Sunday, January 30, 2011

Strength and Conditioning for Jiu Jitsu - Friday's Midnight Workout

...boy you don't post for a week and people start thinking you're lazy.  Just so you know I'm still training hard even when not posting - sometimes non-online life takes priority - here is Friday night's midnight workout.

Friday night real life kept me off the mats, but when all was settled down in the late evening I finally had a chance to get downstairs for a little Strength and Conditioning work.

After doing some shoulder pre-hab and joint mobility  work for about 15 minutes we started with a light "jump" plyometric warmup:
   3 rounds of 5 reps of straight jumps, skaters jumps, tuck jumps, and forward/back jumps.

   1 x 3 135 lbs
   1 x 3 185 lbs
   1 x 3 205 lbs
   1 x 3 225 lbs
   1 x 3 245 lbs
   1 x 3 255 lbs

The first 4 sets of deadlifts were alternated with sets of 5 bodyweight  plyo pushups off a bench.

Acceleration Squats
   1 x 5 135 lbs
   2 x 5 185 lbs

   1 x 3 bodyweight
   1 x 1 bodyweight + 50 lbs vest
   1 x 3 bodyweight
   1 x 1 bodyweight + 50 lbs vest
   1 x 3 bodyweight
   1 x 1 bodyweight + 50 lbs vest
   1 x 3 bodyweight

Kettlbell Swings
   2 x 10 (each arm) 40lbs

Single Arm/Single Leg Deadlift
   3 x 5 (each leg) 45 lbs bar
For this exercise you bend at the waist lifting one leg behind you, reach down with the opposite hand to the middle of the bar and pull - returning to the upright position and back down on one leg. This is a balance/core/stretch movement - you don't have to think about loading much (if any) weight on the bar.

Finished with 20 minutes of Yoga at the stroke of midnight.

Yes that's right, while most people are out having a good time on Friday night I'm either on the mats or in the gym. I'm sick like that. Most of my friends no longer bother to ask me, "so what did you do this weekend?" (sigh).

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Knee on Belly Choke and Yet Another Awesome Back Take

Caio Terra is crazy good. I tried this choke a couple of times tonight but got "bumped" before I could sink my first grip. Next time I try it I will set the first grip up a little better from side-control before I come up to Knee on Belly.

The back take that Samir shows is equally awesome - you can be a much smaller guy and take the back of a much bigger opponent with this one. Don't let go of the grips or a quick opponent will turn into you and force a scramble, but if you keep the grips you have really strong control.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Strength and Conditioning for Jiu Jitsu - Your Jiu Jitsu is Weak!

I've had a few people who read my strength and conditioning posts complain that they don't have kettlebells, a suspension trainer, or access to a decent set of free weights because they can't pay for jiu jitsu and a gym membership too.  Well my answer to that is quit whining! There is plenty you can do with a little imagination like the guys in the video below who say your jiu jitsu is weak! (and mine too)

If that is not enough you can add some sledgehammers (into the ground if you don't have a tire to beat on), push a car instead of a sled/prowler, pick up big rocks, throw a concrete block, fill up a wheelbarrow and run it up and down the street, jump up 3 stairs at a time, run hill sprints - or like many folks like me across the US this last week, shovel massive quantities of snow.

My point is that there is so much to do out there you can still target aerobic conditioning, anaerobic conditioning, basic strength, or power with a little extra motivation.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Strength and Conditioning for BJJ - What's on Your Plate

Because of the winter storms I was shuttling people around in the snow and didn't get home in time to make it back out to BJJ class this evening. I thought about kicking back and having a beer, but then Spike TV had to show a replay of the Randy Couture-Gabrielle Gonzaga fight.

Having had two different people recently (one a training partner, one an MMA fan) both essentially tell me I was the result of a twisted genetic experiment using DNA from Georges Saint-Pierre and Randy Couture I had to do something in honor of watching Couture's ring domination. (I am sure the comparison was made because we all buzz /shave our heads and that I am slightly under GSP's size and slightly over Couture's age - and not referring to my fighting abilities :-( )

With everyone else in the house asleep, I couldn't bang and clank the heavy weights so I decided to just grab a 45 lbs plate and a 16 kg kettlebell and go to work.

Round 1 looked a lot like the video below (but at a faster pace) - keeping the 45 lbs plate moving for a full 5 minutes without setting it down (other than what is in the video I did tricep extensions, bent over rows, stiff legged deadlifts, goblet squats - all with the plate, and probably several other movements that I can't recall now)

Round 2 consisted of 5 minutes of keeping the kettlebell moving in a similar manner - swings, snatches, russian twists, squats, lunges, suitcase lifts, etc.

