Training for Amateur Combat Athletes IV: Putting it all Together

In previous posts, various aspects of training for a combat athlete have been discussed, along with examples of how training sessions can be structured.   The goal for this post will be to illustrate how all of the different traits can be trained over the course of the week for a fighter at the amateur level.  The author suggests reviewing part I of this series to look at some of the factors that play a role with an individual competing at this level.

The challenge with the amateur fighter is dealing with time constraints.  It is important for someone who competes to have a good balance of specific fight training and general physical preparation.  Parts II and III of this series examines some of the methods of physical preparation that are either underutilized or mismanaged in this athletic population.  The mismanagement usually comes in the form of omitting an aspect of training, or through the misapplication of a certain means of training.  An example of misapplication of metabolic training is the overuse of lactic-based training for a fighter whose competition primarily involves striking (i.e. a kick boxer).  The following is an example of a training program that can be followed by an amateur fighter who has had experience with various modes of physical training (i.e. weights, running, etc.) and is preparing for an amateur contest.  To illustrate how this can fit in with the actual fight training, generic recommendations as to what type (referencing intensity level) of fight training may be included on what days.

*Monday

Warm-Up

Day One Jump training

High-intensity fight training (drills and sparring at a level over 70% intensity)

*Tuesday

Warm-Up

Low-intensity fight training

Body Weight Aerobic Capacity Circuit or in place tempo conditioning (working at less than 70% intensity)

*Wednesday

Warm-Up

High-Intensity Fight Training

Strength Training Day One (The link goes back to the article on strength training, do the Monday session in the article)

*Thursday

Repeat Tuesday activities.  The actual drills/exercises can be different, but intensity level should be the same.

*Friday

Warm-Up

Day two Jump training

Day two strength training (This would be the Friday session per the link provided)

*Saturday

Mixed intensity day- fight work.  Give a brief high-intensity stimulus (sparring or high intensity technique work) followed by low intensity drills/recovery.

*Sunday

Off

The weekly outline provides a program that will cycle through different intensities of fight training, while concurrently training general physical qualities.  It would be suggested that this sample be utilized for a period of no longer than 3 weeks, and that an individual has developed a certain level of strength through a foundational program that focuses on correcting muscular imbalances before utilizing max effort and dynamic effort strength methods.  For further information on the methods and techniques utilized, the reader is directed to the references at the end of the linked articles.

This three-week block of training addresses both strength and explosive power.  General aerobic capacity is trained during the low intensity days, with the overall structure of the week utilizing a high/low scheme as advocated for by Francis (2008, 2012).  The only slight exception to this comes from the Friday-Saturday portion where high intensity elements occur in back-to-back training days.  This occurs due to the short period of time the individual is exposed to these elements each day, while Sunday serves as a day of complete rest from all training activities.  Francis (2012)has stated that high-intensity elements can occur in consecutive days as long as the exposure is short.  It would be imperative that if the coach/trainer responsible for fight training limit the exposure of high-intensity drills during fight training on Saturday.

It is emphasized that this plan is just one example that may be utilized for an individual competing at the amateur level of a striking-based combat sport.  As with any program, it is important to understand the training experience of the individual partaking in the plan, which should also include a history of any previous injuries the individual may have experienced.  The elements given can be structured any number of ways based on the other obligations the individual has (i.e. work schedule).  One example (that would actually be more optimal if it can work) is to structure the training sessions such that some of the work is performed in the morning, while the remainder is completed in the evening.  After a three week block such as this, the focus of certain training elements may change depending on how far out from a competition the individual may be.  Successive blocks should look at other aspects of development (i.e. alactic capacity) to ensure overall physical and tactical development before one competes.

Post any questions below.

References

Francis, C.  2008.  The Structure of Training for Speed.  CharlieFrancis.com.

Francis, C.  The Charlie Francis Training System.  Kindle Edition.  2012.

*Other references related to the program are in the article links provided.

Training for Amateur Combat Athletes Part III: Jump Training

Parts I and II of this series focus on various aspects of training for an amateur combat athlete.  As previously stated, training of these athletes represents unique challenges.  This post will focus on how to incorporate jump training into the weekly schedule.  In part I it was explained how many of these athletes face scheduling challenges.  The goal of this series is to illustrate an example of how general training principles can exist with technical training for these individuals.

