Thursday, June 11, 2009

3 Sandbag Combos For Fighters!

Besides being great time savers that hit a boatload of muscle mass in a very short amount of time, not to mention great energy system developers, combo drills - using a variety of training equipment - are one of the best ways for athletes to train with a lot of time under tension while still using a decent load.

While complexes can be defined as performing multiple reps of one movement before moving to the next of a particular sequence, combos are typically performed by doing just 1 repetition of a movement before moving on to the next movement. The Clean and Jerk that is performed in Olympic lifting competitions is a great example of a combo - its one explosive pull, followed by one near max front squat, followed by one explosive jerk overhead - a combination of maximal strength, power, speed, and agility. Its no wonder that Olympic weightlifters are some of the strongest and best athletes on the planet!

But for the purpose of most combat athletes, combos can be done using a variety of movements with a variety of equipment. Barbells, dumbbells and kettlebells are fine choices, but with the unique needs of combat athletes, I believe that SANDBAG combos are one of the best tools for the specific strength and energy system development that a fighter needs. In grappling sports like wrestling, jiu jitsu and judo, no movement is every directly linear. You are constantly pushing and pulling, many times isometrically, against a live opponent. I believe that sandbag training is one of the best ways to simulate this. All you need is a bag in the 100-140lb range, and some open space to train.

There are tons of sandbag combos, and I can literally come up with dozens just off the top of my head, but here are 3 super effective combos.

1. Bent Over Row + Clean & Press + Zercher Squat

Perform one explosive bent over row followed by one clean and press followed by one zercher squat. Lower to the ground and repeat.

2. Goodmorning + Shoulder + Squat

With a bear hug grip, do a goodmorning followed by explosively shouldering the bag and then performing one squat. Lower and repeat to the other side. This will crush your posterior chain, and even your upperbody from having to isometrically hold the bag.

3. Power Clean + Zercher Squat + Zercher Reverse Lunge

Rip the sandbag from the floor and "catch" the bag in the zercher position. Perform one deep squat followed by an alternating reverse lunge with each leg. Lower to the floor and repat.

All of these movements can be done for sets and reps, keeping the reps in the 3-6 range (if you have a heavy enough bag) or if you prefer, you can set a timer for 5-10minutes and shoot for total maximum reps. The sandbag, along with some weighted calisthenics, can be used alone for a complete training program, or these combos can incorporated along with your heavy barbell and dumbbell work.

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