Round 3 consisted of 5 minutes of shadow boxing - punches, kicks, shots - and working combinations thereof.

Round 4 consisted of me drinking that beer that I mentioned earlier ;-).

I'm not so sure I see the resemblance ;-),  but if somebody wants to compare me in some way to these two guys - hella yeah I'm going to put it on my blog :-).

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Newbies Rules for Rolling

I have learned that with proper care and feeding "newbies" can become productive jiu jitsuka and a credit to your academy. I've been trying to write down in one place all the things I wish all newbies had to hear/understand before they were allowed to roll.  Here is my list so far (please comment with any of your own - or if you think I'm way off)

Respect your Partner
Always respect your partner. Seriously - RESPECT your partner. You are responsible for his safety as well as your own (and vice versa).   Don't jump all over them with flailing knees and elbows. If you think you have an arm or a leg don't just twist/spin/yank at high speed - if you "have it" you should be able to manipulate it smoothly and under control. No striking, slamming, biting, poking, or grabbing/twisting small body parts (fingers, toes, ears, nose)

Know How to Tap
You need to "tap" multiple times and firmly enough so that it is clearly felt by your partner.  If you can't tap on their body, tap loudly on the mat, if your hands aren't free use your leg, and finally don't forget verbally - just yell "tap, tap, tap!"

Know When to Tap
There are consequences for not tapping - a choke will put you to sleep, an armbar will put you out for a few weeks, a kimura will send you to surgery and a long recovery, and we won't even go into leglocks - so just tap already. When you first start rolling you may not know the difference between something that is just "highly uncomfortable" and something that is going to mess you up - if you are not sure TAP - you can ask the instructor or an upper belt about where you are in real danger. It won't take long for you to know the difference yourself - but until you do be safe. Special Note: In class we are training. We are all working together to get better. Gym taps do not count - no extra brownie points for getting one, no frownie face on your permanent record for giving one up.

Respect the Tap
When you have a submission applied it is your partner's job to tap, but it is your job to notice and immediately respect the tap. Release immediately and be careful in how you "unwind" from each other. Also be aware of your opponent's position, he may not be able to use his hands on you and could signal verbally or by tapping the mat with his hands or feet instead. If you think your partner is tapping but you are not sure, let go - it is better to be safe than sorry. When you have/are working for a sub you should be alert for your partner's tap.

Other Reasons to Tap in Class
If you wind up with body parts unintentionally tangled up in the gi it is okay to tap and reset (you will learn about gi manipulation and the correct way to grip) - that said, don't stick your fingers and toes into their gi unless you want to lose them. Also, you will need to learn how to breathe when in uncomfortable positions, such as someone laying on top of your face, that said I would rather you tap and reset rather than gag and throw up on the mats.

Tapping an Upper Belt
If you tap an upper belt he/she LET you do it (99% probability) so that you could learn - don't brag about it. It does not score you extra brownie points or get you promoted faster ("No, you don't get my belt if you tap me. Calm. Down." ~ Megan at Tangled Triangle). Most upper belts enjoy helping you learn and will often let you work things through on them, but that can end very quickly (and unpleasantly) if you let your ego get in the way of your common sense.

Don't Spazz
Don't spazz. Seriously - don't spazz - it makes you dangerous to yourself and to your partner. Don't explode randomly all over the mat for 30 seconds and then be ready to puke. Don't freak out in bad positions or when you're caught in a sub, it's just training.
Don't Grind
There is a fine line between good pressure and being a jerk - until you have been rolling for a while you don't know where that line is so you might want to ease up.
Don't Muscle It
Don't bully your partner. Try and relax and not be stiff all the time - there is a difference between a good anatomically strong "frame" and muscling a bad position. You will learn when you need to go fast, when you need to apply pressure, and when you need a little extra umph. You don't have to go soft and floppy but lighten up a little and you will roll better.

Control Your Submissions
Finish a sub under control (and slow enough for your partner to tap) - if you can't do this you didn't really have the sub. You can grab it/sink it in quickly but always apply the finish slowly and under control.

