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Strength and Conditioning Group Class

hey fellas,
My bjj coach has asked me to start a strength and conditioning class at the gym. Most of my students would be grapplers, mma fighters, thai boxers, with a few people who would be in soley for strength/weight loss. I want to teach the class but I am struggling to think of a way to create a system that would be effective for as many people as possible. I don’t want to teach some random ineefective crossfit style class that just gets people sweaty and injured. My goal is to run an effective class that provides legitimate results. I have a few ideas but am looking for some feedback. Do you guys have any ideas? thanks!

I’m highly unqualified to offer any advice, but I did just buy a 5/3/1 forever book. One thing that stuck out is Jim Wendler seems to have a never ending supply of programs (as I’m sure other trainers do as well). Might be worth skimming through his stuff to see if anything would apply to your goals.

Get a copy of Dan Johns ‘40 years With a Whistle’ loads of great ideas and strategies for coaching 60 kids at a time all the way to Olympic gold medallists.

Plenty of good stuff in his articles on Tnation also…

I think you should consider narrowing your goal a bit, at least at first. You are not going to turn all of these BJJ guys into 5/3/1 monsters, especially if their training focus remains BJJ. Are you running this class 3-5 times per week, expecting consistency an steady strength progression from most people? I doubt it, and I’m guessing that not everyone who will show up has the same goals in mind. Some may have completely unrealistic goals. You won’t know unless you talk to the people you’re coaching.

I’d get specific about what you want to achieve in this time. If it is a class full of lifting novices, maybe start by making sure everyone can do basic movement patterns. Squat, hinge, press, pull. I would guess that most of your guys who are serious about strength training are already doing it in some shape or form. Maybe you have some of these people coming to your class, maybe you don’t.

Think about how much time you have, and how much you want to emphasize strength vs. conditioning. You can train strength productively in as little as 20 minutes and a mere 5 minutes of HARD conditioning can have benefit as well.

Think about how this will fit into the other training. If everyone is going to class tomorrow maybe you don’t want to put a bunch of novices through a high-rep full-body workout with compound barbell movements that they aren’t accustomed to. A group of people sore, stiff and unable to move well won’t make for the best jits class.

A lot of what you choose will be equipment dependent as well. I second @RampantBadger’s idea of reading some Dan John ideas, as he’ll have something for you no matter what kind of equipment you have.

If you have enough kettlebells for everyone, that could be a great place to start. Turkish get-ups have TONS of jits carryover. Swings will strengthen hips, which might be the most important muscle group in jiu jitsu. Squats, presses, snatches, cleans, rows, and carries are all great too.
KB training is accessible, effective and probably easier to teach to a room full of people than compound barbell movements.

If you have mat access as well, you can do jits movements for warm-ups or even as cool-down movements to fill some time up with lower-intensity stuff if you think its appropriate. Hip-outs, hip-ups to leg triangle kicks, breakfalls, sprawls, shots, bag work, etc, are all good ways to move that have obvious carry-over to the martial arts training.

So yeah, it really all boils down to everyone’s goals, experience levels, fitness levels and consistency. You can get a lot done, but you can’t get everything done for everyone. I’d start by making sure people are moving well with whatever you’ve got them doing, then build from there.

We can also page @burien_top_team. He’s a black belt and he’s been killing 5/3/1 while also training and teaching jits. I’ve trained jits for 2.5 years and run 5/3/1 for many consecutive cycles, but I haven’t done them simultaneously for any length of time. He has. Since taking up jits my lifting has become very sporadic, but I’m also about as strong as I’m getting without hopping on the sauce, so it doesn’t take much to hang on to the strength I already had coming in to jits.

If it’s a group class I would leave out weightlifting or rather barbell lifting. I would lean toward conditioning more than strength. Wrestling, carrying sandbags, etc.

Not sure I’ve got too much to add to some great ideas from @twojarslave. One thing that has been increasingly clear to me is the importance of prioritization and fatigue management.

There’s also the issue of “strength and conditioning.” There’s a strong argument that they are best considered separately. Then again, you could just design a set of circuits, tier them to conditioning level, and turn them loose.

One good source for S&C for MMA in particular is Joel Jamieson, whose book on MMA Conditioning was my bible years ago when I first started trying to get my conditioning up to speed. I’d highly recommend checking his book out.

Good luck!

Something else to consider and it’s related to:

is that athletes get into condition for an event and not just to be fit. People will see videos of mma fighters, for example, training and think that’s how they should be training but those are videos of them in training camp and not how they train when they don’t have a fight scheduled.