T Nation

Combat Sports and Strength Training

How do the combat athletes out there balance weight training and combat practice? I mean the cardio doesn’t suffer as far as I’m concerned but I just had to drop weight for my weight class and it sucks. The easiest way to do it was to stop squatting heavy and start doing cardio. Now I’m squatting heavier again but I only do 3 reps per set so I’ll build strength and coordination w/o getting bigger.

What do you guys do?

I don’t sweat it…I am a heavyweight, and just try to keep getting bigger. Why put yourself in a lower weight class…competitive advantage? I started competing 10 years ago, and at the time was 205 so just heavy enough for the heavyweight division…which meant I got the crap kicked out of me by 250 pounders (Martial arts has such broad damn weight classes) Now I am one of the 245 pounders…so I do very well for myself. As far as training, I just do both…martial arts training and weight training, and seem to do ok with it…I think overtraining is a bit overhyped, but I do listen to my body, and take an extra day off here and there, and every 6 weeks, take a solid week away from both class and weights…ok, more like 5 days…errr…mayby 3…well, um…LOL! Actually it is usually about 4 to 5 days before I can’t take it anymore!

Hey Whopper, I stay in light heavy basically because of the height of my competition.
My coach actually wanted me to fight at middleweight but I’d feel too weak whenever I went below 170.

As it stands I have to rely on being stronger than the average guy in my class who’s probably like 6’2 180. My inside game usually gets me over the reach advantage they have on their kicks.

That’s why I HAVE to lift, otherwise I’m dead meat.

I wasn’t saying dont lift bro…just saying get bigger. I am at the opposite end of the spectrum in terms of what your describing…I am 6’5" so I have the long reach. You gotta work on getting and staying inside your opponents…the ones that do best against me stay in very close, and I have been working on a few combinations to remedy that little issue (two punches to the solar plexus followed with a turning back kick to the same spot should do the job nicely in the ring I think) If you get bigger, you will be harder to move out once you get inside a taller guy, and his kicks are nowheres near as effective at close range. Put on some size and you will have a solid advantage…first you can muscle your way inside easier, second you can do more damage once you are there…third you will be harder to move out of there…just my opinion considering everyone I spar or compete against is usually shorter than me…good luck!

I only fight four times a year. I do no cadio at all until 28 days before the fight, then I just do it in the morning. This way I have good gains when I drop the cardio out and only train (BJJ and kick boxing). I just tweak my diet a little leading up to the match when I add the cardio. All the excess strips off and I cut right down. I just choose my weight bracket carefully so I don’t have to loose too much weight.

picachu - interesting that you only do cardio 28days out. i expect you manage to maintain decent condition via your regular bjj workouts?

what type of events do you fight in; bjj only, submission grappling or nhb?

what is your cardio routine for those 28days? daily? or 3xper week? intervals?

what strength training do you do in the last 4-6weeks?

grateful for any knowledge you care to share friend. thanks.

I had another thought just now. I think that after this fight I’m going to try doing regular cardio for the first month of training like I’ve been doing.

Then one month away from the next fight,which assuming I win at the regionals will be in September for the national title, I’m going to start doing wind sprints instead of distance runs.
What do you guys think? I fight three two minute rounds except for title bouts which are 5 two minute rounds.

pikachu - any details or advice?! just interested is all!!

Pick up a copy of Combat Fitness. It’s a mag geared toward combat athletes and shows many of the top fighter’s workout programs. Many lift weights three or four days a week and also do cardio most days at a different time. It’s a pretty decent mag. Check it out!

Sorry for the delay guys. I train for all three types of competition (NHB, sport BJJ and Sub grappling) I will compete in sport BJJ and sub grappling all yaer around and don’t change my routine for those events.

For the four weeks leading up to an imoprtant match I will do cardio four times a week. It usually consists of stair climbs, road work and skipping.

I stay in pretty good shape all year round thanks to the kick boxing and BJJ, but doing no other cardio allows me some good gains with the weights thanks to advice from TC and the rest of the staff and forum here.

My weight routine changes a little. I lighten the load and increse the reps.

It works well for me.