg RDL)

Single Leg Deadlift (nearly straight knee)

Single Leg Good-Morning

Step-Up Variations

Lateral Step-ups (i.e. Petersen Step-ups, VMO Step-ups)

Regular Step-ups (of varying height)

Alternating Step-ups

Cross-Box Step-ups

A Word About Progression

As discussed earlier in this article, one thing that really bothers me is the lack of trainers and coaches qualifying their clients for specific exercises. As an example, I’ve seen countless trainers in gyms making overweight and deconditioned individuals perform exercises like walking lunges, single leg squats on a squishy disk and single leg deadlifts when these people probably couldn’t even perform a hands-free bodyweight squat without trouble. Yes, maybe the bodyweight squat is kind of boring and not as “cool” looking as the wobble board lunge, but if you’re client can’t even perform a bodyweight squat then what the heck are they doing standing on one leg bouncing on a Bosu Ball?

I have a better idea: let’s actually do what’s best for the trainee/client right now. Maybe later, after a good foundation of basic strength is built with exercises like squats and deadlifts, can the thought of single leg movements like lunges be entertained. And when you do start those lunges, how about beginning with a split-squat (aka “stationary lunge) before having people lunge around the gym with knees flailing like a new-born colt!

Another thought would be to first just teach your client to stand on one leg and balance without excessive swaying of the spine or pelvis (i.e. Trendelenberg sign). This will strongly recruit the ipsilateral hip abductors (i.e. Glute medius, minimus, and TFL) without the unnecessary stress of performing a single leg squat, deadlift or even a lunge. Once a proper single leg stance can be performed, a mini single leg squat can be performed as a great test of trunk, pelvic, knee, and even foot and ankle stability. These exercises can be also be used with great success as “activation exercises” prior to sport or resistance training sessions to facilitate hip, knee, and ankle stabilizer function. Watch for excessive trunk movement, pelvic instability, internal rotation and inward buckling of the femur and knee (varus stress), and pronation of the foot and ankle complex. Most people will demonstrate at least some of these compensations.

From here, multi-directional single-leg hops can be safely performed as an introductory force absorption and plyometric drill. To add difficulty, eyes can be closed or a blindfold can be worn. This dramatically increases the demand on the somatosensory (proprioceptive) system!

The Bottom Line

To conclude, I hope this article has been an informative and possible eye-opening foray into the highly disputed world of exercise prescription and the concept of sport-specificity. With a little common sense and some logical thinking, single leg exercises can be safely worked into a resistance training program, but not at the expense of the more productive bilateral movements that should be the cornerstone of any good conditioning program!

TAKU’s Note – About The Author:

Keats Snideman is a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and a licensed massage therapist specializing in Neuromuscular Therapy (NMT). He is the owner of Reality-Based Fitness LLC, a performance training and massage center located in Tempe, AZ. He specializes in the enhancement of athletic-style fitness and has a proven track record for getting his clients results having coached and provided treatment to a variety of clients (athletic and non-athletic alike). Some of the clients Keats has worked with include athletes from the NFL, NBA, MLBA, USA Track & Field as well as athletes from both the collegiate and high school levels. For recreation and fun, Keats also competes as a competitive sub-masters sprinter (100 & 200m dashes). He may be reached at ksnideman@gmail.com or through his website at www.realitybasedfitness.com

PRODUCT UPDATE:

In September I announced the arrival of a great new training tool from my friend coach Tom Kelso; a CD-ROM titled “100 of the best Strength Training Workouts”.

As I mentioned in my original announcement, the Data CD holds 40 x Total-Body, 30 x Upper-body and 30 x Lower-Body workouts that allow you to plug in any exercise based on your training facility.

Also included are an introductory text, workout catalog, workout descriptions, workout recording forms and a complete list of exercises are on file.

This is indeed an outstanding reference for the avid trainee, trainer or sport coach.

Well now Tom has made it even easier for you to get your hands on this great information. Visit his web-site, and you can purchase the CD, “100 of the best Strength Training Workouts”, as a download. No need to wait.

I highly recommend this training tool for trainers, athletes, coaches, and strength training enthusiasts of all levels.

Get yours now!

PAU for NOW

TAKU

Simple 20 Minute Conditioning

This week features another brief, intense and challenging workout which Combines running with body weight exercises.

For this workout you will only need your body-weight as the resistance. If you choose to train outdoors, I recommend that you go to a park or a high-school athletic field, and use running as the active segment between specific exercises. If you train indoors you may choose any of the suggested machines or any other activity that seems to fit the bill.

Attempt to complete the entire workout with minimal rest between each exercise or run. The goal time for completion is 20 minutes.
2:00 hard run / bike / elliptical / rower other
Push-ups x max reps
1:00 hard run / bike / elliptical / rower other
Bicycle Crunches x max reps
2:00 hard run / bike / elliptical / rower other
Body Weight Squats x max reps
1:00 hard run / bike / elliptical / rower other
Push-ups x max reps
2:00 hard run / bike / elliptical / rower other
Bicycle Crunches x max reps
1:00 hard run / bike / elliptical / rower other
Body Weight Squats x max reps
2:00 hard run / bike / elliptical / rower other
This workout was created by my friend Coach Tom Kelso.
PAU for NOW
www.hybridfitness.tv
www.blackjackfitness.com

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.