Monday, 3 January 2011

Olympic Lifting for Mixed Martial Artists

The latest catchphrase in the fitness world is ‘functional training’. The term itself has been around for roughly five decades, but modern self-proclaimed ‘gurus’ have skewed it to their liking such that it now includes excessive use of unstable surfaces, wobble-blade thingamagiggies, stuffed animals, clown costumes and the occasional fluorescent dildo.”– Eric Cressey, Competitive Powerlifter

In the world of strength and conditioning for MMA there is much debate as to the value of lifting. Consequently we’ve been force fed a diet of functional fad exercises for the past decade or so. We’ve been told for years that weight training will slow us down and that muscle bound athletes ‘gas’ quickly. Whilst this is undoubtedly true of some programmes, this article will discuss the necessity of Olympic lifting for the MMA athlete and how you can integrate it into your strength and conditioning routine.

It’s worth noting that Olympic lifting can take a lifetime to master. Although I’m not trying to turn you into a lifter you need to learn the lifts correctly to avoid injury. Build some proficiency with the information listed here and get some coaching.

What is Olympic lifting?

The Olympic lifts are the Snatch and the Clean & Jerk. These two lifts, done properly, will build massive amounts of explosive power. There are also a number of other supplementary exercises that, whilst they are not strictly Olympic lifts, will assist with the main lifts. This is typically where most people lose interest. “Two lifts, is that it?” is a common response. As an MMA athlete you don’t need to become a master lifter but focusing on fundamentals is vitally important. MMA is burdened by a whole host of ‘new and functional’ exercises that really have little to no value. Integrating the Olympic lifts is a simple way to build your fundamental power and strength base. And like technical skills training, ‘fundamentals create champions’.

What makes the Olympic lifts so good?

  • Both lifts are explosive in nature and work joints through a full range-of-motion (ROM).
  • They are ‘big bang’ exercises – that is, they accomplish lots of things in a short space of time. This is a good thing in terms of strength and conditioning.
  • They are highly technical. I know lots of coaches who see this as a negative point and argue that MMA athletes shouldn’t spend too much time learning weight lifting techniques. Whilst I agree when it comes to some lifts, the Olympic lifts have such an important transfer into athletic ability I think it is a worthwhile process. They will make you a better athlete when performed correctly so take the time to learn them.

How do I integrate them into my strength and conditioning programme?

If you have never done Olympic lifting before I’d generally recommend building a strength base with squats, deadlifts and presses first. Once you have a reasonable level of strength you can look into the preparatory exercises. These preparatory exercises will both prepare you for, and allow you to fix, certain parts of the Olympic lifts. You can also adapt the lifts into their power and hang variants. Power denotes that you will not be receiving the weight in a full squat. Hang involves pulling the weight from mid thigh instead of the ground.

This article will reference some external video resources from exrx.net which has some pretty good resources for the beginner.

Remember, in all variations of the Olympic lifts you are trying to generate maximum power. Forget this point and you can forget any appreciable results. Don’t be one of those guys who say they do Olympic lifting when they really just lift weights.

STRENGTH + SPEED = POWER

Before lifting take some time to warm up, stretch and go through some lifts with a broom handle or Olympic bar. Focus on technique and full range-of-motion (ROM).

The Snatch

Before learning the Snatch I’d recommend some preparatory work with the Overhead Squat and the Quick Drop. Once you have built some proficiency with this you can then start practicing the Snatch.

Overhead Squats:


Quick Drop:


Snatch:


The Clean & Jerk

Before moving onto the Clean & Jerk I’d recommend some preparatory work with Front Squats and Split Jerks. Once you have built some proficiency with these you can then start practicing the Clean & Jerk.

Front Squats:


Split Jerks:


Clean & Jerk:



Sample Programme

Try the following programme if you are looking to introduce Olympic lifting into your current strength and conditioning routine. This will need to be integrated with any existing base strength work. Aim to take to complete these sessions on non-consecutive days. Please note that this is a beginner’s programme and is not periodised in any way. All numerical information is given as guidance only and specific programming should be sought dependant on your individual needs.

Week 1:

Session 1

Overhead Squats 3x5 (25-50% bodyweight, 120 seconds rest between sets)
Quick Drop 5x5 (technique)
Deadlift 5x5 (150-200% bodyweight, 120-240 seconds rest between sets)

Session 2

Front Squats 3x5 (75-150% bodyweight, 120-240 seconds rest between sets)
Overhead Press 5x5 (50-100% bodyweight, 120-240 seconds rest between sets)

Week 2:

Session 1

Overhead Squats 5x5 (25-50% bodyweight, 120-240 seconds rest between sets)
Quick Drop 5x5 (technique)
Deadlift 5x5 (150-200% bodyweight, 120-240 seconds rest between sets)

Session 2

Front Squats 5x5 (75-150% bodyweight, 120-240 seconds rest between sets)
Split Jerk 3x5 (25-75% bodyweight, 120-240 seconds rest between sets)

Week 3:

Session 1

Overhead Squats 10x1 (25-75% bodyweight, 120 seconds rest between sets)
Deadlift 5x5 (150-200% bodyweight, 120-240 seconds rest between sets)
Snatch practice 10x1 (25-50% bodyweight, 120 seconds rest between sets)

Session 2

Front squats 3x5 (75-150% bodyweight, 120-240 seconds rest between sets)
Clean 3x5 (50-100% bodyweight, 120-240 seconds rest between sets)
Split Jerk 10x1 (50-100% bodyweight, 120-240 seconds rest between sets)

Week 4:

Session 1

Snatch 10x1 (25-50% bodyweight, 120 seconds rest between sets)
Overhead Squats 10x1 (25-75% bodyweight, 120 seconds rest between sets)

Session 2

Clean & Jerk 3x5 (50-100% bodyweight, 120-240 seconds rest between sets)
Deadlift 5x5 (150-200% bodyweight, 120-240 seconds rest between sets)

If you have any specific questions on Olympic lifting, Strength & Conditioning for MMA or you’d like to discuss workshops, professional fighter coaching or a review of your current programme feel free to get in touch.


Originally published on BritMMA

2 comments:

  1. Nice! Thank you for this workout. I am researching Olympic Lifting for MMA and found this very useful.
    I will try it out starting tomorrow.
    Yours,

    Yara
    www.mmaconditioningreviews.com

    ReplyDelete
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