Strength training plays an important role in the training of MMA competitors. Most coaches and competitors participate in some type of strength training, but at the same time inappropriate strength training can be detrimental to performance. Strength training should not be totally dependent on absolute strength (amount of muscoskeletal force that can be generated for one all out effort, regardless of bodyweight or time) parameters.
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In this article, I am going to go over two exercises that will build explosive strength and increased muscular endurance. You will have no doubt that there is a sports specific application for MMA athletes.
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Being strong in the field of play does not always equate to lifting heavy loads. Power is a product of speed and strength often referred to as speed strength. Power is being able to develop force quickly (referred to as RFD or rate of force development). It does not matter how much you can lift; if you are slow as a turtle your force production is limited.
In the field of athletics there is usually a short time frame available for force production usually 0.1 to 0.3 of a second. Absolute maximum force production usually takes 0.4 to 0.8 seconds. With that said, understand that absolute strength and power are different qualities.
Types Of Strength
- Absolute strength
- Speed strength
- Relative strength
- Strength endurance
Keep in mind there are numerous subtypes of the above-mentioned qualities.
Amount of muscolskeletal force that can be generated for one all out effort, regardless of time or bodyweight. Although this quality is important for athletes, excessive time should not be spent developing absolute strength; its application in the field of athletics is limited. The time for maximum strength development is simply not available in most instances.
Absolute strength training contributes to an increase in intramuscular and intermuscular coordination. Intramuscular coordination refers to:
- Maximal motor unit recruitment
- Rate coding is optimized (firing rates of motor units) and
- Syncrohonization, activation of motor units in a synchronized manner.
Absolute strength training parameters:
Reps: 1-6 (80% max effort or greater)
Rest between sets: 3-7 minutes
The ability to develop forces quickly. This quality holds monumental for MMA Athletes. Takedowns, lighting quick punches are examples of speed strength.
If the time available for force production in a sporting movement is minimal (less than 0.3-0.4 of a second) speed strength will be a deciding factor. Because of the short duration of effort, speed strength rather than absolute strength should be the primary objective.
Absolute strength training methods have been shown to enhance Rate of Force Development in some athletes. This usually subsides after a short period and is more suitable for novice weight trainees. This method probably will not bring noticeable RFD changes to experienced athletes.
Speed strength is best enhanced by using moderate loads and moving them at high velocities. Speed strength emphasizes intermusular coordination and intramuscular coordination. The load is usually between 48-66% of your max effort. The repetitions performed per set are 1-3, with 1-3 minutes rest between sets. When the movement has a noticeable decrease in velocity, the movement should be terminated or the weight lowered.
Remember, rapid movement is the key. edicine ball training, various forms of shock method training and Olympic lifts are also instrumental in enhancing speed strength.
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Catching and throwing of medicine balls, or jelly balls, are used to develop arm and upper body speed, strength and balance.
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(stretch shortening cycle or reversible muscle action)
Involves the storage of potential kinetic energy during the eccentric portion of a movement which is then converted to actual kinetic energy during the concentric phase. This enhances force production during the concentric phase. This attribute is a key element in relation to maximizing speed strength.
The stretch shortening cycle (SSC) occurs in a certain order. As the body performs an eccentric action, the body will store more potential kinetic energy (drooping levels and then shooting in and up in wrestling, left hook following a right hand in boxing). When the concentric action quickly follows the eccentric action, the kinetic energy is utilized.
The stretch shortening cycle is evident in numerous sporting events. In power lifting squatting is a SSC maneuver. The success of sprinters, boxers and MMA fighters is to a large extent dependent on the efficiency of the SSC.
About Coach Hale
Coach Hale is the owner of Total Body Fitness, Winchester Golden Gloves Boxing and MaxCondition Sports Conditioning. He designs comprehensive training programs for coaches and athletes worldwide. He is the author of Optimum Physique and contributor to numerous exercise and sports publications. Coach Hale is an official member of The World Martial Arts Hall of Fame in recognition of his strength and conditioning work with martial artists. He also serves as vice-chairman for the World Martial Arts Hall of Fame. To learn more about coach Hale visit his website at www.maxcondition.com.