Fight Prep: 2012-05-02

Just came home from a tasty S&C session. In just about an hour, I did all that needs to be done, and then some of it. It wasn’t easy, but then it wasn’t as brutally hard as I thought it was going to be, either. But first things first…

There’s this thing with S&C they call periodization. Now I’m not going to give you a lecture on periodization here, just look it up in your copy of Zatsiorsky’s „Science and Practice of Strength Training“. Just in case you don’t have access to that book, here comes the gist of it:


Most sports have a distinct season and a distinct off-season. In a nutshell, season is when you play your sport, while off-season is when you don’t. Duh. For skiing, winter would obviously be season, while summer is off-season. For football, soccer and the like, things look quite the other way around. So as not to waste time, coaches take advantage of the off-season to get their athletes into peak physical condition. That condition then serves as a stable base for performance during the season. In the beginning of off-season, a lot of time is spent on general S&C, say hypertrophy programs, long distance running and the like. As season draws closer, more time is spent on sport-specific skills and drills. This process is called periodization and is probably one of the most valuable yet most misunderstood tools in a coaches repertoire.

                                                    The Problem

Now the problem with periodization for the martial arts is there’s no true off-season in our game. For example, this year I already fought in February and April, the next fight is coming up on May 19th. If everything goes according to plan, I’ll have further fights in June, July, October and November. There’s hardly any off-season to speak of. I’ll have to admit that seven tournaments a year might be much. Professional fighters compete like three or four times a year, tops. Plus, they’re usually not involved in tournaments but rather appear in event with more of a gala character, i.e. everyone has exactly one fight.

Anyhow, in my case, a traditional periodization wouldn’t exactly work. Now I’m not alone in this situation. This Muay-Thai trainer says the same about his fighters. He further states that an athlete should be able to get into peak condition within six weeks. I agree, although that’s still more than I have in between fights.

                                                    The Solution?

Due to all the above said, I’ve decided not to skip my S&C sessions in favor of more sport-specific activities such as sparring and padwork. Now don’t get me wrong, I do these, too, and then plenty of it. Still, I believe that in the long run, sticking to a sound S&C regime pays off, if only as a means of injury prevention (Dan John calls this „Armor Building“). I might skip a session that’s too close to a weigh-in or fight, but that’s about it. That’s where Jim Wendler’s 5/3/1 comes in handy. Properly planned, fights fall into the deload-week where lifting is done at moderate-to-low intensity. Fighting twice a month probably isn’t a good idea anyways.

                                                The Session

Coming back to today’s session, I started things with Chad Waterbury’s „Iron Core Circuit“, followed up with Jim Wendler’s 5/3/1 (Deadlift and Bench Press). For accessory-work and as a good finish I did 8 rounds of rope skipping, interleaved with pull-ups after every second round.

                                                The details

The following table gives you the details on today’s session.

Time           Activity

14:30           Iron Core Circuit
14:40           Warmup:
                        Deadlift 70kg x5
                        Bench Press 50kg x5
                        Deadlift 90kg x5
14:45            Pause, 1 minute
14:46            Bench Press 60kg x5
14:47            Pause, 2 minutes
14:49            Deadlift 95kg x5
14:50            Pause, 2 minutes
14:52            Bench Press 80kg x5 (made a mistake here. Should have lifted 70.)
14:53            Pause, 2 minutes
14:55            Deadlift 110kg x5
14:56            Pause, 2 minutes
14:58            Bench Press 80kg x5
14:59            Pause, 2 minutes
15:01            Deadlift, 125kg x5
15:02            Pause, 2 minutes
15:04            Pause, 1 minute
15:05            Rope skipping, 2 minutes
15:07            Pause, 1 minute
15:08            Rope skipping, 2 minutes
15:10            8 Pull-ups
15:11            Rope skipping, 2 minutes
15:13            Pause, 1 minute
15:14            Rope skipping, 2 minutes
15:16            8 Pull-ups
15:17            Rope skipping, 2 minutes
15:19            Pause, 1 minute
15:20            Rope skipping, 2 minutes
15:22            8 Pull-ups
15:23            Rope skipping, 2 minutes
15:25            Pause, 1 minute
15:26            Rope skipping, 2 minutes
15:28            8 Pull-ups
15:30            Finished

Now we’re talking time-efficiency.
Doing the math gives 8 x2 minutes for the rope skipping, 6 x1 minute for the 5/3/1 lifts, 5 minutes for the warmup lifts, 4 minutes for the pull-ups and finally another 10 minutes for the Iron Core circuit. That’s a total net time of 41 minutes, so roughly 68% of the time spent in the gym was actually spent on training.

After the whole thing, I just hit the sauna for 15 minutes and then wrote this article.
Tomorrow, it’ll certainly be some shadow-sparring plus probably some proper sparring. Depends on who’s attending my evening class.

So long,

take care

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