Jump training has been used as a form of general physical preparation for quite some time.  Verkhoshansky and Verkhoshansky (2011) stated that this form of exercise can be implemented in a complete training program to improve any of the following qualities:

*Maximal & Explosive Strength

*Reactive ability

*Local muscular endurance

*Maximal anaerobic power

*Neuromuscular coordination

The method of execution will dictate the effect this form of training has on the individual.  In the program to be outlined in this article, the focus will be on the development of explosive strength.  For the purposes of an giving a training example, the programming for this aspect of training will be designed with the strength example given in part two.  The type of jump to be utilized for developing explosive strength will be the box jump.  While a relatively simple exercise to perform, it is important that the quality of movement is very important.  Since our goal here is not metabolic conditioning, we need to use appropriate rest intervals to be sure that we are achieving the desired training goal.

For adding the jump training into the current program outlined (in the previous parts of this series), one has a few options.

*Do the jump training immediately before the strength training.

*Do it on a separate day, but put at least 48 hours between sessions.

*Do one session in the morning and one in the afternoon.

So there will essentially be two days of jump training.  The workouts will be as follows:

Day 1

Box Jumps (3 minutes rest between sets/arbitrary rest between reps)

week 1- 4X3

week 2-  5X3

week 3- 6X3

Day 2

Box Jumps (Same rest periods)

week 1- 4X2

week 2- 3X3

week 3- 5X2

Given all that is going to be done in the course of the week with training, this part of the program is going to be relatively simple.  The box jump is an easy exercise to perform.  The author’s  preference is for concentrating on good landings onto the box, and only jump to a box that will allow your pelvis to remain in a neutral position while ascending to and landing on the box.  If by chance someone does not have a box they can jump on, single response squat jumps will work fine as well (and can be progressed by using resistance for a second wave of training).  The week is set-up so that the second training session consists of a lower volume of exercise.

This portion of the program will aim to develop explosive lower body strength.  It is again important to carry out this type of exercise in a manner consistent with developing that specific trait.  Individuals training for combat sports have a tendency to want to make every training session more of a metabolic based conditioning session.  Make every effort to maintain quality of movement with using the appropriate rest periods.  Part IV of this series will integrate all of the concepts previously discussed, while also including some other training methods in the week.  A full training schedule, with fight training included, will be outlined as an example to illustrate how to practically use this information as an amateur fighter.  Questions on this topic can be placed in the comments section.

References:

Verkhoshansky, Y., Verkhoshansky, N.  2011.  Special Strength Training Manual for Coaches.  Verkhoshansky SSTM.  Rome, Italy.

 

The Weekly Training Schedule: General Recommendations for Training Elements

Athletes of all levels of preparation will be using various means of training to address the physical requirements of their sport.  While characteristics of the means will vary based on sport demands, most forms of training will be included in an athlete’s training.  Components of the physical preparation process include:

1.  Skill Development

2.  Injury Prevention

3.  Strength Development

4.  Power Development

5.  Energy System Development

6.  Speed Development

7.  Multi-directional abilities (depending on the sport)

Depending on the time of year (or the length of time until competitions) athletes will be looking to address all or some of these areas in their training.  It is of vital importance that the individual in charge of the physical preparation of athletes strategically manage training in an effort to both develop the athlete, while at the same time not risking injury or overtraining.  Many sport coaches make the mistake of implementing a training schedule based on the concept of “working hard” by implementing high stress elements on a daily basis, with maybe one day “off” or “light” during the week.  It is important to recognize the impact of the training elements on the central nervous system (CNS) to determine how the athlete will recover from said training element.

As discussed in previous posts, the works of Charlie Francis (2012 & 2008) discuss the High/Low system of training, which manages stresses of the CNS over the week.  New trends in fitness have lead to athletes haphazardly implementing low-quality, high-intensity training on a daily basis in an effort to get athletes “in-shape” or “mentally prepare” themselves for the rigors of sport participation.  This mismanagement of training tends to go much more harm then good, even if short-term benefits appear to be occurring.  The High/Low System separates elements into high or low categories based upon stress to the CNS.  While there are elements that are deemed Medium intensity, Francis includes them in high intensity training since you cannot recover from this type of training in 24 hours.

