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.

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