Saturday, August 28, 2010

Pulling for Grappling: PART 2

Hey everybody.

So I am back to talk again about training for grappling, specifically more about horizontal pulling strength. If you didn't read the previous post, here's the deal; pulling is exceptionally important for joint health, injury prevention and in grappling it's a primary mover for a large number of skills. Frankly, it's one of the few sports where pulling is straight up more important than pushing.
So, also in the last post, we addressed developing conditioning and volume base for pulling training, with one of my favorites, the RKC High Pull. Check that post out HERE.

For this post, we're still talking the same movement patterns, but now we are going to talk about different energy systems. Anyone who has trained with me or talked shop about athletic development with me knows that I basically think that strength is the basal bio-motor ability for all other motor abilities. IE, endurance is no more than some percentage of your max strength repeated. True, some are more efficient than others (make use of a higher percentage of max) but at the end of the day, (listen to this) greater absolute strength implies a greater capacity for endurance.
SO! What you gotta do is, you gotta get STRONG. Like GO-Rilla strong. Like rippin arms off in the middle of the match strong. Like "Honey. I broke the door knob again." strong.
In my experience, there are many ways to make BIG gains in strength, but the best by far is the barbell. Incremental loads, universal accessibility, ease of use. The benefits of the worlds most popular strength tool go on and on.
The bench press is king of horizontal pressing. But it doesn't really have a perfect antagonist. Bent over rows with a barbell come with some impediments to training; if you want to pull more than you push (for many men, in excess of bodyweight) you have to have incredible low back strength and stamina to hold the correct positions throughout the set. Few do. They just end up doing shitty and dangerous rows.
A friend of mine, Gant Grimes, turned me on to the 'Pendlay Row', named after wrestler, olympic lifting coach and equipment manufacturer Glen Pendlay. The Pendlay row is a dynamic, explosive rowing movement that actively incorporates the muscles of the shoulder joint, shoulder girdle AND the low back in a coordinated and functional manner that allows both for a more practical ease of use as well as greater weights to be lifted. WIN WIN.
Here's what it looks like:

The key with the lift is to start light at first, and build up your technique. Eventually, you will get to a place where your Pendlay row will start to rival your bench press (~70-100%).
I would treat this as a very low volume lift mostly, with shorter sets. Pavel's 3x5 rule works nicely here, or use something like Prilepin's chart or Westside formats (DE or ME) to really build it up.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Pulling for Grappling

Hey Y'all.

Hope you been doing good. Been a little while since I really put a lot of quality posts around here, but I am back at it. Schedule permitting, expect to see me put a new post at least weekly, if not more frequently.


So, now that's outta the way. PULLING FOR GRAPPLING?

So, I do Judo. Did Judo. That was where I started. Not a lot of Judo to choose from in my new town (the RVA). But there sure is a shit-ton of BJJ. So that's what I been doing. Mostly Gi stuff, b/c my Judo prepared me better for that, and I am a little apprehensive about strangers sweating on me THAT MUCH, so not a lot of No Gi for me. Secret time, I love no Gi, I just never seem to have free time when those classes are.

SO: In physically preparing for grappling, you gotta be functional, well rounded and have a good combination of power, strength, endurance and straight up cardio. If you have two or less, you gonna have troubles. In developing strength and power, there's plenty of literature regarding GREAT tools for hip extension power, like the squat, the deadlift, the olympic lifts and so on. There's guys that write whole books on the bench press. But what about pulling? Can't ever forget, grappling is a sport of controlling distance, and sucking people in to take away space, and using your upper body to pull is a big part of that. YOU GOTTA HAVE THE PULLING! In fact, every smart coach is going to tell you, if you can't pull a little more than you can push, you're going to fuck up your shoulder eventually.

Well, thanks to Greg Glassman, we all know the pull up. It's everywhere. No escaping it. But that's on the vertical plane. SHIT. If you have some BJJ match where you gotta reach up, grab some dude and pull him down or yourself up to him, JOIN ANOTHER TOURNAMENT! This one ain't right.

All kidding aside, vertical pulling is awesome, but what we REALLY need to address is horizontal pulling. So, over the next couple of posts, I am going to go over my favorite training tools for horizontal pulling for grapplers.

The first one is the RKC High Pull (RKC HP). Thanks Pavel and other senior RKCs for making this one a standard with good KB coaches everywhere. Jason C Brown has one of my favorite KB videos of all time where he shows how the teach the Snatch by learning the high pull first. It's great.

First off, the High Pull is built off the swing: if you can't swing (one handed or two or two belled) you don't need to be reading this post. Get your ass a coach and start with the basics!

Second: It's the one-handed swing that really matters, so this is an 'intermediate' move in my book. The RKC HP requires grip endurance, shoulder and elbow joint stabilization, good swing mechanics and all that implies, as well as strength and power in the shoulder joint and shoulder girdle. It's a coordinated, functional WHOLE BODY pulling movement that is at least 60% hips and only 40% arms. You hear me meat-head? It's not just your arms. Like everything in Judo(and thus in life) you gotta learn how to use your hips to minimize the work and maximize the results!

Take a LOOK:

The RKC HP also offers a lot of variety in training: you can use one KB or two, you can use the same weight, or two different weights, and finally you can vary the weight, the reps, the sets, the rest and more.

The key is to develop a plan for the energy system you need to develop, and work backwards from there. As a BJJ white belt or Judoka, your matches are 5 minutes. So having enough gas to blast through six minutes is 120%, it's overkill.
So here's what you do:
-build up to six minutes of work step by step
-then start taking away rest
-then start adding weight and playing with higher intensities

You can build up the total volume of work to six minutes in a variety of ways, but my favorite method is like this:
Monday: do 3 big sets
Wednesday: do 5 medium sets where the total time adds up to slightly more than Monday
Friday: 7 sets, again, total is a little more
the following week, you can start off where you left off Friday, or slightly less.

Example: you try out your KB, and you can do 25 reps on the strong hand and 20 on the weak hand. Here's what you do:
M: 3 sets of 15 (~150-200 seconds depending on height)
W: 5 sets 11
F: 7 sets of 9
Maybe give yourself 2 minutes rest between sets
next week start with 3 sets of 18-20
once you get up over the hundred mark, start reducing the rest time or get a heavier bell
Since this is low intensity, and high volume, you can use it as assistance work to other focused upper body strength training (talk about that later) as cardio after other training, or simply on it's own. These workouts will take about 15 minutes tops.

Try that out, see if that doesn't increase your wind, as well as reduce the fatigue you feel in your arms after a long roll. It's great for grip fighting endurance. GREAT.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Mark's Daily Apple

I have been spending a LOT of time on MDA (for the insiders...).

Sometimes I am on the blog. But my favorite way to use MDA is via my iPhone!

there's an app for that.