Saturday, August 16, 2008

Complex Training for Judo and BJJ

One of the most popular ways to integrate high power movements into a more traditional strength training program is through a method often called 'Complex' or sometimes 'Compound' training.

Here's the concept;
Perform a slightly submaximal effort on a otherwise high intensity lift
follow closely with a power movement that mimics that same motor pattern

One of the most popular combos was always the back squat followed by box jumps.

The theory behind the practice (and it's just that) was that high intensity loads (those above 80-85% 1RM depending on training age) would thoroughly innervate the nervous system specific to that musculature. With this higher state of arousal, exercises like O Lifts and Plyometrics would be even more effective. Performance would be temporarily increased due to the excitement caused by the heavy squat, such that the box jump would be higher or faster.

I don't know if this theory is entirely right, but some of the best coaches in the states use this technique fairly frequently with high degrees of success. I would even consider this an excellent substitution or alternative to the Westside Barbell 'Dynamic Effort' day. It should accomplish many of the same goals, and provide your average powerlifter with a welcome change of pace.

As an example, let's return to the high power output hip extension example of the High Hang Power Snatch

For a grappler to improve power out of the lower grab position of something like;
sukui nage
morote gari
te guruma
high crotch
single leg
double leg

we would want to address several points along the Force x Velocity curve. At high forces, velocity is low. At high velocities, force is low. Training one aspect will not be as effective as training two or more points along this curve, hence 'complex' training.

Let's step off the beaten path, and go with three exercises in our set;
One high force, low velocity
one max power (40-60% 1Rm as fast as possible)
one max acceleration/velocity

For force we choose anything from the powerlifting or weightlifting world. If your weakness is quads or knee extension, I'd say a squat variation (I love the Overhead). If your weakness is the posterior chain, or hip extension, let's say the Romanian Deadlift.
For power we go with the High Hang Power Snatch.
For speed, let's do the 'Scoop Toss'.

Here's what that looks like;

You can see there that I have chosen three potential objects for tossing; Heavy Bag (~40lbs), Medicine Ball (12lbs), and Kettlebell (16kg). Any will do. The heavier you go, the slower, so choose carefully. What's your weakest link?

Here's what all the lifts look like in order;
PS: Music choice on this one is not work or family safe, sorry.

For the sake of ease, all the lifts have the same weight. All lifts in the video are performed for three reps. This is not how it should be necessarily done in practice.
Here are some suggestions;
Force: Choose a lift corresponds to about a 5RM load and perform 3 reps
Power: Same; if you can snatch 135, choose 105 and snatch it as HARD and FAST as you can!
Speed: Here you may afford more repetitions, for instance if you can perform the scoop toss with a 12lb medicine ball lightning fast for 9 reps, do 8.

Lesson: Leave a little gas in the tank! This is CNS training, and fatigue will only lessen your results. Give yourself about thirty seconds of rest between each exercise before proceeding to the next. For example;
3 reps RDL
30 seconds rest
3 reps HH Power Snatch
30 seconds rest
8 reps Scoop Toss
3-4 minutes rest

If you are tired, you can't produce maximal force or speed, and that is the purpose of this protocol! Don't forget why you do what you do!

Consult this 1996 classic by Donald Chu
for the whole story

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