Mixing strength training with combat sports

I rolled (or sparring in BJJ) 4 times this week, including an open mat yesterday. It was fun and educational. I’ve got to up my game if I am to get better. And the only way to do that is to go from training twice a week to thrice a week or more.

The challenge, as with all passionate pursuits, is that lack of time and energy. Particularly when one’s already occupied with other equally important modalities. In my case, that’s powerlifting/strength training and of course, kettlebells!

I need to figure out best I can manage kettlebell and strength training while training a minimum of 2-3 times a week. That’s a good start and if I’m able to get that in order, more BJJ training can be quite achievable.

All that said, do note that the plan below is for amateurs or hobbyists who play a sport and do additional strength & conditioning work. It’s not for everyone — some are better off just playing the sport or strength & conditioning. If you’re an athlete, your sport takes priority over anything else, even if you think you need to spend more time in the gym.

So, here’s what my new plan looks like:

Monday: Strength (mornings), Conditioning with Kettlebells (evenings)
Tuesday: Strength (mornings), BJJ or Conditioning with Kettlebells (evenings)
Wednesday: Strength (mornings), BJJ (evenings)
Thursday: Day off/Active Rest
Friday: Condition with kettlebells or Strength training with light kettlebell work (mornings)
Saturday: Strength (mornings), Conditioning with Kettlebells (evenings)
Sunday: BJJ

I know you noticed just one day of rest. That’s deliberate because my goals are probably different from yours. Also, my strength training is primarily two lifts — a main barbell lift (bench, squat, deadlift or military press) with a supplementary exercise (or another main lift done at a lower intensity). The tool of choice for my conditioning work is kettlebells. Because it’s the best and it is specific to my needs. The conditioning program only includes swings, snatches, clean & jerks and turkish-get ups. Sure, I can do more but that wouldn’t serve my purpose. Also, know that I don’t believe in ‘metcons.’ A 50m x 50m sprint is quite different from a 400m or 1,600m race. And I train for the former, not latter.

Yes, it’s not too different in structure compared to my previous plans I’ve posted here on the site. But as they say, the devil is always in the details. And the program above isn’t any different.

Use the template above if you are like me — have a full-time job but are passionate about moving heavy things and doing your best in a sport of choice (particularly a combat sport).

And remember, less allows you to do more.

P.S. Your coach should ideally know what’s the best S&C or strength training plan for you. If he doesn’t and you seriously want to do something about your S&C or overall strength, reach out to me. I’m happy to either guide you to with the correct approach or connect you to the right person who can.

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