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.

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