I had the honor and experience to learn from many great coaches at The Superhuman Training event which was unlike any other I’d attended- a mix of mindful mobility/dynamic strength, gymnastics conditioning, Strongman, and a very specialized type of strength- Noah Jeffries, the young man on my R, is a very accomplished BJJ athlete, Strongman, and taught very early by his Father-awesome strength/strongman coach, Budd Jeffries, to my L, grip strength, but not just through traditional means-bending thick steel nails, tearing phone books in half as if they were tissue paper, and more. There were many women attending who possessed the same amount of strength that were very tiny! To some involved in the traditional world of strength/performance training, this type of strength would not seem ‘practical’ or marketable-
In many of the videos for Fighter Girls, you’ve seen me train/demonstrate both mobility/strength-some general, and some very specific to the needs of the combat athlete. All of them are progressive with the end goal of pain free mobility(Indian Clubs/Clubbell), improved control over their own bodies through body weight drills(Mobility Push Ups/Bear Crawl Variaitions/Plyometrics/etc), Odd Lifting/Grip Strength through tools such as the Sandbag/Thick Grip Barbell,Battling Ropes, General/Specific Strength with Dumbbells, Kettlebells, Chains, Grappling Dummies, Sleds and more. I am happy to see many other coaches both independent, and those who work for big box gyms to start implementing these tools progressively, and getting those both within and outside if the world of Combat to think in terms of a holistic, whole body approach that will help them achieve a leaner, stronger body that goes beyond the realm of purely endurance cardiovascular training-especially for women.
Getting much stronger takes work-I have since bumped up my weight on Dumbbells, Kettlebells, Sled as well as body weight-working on levers, various types if Pullups/Isometric training-While it’s much more natural for me to put emphasis on the fast, dynamic, metabolic conditioning training that fighters are used to-and are still important in a well-rounded training program , a good Coach/Athlete will be able to step back and work on the things they KNOW need improving.
I have found, both with my own training, and that of others, doing this FIRST, while you’re fresh, both with strength and even with technical training, creates a strong, intelligent athlete. This training also works when it is short in duration-especially when you are looking at the demands of combat. Speed, Variable/Heavy/Dynamic Strength, as well as Agility/Changes of Direction do not need to be beaten to death until your athlete is fatigued. Decide long before you train your athletes what the purpose of the session/training camp is going to be about. To try and squeeze too many variables into a half or full hour session leads to burn out-even with your younger fighters( they need to feel like they still have much more gas in the tank at the end of a session, despite what they may tell you:), and your Master Athletes (those over 35), need to get past the point of thinking that lifting heavier will only slow them down or bulk them up. If anything, a progressive strength training program will keep not only the ‘fire’ burning in their stand up/ground game, they will stay leaner, improve their endurance, speed, and power in less time. Build on the basics first. Put emphasis on weaker areas. Be truly mindful when moving-don’t just crank up your Music when you feel something is “off”-this is often the first stages of an injury or imbalance. Asking your body to lift heavier creates different demands-you will need to rest more. Trust me, the basic combination of combining a heavy press/heavy Deadlift (great for female athletes) in 3-5 sets of 5-8 creates a very powerful response. You may need more than a minute to get your second wind, if you’re truly being honest with your training.
Take home message: Coaching and Programming is an art-it takes time- you cannot learn it by watching videos. Hands on gives you the experience to explore progressions and how introducing something new will feel to your athletes. Are they ready for it? Most of all, your job is not to see how you can ‘crush’ someone in a training session-Challenge, yes-despite the current mindset of the fitness community. Your greatest charge is to touch lives.