Are you ready to start a new strength, conditioning, and agility regimen but don’t know how to get started? Use this simple guide by unconventional trainer Matt Wichlinski to figure it all out.
The way to look at training is simple: I want to get stronger, faster, more balanced, more flexible, more stable, more mobile, and become bullet proof (among many other things). Like I said, simple, right? Well, let’s just say that it doesn’t have to be as overwhelming and complex as some make it out to be. If you find the magic in simplicity, than I commend you and your efforts. If you keep things simple and consistently increase the intensity and make regular progress, your diligence and attention to detail will earn you the envy and respect of even the baddest dudes in the land.
Regardless of your sport, it should be apparent that your goal should be to get stronger, more powerful, and better conditioned. An athlete’s strength and power can be greatly magnified by a few basic exercises. However, the specific conditioning needed for your chosen sport can be varied greatly. Anaerobic endurance is the theme of the day when it comes to training fighters, but without adequate strength and power, your flimsy punches will do little more than annoy your opponent. So the question remains, “What should the fighter be most concerned with: power, strength, or stamina?” The answer is all of it, but more specifically, you must focus on your weaknesses. If you are a strong dude but sucking wind after a few minutes of a fight, your focus should be conditioning obviously. If you can throw blows for days but keep getting tagged by the stingers getting dropped on your jawbone, you might need to work on your speed a little bit, Pokey.
It should be noted that all the strength and conditioning on the block does not replace skill. If you want to be a successful fighter, find a qualified coach and learn the requisite skills on how to fight.
The following are some basic guidelines to use in your daily training to help build a strong, powerful, and functional athlete:
Functional Athlete Tip 1: Always warm up thoroughly. I recommend a simple mobility and flexibility routine that prepares the body for the more rigorous work to ensue.
Functional Athlete Tip 2: Perform high skill level exercises early on in your training session. Practice fresh, not exhausted. Never try to perform your skill exercises as conditioning work.
Functional Athlete Tip 3: Perform speed and power work before slower strength and assistance exercises.
Functional Athlete Tip 4: Perform partial range of movement exercises towards the end of a training session
Functional Athlete Tip 5: When possible, alternate pulling and pushing movements.
Functional Athlete Tip 6: Most sessions will include some general conditioning, some speed work, some upper body and lower body strength exercises, and trunk work, with the emphasis rotating regularly.
When constructing a training program, do not just throw a bunch of stuff together and see how fast you can do it. I believe that is less than optimal and just plain silly. I generally prefer to categorize training sessions into four basic parts. Part “A” would be first, after a good warm up, and consist of specific skill work for your chosen sport. In this case, it could be take down work, striking, or submissions. In most cases, I would prefer to see this skill work performed separately from the strength and conditioning training sessions, but if it is not possible to do so, you could practice beforehand. Part “B” consists of full body power and speed exercises. Part “C” consists of lower and upper body strength exercises. Part “D” consists of assistance exercises and conditioning.
Now we need to make a list of the types of exercises that fit into the appropriate category and we will routinely rotate through this list for constant variety adaptation and progress.
Exercises for Power & Speed:
► Plyometrics - Don’t get too creative and silly here, the basics executed at high intensity are best.
► Cleans - Using kettlebells, dumbbells, sandbags, and barbells with both one hand and two hand variations.
► Snatches - Again, use a variety of tools.
► Jerks - Lifting a barbell is one of the easiest ways to get a large load overhead, but it is significantly different from supporting a sandbag, water filled keg, or two kettlebells in the same position. We need to change the tools and the weights to forge a stronger athlete.
► Tire Flips - Find a heavy tire, about 500 pounds or so, flip it over, piece of cake.
► Keg/Sandbag/Stone Loading - Pick up one or all of these heavy objects and load them onto a platform about 4-5 feet high, put them back on the ground and repeat.
Exercises for Strength:
► Squats - Barbell back squats, double kettlebell front squats, sandbag squats, zercher squats, use bands or chains, etc.
► Deadlift Variations - Vary your tools and your grip, fat bars, trap bars, 2-3 kettlebells per hand, deadlift a small car, use a wide grip or stance, use bands or chains, etc.
► Pressing - Push presses, bench presses, floor presses, incline presses, use dumbbells, kettlebells, fat bars, swiss bars, use bands or chains.
Assistance Exercises & Conditioning:
NOTE: Do not undervalue these exercises, they are an integral part to all athletes training
► Bodyweight Exercises - There are millions of these, and I love them all, but for the sake of the article I can only list a few: push ups, pull ups, handstand pushups, dips, muscle ups, levers on rings, animal crawls and other movements, lunges, etc.
► Arm Curls & Extensions - Yes, these are still valid exercises and suitable to throw in your program on occasion, especially if you have pipe cleaners hanging out of your sleeves.
► Abdominal Exercises - Leg raises, roll outs, planks.
► Lower Back Exercises - Hyper extensions, back raises and back extensions, kettlebell swings.
► Partial Range of Movement Exercises- Car pushes, sled drags, yoke carry, prowler pushes, farmers carry, partial squats and rack pulls.
► Sprints & Hills - Run fast, run faster.
I’ll be back next time with a complete training program using a wide variety of exercises and training tools of mass construction to build the nastiest fighters possible. You wanna be nasty, don’t you?
|This article was featured in the December 2010 Issue of the My Mad Methods Magazine. "Developing an Athlete that is Fit to Fight" was written by Matt Wichlinksi. You can purchase this issue by Clicking Here.|
|Matt Wichlinski is the head trainer and owner of The Strength Shop in Virginia Beach. The Strength Shop is a place of athletic coaching geared towards dominating your chosen sport located in Virginia Beach, VA. We teach athletic, functional movements, sports specific conditioning, general fitness, plyometrics, kettlebell training, Olympic weightlifting, medicine ball and dumbbell training, power-lifting, gymnastics, rowing, running and jumping rope. Our students include athletes of all ages in various sports, fitness enthusiasts of all levels, and military from various fields. Find out more at www.TSSAthletics.com|
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