And Finally Some General  Housekeeping
Wash your gi , Wash your gi, Wash your gi (and your belt too) after every training session. Nobody wants to roll with a festering pile of stink and biohazard.
Trim AND file your nails. You will get enough scrapes and scratches that can't be avoided. If you don't want to do it for me, do it for you - long finger/toenails are just waiting to get ripped from your digits.
No jewelry (this includes all piercings/plugs) - unless you want whatever bodypart the jewelry is attached to to be separated from the rest of your body - leave the jewelry at home. This also goes for those "special" piercings that I really don't want to know about when they become embedded in ways they were never intended.

This may seem like a lot of stuff but I've found it can be covered in about 10 minutes - slightly longer if you want to have examples and demonstrations.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Strength and Conditioning for BJJ - Power Hour

I couldn't get to jiu jitsu tonight due to some "real life" issues, but being inspired by GSP's quote I was determined to get some type of training in. So as soon as I had a moment this evening, I ran downstairs to the gym and got to it.

I call this one the Power Hour because it clocked in at just under an hour (warmup included) and had a definite power leaning.

Acceleration Squats - 2 minutes rest between sets
    2 x 5 135 lbs
    3 x 5 155 lbs
(getting just a little bit of air at the top of each rep - but you don't want to really "jump'' carrying significant weight on your back)

3 Rounds - 30 seconds rest between rounds
    1 x 10 (each arm) 16 kg Single Arm Kettlebell Swings
    1 x 8  Suspension Trainer Dips
    1 x 8 Box Jumps (24" box)
    1 x 8 (revolutions each direction) 45 lbs plate Around the World
(this wound up being a killer combination - the core stabilization of suspension dips right after one-armed kettlebell swings then keeping a 45 lbs plate moving around your head right after the box jumps was a stroke of evil genius ;-))

Then Finished up with a Pullup/Pushup Complex - no timed rest just took a few breaths and jumped in
    8 Pullups/8 Feet Elevated Pushups

How was your evening?

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Quote of the Moment - Every Day

Yeah, I train - always train everyday no matter what. I don’t have a day off.  I don’t train hard everyday, like I trained really relaxed today. 

My mentality is that when I go sleep at night, I’m a better martial artist than when I woke up in the morning.  So no matter what happens in my day, I know that at night, when I go to bed, I learned something new, and I’m a better guy than when I woke up in the morning” 

~ Georges St. Pierre

Monday, January 3, 2011

Strength and Conditioning for BJJ - New Year's Day Workout

Now some of you may think I have been replaced with an alien pod person because there are no squats or deadlifts in my New Year's Day workout. I must admit I feel kind of dirty, and this is obviously not the way to propitiously start the new year. I can only hope that I haven't irreparably torn the space/time continuum.

And now for your reading pleasure, a Zen Mojo workout totally devoid of squats and deadlifts:

15 minutes of warmup and upper body activation

This workout started out with a Power phase as the first exercise. Sometimes I work power exercises directly in with the primary Strength exercises (such as a set of Bench immediately followed by Medicine Ball Slams or Plyo/Acceleration Presses of some type or Squats immediately followed by Box Jumps). However today, we start with a straight Power exercise before we do our primary Strength lift. I'm using Power Cleans to a Push Press (Olympic Lifts are great here - I could have done a straight Clean and Jerk or Snatch).

Power Clean/Push Press
   1 x 5 95 lbs
   1 x 3 115 lbs
   1 x 3 135 lbs
   1 x ? 155 lbs (pulled the Clean twice but failed on the press)
   1 x 3 145 lbs (since I missed at 155)

Next I went into 4 rounds of Bench Press - immediately followed by Inverted Rows - immediately followed by Russian Twists (2 minutes rest between rounds)

Bench Press
   Round 1 1 x 5 135 lbs
      Round 2 1 x 5 155 lbs
         Round 3 1 x 5 175 lbs
            Round 4 1 x 1 195 lbs (form was gone by this round so I only put up 1 rep and racked the bar)

Suspension Inverted Rows (feet elevated)
   Round 1 1 x 8 Bodyweight
      Round 2 1 x 6 Bodyweight + 50 lbs vest
         Round 3 1 x 4 Bodyweight + 50 lbs vest
            Round 4 1 x 4 Bodyweight + 50 lbs vest

Seated Russian Twists
   Round 1 1 x 20 25 lbs
      Round 2 1 x 20 25 lbs
         Round 3 1 x 20 25 lbs
             Round 4 1 x 20 25 lbs

Then I finished up with a complex where the bar is loaded (45 lbs plate) on one end and the other end of the bar is shoved into a corner or backstop consisting of 2 x 10 (on each side/arm) of :
   Single Arm Presses