out there? As part of my grappling training I follow strength training and
conditioning programs. I often train at the local mega-gym since its right
across the street from my current residence. Every time I go there I see these
20-something trainers who are uber fit just by default training their overweight
40+something clients. What irks me is that they have these completely
undeveloped-overfed-sedentary people doing exercises that are a complete waste
of time for their current level of fitness.
It’s not that the exercises are bad per se…just poorly implemented. What are
they doing that makes me so mad? They are using ‘stabilizer’ and ‘balance’ type
exercises and drills that build very little muscle and burn very little fat to
help their clients “get in shape”. Yeah I get that these exercises are based in
‘science’ blah blah blah…but the reality of it is their clients look no better
today than they did 3 months ago.
Many gym goers blindly follow their trainer or the latest muscle mag-rag that
teaches them how to train like a juiced up bodybuilder. ‘But they say they are
natural.’ The reality is that the majority of all professional bodybuilders and
fitness models is that they are using steroids, HGH or a combination of those
along with other related performance enhancing drugs. Bodybuilders can actually
train less and gain more muscle because of those powerful hormones coursing
through their veins.
Case in point there is a particular bodybuilder at the gym who is about 220
lbs of ripped muscle, has a pencil neck, and lifts the heck out of 20 & 25
lb dumbbells. Doing set after set of concentration curls followed by wrist curls
like this guy isn’t going to make you a huge powerful beast… unless you’re on
the juice. This guy looks like a tiger, but when it comes to moving real
iron he is really a kitten. I have yet to see him do anything other than curls
and some very light squats. I think that was his ‘heavy leg day’.
You may get a date or two and a set of half decent looking arms out of it…but
you will never have true overall strength and you will never have the kind of
explosive power that you will need as a grappling athlete.
So what is the solution?
The real world shows us that if you want to build muscle, lose fat, and be
more athletic you need to:
1. Perform multi-joint compound movements (lifts) to build solid muscle and strength.
2. Use actual resistance (weight) that will cause an adaptive response. That means lift heavier weight!
3. Consume fewer calories than you take in.
If you follow those three steps you will actually build muscle and lose fat.
It’s so holy-crap simple I’m shocked that no one at the gym gets this…especially
the personal trainers!
So what lifts should I do that fulfill those requirements?
1. The Power Lifts: Squat, Deadlift, and Bench.
2. The Olympic Lifts: The Clean and Jerk, and Snatches.
Throughout my collegiate and international wrestling days I was fortunate
enough to have strength coaches who knew this. While at BYU our focus was on the
power lifts and Olympic lifts and their variations. While at the Olympic
training center (OTC) our focus was on the power lifts and Olympic lifts and
their variations. Now in my pursuit of grappling greatness I still focus on the
power lifts and Olympic lifts and their variations.
At both BYU and the OTC we focused on the big movements first and included
the supplementary lifts and stabilizer movements as an addition to our workout.
We never did a strength training workout where supplementary lifts or stabilizer
movements were a workout unto themselves. These movements have their place but
as I’ve said before your strength building program should not revolve around
them. They should be a much smaller part of the bigger picture.
Now that you have some real world information maybe you should take a look at
how your personal trainer is training you. It might be time to let them go.
I hope this helps you on your quest for grappling greatness.
See these exercises in action here!