Tuesday, May 26, 2009

50 Reps To Getting In Fight Shape

Hope everyone is recovery after the long weekend! Here's a FREE article I recently wrote for ezine articles that hasn't been published yet (you guys are the first to see it!). Enjoy...

When it comes to training for combat sports or getting in "fight shape" as we call it, there are many variables to take into consideration. You want to be super strong - no doubt about it - strength is the MOTHER of all skills. You also want to be in great condition, but for our purpose, there's no reason to be running for miles on end hanging out on an elliptical for hours a week. Even if you're just a dude looking to get in shape and be as strong as you look, these things still don't make any sense. You want to do activities that will turn your metabolism into a fat burning machine and preserve the precious muscle that you have, not waste it away with the likes of long, drawn out "cardio" sessions.Can you say boring and not to mention, unmanly? I mean, what guy wants to say he does the same thing as the cardio bunny 3 treadmills over as part of his training routine? Its time that men take a stand and actually start training like men! But that's a whole different topic for another article.

The problem with most fighters and gym rats alike, is that when it comes to their strength & conditioning program they are generally doing too much. Not necessarily too much volume, but just too much bull sh#t in general. Between what you see in various magazines and online, most people just want to "try it all" and never really FOCUS and get strong at a few basic movements. This, unfortunately, takes commitment and an iron will. You have to FORCE your body to change - whether it be to get stronger, put on muscle, or lose fat. You're body does not want to do these things and frankly its pretty comfortable where its at right now. But we're going to change, and we're going to change in a big way.

This sample routine is for the guy who's been "trying it all" and needs to get back to just working hard on a few basic things. This is such a simple concept, but very difficult to actually do. These sample programs will serve as both your strength AND conditioning sessions - no more long, boring cardio workouts. You will work VERY HARD on just a few movements and you WILL progress every single session. This gun to the head mentality is crucial to your success in all walks of life and you'll be very surprised what results this type of thinking can yield.

Ok, enough blabbering...on to the details of the program. This workout is originally inspired by guys like Dan John from his "one lift a day" concept and Charles Staley from his "escalating density" workouts, but this training is nothing new. We're taking it back to the old school and GRINDING away to get in fight shape in a very short amount of time.

After warming up on your own, maybe with calisthenics and band work, you're going to pick just ONE movement and perform 50 reps for time. If using a sandbag, pick a weight that's fairly challenging for 4-8 reps and stay in the 2-5 rep range for your sets.

But we're not going to be doing curls or dumbbell flies, here. I urge you to pick FULL BODY movements that require a TON of muscle mass. We're trying to IGNITE our metabolisms and blast our energy systems and a get a huge hormonal response in just a short amount of time. I love using heavy, awkward sandbags for type of training, but barbells, dumbbells and kettlebells are also great choices.

My favorite movements for the 50 rep drill are as follows:

1. Sandbag Clean and Press
*** Rip the bag from the floor and press that sucker overhead...use leg drive if needed (you will if you have a heavy enough bag). A Barbell, dumbells, kettlebells, or strongman log are fine substitutes here.

2. Sandbag Shouldering
*** Straddling the bag, explode and toss the bag onto one shoulder. Lower and repeat to the other side. Not much else can mimic the feel of these, so I reccomend making a bag!

3. Sandbag Power Cleans
*** Clean the bag from the floor and "catch" the bag in the rack position. Lower to the floor and repeat. These can be done fairly rapidly, so be push the pace! Barbell power cleans are ok, just watch for form breakdowns. Wake Forrest Strength Coach, Ethan Reeve, used to have his wrestlers perform 10 sets of 10 as a conditioning workout!

4. Sandbag Power Clean + Zercher Squat
*** After catching the bag in the "zercher" position, keep your elbows high and back flat while squatting deep. Stand up, and lower the bag to the ground. Repeat. A power clean & front squat would also work fine.

5. Sandbag Loading on to a 36+" platform
*** You can do these straight on or rotationally. Not much explanation here, just get the bag up to the platform any way you can, lower and repeat. If doing the rotational variation, repeat sides every rep.

7. HeavyOne Arm Dumbbell or Kettlebell Snatches
*** These are great and can be done pretty heavy. If using a dumbbell, 40-50% of your bodyweight would be pretty good for this, with a kettlebell you can do this for strength or use this as a short conditioning drill and get in 50 reps each side without putting the kettlebell down.

8. Barbell Deadlift Variation
*** I prefer something like SNATCH GRIP deadlifts here, but any variation will do. Use perfect form (not "competition" form, please) and get ready for some serious soreness for the next few days.

9. Barbell Squat Variation
*** Olympic back squats or Front Squats are good choices here. Pretend you're Eric Heiden (a speed skater famous for his insane high rep squatting) for a day and crush it! Not too much else will create the hormanal surge of high volume squatting

These workouts will take anywhere from 10-20 minutes and will leave you absolutely thrashed. Record your time and try to beat it the next time out. Its that simple, but when you're working against the clock you need that do or die mentality, much like in the ring or on the mat.

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