Examples of High and low components are as follows (Francis 2012 & Francis 2008):

High

Sprints above 95%

High intensity Jumps

Strength Training (Efforts above 80%)

Explosive MB Throws (Note: some individuals will place these in a “medium” category, but as stated earlier, medium stresses will get considered high for recover purposes)

Low

Tempo Conditioning (Extensive <75%)

Assistance Strength Training Exercises/Abdominal

Low intensity MB Throws

Sport skills can fall into the same categories based upon the intensity in which they are performed.  When looking at a week of training, one should determine where different elements may fit in order to optimize training outputs and recovery.   When a training approach is to utilize all training variables at different volumes over the week, one needs to make sure that the organization of different modes of training are performed in an appropriate order.  While volumes of each of the components will change, here is a basic template for placing them over the course of a training week for an athlete in the offseason  (note: this does not include warm-up activities that would precede training sessions):

Day 1

Sprints

Jumps

Throws

Strength Work

Day 2

Strength

Extensive Tempo Conditioning

Abdominal Training

Day 3

Off or Extensive Tempo or Cardiac Work (HR 100-140 beats per minute)

Day 4

Repeat Day One

Day 5

Repeat Day Two

Days 6 & 7

Off or Extensive Tempo or Cardiac Work (HR 100-140 beats per minute).  It would be suggested to take at least one day totally off for passive recovery (i.e. massage, passive stretching, etc.)

It is important to manage training stressors over the course of a week, and to make sure that you are utilizing methods that match the demands of the sport.  One must make sure that outputs are optimal on high CNS stress elements to make sure that adaptations to the training will yield the desired results.  While the schedule above may be reflected of many different training options, one needs to also consider the time of the year for the athlete (i.e. off-season, in-season, etc) when designing weekly training schedules.

References

Francis, C (2012).  The Charlie Francis Training System.  (Kindle edition).

Francis, C.  (2008).  The Structure of Training for Speed.  Charliefrancis.com.  (Kindle edition).

Development of the Alactic System Part III- Alactic Capacity

In a previous post, the development of alactic power was discussed.  In most athletic contests, athletes need to not only be explosive and powerful, but they also need to sustain that power over the course on an entire contest.   In order to develop this quality, appropriate programming to develop capacity of the alactic system will enable an athlete to compete with speed and power repeatedly for the duration of a contest; Verkhoshansky & Verkhoshansky (2011) defines power and capacity in this manner:

Capacity- the total quantity of producing energy

Power- the quantity of energy produced in the time unit

Improving the capacity (or conditioning) of the alactic system requires that short duration efforts greater than 95% intensity (<8 seconds) are repeated in multiple bouts.  An important component of this type of training is to keep an individual below their anaerobic threshold; the athlete should not begin to utilize the lactic system due to the intensity zone utilized being too slow for speed development (Francis, 2008).  Keeping the athlete below anaerobic threshold with efforts greater than 95% with appropriate rest intervals means the speed and power of the effort will be maintained for the duration of the session.

This type of conditioning can be performed with both jumps and sprints.  The key is to have a high intensity effort as described previously, with a rest interval of 10-60 seconds (Morris & Williams, 2013; Verkhoshansky & Verkhoshansky, 2011).  Many times coaches implement more lactic-based conditioning in an effort to help with maintaining an athlete’s speed for a contest.  The inherent problem with this is that the speed of the effort in this type of training begins to drop as efforts are repeated; an athlete actually ends up training to maintain a slower speed.  Sports such as football, basketball, volleyball, soccer, field hockey, some combat disciplines, and lacrosse are sports that primarily utilize both the aerobic and alactic systems to fuel their efforts, and should not be incorporating large volumes of lactic-based conditioning into their off-season or in-season protocols.  In a future post some examples of alactic capacity training will be outlined.

References & Recommended Readings

Verkhoshansky, Y., Verkhoshansky, N.  2011.  Special Strength Training Manual for Coaches.  Verkhoshansky SSTM.  Rome, Italy.

Francis, C.  2008.  The Structure of Training for Speed.  CharlieFrancis.com

Morris, B, Williams, R.  2013.  American Football Physical Preparation:  How to Optimally Prepare for Your Best Season Ever.  Ebook available at elitefts.com.

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