Nowadays it simply isn’t necessary for me to convince any legitimate martial artist that they should be doing some form of strength training.
Right now a huge amount of information is available that provides the why and how of strength training and conditioning. So, the problem today isn’t “Why” you should be doing some form of strength training, it’s which form of strength training one should actually be doing!
It’s almost as if there is too much information. It gets confusing. So, to help get to the bottom of it let’s take a deeper look at the different types of strength.
The 3 Types of Strength
There are three types of strength we need to concern ourselves with at this point: Max Strength, Explosive Strength, and Speed Strength.
Absolute Strength or Max(imum) Strength is very easily defined: it is the absolute highest amount of force an individual can generate for a specific movement. Your 1RM for a particular movement is a good indicator of your Max Strength for that specific movement.
Explosive strength is most easily defined as one’s ability to generate as much force as possible in the shortest possible time (against resistance). The Power Clean, The Jerk, and the Snatch are all great examples of the use of Explosive Strength.
Similar to Explosive Strength, Speed-Strength is the ability to move at maximal speed against little or no external resistance. Throwing a punch or kick as fast as you can is a good example of Speed-Strength.
What Type of Strength Quality is MOST Important for the Martial Artist to Develop?
Each form of strength (max, explosive, and speed) is important. You simply cannot fully develop one form of strength independently of the others. However, the most important strength quality for a martial artist to train is speed strength followed closely by explosive strength.
This isn’t to say that one shouldn’t spend time developing his/her maximal strength because it forms the foundation for development of explosive and speed strength. Just keep in mind that too much focus on the development of maximal strength can actually hinder the development of speed strength – which is NOT desirable!
Strength Training Articles:
• 4 Barbell Drills Every Martial Artist and Fighter Needs!
• Building Elite Levels of Strength and Power with No Equipment.
• Speed-Strength for Fighters!
Power-Endurance and Cardiovascular Conditioning
Now developing all that strength isn’t going to mean a whole lot unless you can express it over and over again until your opponent falls or submits (ie: “throwing strong punches in bunches and bunches”!). This is where the importance of developing Power-Endurance and your Cardiovascular Conditioning (Cardio) come in.
These two concepts are closely related. The concept of Power-Endurance is closely related to the muscles while Cardio deals more with the cardiovascular (lungs, heart, and circulatory vessels) system.
Fortunately, these two aspects of a martial arts training can be developed simultaneously. Certain bodyweight exercises, kettlebell training, sprint training, and even heavy bag work are all great examples of ways a fighter can develop both Power-Endurance and their Cardio.
• The Unilateral Complex for Elite Conditioning!
• Don’t Rest Do Something
• The Tabata Protocol for Martial Artists
• Sport Specific Conditioning Circuit (MMA)
• Minimalist Training
Obviously, this is by no means a complete look at entire spectrum of strength and conditioning training for the martial artists. There is simply too much information and too many coaches that have differing opinions as to how to train a martial artist and what modalities to utilize.
And this is fine. Your journey into the world of strength training can conditioning is a lot like your journey in the martial arts – it never ends. You should never stop learning.
This page (and this blog) is intended to point you in the right direction. I suggest that you do some further reading on your own. Below I have provided resources that I have found useful and I know you will find useful as well.
• Power To the People
• Starting Strength
• Training for Warriors
Josh Skinner (donjitsu2)